Home Forums DNP Professional Growth DNP recognition

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    Colleen O’Leary

    How does your organization recognize DNPs? If someone is in a leadership position prior to achieving DNP is there any additional compensation for earning the DNP?


    My current organization does not recognize DNP in any special way. No additional compensation as far as I am aware of.


    My current organization recognizes DNP and offer $1,000 one time bonus for any RN pursue higher education such as MSN, DNP, PhD. Employers are recognizing the unique contribution and supporting nurses with tuition-reimbursement programs. DNP programs degree is about gaining new perspective, new knowledge, new competencies, and learning to partner better with our patients and families. It helps nurses envision things differently, scope projects differently, and apply what they learn and continue to move our care to the next level. a DNP also help nurse acquire the tools to better understand our health care system, its policies and finances, and become a better advocate for serving the vulnerable population.


    Great question. Yes, my organization does recognize DNPs as educators and leaders in the clinical setting. However, I’m unsure, if someone were to obtain their DNP license, in a leadership role, if they would receive additional compensation within that same position. I would assume the answer is yes, but that would be naïve. Theoretically, it makes sense– that the higher the degree, the more certifications, the better the job opportunity and salary. Nevertheless, salary range has many factors, not limited to only level of education; such as: experience, level of seniority, specialty, location, etc. But, it’s not all about the money- right?

    Megann Synnott

    Two of the four highest ranking nurses at my organization are DNP prepared. The highest ranking nurse is completing her DNP now. We’re a teaching hospital, so education is always going to be rewarded. As far as compensation each degree above your job requirement (eg. BSN, MSN, DNP) is a step increase in pay. It’s becoming the desired degree for leadership, though not required.


    Hi Colleen,
    Thank you for posting this question in the forum and allowing for a community response. In my personal organization DNP graduates are compensated based on their level of education and experience. When the RN or MSN nurse graduates from a specific degree, management or HR is notified and the paygrade is then increased. When it comes to certifications my current facility gives one time bonuses for these certifications instead of an hourly raise. I think DNP’s should be appropriately compensated when they receive a higher level degree even if they hold a leadership position beforehand. The student has taken the time and effort and resources in order to earn the degree and should be adequately repaid for their work. DNPs in my organization are also recognized for their work in advancing the implementation of EBP and translating research into practice.


    Hello Madeline,

    I appreciate your reply. From having conversations with the DNPs that I work with, I was also told that they were compensated based on the education received and their years of experience. I believe there is also funding for perusing a higher education in the clinic I work in, and they encourage their nurses to explore the possibilities of growing and continuing their education. I agree with your position, if the individual has acquired a higher degree than when previously hired, they should be compensated based on their newly obtained degree, as the years of experience accumulate the organization can choose to compensate accordingly. As a graduate student, I have quickly realized that pursuing an education while working can become not only financially expensive but also somewhat tiring to the individual which is why I believe appropriate compensation should be given. Furthermore, if the newly graduated DNP is now able to provide more specialized care to their patients they should be compensated for the increase in their scope of practice and recognized as an integral part of the interdisciplinary team.


    To my knowledge, my organization does not compensate specifically for obtaining an academic DNP degree. However, they compensate if an individual earns a degree higher than what is required for their position. So, if a BSN is required for a specific nursing position and the nurse earns an MSN degree, that nurse will be compensated with one additional step in their pay for their over-achievement. Additionally, my organization has generous tuition reimbursement for nurses pursuing higher education and many opportunities to earn educational scholarships. For those of us that have spent a large portion of our career paying off loans for our undergraduate work, this is a wonderful perk. In general, positions in my organization are compensated for the skills and knowledge (education level) needed to complete the work at hand. Nurses that have earned their APRN license along with a DNP degree will certainly be compensated higher than an RN with a BSN degree. These positions would be on completely different pay scales. Ultimately, if I am working at an organization that fosters a culture of support by offering financial assistance for advancement endeavors then that is what is most important to me as I seek professional growth.


    I work as a faculty in an undergraduate program school of nursing. There is compensation in this role for earning a DNP which is equal to the pay increase for earning any doctoral degree (PhD, DNP, EDD etc). This isn’t a significant increase for the degree itself but does allow further opportunity for advancement. Once the degree is earned the DNP can advance in title to earn more money. At the master’s level the faculty can only be an assistant professor, once a doctoral degree is earned the DNP can advance to an associate professor or full professor. There are several paths to advancement which vary depending on the earned degree. A faculty with a PhD will advance on the research track and a faculty with a DNP will advance on the practice track. This has definitely been a point of contention as the PhD is seen as the traditional route for faculty advancement and the creation of the practice track was a contentious process. It was difficult to find balance between the practice focus of the DNP degree and the push for faculty to publish which has more of a research focus.

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