Why nurses with a BSN should get a DNP-FNP

Nurses with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) who are considering pursuing a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) are surely wondering what kind of benefits this advanced degree will bring. These questions may center on career or salary goals, or a general longing for personal advancement. Regardless of what is desired from a degree, a DNP with an emphasis in family nurse practitioner (DNP-FNP) is a great choice to meet these goals.


Nurses tend to be incredibly driven people. Those with a BSN may have wondered how to advance in a nursing career. There are many options, but nurses who are passionate about family-centered primary care may want to consider acquiring a DNP-FNP.


According to a report by the Association of American Medical Colleges, the U.S. is facing a serious physician shortage:

  • Total shortage of 46,000 to 90,000 physicians by 2025
  • Primary care physician shortage of 12,000 to 31,000.

Because of this shortage, the demand for family nurse practitioners (FNPs) is higher than ever and will continue to increase. In fact, according to Forbes, nurse practitioners are now in higher demand than most physicians.


This high level of demand is not only based on the physician shortage, however. The passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 hugely redefined the need for FNPs.

The ACA legislation greatly increased access to health coverage in the U.S., leading to a sharp decline in the uninsured rate. It also emphasizes a preventative model of care through measures like increased access to health screenings. Because of these two factors, the number of people in need of health care professionals has risen.

That is why right now is the perfect time to acquire a DNP-FNP.

Autonomy and Leadership

Nurses with a BSN who become certified as a DNP-FNP retain the hands-on approach of nursing while gaining a new level of autonomy. FNPs have a large amount of added responsibility that allows for more complete caregiving:

  • Provide personalized care to patients through assessment, diagnosis and treatment of illness and injury
  • Make evidence-based treatment decisions
  • Have more autonomy in clinical practice and become a leader of high-level collaboration with the health care team.

Possibly the greatest opportunity for a nurse holding a DNP is at the intersection of greater autonomy and leadership.

Depending on your state’s nurse practice act, FNPs may be able to establish an independent practice, which allows for the greatest level of autonomy and leadership. This level of autonomy allows the FNP to establish personal relationships with insurers, hospitals and specialists, as well as patients and families.


The most tangible benefit of acquiring a DNP for a nurse with a BSN is financial. Salary data from September 2015 shows that a DNP is the most financially beneficial nursing degree.


  • Average yearly salary for DNP: $99,000
  • Average yearly salary for BSN: $63,000
  • Increase for DNP salary over BSN: 57 percent
  • Average yearly salary for Ph.D.: $78,000 (second highest)
  • Increase for DNP salary over Ph.D .: 21 percent


Nurses with a BSN who acquire a DNP-FNP will be in a field of rising demand within health care while gaining a new level of autonomy and leadership. This new role also will bring about substantial salary opportunities unavailable to nurses with a BSN.

For nurses with a BSN who are looking to advance in a nursing career while still maintaining a personal and hands-on approach to health care, the best option is to acquire a DNP-FNP.