The Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange commissioned a study entitled The Commonwealth of Kentucky Health Care Workforce Capacity Report out of concern that the influx of newly insured residents under the Affordable Care Act would strain healthcare resources in the Commonwealth.
This 2013 report identified significant gaps in Kentucky’s healthcare workforce. For instance, more than 80% of the counties in the Commonwealth lacked an adequate number of mental health care providers. Rural counties in particular face a shortage of these professionals. Both rural and urban counties lacked an adequate number of advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs).
One of the recommendations of the study was to create learning opportunities for nurses in the Commonwealth to transition into higher value roles. Stakeholders advocate that nurses earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)—the highest level of clinical training available to these professionals. The need for nurses with this level of education is so great that some healthcare providers are taking matters into their own hands.
For instance, Norton Healthcare in Louisville is choosing selected nurses to earn a DNP while they continue their employment. The company is selecting BSN-educated RNs with three years of service to be educated to become APRNs.
Demand is high for additional nursing roles that frequently entail having a DNP. For instance, Kentucky’s Labor Market Information predicts 30% job growth for nurse administrators and executives and nurse educators between 2012 and 2022.
Earning a DNP can provide significant economic benefits. The Advance Healthcare Network surveyed nurse practitioners throughout the country in 2014 and found that DNP-educated NPs earned an average of 13% more than those who had a master’s degree.
Kentucky’s nurses are availing themselves of the opportunity to further their education. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reported that 538 students were enrolled in DNP programs in Kentucky in the fall of 2015. Eight times as many doctoral students sought DNPs that year rather than PhDs, thus reinforcing the value of this practice-based doctorate.
Statewide Salary Data for DNP-Educated APRNs and More in Kentucky
DNP-educated nurses in all their various roles are consistently recognized for earning top salaries (Kentucky Labor Market Information, 2015):
- Nurse Administrators – $143,631
- Nurse Practitioners – $125,139
- Nurse-Midwives – $125,016
- Nurse Educators – $103,605
- Health Diagnosing and Treating Practitioners – $96,104
Salaries for DNP Nurses in the Major Regions of Kentucky
Kentucky’s Labor Market Information provides salary information for DNP-educated advanced nursing professionals in the major regions of the Commonwealth (2015):
- Louisville – $212,384
- Green River – $197,186
- Cumberland Valley – $196,191
- Bluegrass – $181,435
- Northern Kentucky – $162,517
Nurse Administrators and Executives:
- Cumberland Valley – $193,402
- Louisville – $160,261
- Northern Kentucky – $158,979
- Fivco – $150,696
- Green River – $138,314
- Bluegrass – $133,464
- Big Sandy – $120,735
- Kentucky River – $98,902
- Green River – $188,398
- Louisville – $126,342
- Northern Kentucky – $120,913
- Bluegrass – $120,751
- Kentucky River – $114,886
- Fivco – $112,598
- Cumberland Valley – $104,714
- Big Sandy – $103,789
- Louisville – $128,972
- Bluegrass – $113,422
- Northern Kentucky – $109,678
- Louisville – $121,307
- Bluegrass – $99,294
An Overview of Salaries for Kentucky’s DNP-Educated Nurses as Published by the US Department of Labor
The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics provides an overview of the annual and hourly salaries for Kentucky’s nurses earning within the 75th and 90th percentiles to best represent earnings for DNP nurses (2014):
*These values are equal to or greater than $90 an hour and $187,199 per year. The US Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics does not report salary data higher than these values.
This page includes salaries that fall within the 75th and 90th percentiles for each nursing role to account for the fact that DNP-educated nurses are recognized as earning more than master’s-prepared nurses in the same roles.