A Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DNP, is a doctorate level program in nursing. It is a relatively new certification and encompasses everything from nursing leadership to research and academic studies. You can choose a DNP program that either teaches nursing leadership or allows you to master a new medical specialty. You can also explore the option of Nurse CEUs. Getting a DNP could open a lot of doors for you, and even add a few years to your career. It could also be a great way to transition into more important and fulfilling roles. Here are three reasons why working nurses should consider getting a DNP.
Table of Contents
You Become Qualified for a Wide Range of Nursing Jobs
The biggest benefit of getting a DNP is the wide number of positions you’ll be able to hold, and many of these allow you to step away from the floor. Many DNP holders move into academia, for instance. This can be a great way to use your expertise and will be a welcome change of pace from working with patients.
While teaching future nurses requires at least a master’s degree, most colleges will prefer those with a doctorate. Furthermore, you’ll be in high demand since there is both a nursing shortage and a nurse educator shortage. There are tons of nurses waiting to get formed, but faculty is lacking, so finding a position should be easy once you have the qualifications.
Another thing you could do is become a nursing director or public policy advisor. Earning a DNP also helps you to obtain a nurse practitioner or NP license. You could become a pediatric nurse practitioner, gerontologist, mental health nurse, neonatal nurse practitioner, or family nurse practitioner. You could even decide to become an entrepreneur. The options are almost endless, and you could end up finding a field that would take better advantage of your natural skill set and interests.
It’s Easier Than Ever
One of the reasons why more nurses who are currently holding positions should get a DNP is that it is now easier than ever thanks to online programs. Online schools allow you to get your DNP from the comfort of your home, whether it’s part-time or full-time. Some allow you to take classes during the weekends or at night. You also have the choice to take classes on your own time or on a fixed schedule.
There are also accelerated online BSN to DNP programs from schools like Baylor University that allow you to get your DNP in a fraction of the time of earning a master’s followed by a doctorate. This could allow you to get your qualifications even faster and start getting all the benefits, all while being able to earn money and pay for your studies.
Don’t expect these to be less rigorous and recognized, however. As long as a program is accredited by the right bodies, it will get the same recognition as any other program. There is also no way for employers to know through which means you had your degree. What they will know is from which school you got it, and this is what will dictate how well regarded your degree will be. This is why you should concentrate on the reputation of the school instead of worrying about people finding out you got your degree through an online course.
Another thing you should do is choose a program that has a high first-time pass rate on the NCLEX exam and a high clinical placement rate. The best programs help you get a job with highly regarded hospitals.
It Translates into a Higher Pay Rate
The average registered nurse earns $60,000 a year, which is not bad. However, the number jumps significantly once you get a master’s or a DNP.
The average nurse practitioner with a master’s degree in nursing earns around $80,000 a year, while nurses with a DNP can earn as much as $100,000 a year. Nurse practitioners with a DNP typically receive higher pay than NPs with only a master’s degree. More importantly, professional organizations recommend that nurses earn a DNP before they open their own medical practice.
You can also use a DNP degree to move into a better paying specialty. For example, you could earn a DNP to become a nurse-midwife, an acute care nurse, or a pediatric nurse practitioner. As a matter of fact, having a DNP allows you to pretty much pick and choose from any top specialization.
You Can Have a Significant Impact on Your Patients’ Lives
Every nurse has a significant impact on the lives of those under their care. However, some may feel limited in their functions and want to have more of a say in how patients are treated.
If you become an NP or DNP, you’ll learn about the latest medical research and technology. This will allow you to deliver a higher quality of care in an increasingly high-tech profession, but also help create new tools or use your knowledge to affect the profession.
For example, you’ll learn how to apply the latest research to your patients’ care and use it to improve processes in a healthcare organization. You can also bridge the information gap between the hospital floor and academia, relaying information back to the researchers. Or, you could be called to determine any technological gaps certain smaller institutions may have and help them implement new tools.
You could also leverage a doctorate in nursing to work in healthcare policy. Your increased understanding of both patient care and academic research makes you the perfect person to recommend, implement, and maintain healthcare standards.
A DNP can also set you up to take on an administrative role in public health. This would allow you to transform the fate of whole communities and help them be the healthiest they can be while teaching them how to neutralize public health threats. Or, you could become a nursing manager, overseeing the quality of care for all patients in a given department or the entire facility.
Earning a doctorate in nursing practice can lead to a more lucrative and rewarding job than what you’re doing today. The only challenge is finding a program that suits your career aspirations.