Why you should Get a Doctorate in Nursing (DNP) Degree

Written by Brandon L.
June 10, 202311 min read

There is a high demand for nurses with advanced education across the United States, and this demand is expected to increase gradually over the next couple of years. Thus, one of the ways to guarantee your job security, at least over the next few years, is to get an advanced education. Furthermore, we all know getting advanced education is the direct route to career advancement and higher pay in the nursing world.

Over the next few minutes, we will reveal everything you need to know about getting a doctorate in nursing, including why you should get a doctorate in Nursing (DNP) if you are qualified.

Let's begin.

What Is a Doctorate in Nursing Degree?

A doctorate in nursing, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, is the topmost educational achievement in the nursing world, and it is the most terminal nursing degree. All the nursing schools in all 50 states in the USA offer DNPs.

DNP is a practice-based training compared to other terminal degrees in nursing such as a nurse doctorate (ND), Ph.D., or doctor of nursing science (DNSc), which mainly dwell research skills, scholarly inquiry, and high-level specialty skills.

DNP aligns with areas that support quality improvement, data-driven decision-making, evidence-based practice, systems management, and leadership in general.

Both BSN and MSN students can undertake their DNP. However, the BSN candidates will take longer (3-6 years) to study compared to their MSN counterparts, who will take a few months to 2 years of study.

Nurses with a DNP are considered to have the education necessary for managing or improving health systems at various levels (from local to national). They are also believed to have the requisite knowledge to teach nursing students and nurses pursuing continuing education.

There is a great demand for nurses with a DNP because they have the most advanced education in the nursing world. They must fill the managerial, supervisory, or leadership positions vacated by senior nurses retiring from the industry. They must also teach, mentor, and/or supervise new nurses. Lastly, they are needed to provide guidance, set standards & policies, and ensure the standards & policies are being adhered to.

DNP vs. Nursing Ph.D.

The IOM report called for better-educated nurses to address healthcare challenges constantly evolving, more so the issue of nurse shortage. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is also shifting focus to having DNP as the minimum education level for advanced nursing practice instead of an MSN. It is believed that more nurses are also enrolling and pursuing DNP. For better decision-making, let's look at how DNP differs from Ph.D. in nursing.

While nursing Ph.D. is research-based, the DNP is practice-based training that focuses on the higher level skills required in nursing practice. Ph.D. aims to expand nursing knowledge while DNP training advanced healthcare and patient outcomes.

The DNP candidates must complete capstone projects focusing on practice problems, while the Ph.D. and nursing candidates write a senior thesis. Given that DNP programs can be offered online, working students can undertake them more than the Ph.D. programs that are offered in classroom settings.

DNP graduates take leadership roles in healthcare organizations and facilities. A few work as expert clinicians or become nurse educators. The Ph.D. nursing graduates serve primarily in research, management, and academic roles.

DNP curriculum focuses on evidence-based practice, policy, advanced practice nursing, healthcare leadership, administration, management, disease management, clinical diagnosis, community assessment, and care planning. On the other hand, nursing Ph.D. focuses on illness trajectories and the healthcare systems, and they look more into research methodology, epidemiology, biostatistics, chronic illnesses, and care systems.

Ph.D. in nursing programs don't have a clinical component to the degree, while the candidates can also teach. Teaching is optional for the DNP candidates, but one must complete approximately 1000 clinical hours of practical experience.

Top Benefits of Getting a Doctorate in Nursing

With the evolution of global, regional, and national healthcare systems, graduating with a doctoral degree in nursing enables you to advance your career, explore rewarding positions, and have a guaranteed increase in salary, among other benefits. It also prepares one for more prominent roles such as advocacy, leadership, and management.

Some popular careers for DNP graduates include family nurse practitioner, adult nurse practitioner, university professor, nursing administrator, and nurse leader/manager.

Getting a DNP has many benefits; below are the most common ones.

1. Career Progression

If you want to advance in your career as a nurse, there is nothing better you can do to make it possible than to get a DNP. Since a DNP is the highest educational achievement in the nursing world, earning it means you can apply for any senior nursing position. Of course, you will have to meet other requirements for the position, such as years of experience and so on. However, having a DNP will mean you already have one foot in the door.

Most nurses value career progression and want to get ahead for various reasons, including prestige, passion, and money. If you are like most nurses and value and want career progression, you should plan to get a DNP for it to happen faster. If you have a master's in nursing, you will be in a great position to get it quickly. If you have just a bachelor's degree in nursing, it will take longer to get a DNP, but you will still get there.

2. Increase your Career Options

Getting a DNP will help you significantly increase your career options, especially at the top of the nursing world. It can help you to become a clinical nurse specialist, a nurse researcher, a nurse educator, a health services manager, or a nurse supervisor. These are positions you most likely wouldn't get with a bachelor of nursing degree, and it would also be difficult for you to get most of these positions with a master's in nursing degree. So if you want to broaden your career options at the top of the nursing world, you should get a DNP.

Top nursing career options you can pursue with a DNP

As you can see above, getting a DNP can broaden your career options.

Related: Steps and process of writing a nursing diagnosis.

3. A Bigger Paycheck

Do you want to earn more as a nurse? Well, get a DNP degree. Getting a doctorate in nursing can increase your paycheck in your current job. Because during the subsequent employee evaluation, your employee profile will show that you have attained the highest education qualification for nurses (a DNP). As a result, your employer will likely promote you and increase your salary to retain you. You can also directly request HR for a promotion and a salary increment after graduating with a DNP. Just make sure you do it formally via the official HR email and that you explain why your new degree makes you deserve a bigger paycheck (mention newly acquired skills and competencies).

Getting a doctorate in nursing can also increase your paycheck by bringing you another job. Earning a doctorate in nursing means you can now apply for positions (usually advanced nursing practice positions) that require individuals with a DNP. If you get such a position, your paycheck will most likely increase because you will be working at a higher level than your current job. For example, if you are currently working as a registered nurse (RN) and get a DNP and a career as a nurse supervisor, you can double your paycheck almost overnight.

4. Make a Big Difference

What made you want to become a nurse? Was it to make a big difference in the provision of care? Was it to improve the quality of services provided in local hospitals? Whatever it is, there is no better way to achieve it than to get a DNP. A doctorate in nursing will make you the best nurse you can be. Most importantly, it will put you in a position to make a big difference. How? Well, with a DNP, you can make a big difference in two different ways � through teaching and research.

A doctorate in nursing allows you to make a difference through teaching, and this is because it will enable you to become a nurse educator if you want. As a nurse educator, you can make a big difference in nursing by focusing on the nursing principles, skills, or knowledge you think will help nurses improve service provision.

A doctorate in nursing also allows you to make a difference through research. This is because whatever you think can help to make a difference in nursing, with a DNP, you can formally research it as a nurse researcher and publish your findings in a journal. This can lead to your recommendations being adopted as new standards, policy changes, or recommendations by a nursing regulator or association, resulting in a big shift in nursing.

5. Prepare the Next Generation

Do you want to play a big role in preparing the next generation of nurses for the workplace? The best way to do this is to get a doctorate in nursing. With this in your pocket, you can get a job as an educator at most nursing schools. Of course, with a job as an educator, you will teach student nurses and give them the knowledge and advice they need to become great nurses in the near future.

Becoming an educator is a great choice, especially if you have plenty of experience, knowledge, and skills that you think should not die with you. Because once you get into teaching, you can share everything you know and feel is necessary to communicate with student nurses. So if you want to be at the forefront of preparing the next generation of nurses for the workplace, there is no better way to do it than to get a DNP and become a nurse educator.

6. Take a Leadership Role

Most doctorates in nursing programs across the US teach you nursing plus nursing leadership, and they ensure you know the technical and leadership side of nursing. So if you want to take a nursing leadership role, the best way to prepare for it is to take a DNP. The DNP will give you both the technical qualification for the leadership role and the skills you need to execute the role.

Some nursing leadership skills and competencies typically taught in DNP degree programs include running a clinic, managing a dynamic team, doing the right paperwork, making executive decisions, promoting diversity, and so on. Learning leadership skills when taking your DNP degree will put you in a perfect position to take a nursing leadership role and excel.

7. Learn from Experts

When taking a doctorate of nursing degree, you will be taught by nurse educators who are typically very experienced nurses. They will share with you the knowledge in the books, the course materials, and the knowledge and skills they have been taught by experience. So, if you want full proficiency in any nursing discipline, pursue a DNP degree to get it. And if you're going to ask questions, collaborate in research, or do something similar, you can always request your instructors for assistance, and most of them will hear you out.

8. Become your Boss

If you want to open your clinic and be your boss, one of the ways you can do it in many states across the US is to pursue a DNP degree. This is because many states allow DNP degree holders to start independent clinics like medicine degree holders. It is estimated that the shortage of clinicians means more and more patients will turn to nurse-run health clinics for treatment. Therefore, if you want to be your own boss and make a lot of money in the future, you should get a doctorate in nursing and run your own clinic.

9. Become an Expert

If you have something you need to say to the nursing world, you can only be listened to if you are a researcher and you say it in a published and peer-reviewed journal. Of course, any peer-reviewed journal worth its salt will not agree to publish an article or research from a researcher without the right qualifications. Most journals require you to have at least a master's degree. Others will only publish works from experienced experts with DNP. So if you have something to say, you should get a DNP so that you can be listened to by journals and the wider nursing world.

As you Exit �

Getting a terminal degree in nursing, specifically, a DNP, sets you up for success in the nursing field. However, the journey is never easy, given that you have to work and study concurrently. For most DNP candidates, college can be overwhelming. Imagine having work, kids, and family or personal responsibilities. Sometimes it could be about too many assignments to complete.

You might be interested in how to write a perfect PICOT question.

We're talking about discussion posts and responses, quizzes, online simulation tests like shadow health or i-Human, essays, term papers, research papers, PowerPoint Slides, concept analysis papers, nursing care plans, health promotion plans, strategic plans, posters/flyers, windshield surveys, and capstone projects, which can be a whole lot of work to do. For others, it is failed classes that jeopardize their DNP degree.

If these challenges look familiar to you, don't panic. As an online nursing papers website, we have specialized nursing writers who can ace and slay your nursing assignments. These writers will even take your online DNP class for you and deliver the best grades. The good thing is that you will communicate with the writers and get one-on-one expert assistance. Our nursing assistance solution offers personalized help that will see you pass the classes and accelerate your degree. Talk to us if you need help achieving your DNP faster and better. Nursing grades matter, and we can make you get the best.

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