Are you thinking about pursuing further education to progress your career in nursing?
If yes, then a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is one of the most influential degree programs available. Focusing on both patient care and healthcare administration, this advanced degree program can open doors for you that you can’t even imagine. Whether you want to earn more money, gain prestige or simply improve upon your career prospects, read on to discover seven ways a DNP degree can transform your career.
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What is a DNP degree?
For those who don’t already know, a DNP degree, or Doctor of Nursing Practice, is an advanced nursing degree that enables you to pursue leadership roles within healthcare facilities. A DNP degree is a practical degree rather than a research-based one and is designed for nurses who want to continue to practice while also taking on greater responsibilities.
Why pursue a DNP degree?
1. Greater earning potential
If you want to earn more money in nursing, then a DNP degree is definitely the way to go. This is particularly true if you already have a BSN or ADN degree. The average salary of a registered nurse is $77,460 per annum. However, the average yearly salary of a nurse practitioner is $117,670. Although an MSN degree can allow you to get roles such as these, with a DNP, you can command a higher salary and expect more career advancement in the future.
2. More career opportunities
As briefly mentioned above, once you are qualified, you can expect to be able to apply for a much wider range of positions. Some of the most common roles pursued by DNP graduates include:
- Family nurse practitioner
- Nurse midwife
- Nurse anesthetist
- Nurse educator
- Nurse director
It is also worth knowing that you can work in an extensive range of different healthcare settings such as hospitals, private practices, schools, nursing homes, and even correctional facilities.
3. Flexible learning
If you are worried about how you are going with your current professional commitments, your family life, and your studies, you should know that you can complete a DNP degree online. In fact, BSN DNP online degrees are extremely popular and can help you to fast-track your career without causing any disruption to your life.
Some of the most notable benefits of studying for a DNP degree online include:
- Global networking
Online learning programs are also a great option for those who are not suited to traditional styles of learning and prefer to work at their own pace or on their own. That being said, you can still enjoy plenty of support both from your tutors and your peers as and when you need to.
4. Stay competitive
Although the United States is experiencing a shortage of registered nurses, more advanced positions remain fairly competitive. This means that if you want to advance in your career, you need to make sure you are doing everything it takes to stand out from other applicants. The beauty of a DNP degree is that it shows a commitment to learning and self-improvement, and it demonstrates that you are willing to go the extra mile to further your career.
DNP degrees will also enable you to learn about new technologies and trends in the nursing sector, which can also give you a competitive edge over others.
5. Various specialties
When you study for a DNP degree, there are many different areas of nursing that you can choose to specialize in. Therefore, if you have a specific type of nursing that you are interested in, you can achieve your career goals by focusing on this area of study. For example, if you are interested in teaching the next generation of nurses, you could choose to specialize in educational leadership. Or, if you are passionate about technology, you could focus your studies on IT leadership.
When searching for online universities that offer advanced nursing degrees, such as DNPs, make sure that you check whether or not they offer the specialty that you are interested in before you sign up.
6. High demand for DNPs
If you are concerned about job security and job outlook, you should know that demand for DNP graduates is high in the United States, and in fact, in countries all over the world. According to the Labor of Bureau Statistics, the job outlook for Nurse Practitioners between 2020 and 2030 is 45%. This is significantly faster than the national average, which stands at only 8%.
There will be an estimated 29,400 job openings for nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists in the next decade, so you should have no problem finding a suitable role once you have graduated.
7. The highest degree in nursing
Finally, did you know that a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is the highest available degree for practice-based nursing education? Once you are qualified, you will have the highest level of knowledge and expertise within clinical settings in nursing. Not only does this come with a certain amount of prestige, but it also puts you at the top of your game as a nursing professional.
How to gain a DNP degree
If you think that a DNP degree is the right choice for your nursing career, then you now need to make sure that you meet the requirements needed to pursue this advanced degree.
Although this can vary from one university to the next, most establishments require:
- An active RN license
- A BSN or MSN degree
You may also have to be currently employed in a healthcare setting so that you can carry out any assignments. Depending on whether you choose to study virtually or on-campus, you can expect to have to complete practice experience hours either online or within a clinical setting.
Each DNP program’s length will also depend on the school that you select, with some degree programs taking several years to complete part time, and others having shorter timeframes and are more intensive.