Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) – Why It Might Be Promising To Choose This Path

To start with, a DNP may be confused for a Ph.D. in nursing practice. However, they are different in many ways, like a DNP being about clinical training and experience while a Ph.D. in nursing practice focuses on research.

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DNP graduates work in healthcare facilities as heads of bodies or departments while Ph.D. holders work on research or in academic spaces.

A Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is a way to prepare registered nurses or nursing professionals for leadership roles in the healthcare sector. Holders of DNPs have the benefits of strong job prospects and higher earning potential.

This article elaborates on the details of the before and after owning a DNP.

Why Should I Pursue an Online DNP?

Pursuing online DNP yields so many beneficial results to the degree holder. The benefits include a higher earning potential, leadership roles, and more.
Increased Responsibility
Graduates with a Doctor of Nursing Practice have the benefit of having more responsibilities than registered nurses. Their roles include evaluating, hiring, and supervising staff. They are also expected to manage nursing schedules.
Higher Earning Potential
The increased responsibilities that come with an advanced degree also brings about an increase in income. The salary increase is usually significant as it could reach six figures per annum.
Ability To Influence Policies
Professionals with DNPs can create policies in their workplaces, say clinics or hospitals, to improve patient healthcare. They may also serve as advocates for improved healthcare policies at the legislative level.
Possession of Leadership Roles
With DNP curriculum plans, prominence is given to administrative and managerial aptitude. With a DNP in hand, graduates often come into possession of leadership roles like that of a chief nursing officer or nurse manager.
Position of Instructor To Other Nurses
In the course of getting a DNP, graduates are trained to assume instructor positions in healthcare settings. They work as guides to other nurses, teach the best practices, and lead workshops for further education.

Available Careers With an Online Doctor of Nursing Practice

Graduates work in healthcare facilities like hospitals, clinics, public health offices, and independent practices. They may also be employed as nurse educators in hospitals or higher institutions.
DNP graduates build careers in the following common paths:
Chief Nursing Officer
Chief Nursing Officers are the top nursing managers in healthcare facilities. In these healthcare facilities, they develop strategies for handling emergencies, supervise staff, and manage budgeting within the nursing department. They receive an average of $127,000 per year.
Advanced Practice Registered Nurse
These nurses work as nurse midwives, nurse practitioners, and nurse anesthetists. Some of them are licensed to write prescriptions. As a result of their advanced position, they get to take on more responsibility and get paid higher than registered nurses. Their average pay per year is $94,000.
Clinical Nurse Specialist
A clinical nurse specialist has to ensure the best quality of patient care in healthcare facilities and manage nurses. They examine and analyze medical reports and results of patients and educate nurses on ways to improve caregiving. The annual salary per annum is $88,000.
Clinical Nurse Manager
Clinical nurse managers are leaders in hospitals as well as other healthcare facilities. Their tasks include responding to patients’ complaints, creating nursing schedules, developing new policies. They get paid an average of $82,000.
Nurse Educator
As a nurse educator, a DNP graduate can work in a hospital, creating and running advanced education programs for working nurses. If a DNP graduate works as a nurse educator in a university, his/her responsibility will be to teach nursing skills to students. The average annual salary is $75,000.

Requirements and Courses for an Online DNP Program

To pass the admission process, intending graduates need a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in nursing. As requirements differ across schools, some universities require a master’s degree in nursing. A minimum of a 3.0 GPA and an active nursing license are also required.
The other things required may include a resume or CV, letters of recommendation, and a personal statement/essay. Depending on the institution being enrolled for, applicants may be called for an interview over a phone call or video conferencing.
A DNP’s pursuit takes about four to five years, depending on the student’s learning status and field experience. A minimum of 33-39 course credits is needed to complete the degree.
Other requirements for completing the program typically include an extensive research project that lasts at least a year, field experience like a practicum or internship, and/or a comprehensive examination instead of a dissertation.

Commonly Required Courses

Specific courses need to be taken in DNP programs. The following are common courses in this program despite the difference in curricula across various institutions and programs.
Healthcare Policy and Advocacy
As the name implies, this course covers teachings on institutional and governmental healthcare policies and regulations that nurses must adhere to. The course teaches students to partake in the legislative process and advocate for improvements in the profession.
Incorporating Genetics in Advanced Nursing Practice
The course is a sort of beginner course about genetic issues arising in clinical practice. This foundational knowledge is used to train students on activities like assessing and predicting genetic risks and then teaches the application of genetic concepts to healthcare treatment.
Quality Improvement And Patient Safety
This course teaches students to make hospital experiences less scary, more comfortable, and more effective for patients. They evaluate best practices in healthcare and learn to implement them and other policies for improvement purposes.
Epidemiology and Population Health
Epidemiology deals with the spread of diseases and the patterns the illnesses take throughout human populations. The course teaches health risks, how patients are affected by these risks and appropriate treatment methods.
Informatics for Practice
Informatics for practice involves the integration of healthcare data with information technology. Students study things like data analysis, data retrieval methods, standard clinical terminologies, and so on. Besides, the course equips the students with knowledge of disaster recovery.

Skills

Students gain a lot of skills and uncommon knowledge while enrolled in DNP programs. These skills enable them to take on high-level roles and responsibilities in the workplace. The following includes some of these skills.
Improving Patient Care
Patient care is the core of a nurse’s job as this skill allows for the delivery of quality care to patients. While enrolled in the DNP program, they learn to observe, identify, and treat patients’ weaknesses.
Develop Best Nursing Practices
DNP students are expected and taught to be up-to-date as regards the best nursing practices. This knowledge is used to think up and implement new and improved patient care policies and procedures.
Legislative Advocacy
As regards healthcare policies, DNP programs make legislative advocacy a thing of necessity. Students are equipped to advocate for policies that are beneficial to patients and the nursing profession.
Leadership
These leadership skills prepare nurses for possible roles in management positions. They learn to analyze challenging situations, make decisions with critical thinking skills, and serve as sources of motivation to their colleagues.
Clinical Instruction
DNP graduates can work in healthcare facilities like hospitals and clinics or educational settings like universities. They learn how to educate other nurses in either environment.

Conclusion

DNP holders also have access to professional organizations that offer many opportunities and benefits to students and graduates alike. Some of the associations include; American Organization for Nursing Leadership, the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Practitioner Associates for Continuing Education, and the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists, to mention a few.

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