A DNP program (or Doctor of Nursing Practice program) is a great option for current nurses who want to move their nursing career forwards. If you’re currently a nurse with their BSN, or Bachelor of Science, in nursing you will most likely have to pursue a Master’s degree prior to your DNP. However, there are a few rare programs available that allow you to go from BSN directly to a DNP. If you’re a nurse with your Master’s degree, you have the potential to continue schooling to achieve your DNP in as soon as two years. Keep reading to get answers to more questions you might have about a DNP program to see if it’s the right fit for your career.
What is a DNP degree?
As mentioned earlier, a DNP is a Doctor of Nursing Practice program. This is a degree for advanced practice in the nursing field. It’s a great pathway for current nurses with college degrees to advance in their field. A DNP is a terminal degree, which means that it’s the highest level of nursing education available. As a graduate of a DNP program you’ll be considered an advanced practice nurse at the end of your program. A DNP allows you to continue your clinical experiences in different concentrations, work to practice medicine as a nurse practioner, or get out of patient care and into a different sector of the medical field, like public health or nursing education. A DNP degree also opens up doors to other leadership roles within the field of nursing. Some of these advanced nursing positions include public health specialists, nursing professors or researchers. However, it’s worth noting that you can also work as a nurse practitioner and have some sort of clinical practice, too. No matter the route you decide to take, you’re making a great step in advancing your nursing career by exploring this doctoral program.
What does a career with a DNP look like?
The US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that those who practice as a nurse practitioner or other Master’s level nursing work have a median salary of $115,800. The median data for the Doctorate level with a DNP is limited. With that being said, you can use the Master’s degree salaries as a basis, while understanding that the DNP is a higher level in the field. If you do become a DNP graduate in the field, rest assured that all of your hard work will pay off financially, and you’ll have the opportunity to better assist and improve your patient outcomes. Though you might pursue working at a clinic with your own paitents, your role is referred to as a nurse practitioner. This is because you don’t have an MD or medical degree which would make you a doctor at the end of the coursework. Instead, you’ll have a Doctorate in Nursing. It’s important to distinguish that you’re considered a doctor in nursing, not a medical doctor. If you practice medicine clinically, you’ll likely be referred to as a nurse practitioner or doctor of nursing. As a nurse practitioner, you still have full rights to practice just like a doctor in many U.S. states. However, if you want further clarification, check out each state’s specific regulations and health policies.
What are the details of the DNP program?
Now that you’re more interested in achieving your DNP, you might have direct questions about the program itself. An easier way to integrate this doctoral degree is through online DNP programs. As an online DNP student, you will focus on a variety of classes that you’re sure to enjoy like Epidemiology and Environmental Health or Leadership in Advanced Nursing Practice. These courses work in combination with your in-person residency and clinical experiences to lay the groundwork for your program. The doctoral level clinical experience and exposure to different clinical environments combines with your research and classwork to fulfill your course requirements. In total, the program at an excellent school such as Wilkes University takes around two years to complete.
For this high level of schooling, you’ll want to go to a school that’s well ranked. Wilkes University has made the U.S. News & World Reports top national colleges list for sixteen years now as one of the best online DNP programs available. Their courses are offered online, which is very convenient to you or any other registered nurse looking to take on nurse leadership roles. As a busy student and healthcare professional, the ease of these online courses or hybrid formats provide an unparalleled benefit to your schedule.
If you’re ready to be a leader within the field of nursing, then this DNP degree program is the perfect goal to take on. As a DNP graduate, you’ll take your career to the next level and explore the career opportunities and nurse leadership of your dreams.