A Doctor of Nursing Practice or DNP is one of two terminal degrees available to nurses. The alternative is a Ph.D. in nursing, which is more focused on academic research and administration. The DNP aims to impart advanced practical skills to experienced professionals, so a wider range of career paths open up to them. After qualifying, DNPs can become advanced nurses, clinical researchers, and managers, as well as health policy advisors. After becoming experts in their field, many DNPs use their skills, experience, and knowledge to open a practice of their own.
What qualifications do DNP applicants need?
To apply for a place on a DNP program, you should have already undertaken a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and have plenty of experience. At this level of academia, the work is tough, so potential candidates need to be dedicated. If you’re ready to take the plunge, you’ll find numerous professional advantages can be gained through a DNP, but there are also personal benefits which you might not have considered.
You’ll become a trusted leader
The DNP curriculum covers far more than the technical aspects of being a nurse. As part of the program, you will develop and fine-tune your leadership skills. This will equip you with the confidence to enter a fast-paced medical facility and thrive in environments where circumstances can be stressful. You’ll learn more about what nurses who run clinics do on a daily basis, from managing a large, busy team to keeping paperwork up to date and maintaining an optimistic outlook. If your goal is to work in an executive-level role at a clinic or hospital, a DNP is right for you.
Focus on your specialism
With a DNP, the field you are most passionate about can be where you work every day. As a student and later as a graduate, you can concentrate on the area you feel is important. From pediatric primary care to psychiatric mental health and physical therapy, you will become a specialist in your chosen occupation. As a result, you are better placed to understand the needs of individual patients and deliver effective care with confidence.
Learn to multitask and manage pressure
A DNP can be earned at any stage of your professional life, and it opens doors that undergraduate and master’s qualifications cannot. For most students, the challenge is fitting another responsibility into an already busy life. Practicing nurses already have to juggle domestic, social, and professional commitments, so adding another daily task won’t be easy. You will need to invest a significant amount of your free time to succeed, but bear in mind that the organizational skills you acquire as a result will last a lifetime.
Expert nurse educators will be your guides
It’s often the case that certain forms of professional knowledge won’t be available to read about in textbooks. In the nursing world, that is especially true. Every day in a clinic or hospital is unique and brings its own set of challenges. As your faculty will include experienced nurses, you can rely on them to provide tips and insights into the vocation which could be invaluable in years to come. They have an intuitive understanding of their work and are likely to know things about modern nursing that your studies have never touched upon. Through their mentorship and guidance, you may become aware of new nursing roles that you had not previously considered. If you enjoy the academic environment, further on in your career, you could even choose to become an instructor yourself.
Stay ahead in the constantly changing field of medicine
Medicine changes all the time to keep up with new scientific discoveries and better ways of delivering healthcare. This includes using new medicines and advanced technologies to combat common or rare diseases more effectively. As the dispensers of care, it is essential for nurses to keep up to date with trends that could affect their role. DNP programs prepare students to continue their education independently post-graduation, as well as providing access to the latest clinical information. You’ll learn to watch out for new trends and developments throughout your career.
Learn in a way that suits your lifestyle
Advancing your nursing education means you can advance your nursing career, but it can be difficult to find time for commuting to a campus. If this is one of the issues holding you back from taking a DNP, then remote learning could be the answer. You can enroll on a Doctor of Nursing program at Wilkes University and become qualified within two years. At Wilkes, you’ll be tasked with a wide range of relevant course work and your clinical practice hours can be completed locally, so the impact on your life is minimal.
Your future job will feel secure
Across the nursing spectrum and in every state, there is a shortage of people to fill vital positions. Doctorate-level nurses will always be in high demand as their skills are transferrable between different roles and facilities. Therefore, whether you choose to work your way up in one role or you switch between positions throughout your career, you will never have to worry about job security.
Become a business owner
Owning a business can feel both liberating and demanding, but if you’ve always dreamed of working for yourself, a DNP sets you on the right path. In many states, you are free to open a practice and take on staff after graduating from a DNP program. The impending shortage of nurses means your ability to deliver primary care will make you a highly valued member of the community.
Is a DNP degree right for you?
The DNP is a versatile degree that readies you for many types of top-level nursing positions. It will take time and effort to complete but enrolling for your DNP is a practical way of investing in yourself and your future. Whichever area of advanced nursing you are interested in, becoming a DNP will ensure you achieve your professional goals.