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Beyond the RN: Everything You Need to Know About a DNP

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Beyond the RN: Everything You Need to Know About a DNP

The joy of caring for patients. Compassion and selfless service of others.

There are many reasons to be a nurse, and those who help people feel better every day are in a very rewarding career.

Yet less than 5% of the nursing workforce has their doctorate. If you’re considering a DNP, there are some things you should know about the degree. Read on for help deciding if this is the right career choice for you.

What Is A DNP?

A DNP is a next step in your nursing career. It stands for Doctor of Nursing Practice, and the degree is one you pursue after a masters degree program. It’s part of the requirements to go on and become a nurse practitioner.

Education is important, and those who earn a DNP can go on to work in direct contact with patients, in nursing administration, or managing patient care facilities. There are other doctorate degrees in nursing (Doctor of Nursing Science, Doctor of Nursing, Doctor of Nursing Philosophy) that focus more on research. This particular degree gives you a focus on clinical practice and leadership in that role.

All are terminal degrees, and none is considered higher than the others. It takes about 4 years, sometimes longer, to finish a DNP.

Should I Get A DNP?

If you’re thinking of going beyond the RN, consider your career goals. This is an advanced degree with small class sizes because not many earn this degree every year.

If you want to extend your skills into leadership in clinical practice, or you want to be a nursing executive, this may be the degree for you. Having a passion for working with patients means this degree, over a more theoretical one like the Ph.D., may be a better fit.

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Do you want to work with the community? Do you long to see improvements in health care systems? If these sound like you, a DNP is a logical career path.

Consider also your personality and how well you manage stress or time. These are all important aspects of someone who pursues a DNP because the curriculum is taxing. If you are self-motivated and do well under pressure, you may be a good candidate for a DNP program.

Go to Class or Learn Online?

Deciding whether to go to physical classes or learn online is a big question in any scholar’s mind. In large part, it depends on your lifestyle and what kind of schedule restraints you have.

If seeing other classmates helps motivate you and get you excited about learning, maybe a physical class would be a better choice. If you’re very self-motivated and good at planning out time for obligations like online classes, then a program like BDU DNP would be a great option for you.

The Next Step

Choosing to get an advanced degree is life-changing, and a DNP could be the answer to your career advancement goals. If leadership in clinical practice is something you’re passionate about, you might be an ideal candidate.

Whether you choose to pursue a degree in person or online, continuing your nursing education with a doctorate puts you a step ahead.

If you’re interested in medical careers, read more of our blog.

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