A Doctor of Nursing Practice is a doctorate degree that focuses on emphasizing the importance of leadership in a clinical setting. While there are several different advanced doctorate degrees that you can choose from as a nursing professional, it is critical that you choose the right type of program with the appropriate focus. As you are mapping out the path that you are going to take while you work in the nursing field, you must consider what you would like to do and where the demand is expected to lie. Read on, and find out about what you will learn in a DNP program as well as who the program is designed for.
What is the Focus of the DNP Program?
While there are many doctoral programs in nursing, not all of these programs are practice-focused. If you are trying to discover what the difference between a Ph.D. in Nursing and a DNP degree, you will learn that Ph.D. programs are research-based instead of focusing on nursing practice. When you take a DNP, you will earn the credentials that you earn when you are granted degree, but do not have to fulfill an extensive research requirement. The program is specifically focused on preparing specialists in nursing practice by teaching advanced skills and evidence-based theory in clinical practice. The emphasis is on research findings, but the content is not based on research methodology.
What Classes Can You Expect to Complete When Earning Your DNP?
It takes approximately two years to complete a doctoral program. The typical program will consist of between 25 and 30 credits that all expand on knowledge that you earn to earn a Master of Science in Nursing. While the actual curriculum requirements vary from school to school, some of the required courses that are common for DNP students include: Application of Contemporary Nursing Knowledge, Developing Evidence-based Practice, Public Policy in Delivery of Healthcare, Quality Improvement, Communication in Healthcare Leadership, IT and Data Decision Making and Capstone Project. Some programs give students the option to participate in a clinical practicum in an area of interest as well.
Who Should Take a Doctor of Nursing Practice Program?
The idea of studying for a doctorate may seem a bit extreme when you work in the field of nursing. After all, you might assume that doctorates are for medical doctors and other professionals. While many nurses only possess a two year or four year degree, there is a rising demand for nurses with an advanced degree and expert knowledge. Since the supply of nurses with advanced degrees is low, you will enjoy much more opportunity and much less competition the higher you get on the education ladder.
Master’s degrees do help secure higher level clinical roles, but the demand for doctorally-prepared students is higher than ever. In fact, a report released last year by the Institute of Medicine says that the number of DNP graduates needs to double by 2020. So if you want to become a leader in clinical or educational settings, this could be the perfect degree for you.
Related Resource: Specialize as a Gerontology Nurse
Be sure to research several different institutions offering DNP programs. Only take a program that is accredited by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing so that your degree is recognized by credentialing centers and employers. Once you find a school that you charges fair tuition rates and that has a flexible scheduling option, enroll and become a student pursuing their Doctor of Nursing Practice.