Nurses – As a registered nurse with a BSN or MSN qualification, you might be interested in taking the next step to further your education, and with it, your career. If so, there are two options, namely a PhD in nursing and the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. The former provides training focused almost exclusively on scholarly research.
So, if you want to earn a practical qualification that can lead to a range of new opportunities, a DNP is the way to go. And that doesn’t mean DNPs don’t work in clinical research either, as many nurses make the decision to do so. However, most enter advanced positions in the field, where they can practice medicine and take on leadership roles.
Of course, earning a DNP requires a significant investment of time and effort. It takes an average of between three and five years of intensive study to complete the course. While certainly demanding, there is good reason for putting in the work and getting the degree. Here’s why you should consider it.
It should come as no surprise that DNP-holders earn more than nurses with BSN or MSN degrees. According to Payscale, nurses with bachelor’s degrees earn an average of $87,000 per year, while the average salary for those with master’s degrees is $96,000 per year. As for nurses with a DNP, the median base pay is $105,000 per year.
Depending on where you take your qualification, you can earn far more. For example, chief nursing officers make an impressive $151,000 per year, whereas certified registered nurse anesthetists make $162,000. At the top are the likes of clinical directors, who bring in around $178,000 annually.
Granted, at this level, your salary shouldn’t be the primary motivating factor for pursuing the qualification, and acquiring it likely means investing some of your own money first. In any case, if you enjoy your job and you’re passionate about what you do, having an ample income is a pleasant bonus.
A Doctor of Nursing Practice is a terminal degree. That means there’s no higher level of education to achieve in the field. It’s a significant accomplishment to successfully obtain a DNP, and one that will earn you major respect among people in the field. At the same time, the degree opens up many opportunities for you to become a leader and inspire others.
DNP programs aren’t easy, and experts predict shortages of graduates with these types of skills and experience to only increase in the future, creating an ever-growing demand for qualified nurses. It means that, after you graduate, you will likely be able to choose from several different positions based on your desired location and salary.
These days, you don’t need to attend a physical university and bear the burden of all the associated costs to earn your DNP. Now there are online courses available, with numerous advantages over the traditional approach.
For instance, you can study in your own time from any location, allowing for a better work-life balance that makes it possible to continue working while completing the course. The overall cost is also comparatively lower, especially when you eliminate daily expenses like travel, food, nearby accommodation and so forth.
Plus, you can select one of several different DNP program tracks depending on what you want to do with your degree. For example, the variety of online bsn to dnp programs at Baylor University include the executive nurse leadership, family nurse practitioner, nurse-midwifery, pediatric nurse practitioner and neonatal nurse practitioner tracks.
The type of person who values lifelong learning and growth, then getting a DNP will help you fulfil that vision in your career. Not only do nurses with DNP degrees take on leadership positions such as nursing directors at hospitals, but some also go on to acquire their Nursing Practitioner license and open their own businesses.
You also gain the opportunity to enter public health positions and influence policy-making. Some nurses even become educators, so there are plenty of avenues to choose from here.
Whether you’re looking to assume more responsibility, take on greater challenges, influence your community or help other aspiring nurses reach their goals, a DNP qualification is a reliable way to make it happen.
While not for everyone, an area of severe shortage in the nursing field as of late is one that needs to be filled by nurses with the appropriate credentials to teach at university level. So, if you have ever been interested in becoming an educator, this is a great opportunity.
Not only can you become a teacher with your DNP degree, but you’ll still retain and make use of everything you learned prior. Even if you don’t choose this pathway, taking on any leadership role in nursing will equip you with the skills to mentor future nurses and help meet the demand for such professionals.
The nature of DNP programs lends itself well to the application of your hard-earned knowledge in the real world. As we touched on above, many nurses go on to practice in the real world, be it as part of an established organization or within their own practice.
DNP graduates are always up-to-date on the latest research trends, giving them the upper hand in the career world. You will be able to apply the results of the research you performed during your program, which has the potential to create revolutionary changes in the healthcare field.
Now more than ever, this ability is highly valued among employers and companies as the field is evolving rapidly and staying current is vital to success. This translates to much stronger job security than in most other professions.
From educating the next generation to influencing healthcare policy to becoming your own boss and beyond, there are a wealth of opportunities that open up when you become a Doctor of Nursing Practice. It won’t be easy, but it will undoubtedly be worth it, so be sure to consider pursuing this valuable degree.
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