A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is one of the two doctoral degrees available within the nursing profession. The second is the nursing Ph.D., which provides training almost exclusively focused on scholarly research. In contrast, the DNP is a practical professional degree that can lead to a wide range of career paths, ranging from clinic manager to health policy advocate. That isn’t to say DNPs don’t work in clinical research – plenty make the choice to do so. However, DNPs often choose to practice medicine in the field.
All of these degrees require comprehensive education and years of study. Maryville University offers an Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice program for motivated BSNs pursuing advanced education. If you’re considering continuing your nursing education, an online BSN to DNP program can help you to:
1. Take on a leadership role
A well-rounded DNP curriculum is about much more than just the technical side of nursing. While earning your DNP, you can work on developing leadership skills that can help you make difficult decisions under stressful circumstances. For leaders entering fast-paced healthcare environments, skills like these are important for success.
DNP coursework can also help nurses learn just what goes into running a clinic, from managing a dynamic team to proper filing of important paperwork. The skills learned here can also help prepare you for an executive-level position in hospital administration.
2. Specialize in what you love
Do you have a passion for a specific field in nursing? DNP students have the opportunity to focus their studies and specialize in what’s most important to them. You may be able to choose from a number of different concentrations, which might include the following:
• Family Nurse Practitioner
• Pediatric Primary Care
• Adult-Gerontology Primary Care
• Adult-Gerontology Acute Care
• Psychiatric Mental Health
3. Fit education around your busy schedule
Unlike many traditional BSN to DNP degree programs, an online model is tailored for current, practicing nurses with busy lives. This means that, while the Online Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice is still a significant time commitment, it’s one that offers unique flexibility. You might take on a heavy course load, but in many ways, you’ll be able to work through it on your own terms.
4. Learn from experts in the nursing profession
Some types of professional knowledge never make it into a textbook. With a faculty made up of experienced nurses, DNP students can gain important insights into modern nursing beyond what they have seen up until this point. Unique opportunities for career guidance and mentorship are also benefits of this environment.
And if you’re interested in teaching later on? A DNP is a helpful credential for those planning on instructing the next generation of nurses.
5. Stay current in a rapidly evolving field
So many aspects of health care are changing. From greater understanding of disease processes to novel medicines to advanced technologies, it’s important for clinicians to stay informed. As programs designed to train future leaders of nursing, DNP programs don’t only teach the latest up-to-date information. They also train their students in continuing medical education strategies. These tools can help nurses stay on top of future trends and changes for years to come.
6. Gain increased job security
DNPs are likely to be in demand with the anticipated nursing and physician shortage on the horizon. Doctorate-level nurse practitioners may have the capacity to cover and bridge the gaps between both roles.
Additionally, over the last decade there’s been a shift in the credentials necessary for advanced nursing practice from the master’s level to the doctoral — a change endorsed by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. Continuing your education from the bachelor’s level directly to a DNP can help ensure you stay competitive for the nursing job you want.
7. Earn your DNP on an accelerated path
An online BSN to DNP program can give students a quality education with a streamlined experience. While the norm for many DNP programs is to first earn a master’s before pursuing a DNP, a BSN to DNP lets dedicated students bypass this step.
Though the American Nurses Association suggesting a minimum of three to four years of full-time study to move from BSN to DNP, there are unique accelerated online opportunities that can help nurses reach their goals faster.
8. Become your own boss
One of the many ways in which health care is changing is the large degree of independence DNPs can enjoy today. Several states now allow DNPs to open their own independent clinics, with trends in legislation suggesting that is may one day become a nationwide norm. In fact, another aspect of the looming clinician shortage is the prediction that these nurse-run clinics will become an integral part of how patients receive primary care in the near future. For these reasons, a DNP degree can be a great choice for nurses who prefer to be as independent as possible in their practices.
9. Learn from anywhere
If you are looking to advance your education, and therefore your career, but you aren’t sure how much time you can commit to commuting to campus, a 100% online DNP program may be right for you. Often, these programs do not have required residencies, and all aspects of learning can be done completely online. Though students are still expected to complete in-person clinical practica, these can be done locally in your own community.
Is an Online BSN to DNP Degree Program Right for You?
The DNP is a versatile degree that can prepare nurses for many different roles. Enrolling now can be a sound investment for the future, no matter where you want to be in a few years. If you dream of a career in advanced nursing, Maryville’s BSN to DNP can help get you there.