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The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, also called DNP, is the top academic degree available to those working in the nursing field. Typically those looking to earn their DNP are Registered Nurses (RN) who are wanting to become a Nurse Practitioner. However there are other roles that someone can have while holding their Doctorate of Nursing Practice degree.

It is never too late to go back to school and start that career that you have always wanted! Many are going into the field of nursing as health care concerns continue to grow. One of the most successful programs seeing more and more graduates is the Doctor of Nursing Practice Program. This program focuses on the clinical aspects of the nursing field and is a profession in which many are very successful. There are many ways to attain this degree and become a great nurse.

DNP Roles

By getting your DNP, you will be preparing yourself to become a primary care provider such as a Nurse Practitioner (NP). Some of the other positions normally associated with those holding a Doctor of Nursing Practice include:

Why Get a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree?

There a number of reasons both personal and professional one should consider getting their Doctorate of Nursing Practice. Some of these reasons include:

  • Moving your career forward
  • Potential higher salary
  • Enhanced status in profession
  • Stronger leadership skills to help lead the next generation of nurses
  • Strengthen health care delivery and practice
  • Knowledge to improve practical skills
  • Emotional satisfaction for an advanced degree

One other reason

doctor of nursing practice programsIn 2004, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) voted that the level of education necessary for all advanced practice nursing positions be moved from master’s degree to doctorate in the year 2015. This is to help meet the standards of an increasingly complex health care system that not only is becoming more specialized in its services but also the demand the health care sector will face with an aging population and implementation of Affordable Care Act. This tremendous growth of need comes at a time when the healthcare industry is facing a shortage of qualified healthcare providers.

The AACN determined that educational preparation enhancement will lend itself better to a parity in degree status with other health care positions. This in turn will not only open up solutions to some of the issues of shortages but also allow advanced practice nurses the ability to gain leadership roles in practice, teaching and policy.

How Long Does DNP Programs Last?

DNP programs usually take about one to four years complete depending on the type of degree you already hold and specialty you would like to attain. You will need at least a BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) in order to enroll in a DNP program.

  • A candidate who starts a DNP program while holding a bachelor’s degree should expect to complete their doctorate training in three to four years. This time period includes clinical practice.
  • Expect to spend one to two years for DNP candidates with a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN).

What Classes Should You Expect To Take?

Typically the course load for the DNP program is very intense and includes the following courses:

  • Clinical Practice
  • Leadership and Management in Nursing
  • Nursing in different cultures and societies
  • Honors seminar in Nursing
  • Transitioning to Practical Nursing
  • Professional Practice and Theory
  • Research of Practical Nursing
  • Promotion of Health
  • Role Development in Health
  • Pharmacology
  • Restoration of Wellness
  • Population Focused Care
  • Clinical Outcomes

Online DNP Programs

If you do not have the luxury of attending school full-time, there are online programs for DNP that can be very handy for those with busy schedules. The online schools work a lot like campus based education centers except that you do not have a set schedule of when to attend classes. You will need self-motivation since these classes are paced to your effort. Make sure that any online school you attend has the proper accreditation from the AACN.

If you are looking to become a leader or just to enhance your career opportunities, earning your Doctor of Nursing Practice degree can be very enticing. As the healthcare industry continues to grow in demand and complexity, there is a definite need for qualified professionals who can help. By getting your DNP, you may be able to shape the outcome of the medical sector in ways never before imagined.