Are you motivated to make a difference in the lives of others and enrich your community? Now, more than ever, communities need healthcare professionals who will provide well-rounded, high-quality care. Training and education are available for those with the ambition to help others and the drive to put a plan into motion. That’s where your journey to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) could begin. Earning a DNP provides healthcare heroes with valuable experiences and the chance to make their aspirations a reality. To help you map out the best career path possible, let’s first answer a few key questions:
What is a Doctor of Nursing Practice?
A DNP is one of the most prestigious degrees a nurse can achieve. Those with a DNP degree are often found to be in leadership roles and expected to possess the skills and training necessary to be trusted with the highest of responsibilities during high-pressure situations.
While a DNP may seem similar to a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), there are a few important differences between the two:
- The MSN degree is typically geared toward nurses who want to specialize clinically, whereas a DNP degree is geared toward nurses who want to incorporate a more systematic approach to care that may also extend beyond the bedside.
- Earning a DNP qualifies you for advanced nursing jobs and leadership opportunities in a variety of specialties.
- DNPs focus on practice-based training, whereas other terminal degrees emphasize research capabilities, scholarly investigation, or high-level specialist skills.
Why should I get a DNP?
There are plenty of attractive benefits to earning this valuable degree. You can potentially complete the program and graduate with a DNP in as little as 2 years (6 semesters). This makes it easier to quickly enter the workforce and begin your fulfilling career right away. Nurses with a DNP degree also have a higher earning potential and access to a wider range of available careers, especially in leadership positions. According to the 2020 National Nursing Workforce Survey, registered nurses with a DNP earned a median salary of $100,000, compared to the MSN median salary of $90,000.
A DNP-educated nurse can influence healthcare policies, take on administrative roles, and teach clinical skills in nursing programs. They also have the chance to directly contribute to an employer’s ongoing efforts to fill any existing nursing shortage. As a DNP, you’ll use your expertise, leadership, and problem solving to become a catalyst for change within your community.
DNPs embody what it means to be a nursing leader and innovator. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing endorsed shifting the minimum education level for advanced nursing practice from an MSN to a DNP, again demonstrating the greater value and heightened trust that comes with this high accreditation.
How do I get a DNP?
Now that you’re excited about adding the DNP degree to the wall of your home office, it’s time to put your plan into action.
If you have no previous nursing experience, the best place to start is by enrolling in an entry-level nursing program, either a Bachelor of Science in Nursing or a Master of Science in Nursing - Direct Entry program. Once you have that entry-level nursing degree you will be ready to proceed to a Master of Science in Nursing or a post-master's DNP.
Throughout the nursing programs at Herzing University, you can learn the ins and outs of nursing, putting your knowledge to the test during extensive hands-on clinicals and simulation lab experiences. Then, after earning your MSN, you can take advantage of the comprehensive and direct post-master’s DNP program, offered at Herzing University, thereby moving directly from one program to the next.
With a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, you can become a leader, a difference maker, and a hero within your community. There’s no time like the present, so take the necessary steps towards obtaining your DNP today!