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When you have a nursing degree and want to take on a leadership role, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree can help. This type of doctoral degree provides you with an opportunity to accept a leadership position within a healthcare organization or facility. Being a leader in the healthcare field offers a challenging yet highly fulfilling career. Knowing more about this kind of degree and the benefits it provides can help you decide if you want to take your nursing career in this direction.

What Is a DNP Degree?

DNP degree is a doctoral degree that nurses can earn in order to pursue leadership positions in a hospital, doctor’s office, or other healthcare organizations. This degree is considered a practical degree rather than one that focuses mainly on research. With this type of degree, nurses can continue practicing medicine while also handling greater responsibilities in a leadership role.

Is a DNP Worth It?

Earning your DNP often means going back to school while working, which can be challenging. Although you will need to put in the time to earn this advanced nursing degree, your efforts will be well worth it. A DNP can provide you with more fulfilling job opportunities and many other advantages.

Having a DNP degree provides several important benefits that can help you advance your nursing career and even boost your quality of life. When you dedicate time to earning a DNP degree, these are some of the benefits you can enjoy.

Advance Your Nursing Career

When you have a DNP, you can plan on advancing your career. Depending on your personal and professional goals, this can result in a more rewarding and fulfilling career path. A DNP can help you pursue job opportunities that require leadership skills and other specialized skills. With this type of degree, you might consider roles such as director of nursing, chief nursing officer, or hospital chief executive officer. These kinds of positions might involve managing or supervising nursing staff, ensuring that healthcare organizations comply with government regulations, or overseeing a facility or organization’s administrative operations.

Nurses with a DNP degree can also pursue other positions in a healthcare facility, such as nurse practitioner or nurse practitioner educator. Other careers for DNPs involve handling the technological aspects of healthcare facilities, such as managing health informatics systems.

Several Specialization Options

When you earn a DNP degree, you can choose from several specialization options. These specializations can help you achieve your career objectives by focusing on a particular area of study. With a specialization, you will be better prepared to pursue a leadership position aligned with your career goals. Depending on your professional aspirations, you might focus on technological or IT leadership, educational leadership, professional leadership, or executive leadership.

IT or informatics leadership provides you with the skills for taking on a tech leadership role in a healthcare organization or facility, such as managing medical records. A DNP in nursing education specialization allows you to focus on nursing education, preparing you for a position teaching other nurses. An executive leadership specialization helps you develop the skills needed for executive leadership positions at healthcare organizations or facilities. With a professional leadership specialization, you can expect to learn the skills required for effectively managing or leading in healthcare settings.

You’ll Achieve the Highest Credential in Nursing

Having a DNP means you will have earned the highest credential in nursing. A DNP degree is the highest available degree for a practice-based nursing education. This type of degree program helps you achieve the highest level of knowledge and expertise in the nursing field in clinical settings. With the skills and education you will learn in your DNP degree program, you will be prepared to create and implement health policies, oversee patient care, provide organizational leadership, and take on other responsibilities needed for managing a healthcare facility or organization.

The Demand for DNPs Is High

DNPs are in high demand, and that will continue for the foreseeable future. In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) states that the job outlook for medical and health services managers, which includes nurses with DNPs in leadership roles, is expected to be 32 percent from 2020 through 2030. For comparison, the job outlook for all occupations in the U.S. is 8 percent. Each year is expected to have roughly 51,800 job openings for those working in medical and health services management.

This projected increase is partially due to workers retiring over the next decade and workers transferring to other occupations. The need for DNPs is also expected to be higher due to a growing demand for healthcare services among aging populations. DNPs will also be needed due to projected employment growth in health practitioner offices, leading to a demand for highly qualified managers.

Increased Salary

According to BLS, registered nurses (RNs) have a median pay of $75,330 per year depending on their experience and the type of facility they work in, among other factors. Earning an advanced degree that allows you to take on a leadership or management role gives you an opportunity to increase your salary. According to BLS, medical and health services managers have a median pay of $104,280 per year. This can range from $59,980 at the lower end to $195,630 or more at the higher end.

Keep in mind that salaries for medical and health services managers can vary significantly depending on the type of facility and other factors. For example, these management positions have a median pay of $116,380 per year in government healthcare facilities and a median pay of $112,870 in private, local, and state hospitals. Those working in physician’s offices have a median pay of $94,240 per year.

Flexible Degree Options

Working as a nurse while earning a DNP can be a challenge, which makes flexible degree options important. Attending classes in person might not always fit with your work schedule. When you decide to work on earning your DNP degree, you might need to look for a flexible degree program that fits your nursing schedule. Online DNP degree programs can provide you with the flexibility you need to continue working while studying, taking exams, and completing projects and assignments.

With an online DNP program, you can get a high-quality education, as well as practical experience that prepares you for leadership positions. This flexible degree program option allows you to do online classes at times that work best for you and from any location. An online DNP program also saves you from having to factor in commuting time, which provides you with more time to focus on your studies.

How to Earn a DNP

In order to earn a DNP, you will need to meet the requirements for admission to this type of degree program. While this can vary from school to school, programs typically require an active R.N. license and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) or a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN). You might also need to be employed in a healthcare setting in order to complete assignments. Depending on whether you choose a specialization, you might also have additional requirements to meet.

During your degree program, you can expect to complete practice experience hours either in a virtual setting or a clinical setting. The number of practice experience hours you will need to complete varies based on how much experience you already have that meets this requirement. This doctoral degree program typically includes classes to help you learn how to evaluate a healthcare organization or facility’s needs, improve healthcare delivery, create health policies, understand the financial health of healthcare organizations, and more. The length of time a DNP degree program takes can also vary by school. Some DNP degree programs take a few years or more to complete, while others can be completed in a shorter amount of time.

If you are considering earning your DNP degree, please contact American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Science at Post University for more information. Our DNP program offers monthly start dates, four specializations to choose from, affordable tuition costs, and practice-focused curriculum.


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Please note jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries highlighted in this blog do not reflect jobs, career outcomes, and/or salaries expected from any Post program. To learn more about Post’s program and their outcomes, please fill out a form to speak with an admissions representative.