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A doctoral degree in nursing can lead to more advanced job opportunities and a chance to use your skills as a nurse and leader. This type of degree provides you with a more in-depth study of nursing as well as organizational and leadership skills. DNP degrees have specialties available that allow you to focus on a particular area in your nursing career. Learning more about these Doctor of Nursing Practice specialties can help you decide which one is best for you.

What Is a Doctor of Nursing Practice?

A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a doctoral degree that prepares you for a leadership career in healthcare. This degree can lead to more challenging career options for advanced practice nurses. DNP degrees are considered practicing degrees rather than more academic or research-oriented degrees. This advanced degree is the highest practicing degree you can earn as a nurse. The skills and concepts that are taught in this type of degree program are necessary for a successful management or leadership position in the nursing profession.

Where Do DNPs Work?

DNPs work in a wide range of healthcare facilities, including hospitals, outpatient care centers, and private practices. Depending on specialties, DNPs might also work in specialty practices, such as pediatric practices or cardiology practices. Other healthcare settings that DNPs work in include university or school clinics, colleges and professional schools, home healthcare service organizations, and laboratories.

Types of DNP Specialties

DNP specialties offer a way for nursing students to narrow their focus in order to build the career they want. With a specialty, you can develop specific skills needed for a leadership career in nursing education or a tech-oriented leadership role, for example. Your goals and interests can help you choose a DNP specialty that offers the education you need for your career. The following are some of the DNP specialties to consider when planning your nursing career.

Informatics Leadership

When your career interests include technology or computer science in addition to nursing, a DNP nursing informatics specialty offers an ideal way to combine these. This specialty helps you learn more about how healthcare technology can affect patient care and have an impact on a healthcare organization’s efficiency. Students who choose this specialty can expect to take courses covering electronic data analytics and other tech-related aspects of the healthcare industry. This knowledge can help you learn how to make improvements to the healthcare field using informatics concepts.

Health Policy

If politics or legal matters are your passion, a health policy DNP could be the right specialty to choose. A health policy specialty allows you to focus on studying healthcare from a legal or political perspective as a way to improve access to healthcare in different populations or communities. The skills and knowledge you learn with a health policy specialty can also help you understand how to develop policies that improve healthcare quality. This specialty can prepare you to provide guidance to policymakers and legal professionals from a nursing perspective in order to help create better healthcare laws and policies.

Educational Leadership

A DNP educational leadership specialty gives you a way to combine an interest in teaching with your nursing skills. With this specialty, you will develop the skills needed for educating nurse practitioners and other nursing professionals. Some nurses with an educational leadership specialty end up working in academic institutions, while others teach in a hospital setting. This specialty is filled with classes aimed at providing you with the knowledge needed to be a successful teacher, such as developing curriculum, ethics, adult learning theory, and communication.

Executive Leadership

If you prefer working on the business side of the nursing profession, consider a DNP executive leadership specialty. This type of specialty prepares you for an executive career in nursing where you can apply your leadership skills, business skills, and nursing skills. As part of this specialty, you can expect to study areas such as finance, business intelligence, health services research, health policy, and leadership. After earning your DNP, you can build a career that aims to improve healthcare quality and efficiency from an executive position.

Professional Leadership

DNP in professional leadership specialty makes it possible for you to take your nursing career in a leadership or management direction. With the skills you will learn in this type of program, you can approach nursing from an entrepreneurial perspective or develop skills that you can use in a leadership role at an established healthcare facility. During a professional leadership specialty program, your classes will cover leadership, health services research, and similar areas.

Public Health

If you feel drawn to helping communities access healthcare or improve healthcare services that are offered, a public health specialty could be a good fit for your career ambitions. With a public health DNP specialty, you can focus on developing the skills needed to evaluate community needs in terms of healthcare and come up with ways to achieve these goals. Keep in mind that communities can mean local community clinics, local schools, and other facilities that offer healthcare services in your area.

Family Nurse Practitioner

If your career plans include providing healthcare services to patients of all ages, you might explore a family nurse practitioner DNP specialty. This specialty helps you achieve an advanced education in providing primary care to patients ranging from children to elderly individuals. This type of program typically includes clinical hours in addition to classroom training to help you develop nursing skills and gain hands-on experience.

Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner

When you have an interest in providing care for those who struggle with mental health disorders, consider this DNP specialty. With this specialty, you will learn how to provide the highest standard of care for psychiatric patients. You might have a chance to gain additional training if you plan to care for certain populations, such as children or adults with psychiatric disorders.

Why Should Students Earn a DNP?

A DNP is needed if you plan to pursue a management or leadership role in nursing. However, earning a DNP can provide important benefits that go beyond expanded career opportunities. A DNP degree program gives you a chance to learn advanced skills, stay up to date on the latest changes in the healthcare field, and enjoy job security. When you choose a DNP specialty, you will also have an opportunity to focus on studying an area that you are passionate about. You can then turn this passion into a rewarding career in nursing.

If you would like more information about DNP online programs, please contact American Sentinel College of Nursing and Health Science at Post University for additional details. Our online DNP degree program offers different specialties and can be completed in fewer than 28 months.


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