Why Earn a DNP Degree?

Why Earn a DNP Degree?

In 2008, the Institute of Medicine and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched an initiative to transform the nursing profession—an effort from which the landmark report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” was born.

More Doctorally Prepared Nurses

Part of that campaign was education-focused, calling on schools of nursing to increase both BSN-educated nurses and nurses with advanced degrees.

The 2010 report explained that schools must “…prepare more students at the graduate level who can assume roles in advanced practice, leadership, teaching, and research.” At the time, only 13 percent of nurses held graduate degrees, and fewer than one percent had doctoral degrees. The Institute of Medicine/The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation committee recommended doubling the number of nurses with a doctorate by 2020.

Great Progress Since

The great news: the recommendation of double the number of doctorally prepared nurses has already been achieved. In 2009, just 8,267 employed nurses held doctoral degrees, while the number exceeded 28,000 in 2017.

This is great news, but doesn’t change the fact that there is room for more Doctor of Nursing Practice graduates in the marketplace.

If you’ve been considering pursuing doctorate education, here are a few reasons to take the plunge:

  1. To move into nurse education. At a certain point in a nurse’s career, the idea of sharing your knowledge and experience with the next generation of nurses is highly appealing. If your career has been in hospitals and healthcare facilities to date but you love the idea of teaching, you’re in luck. Demand is high—in fact, in 2017, nursing schools turned away more than 56,000 qualified applicants from undergraduate nursing programs due to several reasons including a lack of faculty.
  2. To prepare yourself for nurse leadership. Nursejournal.org included Chief Nursing Officer and Nursing Administrator on its list of best specialty career choices for nurses due to their impressive salary, work setting and high demand. These are roles you could secure with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and commensurate experience. The report says job growth for both jobs is up to 25% by 2022.
  3. To expand your leadership and critical thinking abilities. The further up the career ladder you progress in healthcare, the more important it is to be knowledgable about more than just clinical practice. A Doctor of Nursing practice will equip you with the business, management, evidence-based practice, statistics and other aptitudes that are necessary to drive important change in the healthcare industry.
  4. To advance healthcare delivery. Today more than ever, it is important to drive innovation and change in healthcare in order to improve and enhance healthcare delivery. A DNP program will help you shift your focus toward outcomes-based healthcare. You can gain the tools needed to empower nurses, which is what it takes to drive real ground-level change in nursing.
  5. To prepare for a changing future. If your path is the C suite or leadership in nurse education, a doctorate makes sense. But if you are an Advanced Practice RN seeking to advance yourself through your career, a DNP is also an investment in your job security. APRNs today need a master’s degree to practice, but there has long been talk for the DNP to become the standard for entry for Nurse Practitioners. Changes happen, as with the Institute of Medicine’s call for 80% of nurses to earn the BSN by 2020 and more nurses to earn doctorates. Advancing your education will never hurt you.

If you’re interested in learning more about the Doctor of Nursing Practice, attend an open house!  We’d love to share more about our program and how it fits your career and personal goals.  

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Q&A with American Sentinel’s Scholarship and Research Chair