If you have dedicated your career to nursing and are considering taking your professional skills to the next level and opening up lucrative, interesting, and well-respected positions for yourself, then taking on a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program could be a great choice for you.
For registered nurses and those with a masters in nursing (MSN), the DNP can set you on track to all different specialisms at the highest level of nursing, including the highly sought after Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) role, as well as senior nursing roles in specialisms like neonatal care and midwifery.
Thanks to the wealth of great nursing schools and colleges now offering DNP programs as online programs you can study all or mostly at home, getting your DNP is now easier and more accessible than ever. Wherever you want to live while you are studying, you can have access to great programs from all over the world, including well-regarded online DNP programs from Baylor University Online.
If you are wondering whether now is a good time to take the first step and look into enrolling for one of the many courses available to you, then here are some of the biggest and best advantages to becoming a DNP:
Reach The Highest Level of Nursing
DNP level roles are considered the peak of nursing as a career and are often the goal of a lot of people when they first start out in nursing. If you feel ready to start working towards this and have some good experience as a working nurse under your belt, then it can be extremely rewarding and motivating to start making progress towards this level.
DNP qualified nurses who opt for the FNP path fill the gap between nurses and physicians and can provide a lot of the care GPs do, taking care of diagnosis and treatment for many conditions, and looking after patients at all stages of life. This makes the work interesting and highly varied and means the nurses have a lot of autonomy. Specialist DNP nurses such as neonatal or pediatric specialists provide a similar high level of care and expertise and become authorities on these areas of life in their communities.
Add to that that DNP level nurses also have a role in healthcare policy, and so if you like the idea of having a say in things like introducing new ways of working or newly available methods of treatment, this kind of role could be for you.
A More Lucrative Position
Most people who pick nursing as a career don’t have money as their first reason for doing so, but there is nothing wrong with wanting to earn good money from all your hard work and expertise! As the DNP tracks are the most advanced qualifications available within nursing, you can expect salaries to suit, with many FNP and equivalent roles attracting six-figure salaries. How much you can earn will depend on a lot of factors, like the environment you choose to work in, the hours you work, and whether you are employed on a public sector or private basis, but there are certainly very attractive salaries for people with the DNP qualification.
DNPs Are Highly Sought After
Another advantage to having the DNP qualification is that DNP level nurses are highly sought after just about everywhere. In rural areas, for instance, FNP nurses are a vital part of community healthcare, making up for shortages in GPs and providing much-needed support to patients of all ages. Midwifery specialists, neonatal nurses, pediatric and gerontology nurses at the DNP level are also needed everywhere, to provide specialist care to people at specific stages in life.
This means that you should have a fair amount of choice in terms of where you live and work, and the kind of environment you work in, whether it’s a busy hospital or a clinic. This will also allow you to relocate without too much trouble should you want to and be able to find a suitable position in your new home. While qualifications and requirements for nurses differ around the world, with this level of accreditation it will not usually be a problem to work overseas if you want to, too, and your high-level nursing qualification will count in your favor with a lot of points-based visa programs.
You Can Fit Studying Around Your Current Work
Thanks to online study, it is possible for you to take on a DNP program part-time and continue working in your current nursing role while you do, adding to your work experience, and also making it easier to fund your studies. Because online courses are designed to be flexible, you won’t need to commute or relocate, and this also helps keep the costs down. You may even be able to get some financial support for taking on these extra studies from your current employer if they have a demand for nurses at the DNP level, or receive other forms of sponsorship or grants.
The flexibility of doing a DNP program online will also make this a much more viable path for you if you currently have childcare commitments or other family commitments outside of work. If you are a parent, then balancing family life with studying is much easier when you can do all of your coursework and attend all of your lectures remotely.
Naturally, you will be provided with everything you need in terms of course materials and time with tutors to talk about your progress, as well as opportunities to connect with other students, making the experience of doing an online nursing degree straightforward and enjoyable.
If you think now might be the right time for you to take the plunge and begin studying towards becoming a DNP-qualified nurse, then the best move you can make is to start researching the different options you have for online courses. Good luck in the next stage of your nursing career!