Why Earn a DNP?

Why Earn a DNP?

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. 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.

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.

That said, 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:

To move into nursing 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. American Sentinel has a practice-focused Doctor of Nursing Educational Leadership program. Learn more.

To prepare yourself for nursing 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. American Sentinel has a practice-focused Doctor of Nursing Executive Leadership program. Learn more.

To expand your critical thinking abilities.

The further up the career ladder you progress in healthcare, the more important it is to be knowledgeable 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.

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.

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.

To pursue a specialty.

With several specialty tracks, the DNP allows nurses to not only advance themselves as practitioners, but specialize in an area that is important to them. Whether you want to lead a nursing education program, gain the credentials to sit alongside other nurse leaders in your healthcare organization, combine your passion for nursing with technology and data skills, or prepare for the next step in your career, a specialty DNP can get you there.

To earn a higher salary.

There’s no question that nurses who hold DNP degrees enjoy higher earnings. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shares that Nurse Practitioners have a mean annual wage of $111,840. At the top end of the spectrum, wages are up to $152,160.

To fix the advanced-nursing shortage.

You’ve heard about the shortage of Registered Nurses, but another problem is the fact that there is a shortage of faculty members at nursing schools across the country. As the American Association of Colleges of Nursing explains, a wave of faculty retirements is expected across the U.S. over the next decade. And master’s and doctoral programs in nursing are not producing a large enough pool of potential nurse educators to meet the demand.

How American Sentinel is Answering the Call for more DNPs

American Sentinel University offers a DNP program for nurse leaders and educators who are seeking a degree to help them achieve their career goals and contribute to the changing healthcare environment in positing ways. Learn more about our four specializations (Educational Leadership, Executive Leadership, Professional Leadership and Informatics Leadership), the requirements for the program, our bridge program for non-MSN holders and more by contacting our admissions team at 866.922.5690.

“When I think about nursing and the role I play, I realize that I am in the specialty area of nursing that I know I was meant for. I’ve had my own very serious health issues. Not every nurse feels comfortable talking with patients about end-of-life decisions. I feel like I am made for this position.”

Tammy Stokes,
MSN Nursing Management and Organizational Leadership (2018),
Director of Palliative Care Services at Maury Regional Medical Center

For those wanting to advance to leadership positions in education, hospital management, informatics or other related areas, consider American Sentinel’s online DNP program, with specializations in Executive Leadership, Educational Leadership, Informatics Leadership and Professional Leadership.

Check out our blog about DNP specialties to help you make this decision.

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