Just like in any other career path, some nurses in the profession are happy to continue working as a registered nurse throughout their career due to simply enjoying the position or because it’s what they feel most called to do.
However, other nurses are interested in a career where they can progress through the ranks and have more influence on nursing than they would get by staying at the bedside.
Nursing as a career has tons of opportunities for moving up the career ladder into leadership, management, advanced practice, research, education, and more. If you want to take your nursing career further, getting a doctorate degree can be an ideal way to reach your goals.
Why Get a Nursing Doctorate Degree?
There are many reasons to enroll on online DNP programs from Baylor University. Many nurses who decide to study for this qualification choose it because they are interested in moving away from clinical practice into roles where they can have a larger impact on nursing and healthcare in general such as nurse management, leadership, or education.
If you are interested in taking your nursing career to a role that is more administrative or managerial, for example, a DNP can provide you with the credentials you need for a wider range of roles. As one of the most senior qualifications that nurses can achieve, it’s a great track into more advanced career options.
Influence Future Healthcare Policy
Working as a nurse researcher is just one role option for those who have a doctorate degree in nursing.
For senior nurses who have a lot of experience in the field, getting your DNP and working in this role can be a great choice if you want to have a direct impact on procedures, guidelines, and rules that nurses are taught to follow throughout nursing school and while at work.
Nurse researchers are often educated to doctorate level with a research-focused degree program. This role makes use of data to improve healthcare for the better by taking into consideration clinical trials and results with real patients to make changes where needed and improve standards of patient care.
For example, these days we are seeing more and more healthcare employers requiring nurses to have a minimum of a BSN. This is a change that has been brought about by the work of nurse researchers who found during studies that with more BSN-educated nurses in the workforce, patient mortality and patient readmission rates were reduced among other positive benefits.
Become an Expert in Your Field
Getting a nursing doctorate degree allows you to become an expert in a chosen area of your career. Nursing often takes a different approach to medicine as a healthcare career.
A doctorate degree in nursing puts you in a much more advanced position as a healthcare provider, on par with other highly-educated professionals such as primary care physicians and allows you to hold your own among medical professionals who are an expert in their chosen field.
Reduce the Nursing Shortage
Today, one of the biggest issues that nurses and other healthcare professionals are facing is the shortage of nurses. And one of the main reasons behind this issue is that there are simply not enough nurse educators to provide the level of education needed to the amount of nursing students required to reduce this shortage.
Currently, thousands of new nursing educators are needed around the country to help prepare new nurses for the role. To work in this career path, you will need to be experienced in nursing and have a minimum of a master’s or doctorate degree in nursing, along with a relevant certification in nurse education.
Start Your Own Practice
If you are more interested in continuing to practice as a nurse while improving your qualifications and advancing your career, there are several advanced nursing practice roles that you will qualify for once you have gained a DNP.
A master’s degree in nursing is generally the minimum entry requirement for nurses who want to move up into advanced practice careers such as family nurse practitioner, for example.
This is a role where you can start your own practice or work in employment in healthcare with the right to full practice authority. It allows you to prescribe, treat, and diagnose patients without supervision from a physician and is a role that is currently in high demand due to the shortage of primary care physicians.
Can You Get a Nursing Doctorate Degree Online?
Most of the time, nursing doctorate students are people who are currently working as registered nurses or working in advanced nursing practice.
If you need or want to continue working in healthcare full-time while you are studying for your DNP, you can now get your doctorate degree online with various nursing schools and colleges embracing distance learning options.
Online learning is an ideal choice for full-time nurses who are in the process of improving their qualifications since these programs are often more flexible, allowing you to fit your studies around your working life.
A doctorate degree in nursing will take between two and five years to complete depending on whether you are studying for a DNP, doctor of nursing science, or Ph.D. program in nursing.
What to Consider Before You Enroll
If you are considering getting a doctorate in nursing, it’s important to consider several different factors before you get started. Research the admissions requirements for the programs that you are interested in, how long you will expect the program to last, and the curriculum that is delivered.
It’s also worth giving some thought to the type of doctoral degree you will enroll in. If you are interested in advanced practice, for example, a doctor of nursing practice degree may be more suitable. On the other hand, a Ph.D. is more research-based and might be a better choice for those who want to move into nurse researcher roles or similar.
If you are a registered nurse and want to take your career further into advanced practice, management, research, education, or more, then a doctorate degree in nursing is an ideal choice.
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