DNP and Ph.D. are two postgraduate degrees that nurses may consider pursuing after completing their masters. While both of these doctorates are similar in the sense that they carry immense potential in broadening a nurse’s career and providing them with new skills, each course of study is entirely different from the other in terms of objectives, length and outcomes. Therefore, for nurses who wish to consider studying further, it is vital to look into each program thoroughly before picking one.
If you’re a nurse looking to take the next step in your career but unsure of which degree to pick, look no further. In this article, we will give a brief outline of the two degrees as well as provide a layout of the key differences in each to help you make an informed decision for your future.
What is a DNP in Nursing?
DNP stands for Doctorate in Nursing Practice. It is one of the two terminal degrees nurses pursue after their masters. If this seems like something of your interest and you find yourself asking how can you get a doctorate in nursing, start by checking out the online guide about DNP programs at Pearson.
Focus of the Course: This degree focuses on the theme of leadership. It emphasizes the importance of leading positions and provides graduates with further clinical expertise to produce quality nurses that can be considered future leaders. Moreover, the DNP course also consists of objectives like improvement of healthcare systems, public health, and leadership roles. Another fact worth considering is that a DNP is a highly practice-based degree, therefore it is best for nurses who wish to build their clinical skills further and advance in their occupation.
A DNP degree also emphasizes the role of technology in medicine. This includes bringing awareness to nurses about better means of data collection and storage, as well as learning how to use technology to effectively manage patients.
Overall, the objective of a DNP program is to produce highly skilled nurses who can identify healthcare-related issues and propose practical solutions to the problem. Recent data shows an increase in enrollments of DNP programs in the past two years.
Eligibility: Nurse practitioners applying for a DNP must have a masters degree as well as years of clinical experience. It can take anywhere from 1 to 4 years to complete a DNP degree. Moreover, after acceptance, students pursuing a DNP must also engage in 1000+ hours of clinical rotations.
Career Potential: Nurses holding a DNP can work as healthcare executives, nurse educators and clinical researchers with an average salary ranging from $70,000 to $100,000+ per annum.
What is a Ph.D. in Nursing?
The alternative to DNP is a Ph.D. This is a research-based degree that requires nurses to perform individual research and present dissertations.
Focus of the Course: The main highlight of this course is independent research. The degree focuses on teaching individuals about research methodologies, analysis of data, and, enhancing prior knowledge and concepts. Unlike a DNP, a Ph.D. degree is research-focused rather than clinical work. This means that you’ll be required to polish your critical thinking skills to develop effective strategies and techniques to promote better health. Also, contrary to DNP, Ph.D.’s don’t offer any direction on the principles of leadership and clinical practices.
Eligibility: To be eligible for a Ph.D., you need to hold a master’s degree in nursing with an aggregate of 55%. Some institutes might conduct interviews or tests to see if they can offer you a seat. The degree requires a long-term commitment. It can take anywhere from 4-6 years to complete.
Career Potential: Some notable career prospects you can consider after pursuing a Ph.D. are chief in nursing, research specialist, health specialist, and critical care nurses. You can also enter academia as a professor or nurse educator. The average salary of a Ph.D. nurse is quoted to be around $96,000 per annum.
DNP vs. Ph.D.- Which one should I pursue?
The final choice ultimately lies in your own interest. If you’re someone who wishes to engage in clinical practice, i.e., managing patients, looking after vitals, and assisting physicians, or wants to stay in a clinical setting, then a DNP is a great choice for you. It is also good for nurses who wish to pursue leadership roles and enhance their professional growth.
Conversely, if you’re more scientific and research-oriented, a Ph.D. will be the best choice for you. It is a good option for those who wish to devise strategies and solutions to manage the changing frameworks of the healthcare system.
Picking between a DNP and a Ph.D. is a crucial yet overwhelming decision indeed. You may need to perform extensive amounts of research to come up with a reasonable judgment. We hope that this guide prepared you for making a decision that aligns with your career aspirations and future goals.