Now Is the Time to Get That DNP Degree: Here’s Why

As an RN with either a BSN or MSN degree, you may be exploring career options going forward. You have been working in the field for a number of years and although you love what you do daily with the patients and doctors you work with, you also realize that you have the power to grow into new, and more exciting challenges within your profession. According to all the latest data, DNPs (Doctors of Nursing Practice) are in high demand in literally every specialty there is. If this is something you have been seriously contemplating, then you should know that now is exactly the time to get that degree.

1. Wide Range of Career Paths

Perhaps the most promising reason to advance your career at this time is because there is a wide range of career paths open to you as a DNP. According to the catalog of DNP career options listed on Baylor University Online, you can take tracks that lead you to a specialty in:

  • Executive Nurse Leadership
  • Family Nurse Practitioner
  • Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
  • Nurse-Midwifery
  • Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
  • Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

So, as you can see, there are several areas of specialization you may be interested in. Whether you would like to be in an administrative role in executive nurse leadership or as an autonomous family nurse practitioner (FNP), you can bring your career to a whole new level with an emphasis on the specialty you want to pursue.

3. Experience Brought to the Table

There is something to be said about being able to bring your experience to the table. Whenever a board of directors is seeking new talent in literally any profession, one of the qualifications that they look for is experience within the field. This is something that many new doctors lament after doing their internship and residency. They know they’ve had more than a year of two on the floor during that time, but there are aspects within the profession that they hadn’t been introduced to yet. 

They obviously want to be in practice for themselves, which typically comes with a significant rise in salary, but they also know there really is much yet to learn in patient care. This is one of the reasons why nurse practitioners typically have no problem finding and retaining a job. Any board of directors would be happy to bring them on board simply because of the years of experience they can bring to the table and the fact that they are now qualified to do many of the things medical doctors can do, often without supervision.

4. Greater Awareness of the Need Brought About by the Pandemic

It has been common knowledge for many years that there is a severe shortage of doctors in literally any field of medicine. However, the pandemic has brought about a new awareness of just how critical that shortage is. Many doctors have already been working beyond their projected retirement years simply to fill in a void brought about by such a severe lack of physicians along with a major pandemic. 

Unfortunately, the pandemic has gone on much longer than anyone anticipated and these older doctors are burnt out and ready to take that long-awaited and highly needed retirement. They have gotten up in years and the work is beyond the scope of what they can physically do at this stage in their lives, with such long hours and so many days in the week. There does not seem to be an end in sight of COVID-19 and so DNPs are in even greater demand than ever before. 

4. Need to Increase Earning Potential

Yes, nurses do earn a good wage which is obviously better in some states than others. Even so, it is nowhere near in keeping with the cost of living weighed against the level of education and proficiency that their jobs require of them. If you are an RN looking to advance both your career and your earning potential, getting that advanced Doctor of Nursing Practice degree can solve both needs at the same time.

It should also be noted that working as an NP will not yield the same salaries when comparing with working in private practice and as, perhaps, a staff doctor at a hospital. Nurses in private practice may start at a lower base rate but, in time, and as their patient list grows, they can make double and triple what they expected to earn at a healthcare institution.

5. Educator of Advanced Nursing Degrees

One of the most basic requirements for working at a university is that the professor should hold at least one degree level above the classes they are teaching. Having recognized the need in healthcare today with all its promises and shortcomings, many RNs feel that it’s almost their duty to help raise up a stronger, more technologically advanced, generation of nurses.

Imagine what you can bring to your classes after having just been through a major war in which every aspect of nursing has been a challenge. Needless to say, healthcare has been waging a war with COVID-19 and war stories can bring higher levels of understanding to any class you might be instructing. With hospitals being overwhelmed beyond capacity, it became necessary to find innovative ways to care for every patient in need of medical care. Regular rooms and clinics attached to the hospitals have been transitioned to patient wards and this is something today’s students can learn from. Many may even have innovative solutions to this ongoing problem.

Now Is the Time

No matter why you want to advance your career, the one thing you need to know from the very beginning is that you won’t be deserting your post as a nurse but rather practicing at a higher level. You have the experience and the knowledge to advance your career, and with everything going on in the world today, now is the time to make those changes.