Jobs You Can Pursue with a Doctor of Nursing Practice

Getting a doctorate in nursing practice can allow nurses to fill more advanced roles.

Earning a doctorate in nursing is a great way to advance your career within the healthcare field. With an advanced degree such as a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), you can take your passion further by learning specialized knowledge in the nursing field. This terminal degree can prepare you for many different careers and responsibilities in the healthcare profession. Keep reading to learn about the careers you can pursue with a DNP. 

Nurse Educator

Another DNP career option is becoming a nurse educator. As a nurse educator, you teach students who are preparing to enter their own nursing careers. For this profession, finding a DNP program that emphasizes education would be wise. If you have a passion for both nursing and teaching, becoming a nurse educator could be a great fit for you. 

A nurse educator can find opportunities in a variety of settings, including universities, hospitals and academic and research institutions. Nurse educators can also work within the healthcare system, providing continuous education and professional development to active nursing professionals. As a nurse educator, you will need to have strong communication skills and good time management.

Healthcare Executive

A DNP can also prepare you to work in a leadership role within the healthcare field. This can include a variety of roles within a hospital, including becoming a health service manager or a nurse executive. As an executive, you will need to have strong leadership skills, as you will be responsible for smooth, organized institutional operation to ensure that patients are receiving high-quality care.

You will also have a variety of specific tasks that can include maintaining the hospital’s budget and designing standards of patient care. You will need a variety of skills to thrive in an executive role, such as strong communication, decision-making and critical thinking skills and particular attention to detail. These skills will help you to collaborate with other departments and make decisions to benefit the facility and its patients.

Advanced Practice Nurse

If you prefer the patient care aspect of the nursing field, consider using your DNP to pursue a career as an advanced practice nurse. Often, medical facilities require nurses with the specialized training and skills found in a doctoral nursing program, such as developed core competencies in nursing science and knowledge of ethical issues in healthcare research. With a DNP, you can consider a variety of specializations as a nurse practitioner, including becoming a family nurse practitioner, a neonatal nurse or a psychiatric mental health nurse. Additionally, in some states, advanced practice nurses can run clinics independently.

Certified Nurse Midwife

A certified nurse-midwife (CNM) is a specialization option for advanced practice nurses who, as the name suggests, care for pregnant women throughout the pregnancy, birth and aftercare process. These professionals aim to provide high-quality care from pre-conception to postpartum recovery. CNMs accompany women and their families through this journey by providing a variety of services, including health evaluations, pre- and post-natal care and helping to plan birthing services. A CNM must be a strong decision-maker, as different patients could require vastly different care. 

A CNM not only provides this care to families but also helps to educate the families on how best to continue caring for their babies and themselves. The information a DNP program can provide is a great way for aspiring CNMs to gain confidence in their knowledge and learn how to effectively communicate it to their patients.

Nurse Informaticist

The role of a nurse informaticist, while not a clinical role, is extremely important to providing and improving patient care. If you enjoy working with data and developing practical solutions to problems, this career may be a good fit. A nurse informaticist must integrate information technology (IT) with healthcare organizations and often deals with the analysis of health data and records.

A nurse informaticist must be organized and detail-oriented to research and manage the organization’s data. DNP graduates will most likely have encountered some classes during their studies focused on data analysis and health care informatics, helping to build these essential skills. A nurse informaticist must also be able to evaluate the data they manage and find evidence to improve healthcare outcomes.

Healthcare Lobbyist

If you have both a passion for policy and a heart for healthcare, consider becoming a healthcare lobbyist. As a healthcare lobbyist, you can work in a variety of settings, such as a medical organization, insurance company or government agency. In this role, you stay up to date on the latest news and trends in healthcare and represent the interests of your organization to legislators.

Your DNP can help you to properly utilize and communicate industry terms to legislators, reinforcing the strong communication skills necessary for this career. Additionally, a healthcare lobbyist must be passionate about the healthcare field to help instill positive change in it.

Clinical Researcher

Earning a DNP can qualify you to go into clinical research. A clinical researcher works with other medical professionals to develop and conduct research to increase the body of knowledge in the medical field. As a clinical research nurse, you conduct research that may improve patient outcomes by improving healthcare procedures.

DNP graduates can perform research in a variety of fields depending on their specialization, from helping find cures for diseases to reviewing the effects of common healthcare procedures and routine patient care. A DNP degree helps you develop important skills that a clinical researcher needs, such as critical thinking, decision-making, complex problem-solving and strong numerical and communication skills.1

Grand Canyon University aims to provide an exceptional academic experience for every student. Visit the College of Nursing and Healthcare to find more information about our graduate nursing programs, such as the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or learn more about GCU’s doctoral programs by visiting the College of Doctoral Studies or using the Request More Information button at the top of this page. 


1Retrieved from New Scientist Jobs, What does a clinical researcher do? in February 2022

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.