Is a DNP Worth It?

You can pursue a higher-level position in nursing with a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).

If you aspire to reach the top of the nursing field, you may have looked into what degree programs could help you to achieve your career goals. One of these program options is the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree. 

Many current and aspiring nursing professionals choose to pursue this terminal degree. Earning a doctoral degree, while a great accomplishment, can seem like a long and difficult journey when you’re just beginning. So, is earning a DNP worth it? Keep reading to explore some reasons why earning your DNP degree could be a worthwhile endeavor.

Develop Advanced Skills in Nursing

While earning your DNP degree, you have the opportunity to expand and build on your pre-existing nursing skills and take your knowledge to the next level. Since a DNP is a practice-focused program, students will learn how to apply current research in the field to improve healthcare systems and patient outcomes.

The advanced nursing knowledge and skills you will develop during a DNP program will be invaluable. Consider the following:

Leadership

As a DNP graduate, you will be seen as someone at the forefront of nursing knowledge. You will learn how to be a leader in the healthcare field and how to apply your knowledge to your organization effectively.

As a leader, you may find yourself working at the head of a department within an organization, such as overseeing other nurses, supervising the facility’s day-to-day operations or even teaching future nurses to take on the healthcare solutions of tomorrow.

Collaboration

Collaboration is an essential skill for most professional environments, especially within the healthcare field. As a nursing professional, you will find yourself collaborating with other departments within an organization to help provide the highest quality of patient care possible.

This will be especially true if you work in a leadership position. As a nurse leader, you may find that you’re the liaison between your own department and others. By collaborating with others, you can inspire teams to strive for healthcare excellence within a variety of departments. In your DNP program, you will find yourself practicing collaboration with peer discussions and more that will help you explore new concepts and ideas as a team.

Evidence-Based Practice

A DNP student will use current research in the field to guide their practice, using it as evidence of what works best and what can be improved upon when it comes to patient care and quality. The translation of evidence within healthcare settings toward practice settings, systems and more will help to generate new innovations and positively impact clinical settings.

Healthcare Informatics

Information systems/technology has become popular in the healthcare field and continues to benefit the field. In a DNP program, you will learn about healthcare informatics and how it impacts patient care and healthcare systems.

This includes learning and integrating core program competencies and the practice of healthcare informatics. Healthcare informatics encourages collaboration and communication within healthcare organizations. It ensures consistency in patient care and improves accuracy and efficiency, playing an essential role in today’s healthcare systems.

Lots of Nursing Career Opportunities

Because of their advanced knowledge and skills, DNP graduates are qualified to pursue high-level careers in nursing. This includes a variety of roles, such as:

  • Medical and health services managers
  • Nursing instructors and teachers
  • Registered nurses
  • Nurse practitioners

Depending on your career goals, pick a DNP program that will best fit you. For example, if you want to become a nurse educator, look for a DNP program with an emphasis in educational leadership that will allow you to teach and inspire the nurses of tomorrow.

Again, depending on your career goals, you could find yourself in a variety of settings. If you feel called to practice at the forefront of patient care as a nurse practitioner or registered nurse, you will most likely work in a hospital or clinical setting directly with patients. A medical and health services manager will also usually be found in a clinical setting, coordinating business activities of the facility.

However, if you choose to focus on becoming a nurse educator, a classroom setting is most likely where you’ll spend your day-to-day life. This role also comes with a variety of unique responsibilities that don’t involve patient care, such as lesson planning and grading student work.

Good Salary and Job Growth Outlook for DNP Graduates

As the healthcare field continues to evolve and grow, so does the need for good healthcare workers in all areas. Among some of the popular career paths for DNP graduates, this remains true.

As of September 2021, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook estimates that jobs for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners will increase by about 45% from 2020 to 2030, faster than average, accounting for an estimated increase of roughly 121,400 jobs in the field.1

Additionally, job growth for medical and health services managers is on track to grow by approximately 32% from 2019-2029,2 which is also much higher than the national average. Not only do these figures show promising opportunities for DNP graduates, but those who pursue careers in this field are often generously compensated for their advanced knowledge. Nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives and nurse practitioners have a median annual wage of $117,670 as of May 2020,3 and medical and health services managers have a median annual wage of $104,280 as of May 2020.4

Online and Evening DNP Degree Opportunities

Many DNP students are nurses who have decided to further their education to take on a leadership role and advance their knowledge to the highest level. This means that there’s a good chance DNP students have jobs that they’re passionate about and want to continue doing while they earn their degree.

Luckily for nursing professionals, you can find an online or evening DNP program that allows you to do both. This gives you the flexibility you need as you earn your degree and still allows you to pursue a quality education. When looking for an online degree, ensure that you find a program with strong resources and the ability to collaborate with others; this will help you throughout your program to build connections with other students and professors, which could come in handy both during your program and after you graduate.

Grand Canyon University aims to provide an exceptional academic experience for every student. If you would like more information about GCU’s nursing and healthcare programs, including the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, visit the College of Nursing and Health Care Professions or click the Request More Information button at the top of this page. 

 

1COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is based on September 2021, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners, retrieved on 01/04/2022. 

2COVID-19 has adversely affected the global economy and data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics as well. Accordingly, data shown is based on 2019, which can be found here: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Medical and Health Services Managers, retrieved on 08/18/2021. 

3The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), Nurse Anesthetists, Nurse Midwives, and Nurse Practitioners as of May 2020. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as Medical and Health Service Managers. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path.

4The earnings referenced were reported by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (“BLS”), Medical and Health Services Managers as of May 2020. Due to COVID-19, data from 2020 may be atypical compared to prior years. The pandemic may also impact the predicted future workforce outcomes indicated by the BLS. BLS calculates the median using salaries of workers from across the country with varying levels of education and experience and does not reflect the earnings of GCU graduates as Medical and Health Services Managers. It does not reflect earnings of workers in one city or region of the country. It also does not reflect a typical entry-level salary. Median income is the statistical midpoint for the range of salaries in a specific occupation. It represents what you would earn if you were paid more money than half the workers in an occupation, and less than half the workers in an occupation. It may give you a basis to estimate what you might earn at some point if you enter this career. You may also wish to compare median salaries if you are considering more than one career path. >link to https://www.bls.gov/ooh/management/medical-and-health-services-managers.htm

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.

Loading Form


Scroll back to top