To advance your nursing career, you may be considering a DNP program or a master’s-level nurse practitioner program. A nurse practitioner (NP) is a nurse who has attained a master’s degree, along with additional clinical training to become a certified nurse. Roles such as certified midwife and clinical nurse specialist require a nurse to hold a master’s degree.
On the other hand, the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, also known as DNP, is the highest level of practice in nursing. DNP nurses are in high demand on account of their leadership skills related to clinical applications. These nurses also possess relevant knowledge that can influence healthcare outcomes through patient care or the implementation of health policy. Therefore, DNP nurses have made it to the list of key players in healthcare in the future.
While DNP nurses specialize in roles similar to nurse practitioners, a DNP degree opens more leadership opportunities in the healthcare sector.
Here is a look at some of the skills and knowledge DNP-prepared nurses possess that set them apart from other nursing professionals.
Is a DNP similar to a Ph.D. in nursing?
It is worth noting that a DNP is different from a Ph.D. in nursing. The former is a highly trained nurse specializing in clinical practice, while the latter is a doctorate holder focusing on research. Both roles are prestigious, but the Ph.D. is more academically focused than the DNP.
When it comes to their educational curriculum, the DNP and Ph.D. in nursing differ. Your career goals will determine which degree you should earn. If you intend to focus more on education, leadership and research, a Ph.D. in nursing would be the most suitable choice. As a nurse with a Ph.D., you will develop policies and procedures and implement workflows based on standards of care.
If you intend to expand your knowledge base and work as a nurse leader, a DNP program would benefit you.
How does a DNP enable nurses to become leaders?
Why get a DNP? If you want to develop strong leadership skills, expand your advanced nursing role and change people’s lives as an empowered nurse leader, Walsh University’s online Post-master’s DNP program is the ideal course for MSN-prepared nurses.
You will be better placed to handle, mitigate, and address some significant issues facing the healthcare sector, in addition to learning how to meet patients’ current and future needs based on clinical, political, social and economic sciences.
Some of the significant challenges in the healthcare sector may include:
- Patient health
- Treatment plans
- Shortages of staff in the healthcare sector
As a certified DNP nurse, you will also:
- Be better positioned to meet growing healthcare demands while ensuring positive outcomes
- Serve as a clinical educator, sharing your experience and expertise with professional nurses
- Address issues related to the rising shortage of professional nurses
- Use your leadership skills to enhance healthcare efficiency while promoting practices concerning evidence-based management
- Apply your knowledge and expertise to encourage policies and highlight more pressing issues
Advanced skills acquired through DNP nursing programs
Nurses develop the following advanced skills through a DNP program:
Providing person-centered care
DNP nurses are trained to enhance their communication muscles to address different audiences in diverse settings. They also learn to provide care that is person-centered by using engagement materials.
Nursing knowledge and skills
Nursing professionals gain in-depth knowledge of the nursing field through a master’s program that can help them make informed decisions while evaluating nursing care. A DNP nurse will use the skills they acquire to demonstrate responsible leadership qualities on the job.
A commitment to quality and safety
DNP nurses will be prepared to monitor the safety and quality of healthcare after completing a DNP program. They can monitor safety by establishing data-driven benchmarks concerning system performance. To make other professionals feel comfortable reporting safety breaches and incidents, they set an example through their leadership skills by reviewing errors that could compromise safety.
Implementing a system-based approach
Nursing professionals are adept at analyzing policies related to the healthcare system and impacting organizational planning. However, DNP nurses are trained to design practices affecting healthcare quality and enhancing cost-effectiveness. In addition, many policies designed to improve access to healthcare are designed and created by DNP nurses.
Furthermore, DNP nurses can model ethical behaviors while working in leadership positions.
Partnering between professionals
A nurse who has earned a DNP can direct initiatives geared toward professionals who work together to provide healthcare needs while promoting learning.
DNP-prepared nurses can assess whether a healthcare system can meet a particular population’s needs. These highly skilled nurses can work with stakeholders to foster intervention plans for healthcare priorities focusing on a specific population.
Technology and information management
The efficacy of the information systems being used by healthcare providers can be assessed by DNP nurses who have gained relevant skills, such as understanding medical coding and its impacts. Understanding information systems and technology aids nurses in evaluating these systems and assessing their contribution and impact on healthcare workflows and outcomes.
Nurses trained in a DNP program can quickly advance their learning skills, collaborate to advance healthcare, and evaluate healthcare outcomes using medical theory. The skills acquired through a DNP program equip nurses to create a platform to promote learning.
Development of professional and leadership skills
Workplace environments related to health and well-being, cognitive flexibility, and mentorship programs are best evaluated by nurses who have completed a DNP program.
Where can DNP nurses apply their leadership skills?
Areas that DNP nurses can put their leadership skills into practice range from patient care to administrative roles. Here is a look at some potential employment opportunities for nurses who have completed their DNP program.
Chief nursing officer
This position is regarded as a leadership and safety enhancement pillar within a healthcare facility. Supporting the quality of healthcare that patients receive, a chief nursing officer (CNO) works with a team of professional nurses to ensure that the healthcare facility offers sufficient treatment.
A CNO also performs other duties and ensures that patients receive adequate treatment. A CNO manages finances and enforces policies, connecting patients with the most appropriate care.
While this is a rewarding career, especially for nurses who prefer to work in an organizational setting, it goes without saying that a DNP’s leadership skills are indispensable in this role. CNOs use their leadership skills to ensure a healthcare facility has a productive environment built on open communication and trust.
Patient care director
A patient care director is a professional who combines both nursing and organizational knowledge. They oversee the maintenance of high-quality care while working within the budget constraints of a healthcare facility. For example, a patient care director can work with patients and their families to ensure they receive the necessary healthcare.
A patient care director must have up-to-date knowledge in areas such as medical laws while maintaining compliance with regulations. They must possess communication and interpersonal skills to handle complex healthcare issues.
Having a DNP degree is imperative for handling these challenging responsibilities effectively.
As you may know, politicians and the general public in the US have some conflicting opinions on matters concerning health. Some of the topics that find their way into newsrooms range from federal program development to policies governing insurance and affordable healthcare, among others.
A healthcare lobbyist comes into the picture when healthcare topics must be voted on. These professionals can serve as negotiators between government representatives and the general public while advocating for the rights of patients, insurance providers and medical professionals.
A DNP degree can help a healthcare lobbyist fulfill their roles and responsibilities effectively.
Studying to be a nurse at a university often consists of sleepless nights as students research and read to prepare for exams. Upon graduating, most people prefer to work in healthcare facilities. However, if teaching appeals to you, consider putting your talents to use by becoming a nursing professor.
It is also an ideal way to give back to the nursing profession. Your daily activities will be centered on researching and teaching nursing students at a university.
With the rampant shortage of nursing professors, there is no better time to become a nursing professor than right now. This is a lucrative career choice, but one must exercise DNP leadership skills to become an educator who can inspire the next generation of nurses.
The bottom line
If you aspire to become a DNP-prepared nurse, the leadership roles you can acquire will allow you to lead the healthcare sector into the future. This is a great path for professional nurses who aspire to use their nursing and leadership qualities in executive roles.
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