A Doctorate in Nursing Practice (DNP) is a terminal degree, meaning that it’s the highest possible educational qualification that a nurse can have in their chosen field of specialty. Therefore, those that consider the highly respected degree course are already experienced and highly qualified nurses themselves, only looking to advance to the highest rungs of their respective careers.

To choose the right option for a DNP, it is important to consider all avenues first. Taking recent developments into consideration, the following are among the most prospective doctorate programs for nurses to consider in 2021 and beyond.

DNP Executive Leadership Program

The DNP Executive Leadership Program is designed for highly experienced nurses who are looking to assume leadership positions within their respective fields or place of employment. It’s also a degree for existing nurse leaders who are either looking to better accommodate themselves in their present role or looking to prepare for assuming an even higher position than their current one.

The Baylor University DNP Executive Leadership Program caters to both aspiring and present nurse leaders by educating them in the most strategic and effective elements of leadership within the healthcare industry. Being 100% online, the coursework can be carried out conveniently and flexibly, without letting the program affect your present role as a professional nurse.

DNP Nurse Education Program

If you feel that you are ready for taking up a teaching role at a nursing school now, then a DNP in Nurse Education could be one of your best options. However, it should be noted that PhD. programs in Nurse Education could be a better option for some, depending on their previous qualifications.

PhD. programs are better suited for those with an academic preference and should suit someone with a preference for teaching. However, it should be noted that there is often a corporate structure within nursing schools as well, and if you wish to assume the role of a departmental head and climb the ladder, a DNP in Nurse Education would still be a preferable option.

DNP Nurse Practitionership (NP) Program

If you are already a nurse practitioner, then a DNP in Nurse Practitionership should be your first natural choice, although it is certainly not the only choice you will have at that point. However, getting a doctorate degree in nurse practitionership is advisable for NPs who are working in a state where a DNP is one of the requirements for them to be allowed partial, or full practice authority (FPA).

On gaining FPA, a nurse practitioner should be able to:

  • Open their own clinic for primary and secondary healthcare, without a practicing physician’s supervision
  • Diagnose, treat, and advise patients at their independent clinic
  • Ask for medical examinations and write medical prescriptions

It should be noted that the requirements for gaining full practice authority vary from state to state, while in some states, even a DNP – NP will not be allowed even partial practice authority. Therefore, choose your options carefully, and only after considering your present and future plans for settling down/moving.

DNP Nurse Anesthesiology Program

If you are already a nurse anesthetist, you should certainly consider getting your DNP-NA degree. The thing is, nurse anesthetists are the highest earning nursing professionals in US, but most high paying jobs that have earned them that lucrative title of being the highest paid also require their applicants to have a doctorate degree. Therefore, this is the most natural and common choice made by working nurse anesthetists.

If you can complete your DNP-NA, the pay is often high enough to be almost comparable to the average income of general physicians. On the other hand, if you are tired of working in the operation theater and have enough experience to apply for the department head’s position, your resume will look stronger with a DNP Executive Leadership degree on it.

DNP Public Health Nurse Program

Similar to family nurse practitioners, public health nurses also work with groups or communities of people. However, unless the public health nurse is also a nurse practitioner, they will not have the same level of independence as a family nurse practitioner. This means that they will not be allowed to diagnose or treat patients without a physician’s instructions under any circumstance.

Instead, public health nurses work closely with groups of people and educate them about preventive measures. For example, public health nurses played a crucial role in both rural and urban communities during the initial Covid-19 breakouts, and they are continuing to do so at a progressive capacity even now. Some of the common roles that PHNs play in ensuring public safety are as follows:

  • Educating people in target groups and communities about disease prevention
  • Helping them access free public healthcare or private healthcare at affordable rates
  • Helping them find the best avenue for seeking treatment for their condition

If you have sufficient experience as a public health nurse, you should join a Doctorate in Public Health Nursing program. It will open up your career and help you assume managerial and directive roles higher up the government/corporate ladder of leadership. Your roles at that point will change to:

  • Identifying health and safety concerns with public health in focus
  • Identifying vulnerable communities and groups likely to be susceptible to infectious diseases
  • Planning strategies for preventing infectious diseases and controlling them in infected communities

Nursing as a profession can be tiring, demanding and dangerous as well, but lack of employability is certainly not one of its problems. There seems to be a perpetual deficiency in the supply of trained nurses in all states, and while that is the primary reason why the job is so hectic, it also ensures high employment rates for nurses as well. Even for diploma RNs, the pay has skyrocketed recently because of that gap between demand and supply.

At this point, rest assured that whichever field you choose to complete your terminal degree in, it will only improve your present position within the industry and will allow you to get away from the mad rush down below.

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