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May-12-2020 00:56printcomments

6 Things You Can Do With a DNP

Celebrate nursing by learning more about earning your Doctor of Nursing Practice

nursing
Photo by Karolina Grabowska, Pexels

(SALEM, Ore.) - When you choose a career in nursing, you choose a career that is versatile and open for whatever sort of path you want to take from pediatric care to being on a trauma ward.

Some nurses decide to practice as registered nurses (RNs) for the duration of their careers, while others go on to earn advanced degrees. Through advanced degrees, a nurse can accomplish several things and set their career trajectory and contributions to the world of healthcare.

Nurses bring so much experience and knowledge to the table that they are being recognized more than ever before as leaders in the world of medicine. Their frontline experiences, combined with extensive education, make for a powerful voice in healthcare.

While every nurse’s education will be specific to his or her career, some degrees allow for a broader scope of opportunity than others. For instance, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is something that gives a nurse the ability to pursue various tracks and specialties. Most nurses who are recognized as leaders in the field have earned their DNP in some area or other.

Furthermore, becoming a nurse practitioner via a DNP degree opens the door for more job security and a higher earning potential. The median salary of a nurse practitioner in the United States is about $135,000 per year.

While that number can be affected by other factors like location and experience level, it is certainly an appealing prospect for most nurses. Regarding the potential for job security, it is expected that the number of positions available to nurse practitioners will rise by about 35% by the year 2024.

If you have been thinking about where your career could go if you were able to earn a DNP, here are six things that you can do with a degree of this kind.

1. Become a Family Nurse Practitioner

Family nurse practitioners (FNPs) are those nurses who proved healthcare to families in a higher capacity than an RN is qualified to do. They can oversee the care of individuals of all ages and risk levels and are even able to diagnose and treat conditions in similar ways that an MD can.

In fact, because there is a lack of qualified physicians in certain places across the country, some states permit FNPs to practice medicine independently without having to work under the supervision of a doctor. This trend is only expected to rise as the need for doctors becomes even more significant.

It is no surprise that FNPs are qualified to practice in this way. The education and experience levels that they must have to meet the criteria to become an FNP is nothing to take lightly. If this is a track that you aspire to take, there are plenty of options available to help you to do so.

For instance, you can look into enrolling in an online DNP-FNP program to make the workload more manageable for your circumstances. Many RNs choose this route because they wish to continue working in the field while also earning their degree.

This is made possible by the fact that an online DNP-FNP program of this nature typically has multiple course intakes throughout the year to be more accessible for the working nurse.

2. Assume Leadership Roles

The need for more nurses in leadership roles within the medical community is a trend that has been increasing in recent years. Their value as experience healthcare providers is something that cannot be overstated.

Often on the frontlines of care, nurses know firsthand what the needs are not only of patients but of other working healthcare professionals as well. Contributions from nurses in leadership positions help bring about higher standards of care and better patient outcomes across the board.

While it is not entirely necessary to earn a DNP to become a leader in nursing, such programs better equip nurses to take on such roles. Most who wish to assume leadership roles recognize that a DNP degree is a valuable tool for helping achieve such a goal. Depending on what your specific specialty is regarding your career, you can necessarily pick from any type of DNP program for these purposes.

Some DNP degrees will be more useful than others to those wishing to take on broader leadership roles that are not necessarily specific to a field of medicine. For instance, an online DNP-FNP program will give you the necessary knowledge and experience to contribute to the more significant conversations and issues surrounding medicine at this time.

Because an online DNP-FNP program qualifies you to work as a nurse practitioner, your career becomes one that is on par with some of the more independently practicing healthcare professionals within the medical community.

3. Work as a Healthcare Executive

While most nurses begin their careers with the intent of working in a clinical setting, others might find the idea of working as a healthcare executive to be appealing for many reasons.

The medical community is always in need of individuals who have experience-based insight into the needs of patients and providers alike to properly manage hospitals and more significant hospital systems. Nurses who have the right level of education can often be an excellent fit for such roles as these.

Nurses who have earned a DNP through such channels as an online DNP-FNP program, for instance, are qualified to assume such roles. Hospitals need well-rounded CEOs, presidents, and administrators to make sure that things are properly managed and maintained.

Furthermore, as protocols and procedures in medicine continue to develop at a rapid rate, such executives must be able to ensure that such processes are appropriately implemented in a hospital setting.

While this is undoubtedly one of the less traditional roles that a nurse can fill in the medical community, it is nonetheless an essential job with many responsibilities. Often the experience that a nurse brings to the table makes him or her the most ideal candidate for such a job.

4. Perform Clinical Research

If you aspire to be at the forefront of medical discoveries, then you might wish to use a DNP degree to become qualified to work as a clinical researcher. Clinical research is one of the most fascinating and exciting areas of medicine that one can work in.

It is that aspect of medicine that allows the field as a whole to continue to grow and develop. New types of medication and treatments are being discovered all the time that lead to better patient outcomes and improved levels of care for those who are most in need.

As a clinical researcher, a nurse can choose to work for government agencies or for private institutions. Some even perform their research in a university setting where there are some great resources available.

Depending upon what specialty you are qualified to work in, you could organize and conduct clinical trials or gather and research data relating to a particular treatment or medication.

Some nurses choose to go this route because they see a void that needs to be filled within a specific specialty. Others might have a broader medical experience and choose to earn an online DNP-FNP degree to become qualified to perform research in various sectors.

Whatever the motivations may be, there is a need for passionate and driven nurses to perform clinical research in all areas of medicine.

5. Impact of Healthcare Policy

When most people think about joining the medical community, they picture what it would be like to work as a doctor or a nurse in a hospital setting or a medical office of some sort. Fewer people might also call to mind images of qualified healthcare professionals performing medical research and making new discoveries.

Not many will consider that there is another side to the medical world altogether that is vitally important to the proper management and functionality of the healthcare system as a whole.

Politics is a subject that many people do not typically enjoy thinking about. Nevertheless, lobbying for healthcare reforms and working towards better legal protections for patients and providers across the nation is a job that must be done.

Preferably, healthcare policy is something that would be impacted by healthcare professionals who know firsthand what the needs of those within the medical community would be.

Furthermore, only those who have worked one-on-one with patients in various situations will know precisely what the needs of those patients are. This is why there is a need for more nurses to step up and become more involved in the world of healthcare politics.

Nurses who possess a DNP degree would naturally be a good fit for such roles. Those who have invested in their education and careers by enrolling in an online DNP-FNP program, for instance, will know what the needs of a variety of patients are.

Those who have worked for years in a clinical setting providing care independently to patients are no doubt qualified to share their experiences and opinions with the lawmakers of the nation.

It is only by having qualified nurses serving as advocates for patients that the right changes and policies can be developed and properly implemented.

6. Educate Other Nurses

Another role that nurses who hold a DNP might consider pursuing is that of an educator. While many nurses very likely don’t set out on their career paths to become teachers, this is such a vital role within the medical community that many see the need for qualified nurse educators and decide to get involved.

As a nurse educator, you will be able to use your knowledge and experience to help guide the nurses of tomorrow. It is no good for nurses to be educated by individuals who do not possess their own medical experiences and acumen.

Nurses need to be taught by other nurses who have spent a significant amount of time working on the frontlines of healthcare. Only by knowing firsthand what the requirements of the job truly are, can a nurse be best equipped to work in the fields of medicine.

Nurse educators must also be able to develop an appropriate curriculum that instructs future nurses on what is going to be expected of them and how to best provide a high level of care.

They must have the ability to design courses to best equip nurses with the skills they need, and they must also possess the ability to effectively communicate their knowledge to students both in a classroom and clinical setting.

The best nurse educators tend to have the heart of a mentor. You are essentially taking your students under your wing and using your own personal experiences to guide them to be the most effective nurses possible.

The reason that a DNP is useful for those looking to assume such a role as a nurse educator is that the best teachers are often the ones who have the broadest and most sound knowledge base themselves.

Through an online DNP-FNP program, for example, you gain a vast amount of education yourself in addition to a large number of clinical hours. All of this contributes to the making of a good nurse educator.

Becoming a Doctor of Nursing practice is among the highest levels of education that are available to nurses. It is a degree that is versatile not only in the way in which it can be earned, as in via an online DNP-FNP program but it is also incredibly versatile in what it can qualify a nurse to do.

There is a growing need for nurses to assume leadership roles within the medical community. The experience and expertise that nurses acquire through the course of a career as well as through the right level of education make them more than qualified to fill a variety of higher positions in the world of medicine.

The earning of such an advanced degree is undoubtedly not an easy feat. It is, however, an essential and valuable route for a nurse to take if they want to make a true difference.

Source: Salem-News.com Special Features Dept.

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Sean Flynn was a photojournalist in Vietnam, taken captive in 1970 in Cambodia and never seen again.