Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs create parity between advanced healthcare providers, with the likes of dentists, physicians, and psychologists all holding doctorate degrees with the likes of DDS, MD, DO, ND and PsyD.
The majority of health professionals already need a doctorate in place in order to practice, including in the last 20 years pharmacists (PharmD) and physical therapists (DPT).
It is designed for the preparation of experts in a clinical nursing practice or within systems-focused nursing degrees that build on prior nursing knowledge.
The Doctor of Nursing Practice program at Wilkes University also opens up new opportunities, clinical and non-clinical.
The current DNP curriculum continues to build on what has already been learned at the master's level and expands on systems leadership, quality improvement, and evidence-based practice.
Such programs are intended for nurses who wish to gain a terminal degree and provide an alternative to more focused programs on research, such as Ph.Ds.
DNP has started to be listed under "preferred job qualifications" by many companies due to recognizing the unique perspective that tends to be possessed by such candidates.
The possession of a DNP degree also creates additional job opportunities in less traditional settings such as non-profit organizations, public health departments, tech-based businesses, and think tanks.
Being awarded a DNP also means that an individual can negotiate higher salaries in positions with more opportunities for advancement and leadership. It also facilitates entrance into the DNP community, which holds annual conferences, publishes research into role development, and also offers lots of networking opportunities.
How to get into the DNP
Students can come into the DNP from a variety of different backgrounds, and several programs have been specifically designed to bridge the gap between a master's, associate's, or bachelor's degree.
The DNP can be gained in as little as just three years and can even be completed entirely online.
Nurses who come from the DNP bring a mixture of clinical, economic, leadership, and organizational skills. They make them uniquely positioned to critique nursing practices incisively and prepare care programs for patients. In all, they can have a significant impact on healthcare outcomes while also being locally acceptable and economically feasible.
The DNP curriculum
There are various courses that are included in the majority of curriculums within the DNP. These courses usually include Nursing Theory, Health Promotion – Disease Prevention, Advanced Pathophysiology, Advanced Clinical Pharmacology, Roles and Issues in APN, Cultural Perspectives in Health Care, Informatics in Health Care, and Clinical Seminar.
Other courses that may be included in the DNP curriculum include Concepts in Nursing Leadership, Healthy Policy, Politics and Perspective, Advanced Health Assessment, and Epidemiology/Biostatics.
The curriculum consists of two primary components – foundational outcome competencies and specialty competencies that ensure students are prepared for didactic learning experiences and practice in a particular field.
DNP graduates come away with a wide array of career opportunities that they can explore.