Online DNP programs differ significantly from online nursing PhD programs. PhD programs are research intensive and produce nurse researchers; whereas, a DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) degree prepares students for the clinical aspect of the nursing profession. This is not to suggest that the two programs compete with each other in any way. The healthcare industry needs graduates from both programs.Currently, there are 153 DNP programs being offered nationwide. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the accrediting body for DNP programs and all other levels of nursing education. These programs are also eligible for accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).
These programs are an attractive option for individuals coming from non-nursing backgrounds. In addition to this, if you are looking for advanced education credentials for advanced practice knowledge without a strong research aspect, you should opt for a DNP program. The degree will equip you with the knowledge and leadership skills needed to improve nursing practice and patient outcomes. Most importantly, these programs are designed with the aim of providing the required level of competency in complex practice, leadership, and faculty roles.
Generally, the DNP program comprises of an additional 25 credit hours beyond those required for a master's degree. Online DNP programs offer students the convenience to proceed at their own pace and flexible scheduling to fit within students' busy schedules. These programs give students a chance to earn a degree even if they do not live near a school that offers this program. Online programs are also more affordable because students save on related school expenses like room and board, transportation, meal plans, and fees that on-campus students must pay. Enrollment requirements differ with universities. Generally, applicants are required to have nursing experience and a Master of Nursing degree from an accredited nursing program. A valid U.S. RN license is also needed at the time of application. The program will focus on developing skills that are needed for providing leadership for evidence-based practice. Some of these are:
. Translate research into practice
. Evaluate evidence
. Apply research in decision-making
. Implementation of feasible clinical innovations to change practice
In addition to this students will learn to analyze population, assess data on populations and cohorts, and subsequently to use this data in program evaluation and decisions.
DNP graduates are as likely as PhD holders to find faculty positions in universities and colleges. The DNP graduates are more likely to work in practice leadership roles in various settings. They can work as executives in healthcare organizations, managers of quality initiatives, directors of clinical programs, and as faculty members who are responsible for development and progress of clinical programs. PhD holders often work in academic and government positions that require strong research competencies. Currently, there is a shortage of nursing professionals. This means that nursing graduates can expect to find employment and earn a generous salary. Furthermore, the aging population will increase the demand for all nursing professionals in future as well.