Some nurses who feel that they are called to this career are happy to work as a registered nurse without moving up the career ladder. They may do this because they are simply satisfied with the role that they are in, or because they simply prefer working at the bedside, directly with the patients. However, nurses have lots of opportunities to move up the career ladder into management, leadership, advanced practice, and more. If you want to progress in your career and take it past the undergraduate level, there are plenty of options when it comes to doing this as a nurse.
Why Get a Doctorate Degree in Nursing?
There are many reasons to consider a doctorate in nursing such as this DNP executive leadership program from Baylor University. Many nurses who decide to get this qualification do so because they are interested in working in a leadership role or moving away from clinical practice to start a new career in a more administrative, research-based, or education role. Doctor of nursing practice and Ph.D. programs in nursing are some of the highest qualifications that you can obtain as a nurse, preparing you for a huge range of different advanced career options.
Become an Expert in Your Field
Getting a doctorate degree in nursing allows you to become an expert in this career field. As a healthcare career, nursing takes a different approach to medicine, compared to other practitioners with a doctorate degree such as primary care physicians. With a doctorate degree in nursing, you will be in a much more advanced position, able to hold your own among medical professionals that have the same level of education, and able to work in roles where your opinions and decisions are valued and respected just as much.
Influence Upcoming Healthcare Policy
One of the main roles that you can pursue when you decide to get a doctorate degree in nursing includes working as a nurse researcher. For high-level nurses who have a lot of experience working as a nurse, this role can be a good choice if you want to have a more direct impact on the rules, procedures, and guidelines that nurses are taught to follow throughout nursing school and their careers. This is often done by nurse researchers, who are educated to the doctorate level.
Getting a nursing doctorate that focuses on research-based practice means that you can use your skills and education to make sense of scientific data and ultimately use your findings to improve healthcare for the better. Nurse researchers are constantly working towards improving healthcare by taking data from both studies and real-life patients. For example, the shift towards more BSN-educated nurses being hired in healthcare was brought about by nursing research studies that found that with just ten percent more BSN-educated nurses, patient outcomes were significantly improved.
Reduce the Nursing Shortage By Becoming an Educator
With a doctorate degree in nursing, you will be in a position where you can work as an educator, teaching nurses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Right now, a severe shortage of nurse educators in nursing schools and colleges across the US is one of the biggest problems that is contributing to the national nursing shortage. While you can become a nurse educator with an MSN, many nurse educators go on to obtain a doctorate to improve their skills and knowledge, become more effective at their job, and broaden their reach to include advanced nursing students. With a doctorate nursing degree and the appropriate license to work as a Certified Nurse Educator, you could help with getting hundreds of new nurses into this profession, providing some relief to the shortage.
Start Your Own Practice
If advanced nursing practice is a role that interests you more, then you could get into several different roles with a DNP. An MSN is typically the minimum requirement for nurses who want to get into a career as a nurse practitioner, where you will be awarded full practice authority in twenty different states. With a doctorate degree, nurse practitioners can get into even more advanced roles, along with preparation for running their own practice or clinic. Getting a doctorate degree is not only an opportunity to fine-tune your advanced nursing skills, but a degree program that focuses on executive leadership or similar can be an ideal choice for nurses who want to develop further management and administrative skills to prepare for this role.
What to Consider Before Getting a Doctorate in Nursing
If you’re considering getting a doctorate or Ph.D. in nursing, it’s important to consider several factors before you get started. You’ll need to think about the admissions requirements for the programs that you are interested in, how long you can expect the program to last, and the curriculum that you will be taught. It’s worth considering the type of doctoral degree that you will enroll in. Ph.D. programs tend to be more research-based and ideal for nurses who want to work in a researcher or education position, while the DNP is a practice-based program that will prepare you for roles in advanced practice, management and leadership, and nursing education.
Is It Worth Getting Your Nursing Doctorate Online?
Most of the time, nursing students at this level are already working as a registered nurse or perhaps even in advanced nursing practice. Because of this, an online doctorate degree program is often an ideal choice to consider since it is more flexible and allows you to fit studying more easily around your career. On average, doctorate programs in nursing take between two and five years to complete depending on whether you study for a DNP, Ph.D., or a doctor of nursing science program. Online study gives you the option to study in a more flexible manner while gaining further nursing experience, while providing more options when it comes to schools and programs to choose from.
A doctorate degree in nursing is an ideal choice for you if you want to get into an advanced nursing role including nurse leadership, education, management, research, and advanced clinical practice.