Investing in your education is key to advancing your career, but it can be a lot of work. Going back to school takes time, personal commitment, and resources. So why should you upgrade your BSN or MSN to a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree?
As it turns out, now may be the perfect time to complete your nursing education and set yourself on a path toward executive leadership, facility operations, or a career as a university faculty member. Here are five compelling reasons why you should earn your DNP.
1. Advance your nursing career.
Without a graduate degree in nursing, a nurse may be limited to direct patient care for their entire career, but a graduate degree can open new and exciting opportunities. Pursuing a DNP with an emphasis in executive leadership, such as the one at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, can qualify the degree holder for opportunities in Nurse Education or Nurse Administration, as well as careers as specialized clinicians.
2. Get a salary boost.
Nursing is not only a growing field—it’s a well-paying field. This year, the national average salary for an RN is $71,730. According to Nurse.org, advanced practice registered nurses (APRN)—like nurse practitioners, nurse anesthetists, and nurse midwives—can all expect to earn higher salaries than a nurse without a graduate degree, especially if travel and per diems are included. The significant projected growth in job openings for nurse practitioners, nurse managers, and nurse executives combined with the potential for higher salaries—often $120,000 or higher—mean that DNP holders will likely have ample opportunity to pursue these more lucrative nursing roles.
3. Be qualified to teach the next generation of nurses.
Just as the market’s demand for nurses will open many job opportunities for clinicians, it will also open many opportunities to teach at colleges and universities. A doctoral degree in nursing will be in high demand as universities look to DNP holders as faculty to help produce more nurses from academic programs. University accrediting bodies often require a terminal degree in nursing as a prerequisite for holding a faculty position.
4. Influence future healthcare policy.
As a profession, nursing continues to change and evolve with the complex demands of providing care. The evolution of high-technology hospitals, lengths of hospital stay that are among the shortest in the world, expansion of national primary care capacity, improved access to care for the poor and for rural residents, and respite and palliative care—including hospice—are among the factors that the National Institutes of Health state will continue to drive changes in practice and policy. DNP holders who are at the tip of the spear will be a valuable voice in crafting policy changes to match these demands at the organizational, state, and federal levels.
John C. Maxwell said it best: “Everything rises and falls on leadership.” Earning a DNP will help the graduate nursing student learn to lead offices, clinics, hospitals, and major organizations with more confidence and skill.
Interested? Read more about Oklahoma Wesleyan University’s groundbreaking DNP degree program here.