Less than 1% of nurses in America have a doctorate. Why is this statistic significant? Because as the nursing workforce retires, we need better-educated nurses to bridge the gaps in healthcare. According to research, more than 1 million nurses will retire by 2030. Notably, there will be a wide gap between the needs and services in this sector.
It is worth mentioning that nurses are often the first line of defense against the global war on diseases. The healthcare sector prefers nurses with the skills and knowledge to manage emerging situations. Also, leadership and management skills are a must for competent nurses. The future of nursing depends on the joint efforts of nurses with diverse educational backgrounds. Still, a Doctor of Nursing Profession’s (DNP) role is the most important of all.
What is a DNP?
A DNP is different from a Ph.D. in nursing. PhDs focus on research and academics, but DNPs are more central to practical knowledge. Almost all DNPs require students to have a master’s degree in nursing. Furthermore, DNP programs are usually two years long. They are multidisciplinary programs with a holistic approach to learning.
DNP graduates have in-depth knowledge of natural sciences and discover how to apply this knowledge to nursing. They also learn to eliminate health disparities by improving leadership. A vital part of a DNP program is that it teaches nurses about the financial and business underpinnings of a health institution. Since private hospitals are essentially business, nurses must know how to provide efficient healthcare to patients.
DNP graduates learn how to play an active role in designing and influencing health care policy. People with degrees from online dnp nursing programs can step up and provide executive leadership. Therefore, they lead the way in improving community health by evaluating care delivery methods and improving them.
How DNPs Contribute to the Future of Nursing?
As discussed above, DNPs are the most qualified and educated nurses in the business. They have hours of experience and clinical knowledge, which puts them in leadership positions in healthcare structures. Several emerging trends have increased the demand for DNPs. These include:
Shortage of leadership
According to Health Affairs, there will be a significant shortage of nurses in the next few years. Since the current performing nurses may retire soon, there will be a loss of knowledge, skills, and expertise for the healthcare sector. A DNP trains students to become better leaders who can give sustainable solutions to problems. They may also mentor others and solve problems by delivering quality patient care. DNP programs teach nurses how to become better leaders by focusing on eighth leadership competencies.
The demand for highly qualified nurses
A DNP is the highest nursing degree in healthcare. Therefore, DNP graduates are experts in research, theory, and practice. They can implement research and help nurses apply them to their patients. DNPs can use evidence-based practice to determine the needs and wants of their patients. Not only can this improve health outputs, but it also makes them capable of providing effective patient care.
On average, DNPs earn more than those with graduate degrees in nursing. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a DNP graduate earns $102,000 per annum. DNPs earn almost 8% higher than the national average. However, salaries vary from one state to another. For example, DNPs in New York are the highest-paid while those in Rhode Island earn the least. Those DNP graduates who work in an executive role may earn more since healthcare administrators are better paid than direct care nurses. Actually, a healthcare administration degree has the best ROI of almost any degree out there.
The modern healthcare sector is complex and confusing. Advancements in technology have transformed the world of medicine and nursing. However, as the sector changes, so do the problems. Presently, healthcare is more focused on improving communication and solving problems by working as a team. DNPs can help because they are on the front lines of academia, research, and administration. They can identify obstacles to patient satisfaction and neutralize issues before they hinder health care.
It is best to consider your patients as consumers. Even though healthcare is not a traditional market, patients feel like consumers and expect high-quality services. They want a more patient-centered approach to healthcare. Patients often have to pay for healthcare out of their pocket, so they scrutinize who provides them these services. It is worth mentioning that patients of the present day are more knowledgeable and engaged in healthcare decisions. So the balance of power has shifted to the hands of patients. DNPs have the skills to provide a better patient experience by implementing research.
Nurses with a doctorate can also work as healthcare researchers. The world of healthcare needs more such intellectuals who can provide solutions to the emerging problems in healthcare. Cynical research nurses work with medical professionals to implement clinical studies. They also design research programs and draw conclusions based on the evidence.
Need for nurse educators
The nursing sector is facing mass shortages of nurse educators. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 870 nursing schools have 1,715 vacancies. The reason is that all of these positions need nurses with terminal degrees. Therefore, nurse educators can bridge this gap and educate future nurses. Doing so will also decree the shortage of registered nurses in America.
As technology changes the healthcare sector, the demand for nurses with higher education has increased. Similarly, more healthcare institutions prefer to encourage DNP programs. More than 357 DNP universities in America are currently enrolling students, while 106 new programs are developing. Furthermore, student enrollment in DNP increased by 2,000. This change in national attitude is due to the recent trends in healthcare.
With a doctorate in nursing practice, students can become better leaders and administrators. They can easily breakdown health care situations and provide workable solutions. Most DNP programs require nurses to focus on clinical learning and practical expertise. Therefore, nurses with DNPs are in the loop with the latest in medical research and theories. They can influence healthcare policy as they are well equipped to create policies and implement reforms. For the right person, a DNP can lead to a challenging and rewarding career.