If you hold a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), you may be curious about the growing trend of nurses opting for a DNP degree and whether pursuing one would be the right decision for you. In recent years, more and more nurses are choosing to advance their careers by earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
Frontier Nursing University’s clinical doctorate is designed for registered nurses with certification as a nurse-midwife or nurse practitioner who want to take their nursing career, leadership skills and clinical expertise to the next level, with an emphasis on rural and underserved communities. Below are three reasons why you may consider taking this step.
“I decided to become a DNP to gain confidence in being a leader and advocate for my patients and community,” FNU DNP alumni Carrie Baker said.
“I decided to become a DNP to gain confidence in being a leader and advocate for my patients and community.”
– Dr. Carrie Baker, FNU Alumni
Advance your skills.
The DNP is the highest degree for clinical nursing practice and is highly valued in preparing nurses for advanced practice. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), changing demands of the complex healthcare environment require the highest level of scientific knowledge and practice expertise to assure quality patient outcomes.
FNU’s Post-Master’s DNP program is designed for certified nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners, combining coursework and clinical/practicum experiences to build on knowledge acquired during their master’s program. Students gain new experience in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, systems leadership, and more.
FNU faculty member and alumni Dr. Kristin Gianelis says earning a doctoral degree taught her to think differently.
“It opened my eyes to quality improvement, developed leadership skills and gave me the confidence to be an agent of change in my community,” she said.
“The DNP program is pushing me to become a better leader. I’m used to staying in the background and putting my head down, but I’m being challenged to engage more on a political stage and with stakeholders in my community to make sure my patients get the kind of care they deserve.”
– Dr. Kamil El, FNU Alumni
Improve the standard of care in your community.
A 2022 study by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) found widespread agreement that DNP graduates have great potential to impact patient and system-level outcomes by translating evidence into practice and health policy and by using leadership skills and interdisciplinary collaboration.
FNU’s DNP Program prepares nurses to impact health care nationwide, starting with improving health care outcomes and the delivery of primary health in their communities. The DNP Project guides students through the process of working within a healthcare delivery system to translate evidence into practice.
Our DNP students complete 500 hours planning, implementing and disseminating the results of a rapid cycle quality improvement project using the Institute for Healthcare Improvement model. The clinical project hours involve application and demonstration of The Essentials by AACN including person-centered care, population health, quality and safety, systems-based practice, and personal, professional and leadership development. Many of our alumni consider it a life-changing experience.
“The DNP program is pushing me to become a better leader,” Dr. Kamil El, FNU DNP alumni, said. “I’m used to staying in the background and putting my head down, but I’m being challenged to engage more on a political stage and with stakeholders in my community to make sure my patients get the kind of care they deserve.”
“It opened my eyes to quality improvement, developed leadership skills and gave me the confidence to be an agent of change in my community.”
– Dr. Kristin Gianelis, FNU Faculty Member and Alumni
Shape the future of healthcare.
DNPs are needed in practice, as well as education. Those who earn a DNP can use the degree to educate the next generation of nurses by working as university faculty or precepting. FNU has more than 150 doctorally prepared certified nurse-midwife and nurse practitioner faculty and a network of nearly 16,000 preceptors nationwide.
FNU student Mara-Joanne Derinor was motivated to pursue her DNP in an effort to improve clinical education. She credits her decision to pursue a DNP at FNU as one of the best she’s ever made. Derinor feels that too often nursing students are not given adequate encouragement in their education.
“I want to be the change that I want to see. I want to encourage and motivate future clinical students. I also want to make new discoveries in clinical research.”
– Mara-Joanne Derinor, FNU Student
“I want to be the change that I want to see,” she said. “I want to encourage and motivate future clinical students. I also want to make new discoveries in clinical research.”
A DNP can help you shape the future of healthcare in many ways. At Frontier Nursing University, DNP students complete their coursework online, complete 30 credit hours in 18 months, lead a rapid cycle quality improvement project in collaboration with a chosen clinical site, and participate in a three-day campus immersion experience. To learn more, visit the DNP page on our website.