If you’ve been thinking about expanding your education by earning a doctorate, you might be wondering: what are my options? Which degree will help me reach my goals?
The desire for nursing professionals to take the leap and advance their education is growing substantially. With that in mind, striving for a terminal degree may be worth the hassle. A terminal degree refers to the highest academic credential for a particular discipline. Nursing professionals that have already earned their Master’s degree and are ready to take the next step may aim for a DNP or Ph.D. These two are the terminal degrees for healthcare professionals, but both require very different practices. In simpler terms, a doctor of philosophy in nursing (Ph.D.) is a research-centered degree. A doctor of nursing practice (DNP) is a degree based on clinical practice. So, which one is better?
If you’re struggling to make a decision, we can help you out. Let’s equate and compare these two degrees to make the right decision and reach your goals.
Comparison Between a DNP & Ph.D.
When aiming for a terminal degree in nursing, it is essential to compare the differences between your options. Only then will you be able to strive for greatness. So, let’s evaluate the differences.
As mentioned earlier, the DNP program refers to clinical practice. It’s ideal for those who want to expand their understanding and knowledge of nursing. On top of that, it generally has a curriculum that emphasizes both leadership and clinical skills. So, it’s a two-for-one option. Moreover, DNP graduates will get poised to:
- Lead interdisciplinary care groups
- Interpret nursing research into the evidence-based criteria of care
- Enhance care systems
- Compare and improve outcomes among specific patient groups
For nurses, the DNP program comes mandatory by the (AACN) American Association of College of Nursing. AACN also declared the DNP program to be a terminal degree for nursing experts. That statement should be able to make your choice easier. Right? But not so fast, as we’ve got a lot to cover.
Now, let’s come to Ph.D. This degree focuses on academic research and prepares nurses to develop evidence-based knowledge. Additionally, there is a Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS) available. It is similar to a Ph.D. in terms of focus and scope. Moreover, the graduates of Ph.D. get prepared to:
- Work in education or research
- Lead research groups
- Implement and design studies that address care systems and disease trajectories
- Lead nursing teams to evaluate statistics, scientific theory, and data analysis
Three Major Benefits of DNP Degrees
- Advancing in the Nursing Profession
One of the most prominent benefits of DNP degrees is that they can make it easier for nursing professionals to climb the legendary career ladder. Prognosis regarding the degree’s importance already indicates the healthcare sector greatly prizes DNP graduates. Carrying the degree usually signals to companies that a candidate has finely-tuned the explicit skills to offer excellent care and improve patient-centered outcomes.
- More Career Options
Since DNP is a terminal degree and allows candidates to view healthcare from a top-down clinical view, graduates often get rewarded with a wide range of career options. Specific positions are available in the executive or high-level administration, where responsibilities may include supervising an entire organization.
These types of positions can instill graduates with the chance to forge unique paths to enhance patient outcomes. The goal is to discover outcomes that may positively affect the future of healthcare.
- More Skills under a Specific Concentration
DNP programs feature areas of concentration such as women’s health, pediatrics, psychiatric mental health, family medicine, and adult-gerontology. Because of this, candidates can choose to take a deeper dive into a particular aspect of healthcare. It allows them to hone skills further to expand in a specific field and equips them to aim for a professional path that tingles their interests.
Three Major Benefits of Ph.D.
- Have an Influence on Healthcare Practices and Policies
Ph.D. candidates get a great chance to have a better influence on healthcare practices and policies. The nursing professional can practice setting rules, making policies, and distributing responsibilities over the concerned authority. They can gather statistics and conduct scientific research to improve the healthcare industry and practitioners.
- Practice on Your Own
By earning a doctorate, nursing professionals can have their center to offer health facilities. However, they must implement the gained expertise and knowledge to assist people medically.
Other than that, they may have to use their potential to the fullest to strive for medical excellence.
- Take up Administrative Roles and Become Leaders
Nursing professionals with a doctoral degree are superior in demand. Being a specialist with more excellent knowledge, you can take up the roles of administrative care. On prime of that, a Ph.D. in nursing allows professionals to practice as educators. They can become good mentors, leaders, educators, or an entire faculty, all while possessing tremendous skills.
Conclusion: So, which is better?
Whichever path you pursue in your Ph.D. vs. DNP decision, you will be yielding an advanced grip on nursing and improving healthcare outcomes for patients. If you are eager for firsthand clinical administration and knowledge, a DNP will be a better fit. If you are passionate about research, a Ph.D. is likely the best option for you.
Either way, in Ph.D. vs. DNP, you are part of filling a gigantic need for professionally prepared nurses.