Benefits of a Doctorate Degree in Nursing


Doctoral Degrees in Nursing are relatively new degrees and is us usually a DNP or PhD in Nursing. The PhD in Nursing, like the  DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice), is a “terminal” degree (meaning this is as far academically as one can go).

The possessor of the nursing doctorate degree must not only have extensive practical clinical experience, but a business and management paradigm that allows them to prepare nurses for nursing as well as for administrative positions.  In addition, the job allows a creative outlet for the DNP/PHD holder to create innovations in methodology, research, medical education and nursing techniques.

Why the Doctorate in Nursing was Created

Any nursing school student heading for an Registered Nursing certificate knows that the biggest difficulty she will encounter is the clinical experience requirement.  1,000 hours is the bare minimum; in order for that nurse to be competitive in the job market, she must attain to 4,000 hours and more.  While that is a small amount in terms of a relative length of a career, it is a tremendous number of supervised hours to fill, and staff members that can act in a supervisory capacity are limited (a doctor, for example, has patients to tend in preference to novices to instruct).

Hence, the creation of Doctoral Nursing Degrees. Qualified graduates can prepare Registered Nurses to reach advanced practice roles such as NP (nurse practitioner), CNM (nurse-midwife) and CNS (nurse specialist).

The duties of a Doctor of Nursing are multiform, according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, which lists some of them:

– She develops the advanced competencies a nurse may need for clinical work of an increasingly complex nature (including possible administrative duties)

– She improves patient outcomes by innovating new nursing methods based on research and practical experience

– She enhances health care delivery by sharpening the expertise of the staff she is training

– She enjoys parity with other health professionals, and frequently shares out expertise and new developments

– Her availability allows for an increased flow of individual student nurses and trainees in clinical instruction and experience.

The Program for Doctorate in Nursing

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) has targeted 2015 as the year all entry-level NP (nurse practitioner) programs move from the traditional MSN (Master of Science in Nursing) degree to the Doctorate of Nursing Practice or Nursing PhD.  These doctoral degrees are obviously on the way up the medical ladder, and both an RN certification and Masters in Nursing Degree are required prerequisites before you can begin a nursing doctoral program.

These Doctorate training programs can be done in an institution, in a medical facility or online, and take approximately 5 years to complete.  Some of the typical coursework might include (from online programs for the PhD in Nursing Doctorate):

– Ethics:  problem solving in health care, with an emphasis on the hierarchy of the medical facility, the decision making process, and the varied philosophies of ethics found in clinical, professional and organizational settings.

– Nursing Education: trains the novice doctor in methodologies for the development of RNs, and for assisting their education as they specialize.

– Adult Health Nursing: adult care as applied to new theories, evidentiary treatment procedures and health care trends for this particular population

– Health Care Informatics: health care technology and management, addressing the organizational issues and social paradigms that arise from major health care alterations.

Job Outlook and Salary for those with a Doctorate in Nursing

The job outlook for Nursing Doctorate holders is “favorable” as reported by the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.  There should be a minimum 9% job growth in the nursing market, including upper echelon positions, and a maximum job growth of up to 27% from 2008 to 2018.

Average salary for the Doctorate in Nursing Education depends upon the position that the degree secures.  For example, an Administration Director can expect an average of $72,000, while a Nursing Director might command $110,000 and more.

The Nursing Doctorate may be a terminal degree, but it is obviously a good stopping place for a lifelong career.  

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