4 Reasons to Pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree

Health Published: March 20, 2013

Polar Bear on Crutch Consulting With Doctor

As a nurse, you work long hours and probably barely have a free moment to relax. Why, then, should you consider pursuing a doctor of nursing practice, and will the time and money you invest pay off? Graduate school is not always necessary depending on your career goals, but there are a number of reasons why making the time to pursue that degree will really pay off—and making the time may be easier than you think thanks to online DNP programs.

1. Better Pay

You may qualify for a promotion due to your advanced degree, and with your promotion comes greater pay. Even if you stay in the same position, by choice or necessity, you’ll have leverage during the next employee review. As a doctor of nursing practice, you’ll bring more to your hospital, clinic or facility than you would have without your doctorate. As such, your employer may reward your advanced degree with a raise.

If your current employer isn’t able to offer you a promotion and/or raise due to your advanced degree, consider moving elsewhere and working for a higher salary right off the bat. Your degree will make you a valued member of any medical community.

2. Work in Education

If the idea of teaching others to become nurses seems appealing, you may be suited for a career in education. After you’ve spent a few years in the nursing field, if you earn your doctorate, you can become a professor and teach undergrads and graduate students alike. As a professor of nursing, you’ll become a leader in your community’s medical field.

You don’t have to become a professor in order to enjoy the academic benefits of your doctorate. As a nurse with a doctorate, you’ll be doing research and writing theses. You may be able to use your current place of employment to carry out your theories on how nurses can do their jobs even more efficiently and effectively. You can then turn around and publish these papers in academic journals and other publications, which may lead to you being invited to speak at medical facilities across the nation and even the world.. Prestigious publications will typically only publish articles written by those with an advanced degree.

3. Outshine the Competition

Whether you’re just getting into the nursing field or you’re transferring to a new location, there will come a time when you have to use a resume to catch an employer’s attention with only a page or two. Right at the top of the first page could be your doctorate degree. Your degree alone could be enough to get you an interview at the very least.

Once it comes time for the employer to make a decision, they may have to sift through dozens of applicants to choose only one for the job. If the sole difference between you and someone else is that they have a graduate degree and you do not, they’re going to get the job instead of you. Why not make yourself the one who stands apart from the rest? Earn a higher degree and enjoy greater job opportunities.

4. Become a Leader

If you’ve been passed over for promotion time and time again, it may be because your competition for the position, despite being similarly experienced, is better-educated. Most hospitals, facilities and clinics recognize graduate degrees as a sign of commitment and knowledge of the field. With a graduate degree, you may be asked to assume a leadership position. You may be in charge of a team of nurses, of an entire department or even an entire facility.

Pursuing a doctor of nursing may lead to greater pay, opportunities to work in education or academia, a leg-up over the competition for a job opening and the possibility of assuming a leadership position. Since online programs make fitting your education into a busy schedule easier than ever, you will find the time to earn your degree. As long as you’re committed, you will be able to succeed.

About the Author: Mayra C. Myers is a contributing writer and recent online Catholic University of America doctor of nursing practice program graduate. She is a nurse practitioner at a large hospital system in Portland.

Image credit Scott Beale


Article by Lesley
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