4 In-Demand Careers for DNP-Prepared Nurses

dnp nurse at work

Nursing is changing. 

Today’s nurse leaders are needed to make decisions and identify problems yet to emerge. They are called upon to lead healthcare organizations. And they must demonstrate enhanced knowledge in advanced nursing practice, organizational leadership, economics and finance, healthcare policy and technology. 

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) was specifically designed to prepare nurses to meet these changing demands and improve patient outcomes. But the degree can also offer higher earning potential, career security and more advancement opportunities within nursing. In fact, employers have quickly recognized the unique contributions these expert nurses are making in the clinical and organizational level, and the demand for DNP-prepared nurses continues to grow.

Graduates of a DNP program are prepared to assume a variety of leadership roles and advance to the highest levels of nursing practice. Here’s a list of the most in-demand positions for DNP-prepared graduates today.

  

1. Nurse Educator

In the 2014-2015 school year alone, U.S. nursing schools turned away almost 69,000 qualified undergraduate and graduate applicants simply because there were not enough instructors to teach them. Institutions are increasingly seeking to fill these instructor roles with highly-trained DNP-prepared nurses eager to educate the next generation of healthcare professionals.

 

2. Chief Nursing Officer
 
Nurse executives face increasingly complex challenges as healthcare continues to evolve in the U.S., and the need for these highly trained nurses has only grown. They are distinguished by their keen decision-making and leadership skills while effectively managing patient outcomes, lowering costs and meeting regulatory standards. In recent years, it’s become more and more common that nurse executives earn advanced degrees to expand their clinical knowledge and skill base.

 

3. Clinical Nurse Specialist
 
Clinical nurse specialists must demonstrate strong managerial skills in assessing hospital procedures, processes and personnel while simultaneously treating and diagnosing patients. Their extensive experience and judgement make them ideal candidates to approach problems and challenges yet to emerge.

 

4. Advanced Practice Nurse (Including Nurse Practitioners, Nurse Mid-Wives, Nurse Anesthetists, etc.)
 
Since 2004, when the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) voted to move the current level of preparation for advanced nursing practice from the master’s degree to the doctorate-level, APRNs are increasingly required to have a doctoral degree. Driven by significant nursing shortages and increased complexities in patient care, doctorate-educated advanced practice nurses are sought to handle these issues within their area of specialization.

 

As cited by the AACN,According to the 2011 salary survey conducted by ADVANCE for Nurse Practitioners magazine, DNP-prepared advanced practice nurses earned $8,576 more than master’s-prepared nurses. 

As a DNP prepared nurse, with a focus on systems-level leadership, you could meet your career goals in an executive or advanced position.

Topics: Career, Nursing