Doctor of Nursing (DNP)The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is a terminal, doctoral nursing degree. DNP degree programs are clinically focused, providing practice-oriented training in the most advanced areas of nursing. This is in contrast to most doctoral programs, which are focused less on practice and more on academic research.
DNP programs prepare registered nurses to become advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs), which include nurse practitioners (NPs), certified nurse midwives (CNMs), clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), and certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNAs). Curriculum includes coursework in advanced nursing practice, leadership, and application of clinical research. Roughly 50% of nurse anesthetist programs culminate in DNP degrees.
There are many benefits of DNP programs. They award a terminal credential, and greatly improve a nurse's opportunities for career advancement and higher earning potential. They allow nurses to administer many treatments and services which, in the past, could only be administered by medical doctors. DNP programs provide nurses with training in advanced and complex treatments, enabling them to improve their level of knowledge and skill.
Applicants of DNP programs must hold a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree, must acquire a certain amount of applicable experience as a registered nurse, and must complete 4 years of advanced practice education.