The evolving needs of patients and the increasing complexity of health care delivery models have spurred demand for many specialized health care professionals, including advanced practice nurses. Highly educated nurse practitioners have an important role, holding key clinical, managerial, and executive positions that greatly impact the health care industry.
To learn more, check out the infographic below, created by Bradley University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program.
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The Need for Doctoral-Prepared Nurses
A shortage of physicians in the U.S. calls for nurse leaders who have a higher level of education and preparedness.
Projected Health Care Provider Shortages
By 2034, the U.S. is projected to be short between 17,800 and 48,000 physicians. The demand for nursing professionals is projected to grow significantly over the next several years, fueled by increasing demand for health care services and retirements from the existing workforce.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), nearly 113,000 additional nurse practitioners will be needed by 2031, a 46% growth rate. The registered nursing (RN) workforce is also expected to grow — from 3.1 million in 2021 to 3.3 million in 2031.
Why DNP-Prepared Nurses Are Needed in Health Care
Due to increasing U.S. health care demands — and the increasing complexity of services — nurses should have the highest level of knowledge and expertise to deliver high-quality patient care and safety.
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is an advanced degree educating nurses in leadership, quality improvement, and evidence-based practice. Nurses with advanced education can help greatly, as they may prevent service deficits in health care, including preventable medical errors, lack of care for chronic conditions, and limited access to timely care.
Unfortunately, nursing faculty who are prepared to train the next generation of advanced practice nurses are in short supply. According to a report by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), U.S. nursing schools turned away 91,938 qualified applications from bachelor’s and graduate nursing programs in 2021 due to a lack of faculty, clinical preceptors, clinical sites, classroom space, and budgetary resources.
DNPs’ Contribution in the Workplace
DNPs apply advanced skills and knowledge to support their colleagues and patients.
Skills and Responsibilities
The key skills and competencies of DNP-prepared nurses include leadership, critical thinking, strategic planning, business and financial acumen, organizational management, a high level of scientific and medical knowledge, and an understanding of politics and health care policy.
With these skills, a DNP will be charged with handling numerous responsibilities as part of their daily duties, including focusing on patient-centered care; collaborating with interdisciplinary teams; understanding and using tech-driven innovations in a health care setting (such as information systems and health informatics); mentoring nurses; and advancing the nursing profession as a nurse educator.
DNPs may also hold positions of leadership related to health care administration, policy development, and education. In a leadership role, they may be tasked with evaluating nursing practice and making quality improvements. Additionally, DNP-prepared nurses are uniquely positioned to advocate for changes and improvements in health care policies.
Advanced Nursing Positions
DNP graduates have access to many rewarding and well-paying positions in health care.
DNP-Prepared Nursing Positions
Numerous nursing positions require an advanced nursing degree. These include chief nursing officer, nurse scientist, nursing instructor, and nurse practitioner.
- A chief nursing officer (CNO) must have a master’s or doctoral degree, and can expect to earn a median annual salary of $135,400, according to the compensation website Payscale. Between 2021 and 2031, the number of CNO positions is expected to grow 28%, the BLS reports.
- Nurse scientists typically have a master’s or doctoral degree. They can expect to earn a median annual salary of $95,300, according to the BLS. Job openings for the position are projected to grow 17% between 2021 and 2031.
- Nursing instructors need to have a doctoral degree. They can expect to earn a median annual salary of $77,400, the BLS reports. The number of positions for nursing instructions is expected to grow by 22% between 2021 and 2031.
- Nurse practitioners must have a master’s degree and can expect to earn a median annual salary of $120,680, according to the BLS. Between 2021 and 2031, the number of nurse practitioner positions is expected to increase by 46%.
Other In-Demand Nursing Positions
Registered nurses, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists are a few other in-demand nursing positions that DNP graduates may choose to pursue. A nurse midwife and nurse anesthetist should both have a master’s degree, while registered nurses typically hold a bachelor’s or associate degree. The growth for these positions in the next 10 years is projected to be 6% for registered nurses, 7% for nurse midwives, and 12% for nurse anesthetists, according to the BLS. The median annual salary for these roles was $77,600, $112,800, and $195,600, respectively, in 2021.
DNPs Make a Difference in Health Care
Advanced practice nurses have many opportunities in health care. Those interested in furthering their careers by earning a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree can become leaders in an evolving health care industry and make a significant impact on the delivery of high-quality patient care.