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Top three career outcomes of an online Doctor of Nursing Practice degree

Date: February 8, 2018


Many advantages can be earned through the completion of a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, but one of the degree’s foremost benefits is the opportunity for career advancement. When you complete a DNP, you strengthen your resume, opening the door for leadership roles both within and outside clinical practice.

This opportunity makes the degree an increasingly popular choice for nurses who want to advance in the workplace. If you are looking for the next step in your nursing career, consider one of the following three roles that you could qualify for after earning a DNP:

1. Nurse practitioner

One of the most common and financially rewarding outcomes for a DNP is a career as a nurse practitioner (NP). NPs are registered nurses who complete advanced education, frequently in the form of a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) or the more in-depth DNP, to play a more active role in the treatment of patients. Typical responsibilities include performing physical exams, writing prescriptions, ordering tests and providing primary care. NPs also tend to integrate an additional focus on health management and disease prevention, helping patients to mitigate health concerns before they become more serious problems.

The type of patients you will see as an NP can vary depending on the specialty you choose. Common areas of practice include family nurse practitioner, pediatric nurse practitioner, adult nurse practitioner, women’s health nurse practitioner and geriatric nurse practitioner.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of advanced practice registered nurses, which includes NPs, as well as nurse anesthetists and nurse midwives, is $107,460. Demand for these advanced practice roles is expected to increase by 31 percent between 2014 and 2024, adding 53,400 jobs to the market.

2. Nurse educator

If you are passionate about nursing, you may also enjoy educating the next generation of nursing professionals. As a nurse educator, you may work at an academic institution or a health care organization, imparting the knowledge that you have gained from your own experiences to students who desire to advance their careers.

Though you can teach while simultaneously practicing in a clinical setting, some nurses prefer to retire from clinical practice to focus completely on teaching and possibly research. Your hours and daily responsibilities will vary largely by what kind of combination you choose, as well as by position and institution. Typical components of a nurse educator role include the following:

  • Teaching: As a nurse educator, you will instruct aspiring nurses in an academic or clinical environment. You may additionally help design and implement academic programs and other curriculums for your institution.
  • Supervising: In addition to teaching responsibilities, you will also likely spend time supervising the hands-on portion of your students’ training, which may include clinical rounds or other situations where students implement the skills they’ve learned in the classroom.
  • Researching: Many teaching roles provide opportunities for research, particularly if you are working at a research hospital or institution. These positions allow you to educate nurses while also advancing the existing body of scientific knowledge.
  • Mentoring: When you work as a nurse educator, you do more than simply instruct your students in the latest best practices of the field. You are also a mentor for the next generation of nurses, which includes providing career advice and helping your students’ network with other professionals.

According to Payscale, the average nurse educator salary in the U.S. is $73,180, but total compensation can range up to $100,000.

Nurse Helping Infant

3. Health care lobbyist

A lobbyist communicates and advocates certain positions on legal matters to members of the government with the aim of influencing policy at local, state or federal levels. These professionals may be employed by private individuals or large organizations, or represent the general public or special interest groups. In short, lobbyists can represent anyone with a vested interest in influencing the legal process and decision-making of the government.

In health care, lobbyists may advocate for patients and providers on a number of important topics, such as health insurance, research funding, development of pharmaceuticals and more.

PayScale reported that the median salary for lobbyists is about $70,000 a year in the U.S., but compensation can exceed $100,000 annually.

You can still be involved in the development of health care policy without working as a full-time lobbyist. Nurses around the country volunteer their time with advocacy organizations and nursing groups that stand up for important issues in the industry. You also can affect change by simply writing to your local representative.

If you are ready to pursue one of these positions or another exciting career in advanced nursing practice, consider enrolling in Bradley University’s online DNP program. The Leadership track will help prepare you for an advanced position in a variety of health care settings through courses that cover important topics such as evidence-based practice, data management and health care policy.

Or consider enrolling in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing-entry Family Nurse Practitioner track to launch a career as an NP working with patients of all ages. Courses include topics such as health assessment, acute/chronic conditions, pharmacology and the health of women, and children and aging populations.

To determine whether Bradley University’s online DNP program is right for you, request more information today.

Recommended Reading:
What are the core values of a quality DNP program?
DNP vs. Ph.D.: What’s the difference?
What does the future of the nursing industry look like?