They are looking into doctoral nursing programs but wonder whether the Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) or the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is right for them. This overview will give you essential information about how they compare. However, when comparing anything in life, it’s always important to clarify what you are comparing, so let’s take it from the top.
What is a DNP?
Because there is no higher level of education for practice-based nursing training, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, or DNP, is a terminal degree in nursing. DNP nurses are in high demand for positions in clinical nursing leadership and are seen as key figures in the future of healthcare in the United States. They are well-versed in influencing healthcare outcomes.
The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is one of two possible doctorate degrees in the nursing sector. It is a post-BSN medical practice degree. A DNP degree is a practicing degree that includes advanced training in specific nursing skills and disciplines. Because most advanced-degree nurses only have an MSN, a DNP degree can be an excellent choice for an NP or RN to further their careers and differentiate themselves as superior candidates. A DNP degree may lead to situations, such as chief nursing officer, that are unavailable to nurse practitioners with only an MSN. In addition, a DNP could be the missing link in obtaining a lucrative nursing leadership position. In addition, a DNP could be the missing link in getting a lucrative nursing leadership position.
To pursue this degree, you must find a program that meets your specific requirements. To follow this degree, you must find a program that meets your particular needs. A DNP is an excellent choice for nursing professionals who want to improve patient care quality and safety at all levels, from individuals to populations. An online DNP like the one offered by Walsh University allows working nurses to further their education in their own time. You get the convenience of entirely online courses and the hands-on experience of a built-in practicum.
What is a Ph.D. in Nursing?
A doctorate, or Ph.D., is a nurse’s highest level of education. A Ph.D. nurse has earned a Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing degree. Unlike a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, which focuses on advanced clinical practice, a Ph.D. in Nursing program prepares nurses for careers conducting crucial medical research that will advance the nursing profession and teach nursing at the college level.
Nurses with this degree may work as faculty members at an academic institution, spend their days in the classroom, or work in a research lab. A Ph.D. in Nursing gives these nurses the tools and knowledge they need to educate others or conduct research.
You can tailor the content of your degree to your specific interests. Primary research will require you to make a unique and original contribution to the evidence that underpins nursing practice. You could work in many nursing fields, such as adult, pediatric, mental health, senior, or acute and critical care nursing. This will allow you to build an expert knowledge base to conduct in-depth independent research. Your research will be integrated into your field of practice. It will work to improve the outcomes of the patients, service users, clinicians, or students with whom you collaborate. You’ll be learning in a stimulating environment where researchers and students from various backgrounds collaborate to research, learn and work.
DNP vs. PhD
Nurses with a master’s degree who are ready for the next step may be deciding between a DNP and a Ph.D. Both are considered terminal degrees for advanced practice nurses but come from different fields of study. A Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), for example, is a clinical practice degree, whereas a Ph.D. in nursing is a research degree. Let’s take a closer look at key differences to determine which is better for you.
Scope of work
All Ph.D. programs in English literature, mathematics, nursing, or political science require a dissertation and lengthy academic writing based on original research. In other words, a dissertation entails the pursuit of new knowledge. Dissertations can take years; this requirement accounts for the longer time it takes most students to complete a Ph.D. In contrast, the capstone project required for DNP graduation requires the DNP candidate to apply existing knowledge to a real-time issue encountered in a clinical setting. In other words, the proposed solution does not have to be novel.
According to the AACN, a DNP curriculum is built on education in evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and systems leadership. The DNP has eight primary learning targets. A typical DNP curriculum provides nursing education of the highest level that includes many hours of clinical practice to address these learning objectives. DNP courses can prepare students for APRN positions, like nurse practitioners and others with leadership responsibilities. Adult-gerontology acute care nurse practitioner (AGACNP), psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner, adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner (AGPCNP), or family nurse practitioner (FNP) are some of the specializations available to DNP students interested in pursuing an NP role.
Coursework in philosophy doctoral courses is designed to improve a nurse’s analytical, methodological and theoretical skills. The Ph.D. curriculum will encourage students to understand nursing applications and research systems. While there is often an overlap in the subjects covered by Ph.D. and DNP courses, such as clinical outcomes, healthcare policies, and leadership, the Ph.D. curriculum was created to prepare nurse educators, researchers, scholars, and scientists. Like DNPPhD programs, they frequently require a master’s degree, like an MSN. However, there are BSN-PhD tracks allowing pupils to take up a master’s degree as part of the philosophy doctoral course.
Salaries and positions
A DNP works at the highest level of clinical practice, and the average salary for a nurse with this degree is around $100,000 per year. This varies by job, as a clinician’s salary is higher than an educator’s. In other words, individuals who teach nursing students at universities earn less than those who practice with patients. For example, a DNP working as an advanced psychiatric nurse practitioner earns around $110,000 annually. The majority of DNP-prepared RNs pursue clinical practice careers. A DNP may look for jobs such as advanced practitioner, clinical educator, healthcare researcher, policy maker, quality improvement manager, etc.
A PhD-prepared nurse devotes time to research, analysis, and scientific studies. They are also frequently hired as professors and educators in academia. A Ph.D. candidate may look for jobs such as an academic professor, author, nurse researcher, nurse scientist, and policy maker. According to Payscale, a PhD-educated nurse earns an average annual salary of $97,000. In comparison to a DNP, this makes the salary very competitive. Similar to a DNP-prepared nurse, compensation varies depending on the setting and institution. A nurse researcher can earn a yearly salary of around $90,000.
While the admissions requirements for DNP and Ph.D. in Nursing programs differ, both are terminal degrees with many of the same conditions. Students pursuing a Ph.D. in Nursing should expect to devote three to five years to their studies to complete their research and defend their dissertations. In contrast, while the length of DNP programs varies widely between full- and part-time study, a DNP can be earned in as few as five semesters, and the program may conclude with a leadership- or clinical practice-focused project.
The pressure on nurses to obtain doctorates has increased significantly. Some clinical nursing positions do not necessitate an advanced degree; however, this is changing. Nurses with a doctorate have an advantage over others within the industry. If you have obtained a master’s degree, are considering enrolling in a graduate degree course, or are working in a nurse specialty, it’s worth considering if a terminal degree is necessary to advance your nursing career.
Nurses pursuing a terminal degree must decide whether to do research or practice. Both are required in today’s healthcare system, and each degree prepares nurses for leadership roles that patients desperately need.
Do your research before making your decision. Take the time to consider your options. Examine Doctor of Nursing Science, DNP, Ph.D., and other study and practice-focused doctoral programs. Doctoral education should be viewed as a means to an end, a means of progressing your nursing career. A fancy diploma or the ability to use the title “doctor” are not reasons to embark on the long, arduous journey that any doctoral program necessitates. A doctorate does not automatically make you a good nurse practitioner. However, it does add to your body of knowledge and the breadth of your professional contribution.