If you are a registered nurse with an MSN or a BSN, then undertaking an online DNP could be the next step in progressing your nursing career. This is the optimal qualification for a nurse, and can open up many new career opportunities that are not available to those without this level of education. Whether you are ready to begin your DNP studies now, or are just planning your educational journey in nursing, considering an online DNP will help prepare you for the work and training you will have to undertake in order to work in nursing at this level. Here are just a couple of the different career outcomes that an online DNP can prepare you for.
What is a DNP Program?
A DNP is a Doctorate of Nursing Practice, and is a qualification aimed at producing leaders in nursing. This is one of the highest qualifications that is available for nurses, and therefore provides you with the skills, knowledge and experience to be exemplary leaders and nursing professionals. There are many different tracks that you can take when studying DNP programs, and the track you choose will dictate the specialism and area of nursing that you go on to work in. You can work in leadership or clinical positions including as a Family Nurse Practitioner or a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, or helping to shape the future of nursing. These programs are for registered nurses who already hold an MSN or a BSN and want to continue advancing their careers within the nursing industry.
Executive Nurse Leadership
This track helps you to become a great leader or scholar, while continuing to work and lead in your current position. It is taught 100% online, making it a flexible study option for those who do not wish to leave their current jobs to study full-time in person. The program will combine your nursing and medical knowledge with that of business, management and leadership in order to hold the most senior administrative positions within nursing. Career outcomes of this track can include:
- Vice President of Nursing
- Chief Nursing Officer
- Chief Nursing Executive
In roles like these, your responsibilities can include managing teams and finances, creating new policies, representing the healthcare organization that you work for and making administrative decisions that support the goals of the organization. You can also work in many different settings, such as nursing schools, hospitals, nursing homes or rehabilitation centers.
Family Nurse Practitioner
This is an incredibly varied role and therefore requires a high level of education. The family nurse practitioner track of an online DNP can provide you with the technical skills and experience to perform your wide-reaching duties. FNPs treat patients of all ages and genders, across all body systems and diseases. They focus on preventative healthcare, as well as health education and disease management and guidance. FNPs work in different settings, such as hospitals, clinics or community centers. Your responsibilities include educating patients to promote their health, making assessments and diagnoses, managing treatment plans and prescribing medication, and you will understand the importance of family centered healthcare.
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
As a PNP you will specialize in the care of patients from when they are born to around age 21, which is the young adult stage. PNPs have a focus on primary care and your tasks can include prescribing medication, performing physical assessments, developmental check-ups, preventative health services, growth and development, and managing acute and chronic illnesses. You will also provide emotional support and advice to patients and their families. PNPs have a high level of knowledge of the common pediatric chronic and acute illnesses and conditions, as well as the general care of children of all ages.
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
A neonatal nurse practitioner specializes in the care of infants during the first two years of their lives, and you can focus on high-risk neonates and their families. An online DNP NNP program will prepare you to work at this high level of nursing, with modules that will give you an in-depth knowledge of neonatal nursing theory, as well as patient management, research utilization, systems management and program planning to help you lead the care of neonates.
Why Study Online?
There are numerous benefits to studying online, and you may think that something as hands-on as nursing would not be taught in this way. However, online DNP programs offer a great combination of online teaching and in-person learning to provide a flexible and affordable learning option. These courses are designed to be studied alongside your existing commitments such as your job or family, allowing you to pursue the next step in your career while continuing to excel in your current position.
The tuition fees for many online courses may be cheaper than in-person alternatives, and you can save money in other ways, too. For example, if you are studying mostly, or completely, from home you won’t have to spend as much on travel and commuting, or renting campus accommodation. The flexibility offered by online courses also means that you can continue to work and earn money while you are studying, making this a more accessible option for many.
The ability to work and learn simultaneously can also help you develop essential personal skills that will help you excel in any workplace or position. These are soft skills, and as a nurse you will most likely already have many of them. However, they can always be developed, and you will learn how to apply these skills in the new situations you may find yourself in in your new career.
Soft skills include time management, communication, adaptability and self-motivation, which are all traits that help make a great nurse, and can also be developed when you are learning online. For example, if you are studying alongside your job, you will need to be incredibly organized in order to complete the course to a high standard and continue to deliver great care to your patients. In this way, online learning has an added bonus.