25 Reasons why a DNP is Worth it!
Written By: Raymond Aguirre, RN, BSN, PHN, CHPN
One of the core tenets of the nursing profession is that learning is a constant process. As a nurse, you are expected to always seek ways to grow intellectually in your profession. That is because nursing is a constantly evolving profession and keeping abreast of new evidenced-based information is key to being a competent practitioner. If you have been a nurse for some time, you may be considering getting an advanced degree. If so, one question you may be asking yourself, is a DNP degree worth it? The quick answer is yes, it absolutely is, and here are 25 reasons why a DNP is worth it.
IS A DNP WORTH IT?
(Following 25 reasons will convince you why a DNP Degree is totally worth it.)
1. The income potential is tremendous.
Registered nurses have a median income of $66,152 or $30.39/hour
. A nurse with an advanced degree, however, can make six figures annually, depending on your specialty and years of experience. One of the biggest reasons why a DNP is worth it is that it offers great financial rewards. On average, having a DNP translates to $104,353 annually or 52.63/hour
. That is an amazing return on investment that is too hard to ignore.
2. A DNP makes you an in-demand professional.
The advanced practice nursing profession is projected to grow by 45% from 2019-2029
. There are already a lot of opportunities, and this will only continue to increase in the coming years. This means that the skills you learn with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree will make you an invaluable professional in the job market.
3. With a DNP, you are ahead of the curve.
Advanced practice nursing roles are available even to those with master’s degrees. But the nursing profession as a whole is moving away from that. Professional nursing organizations have begun to endorse the DNP as the best way to prepare for an advanced practice role. This is one of the top reasons why a DNP is worth it. Acquiring a DNP now will allow you to prepare for the future of nursing practice.
4. You do not have to drop everything to get a DNP.
Getting an education is always going to be a major endeavor. However, many DNP programs consider the busy schedule of their students. There are DNP programs that can be completed online in just a relatively short time
. This means that you can pursue your degree while working and you do not have to devote a very long time to achieve your career goals.
5. You will have hands-on training at a doctoral level.
You may be aware that there are two types of nursing degrees at a doctoral level: the Ph.D. and the DNP. The Ph.D. is primarily a research-based degree, while a DNP is focused more on nursing practice. Therefore, if you see yourself as a more hands-on nursing professional, then a DNP is worth it.
6. A DNP is a way to invest in your longevity as a nurse.
Let us face it. Nursing can be a laborious job. Many nurses spend many hours standing, walking, stooping, and doing all sorts of things that may not be so easy on the body. Having a DNP gives you the chance to take on roles that may not be so physically demanding. Therefore, that may give you a better chance of remaining in the profession longer.
7. Having a DNP can give you more autonomy.
One major reason why a DNP is worth it is because of its potential to give nurses a sense of independence, rather than having to rely on physician’s orders all the time. Advanced practice nurses, depending on the state they live in and their specialty, may be able to function as primary care providers and have prescriptive authority.
8. You can diversify your income.
Having a DNP can give you the opportunity to work in multiple settings. This means that you won’t have to be working for just one employer. You can take on many projects and assignments at once and make the income that feels right for you.
9. You can create opportunities for others.
When you pursue a degree, you may be thinking about how it may benefit your career. But what you may not realize is that by pursuing a DNP and potentially becoming an independent practitioner, you can start entrepreneurial ventures that can provide jobs for others. In other words, you will not only be advancing yourself, but giving others a chance to succeed as well.
10. Having a DNP gives you more opportunities to specialize.
Nurses wear many hats, but you might have heard of the saying, “jack of all trades, master of none.” As a DNP graduate, you have plenty of chances to go into more specialties that will enhance your ability to go into niches within the profession and to become more well-recognized.
11. You can avoid the feeling of getting stuck.
There are moments in every person’s career where they might feel like they just need to move on. Lateral movement in nursing, such as transferring from one hospital unit to another might not be enough. Some nurses may be looking for more substantial advancement and a DNP degree with its promise of more opportunities can certainly provide that.
12. You will gain professional recognition.
As a doctorate-level professional, you will earn the respect of both your colleagues and other healthcare professionals. Having a DNP signifies your commitment to excellence in your profession and your input will be valued by others.
13. A DNP can give you access to a wide network of highly competent professionals.
If you are at a point in your nursing career where you are deciding whether a doctoral degree is right for you, you are very likely a high-caliber professional in your field. And so are the other people who will become your colleagues in a DNP program. A DNP program gives you the chance to meet these people and to learn from their diverse knowledge and expertise.
14. You will have opportunities to express yourself.
Another reason why a DNP is worth it is because it provides ample opportunities for writing and sharing your ideas. If you are one of those who have found the typical undergraduate nursing curriculum to be a bit too rigid and restrictive, there is a good chance that you will appreciate graduate school because it allows for more self-expression.
15. You can be a pioneer.
The role of nurses with a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is evolving and will continue to evolve in the coming years. If you are considering this degree, you deserve praise for being one of the few who are exploring this relatively uncharted territory in nursing. You also have a chance to play a bigger role in defining what a nurse trained at the doctorate level can and should be.
16. You have a chance to be an educator.
If teaching is your passion, a DNP is definitely a good path for you. While nurses trained at the master’s or even bachelor’s degree can be nursing instructors, academia tends to favor those with higher credentials. Organizations like the National League of Nursing
have endorsed the DNP as the ideal degree to practice as an advanced practice nurse. This puts nurses with doctoral degrees in a better position to secure teaching jobs at colleges and universities.
17. You can potentially shape public policy.
If you are a nurse who also has a strong interest in shaping public policy
, then you will definitely find that a DNP is worth it. As recognized healthcare experts, nurses trained at the doctorate-level have the platform and the credibility to convince policymakers to take a certain course of action. Elected officials need subject matter experts like nurses to make sound laws and regulations.
18. You will gain a better understanding of the healthcare system.
Healthcare is a complex industry with many moving parts. Sometimes, even the people who work within it do not fully comprehend its full nature. As a DNP graduate, you will have the knowledge and the tools to navigate and analyze these intricacies, which can make you an asset to any employer.
19. You will be prepared for high-level, leadership roles.
One of the biggest reasons why a DNP is worth it is that it opens the door for you to become a leader in the field of nursing
. This means that you can affect change not just at the bedside, but also in the systems that affect healthcare delivery in the country. Your potential to make a difference will be much more far-reaching.
20. You can potentially enhance your stress management abilities.
DNP school will come with its challenges. In addition, you may also have a job and a family to take care of as you go through your education. This can be stressful, but there is an upside to this. You have an opportunity to become more adept at managing stress, and that is a life skill that carries a lot of value.
21. You will build more confidence.
Do you remember the feeling you had when you acquired your nursing degree? Or passed the NCLEX? It was an unforgettable feeling, not only because it gave you a sense of accomplishment, but because it gave you a higher sense of belief in your capabilities. You can recreate and enhance that feeling even more by acquiring a DNP, because you will be accomplishing something that not every nurse has done.
22. You will enhance your profession.
By pursuing a doctorate in nursing, you will elevate the nursing profession by putting it on par with other healthcare fields. Pharmacists and physical therapists are already practicing at a doctoral level, so nurses who pursue a DNP help put the entire nursing profession on par with other practitioners.
23. You will help address a critical need in society.
One of the top reasons why a DNP is worth it is that it will give you an opportunity to serve those who need it the most. Not every place in the United States has adequate healthcare providers. Advanced practice nurses play a key role in addressing these shortages, which are typically in small towns and rural areas of the country.
24. You can become a good example for others.
People have apprehensions about going further in their education, and for good reason. It is not easy to get a degree. By pursuing a DNP, you are showing others what is possible. You will become an inspiration for others and should be one of your considerations for deciding if a DNP is worth it.
25. You will grow as a person.
A DNP is worth it for the simple reason that education makes you a more well-rounded person. Here’s the truth. You do not need to get an advanced degree if your only goal as a nurse is to make money and have endless job opportunities. An RN license alone will provide you with that. What a DNP truly offers is an opportunity to go beyond your comfort zone and to reach your full potential as a nurse and as an individual.
Summing It Up
Listed here are just 25 reasons why a DNP is worth it. There are more, and some of which may be unique to you. But a part of you most likely knows that this is a worthy endeavor. Of course, you may still be asking, “Is a DNP degree worth it?” It is fine to ask that question. You want to be sure of your decision before taking a leap. But as this article has laid out for you, there are just too many benefits to earning a DNP degree that at least make it worth giving a shot.
Raymond Aguirre RN, BSN, PHN, CHPN
Raymond M.E. Aguirre is a registered nurse with years of experience in the medical field. He currently works as a public health nurse and has years of experience in home health, hospice, and skilled nursing facility settings.