Registered nurses who wish to advance their careers have plenty of options. Two opportunities for registered nurses with bachelor’s degrees are a nurse practitioner and a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
Nurses can earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and become a nurse practitioner. However, you don’t have to have a DNP in order to practice as a nurse practitioner for now.
In this blog, we will cover the following:
- What is a nurse practitioner?
- What is a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree?
- What are the similarities between DNP and NP?
- What are the differences between DNP and NP?
What is a nurse practitioner?
A nurse practitioner is an advanced practice registered nurse (APRN) who often works autonomously to help manage patients’ healthcare and prevent diseases. To practice, they must earn a Master’s of Science in Nursing (MSN) or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP).
A nurse practitioner performs many of the same duties as a physician. Their duties include:
- Prescribing medication
- Diagnosing medical conditions
- Creating treatment plans
- Collaborating with other healthcare workers
- Keeping patient records
- Administering patient examinations
- Ordering and interpreting medical tests
- Counseling patients on wellness practices
What is a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree?
The Doctor of Nursing Practice degree is an advanced degree within the nursing field. It is one of the two highest degrees a nurse can earn within the field.
According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the Doctor of Nursing Practice is specifically for nurses seeking an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs.
The DNP is a practicing degree. Often nurses with DNP degrees end up in administrative or leadership positions within healthcare.
Even though the DNP is on a doctorate level, nurse practitioners with a DNP do not receive the same authority as physicians or other doctors.
In many ways, the DNP provides nurse practitioners with an advantage over other nurse practitioners with just a master’s degree.
Going forward, nurse practitioners will have to receive their DNP to begin practicing in the field.
What are the similarities between DNP and NP?
The main similarity between an NP and a DNP is they are both advanced positions. In other words, they both require a graduate degree
Additionally, these two positions share a lot of the same job opportunities. Nurses who receive their graduate degree can become many different types of advanced practice registered nurses. Some of these include:
These are all specialized positions within the field. Nurses should generally spend time gaining experience within the field as a registered nurse before deciding to specialize.
What are the differences between DNP and NP?
The key difference between the DNP and an NP lies in their education. The DNP has a slightly more advanced education than an NP with just a master’s degree.
With a DNP, there’s the option to work in nursing leadership positions or education along with advanced clinical roles.
Nurse practitioners, on the other hand, must specialize in a type of patient care, such as women’s health or pediatrics.
Another key difference is the clinical hour minimum for each position. The nurse practitioner role requires 500 hours, while the DNP requires 1,000 hours minimum.
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