DNP vs. PhD: Which One Should You Go For?

DNP vs. PhD: If you’re a nurse looking for ways to advance your degree but feel stuck, that is not unusual. Most nurses know that they want to advance their career, but there are too many options for them to choose from. However, the burning question arises, which should you choose between DNP and PhD. While both hold the highest form of academic excellence, they serve different purposes. Before a nurse can jump in headfirst and start following one degree, they need to research.

A nurse needs to prioritize what matters to them in terms of pursuing a degree. Are they all about the study, or must there also be immense clinic work? So to help you pick out a suitable path for you so that you can build your career, here’s what you need to do:

Who Is All About Clinical and Who Is All About Research?

The areas of focus between DNP and PhD are vastly different. DNP will lead you down the clinical path, emphasizing working with patients and adjusting to a high-stakes clinical environment. On the other hand, a PhD will tease your brain in the form of research papers and conducting research seminars.

This is a very superficial understanding when reading about dnp vs phd. The details of working in a lab or doing research are far more insightful. If you opt for a DNP, you will get to check patients through evidence-based practice to collect their data before assigning a treatment route. You will spend time maintaining hospital standards and even bringing quality management to ensure patients are looked after better. If you’re opting for a PHD, you will come with research methods to analyze the data in front of you. Suppose you want to write a paper on malnourished children. Once you acquire relevant data, you convert it into understandable information. 

Do Their Clinical Hours Differ

Clinical hours is another factor that needs your attention. You would want a career with human working hours while it may belong. For nurses working long hours at the hospital are not unusual. It comes with the territory of becoming a medical professional. However, both DNP and PhD hold their set of clinical hours, which you will need to fulfill to ensure you stay on the job.

DNP programs require up to 1,000 hours of clinical practice once you register as a nurse. Different institutes will also walk you through their needs and determine where you stand as a nurse to become a DNP. You may also need to get your MSN so that you can get into A DNP program right away.

PhD programs are all about the work you put in writing up your paper with no emphasis on clinical hours. You don’t need to focus all your energy on working or through a clinic, nor is it required. The focus of your degree is working data and publishing relevant and valuable research.

Who Are The Accrediting Bodies For DNP?

As a nurse working in the US, you need to know the accrediting bodies to understand the prestige and honor the degree carries. There are two accrediting bodies for DNP Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education and the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing. So once you complete your DNP, you’ll get acknowledged by these bodies for your hard work.

What Career Options Wait For You As A DNP?

If you spend time pursuing a degree, you want your career to amount to something. As a graduate of a doctoral program, there are numerous careers in store for you. Each trade is exciting and incentivizing in its way.  

  • Nurse Educationist. You may go into nursing leadership and lead change from within. You’ll be an educationist and am a leading expert on many issues that govern the healthcare sector while managing your department.
  • Nurse Administration. If you choose to go into administration, you get to take care of patients by maintaining and managing the administrative side of the hospital. These include scheduling nurses while also taking care of patients properly by arranging tests and good appointments.
  • A Public Health Nurse. Public health nurses are an essential part of the healthcare sector. These nurses work with communities to understand the trends of the illnesses that may be affecting them. This is one of the few career options you work with PhD nurses to make sense of the data you collected. You want to compile information in the form of readable information so that proper treatment can get started for these communities. 

Questions You Need To Ask Yourself?

While phase one of any research is getting the appropriate information to help you choose, phase two is a self-evaluation based on the information you picked up. While both degrees hold their merit only, one is charming enough to convince you to join them. Since this is an essential part of your career, make sure you ask yourself some questions that can help you make informed choices.

  • Decide What Environment Suits You First

Are you someone who enjoys fast-paced environments where you have to do many things at one time while minding the deadline? Do you want a more relaxed and controlled environment where you can take your time to write proper research? If you’re all about the fast-paced clinical atmosphere, you should go into DNP. You will enjoy working with patients and doctors in diagnosing and treating different ailments. The quiet and more cultured of academia is all about academic papers.

  • Do You Mind Hitting Dead Ends?

If you become a PhD graduate, you should get into the habit of hitting dead ends. This is because research takes time and often can get inconclusive. You may also have to give up a paper that is already published while you have no other substance to offer the topic. DNP hit fewer dead ends, and their case is very different. Most of the issues get resolved right away with minimal effort needed to go about their day pleased with their work. There is also much less ambiguity in working as a DNP professional over a PhD student.

  • How Important Is Family?

If you’re someone who enjoys spending time with family and always makes sure you get some time with them every day, you should get into a PhD program. This is because you can permanently close your research and go home to your family once you’re sure you’re done for the day. Suppose you opt for condoning a DNP professional. In that case, you may not see your family as often, which can be challenging for you. Careers which keep you from friends and family are often very lonely and can lead to depression. So if you’re not struggling with mental health issues, go for a degree in DNP, especially if you can miss out on family from time to time.

Wrap Up

While PhD and DNP are good options for you, they need to be studied first. DNP takes a more clinical route about patient treatment in an advanced healthcare setting. PhD is all about research and working with data. So while both these degrees sound different, they are both rewarding and challenging to shoulder in their way. This is why when you’re trying to make the next move for your career, make sure you’re working hard to know what you want. Advanced degrees are an investment, and unless you know where to invest, you’ll end up with a fulfilling career.

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