Are you a registered nurse who is considering advancing your career? Do you know the difference between a Doctor of Nursing Practice vs Nurse Practitioner? These two roles sometimes serve very similar or very different purposes.

Both roles offer opportunities for more holistic and independent practice. They allow you to hone your nursing knowledge and practice skills.

Continue reading to learn more about what each degree prepares you to do

Doctor of Nursing Practice vs Nurse Practitioner Preparation

Both roles require further degrees beyond the Bachelor of Nursing degree. But each degree prepares the nurse for different avenues of practice. To maintain a great GPA and graduate on time thousands of students attending Harvard, Cambridge and UCL have been using online resources. These educational services make it easy to study human anatomy of muscles plus other complex topics.

What Is an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)?

For decades, APRNs have included the following nursing specialties:

  • Nurse Practitioners
  • Clinical Nurse Specialists
  • Certified Nurse-Midwives
  • Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists

Most of these nurses completed a master’s degree programs. They often had the same number of required credit hours as a doctorate in other professions.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) wrote a position statement about degree requirements. They support a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) for APRNs. They also recommend the DNP for other nurses in organization and leadership roles.

The Rationale for Changes in Degree Requirements

Over the past five years, the education curriculum and goals for advanced nursing programs have changed. Some of the factors driving this change include:

  • The rapidly expanding body of knowledge
  • Increased complexity involved in patient care
  • Concerns across the nation about patient safety and quality of care
  • Decrease in available practicing nurses
  • The need for a higher level of preparation for leaders in the profession
  • Decreased number of doctoral-level nursing faculty

Many other professions now have higher degree requirements. Examples include Pharmacy (PharmD), Psychology (PsyD), Physical Therapy (DPT), and Audiology (AudD).

The Advancing the Nation’s Health Needs: NIH Research Training Programs published a report in 2005. This report called for the development of a non-research focused nursing doctorate. The goal is to prepare expert nurses to serve as clinical faculty.

Achieving a Doctor of Nursing Practice

The DNP program expands upon the master’s program. All education includes evidence-based practice, quality improvement, and systems leadership. This terminal degree provides an alternative to the research-focused program.

This professional degree focuses on disease processes and the diagnostic process. They also learn about approaches to treating various diseases.

The DNP may pursue further licensing. Examples include an NP, certified nurse-midwife, or certified registered nurse anesthetist.

Unlike the traditional Ph.D., a DNP is a practice doctorate. They aren’t expected to conduct independent research on a routine basis.

DNPs are prepared to implement the science into their practice. Part of the DNP curriculum involves writing a capstone project. Many DNP candidates enlist the help of capstone writing services.

These services assist students in developing their projects. The goal is to show your ability to integrate clinical knowledge and skills in practice. This project must include logical communication and demonstration of expert clinical skills.

Becoming a Nurse Practitioner (NP)

The AACN Position Statement supports a doctoral degree for all NPs. But most states accept a master’s degree or a doctorate degree to obtain an NP license.

Both the master’s and doctoral NP programs focus on advanced clinical training. These programs include both didactic and clinical courses. Most programs allow specialization.

NP specialties include:

  • Primary care
  • Acute care
  • Long-term care

After finishing the degree, you must pass a rigorous national certification exam. NPs must then undergo routine peer reviews and clinical outcome evaluations. All NPS must also continue to meet the code for ethical practice.

Ongoing continuing education to maintain clinical competency must be documented every year. NPs may also take part in professional healthcare forums and complete research studies. All these activities serve to ensure ongoing evidence-based practice.

NPs fill and enhance care in a variety of settings. These may include:

  • Rural facilities
  • Urban facilities
  • Suburban communities
  • Clinics
  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Nursing homes
  • Public health departments
  • Colleges
  • Private physician practices

NPs serve as mentors, educators, researchers, and administrators. They are active in healthcare policy development. NPs serve as local, state, national, and international experts and officers in organizations.

They offer quality healthcare and counseling at a lower cost than other professionals. Their interventions can help decrease emergency room visits and shorten hospital stays.

Comparison between DNP and NP

There are many similarities in the DNP and NP roles. The level of education is still a primary difference. As described, the DNP requires a doctoral degree. Currently, NPs may hold a master’s or doctorate degree.

NPs often have a more patient-centered focus. They may work independently or in collaboration with other medical professionals.

NPs focus on making diagnoses and treating patients. Managing acute and chronic disease processes is an important part of NP’s practice.

DNPs’ practices often involve technology, healthcare, and business expertise. They use evidence-based practices and skills to optimize health outcomes. DNPs also impact trends in healthcare and improve policies and clinical procedures.

DNPs may work in private practices. They provide expert nursing care and mentor other staff members.

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