Nurse practitioners serve an ever-expanding (and essential) role in the healthcare industry. And when these professionals decide to pursue a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, their capacity to serve their patients in new ways increases—putting them well ahead of the curve.
In the United States, nurse practitioners are an important piece to the healthcare puzzle, helping to bridge the gap as primary providers amid a shortage of doctors, particularly in underserved and rural communities. With this increased responsibility, a push toward having nurse practitioners pursue a DNP degree has recently been on the rise.
The Value of a Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree
Nurses and nurse practitioners interested in honing their analytical research skills would find the DNP program a fulfilling next step in their professional career. While pursuing the degree, students further develop their practical skill sets and focus on growing as leaders.
“The doctorate program is different than the master’s program in that it really focuses on understanding how to research and analyze in order to best serve your patients,” explained Lynda Reed, who holds a DNP in addition to chairing the Advanced Practice Nursing and Nurse Practitioner programs at Azusa Pacific University. “You can work together with your colleagues to use your unique nursing backgrounds to find a well-rounded and effective way to treat your patients.”
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Although obtaining a DNP won’t change the type of work you do, it will change how you approach your work. While enrolled in the advanced degree program, you’ll be instructed how to best incorporate research into diagnoses, analyze care, and implement evidence-based practices—all while working alongside and learning from other professional nurses.
“The DNP does not alter the actual scope of practice for nurse practitioners and other advanced practice registered nurses,” according to the organization Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP. “Instead, DNPs work alongside their master’s-prepared colleagues in an expanded role in which they serve as leaders, change agents, and evaluators of care.”
Advancing Careers with APU’s Nursing Programming
The DNP curriculum offered at Azusa Pacific University is just one of the nursing-focused programs available to students. In addition to a variety of undergraduate concentrations, the school has a number of professional, graduate-level, and doctoral degree programs intended to help individuals further their careers.
In particular, APU created its DNP program to equip students to take their clinical practice to the next level. The program lays a strong scientific foundation for students while immersing them in evidence-based practices, organizational analysis, and elements of nursing leadership. But that’s not all—the coursework also prepares nurses to identify healthcare needs in their immediate surroundings, research and analyze ailments where they work, and apply that research and evidence-based practices to best serve their communities.
“Our DNP program prepares nurses to work at a higher level in terms of thinking about the current and complex environment they’re working in,” Reed said. For nurses ready to take the next step in their professional careers, pursuing a DNP degree at APU can prepare them to lead and bring change to their respective communities.
There is no doubt that the future of advanced nursing includes a DNP. Earning a doctor of nursing practice degree will set apart the professionals who are ready to bring more comprehensive, high-quality care to the patients they serve.
Azusa Pacific University embraces the future of nursing and offers multiple pathways to enter and grow in this valuable career field. Curious to learn more? Check out APU’s School of Nursing and explore its programs.
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