Achieving a doctorate of nursing can take your career to new heights and involves a course that will prepare students to become nurseleaders at the highest level. Achieving a doctorate will require a lot of hard work and challenging study, but the courses are more accessible than you may think, making it an option that any registered nurse (RN) can consider.
What is a doctorate of nursing?
There are two types of nursing doctoral degrees and which one is the right option for you will depend on what direction you want your career to take. The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is a practice-based doctorate that will qualify nurses as advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) or nurse administrators. This will appeal to those who want to work closely with patients in an advanced practice specialty as well as those looking to take on an administrative role, leading teams of nurses and other medical professionals.
The other option is the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in nursing. This is a more research-based doctoral degree and will prepare nurses for a career in research in the creation of new nursing methods and theories that will influence the nursing practices of the future.
The road to qualification
In theory, anyone can achieve a doctorate of nursing, but the road to qualification is a long one, with a number of stages along the way. To achieve the doctorate will take a lot of hard work, study and determination. For those who have not even started their nursing journey, the first stage is to become a qualified RN, and there are a number of qualifications that can achieve this through a nursing diploma, an associated degree, or a bachelor’s degree before passing the NCLEX-RN exam.
The most common way to be accepted onto a doctorate degree is to first gain a master’s degree in nursing (MSN). Other possibilities are bridging options that can take you from a bachelor’s degree or an RN qualification, though these doctoral courses will take longer to complete. It is even possible for those with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing subject to take a direct-entry DNP.
Fitting in the study
One obstacle for many people is fitting in the amount of study required, particularly if other financial obligations mean that you cannot take time away from current employment to attend university full-time. However, advances in technology have helped online learning develop to a high standard, opening up the possibilities of further study for those who previously would have been unable to find the time.
Wilkes University is one establishment that offers an online MSN degree that focuses on high-demand advanced clinical skills and includes support and assistance in gaining clinical placements. If this has simply whetted your appetite for further study, the university also offers both DNPs and PhDs to complete your journey.
Can anyone achieve a doctorate of nursing? With a lot of hard work and determination, combined with the accessibility that online degrees offer, absolutely.