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Doctorate in Nursing Programs

The DNP and PhD

The DNP and PhD in nursing are two popular doctorate nursing programs.  With either of these degrees, you are qualified to work as a “doctor of nursing” in various capacities.  The difference between a PhD in nursing versus a DNP is mainly that a PhD emphasizes research while the DNP is used for practice.  According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, (AACN), the DNP degree is the new standard credential for advanced practice nurses. 

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What is a DNP

A DNP stands for Doctor of Nursing Practice.  Most DNP programs focus on the practice of medicine in regard to research-proven care and the implementation thereof in practice.  In short, it’s a degree that focuses on the clinical disease process. This degree is a great choice for individuals hoping to work as an advanced nurse practitioner.  It’s also a great consideration for MSN nurse practitioners.  Masters in Science in Nursing degree holders can usually obtain a DNP with roughly 35-40 credits. 

DNP Programs

Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs will have a strong focus on diagnosis, advanced practice, and disease treatments.  The goal of the program is to prepare students to work as independent practitioners.  This degree option is often paired with other doctorate healthcare focuses such as medicine, dentistry, psychology, and so forth. 

DNP jobs may include work as nurse practitioners (NP), certified registered nurse anesthetists (CRNA), clinical nurse specialist (CNS) or certified nurse midwife (CNM), depending on your areas of study.  As a DNP, you are also qualified to work as a professor. 

Here are some other tracks for DNPs that are available:

Advanced Emergency Nursing
Clinical Nurse Specialist
Executive Nurse Administrator
Family Nurse Practitioner
Neonatal Nurse Practitioner
Pediatric Acute Care Nurse Practitioner
Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner
Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner
Nurse Educator
Palliative Care
Oncology
Cardiovascular Nurse Practitioner
Oncology Nurse Practitioner

DNP Nursing Classes

Most DNP programs will offer course options that are heavily practice-based.  Course focus may include topics such as:

Translation of Evidence to Practice
Tranformation of Health Care
Health Care leadership
Advanced Specialty Practice
Health Systems Transformation
Financial Management

With this type of study/course work, students should be well-prepared for a nursing practice as well as nursing administration jobs. 

Online DNP Programs
Online doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree programs are available and a great option for working individuals.  Chamberlain College of nursing offers top online nursing programs on multiple levels, including the online DNP program.  Through programs like this, it’s possible to earn your DNP in just 5 semesters with all of your coursework online.  Nursing practicum can be accomplished at the location of your choice. 

Medical University of South Carolina also offers online nursing programs including the online DNP. 

Online PhD Programs

In a Nursing PhD program, the study is focused heavily on research. The goal is to prepare students to work in the development of science FOR the practice of nursing.  PhD curriculum is often centered around research cohorts working to design new nursing practice methods, study existing practices and disciplines, and view the implications of current practices toward various illnesses. 

Online PhD nursing programs are available through a wide variety of schools including Vanderbilt School of Nursing, University of Arizona, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, and Medical University of South Carolina.  Also check online nursing programs from schools such as Chamberlain Nursing School, Kaplan University, and Cappella University.  School like these offer excellent distance learning environments, allowing you to earn your practicum at the facility of your choice. 

We’ve provided some of our top ranked nursing schools and suggest that you REQUEST INFORMATION from a few of these schools to better assist you in your school-selection process.