What’s next for a DNP? 

The medical profession always needs nurse leaders who aim to educate the next generation of nurses. While every profession trains those who will continue the mission, a doctor of nursing practice has a unique and critical role in the medical field.

Most medical facilities and universities prefer someone who holds a DNP degree for several reasons. In addition, this terminal degree allows you to work in diverse environments for the most impact on the nursing profession.

The doctor of nursing practice degree 

The doctor of nursing practice degree focuses on expanding your knowledge of healthcare policy, practice, and ethics. A significant benefit of earning an online DNP degree program is that you can complete it in your own time while working and interacting with your peers. Institutions like Spring Arbor University offer students the option to complete clinical placements at their current workplace.

Proficiencies include organizational and systems leadership, healthcare policy formation, evidence-based practice implementation, and healthcare technology. The focus of a DNP degree can lean toward administrative and business policies of the healthcare realm, so if this is the area that interests you, the opportunities for working in different environments are vast.

What a doctor of nursing practice does 

The doctor of nursing practice is the highest degree you can earn in the clinical nursing environment. It is a critical role for those who wish to effect change and improve the delivery of superior healthcare and patient outcomes. This is the highest level of nursing care in a complex environment.

As you focus on two main systems, care of healthcare systems and care of individuals, you can identify areas that need attention and improvement. Working with other medical providers, your responsibilities can include leadership in hospitals, physician’s offices, specialized medical offices, and residential care facilities. The valuable combination of a clinical nursing background with a desire to enter administrative-level duties is in high demand.

Environments and sectors for doctor of nursing practice degrees 

As a doctor of nursing practice, there are many diverse professional environments where you can practice. The ideal pairing of clinical nursing and high-level instruction gives you an important perspective on many clinical nursing issues of the day. With the rise in complex hospital technology, qualified instruction for future nurses can be crucial.

A nurse administrator

By earning a DNP degree, you will have a solid background in nursing research, research translation, and implementation of new knowledge for clinical nursing. As a nurse administrator, you supervise other nurses and healthcare teams from an overarching perspective.

Nurse administrators can be called chief nursing officers, nurse directors, or nurse managers, but the role is geared not toward hands-on nursing but toward the staff who handle direct patient care. Your job is to motivate the nursing staff, oversee ongoing training, and ensure hospital regulations are regularly met in a superior manner.

Much of the day-to-day responsibilities are business-related, so strategic thinking is a must. You develop and execute a strategic plan for your department or the hospital. Within the hospital, you liaise with hospital executives and nurses on issues that arise and report on budget and financial matters to the oversight board.

A central part of the nurse administrator’s job is to establish procedures and policies, including enforcement of those standards.

As a nurse leader, you aim to keep a level head in emergencies, demonstrate an optimistic outlook, and help the nurses in your oversight to expand their skills and abilities.

A nurse clinical manager

Many nurse clinical managers work in smaller medical facilities such as outpatient surgical centers, urgent care centers, and mental health clinics. The nurse clinical manager oversees all the facility employees and ensures the clinic runs smoothly.

The responsibilities of a nurse clinical manager include onboarding new employees and overseeing employee training. You handle the budget, audit clinic operations, and report to executive management about the daily operations.

You should expect to be busy with ensuring the long-term success of the clinic with multiple treatment modalities and patient satisfaction. Part of your role is to handle patient problems.

Analyzing data trends allows you to keep up to date on the changing medical landscape and implement new healthcare standards. Maintaining accurate records, documents, and resources enables you to keep oversight of the clinic’s success.

A nurse educator

If you love teaching and interacting with new nurses, becoming a nurse educator could be the path for you. As a nurse educator, you educate on the best patient care practices as you guide patients through clinical rotations.

A nurse educator has control over the curricula you teach and can adjust as needed. You can assess clinical skills and enjoy a well-rounded clinical experience as a collaborator with your nursing peers. Interacting with students allows you to change patient outcomes as you work through the best practices with them.

Finally, as a nurse educator, you set the standard of nursing care for your students. As an example for them to follow, you can create an inclusive learning environment to assist them and answer their questions during the orientation period.

A nursing home administrator

The duties of a nursing home administrator are heavily business related, including managing the business transactions of the facility and ensuring compliance with regulations. Quality care and patient security are top priorities.

A nursing home administrator must understand the aging process from clinical, psychological, and emotional perspectives. The Bureau of Labor estimates the nursing home population will increase to three times the provision available in nursing home facilities in the next ten years, making this a very high-demand leadership role.

A long-term care facility is a complex and specialized healthcare division, requiring merging healthcare responsibilities with increasing demand for caretakers in this field. You would ensure the facility stays in compliance with local and federal regulations while overseeing the daily operations.

Another facet of being a nursing home administrator is the continuing education necessary to stay on top of changing guidelines for nursing home residents and treatment options.

A public health nurse

The dynamic role of a public health nurse involves effecting change for underserved populations and assessing ongoing diseases for treatment options. This is a medical frontline position in which you oversee programs to offer treatments to large groups of people who might not otherwise have what they need to get well and stay well.

Your role as an educator, advocate, and caregiver is crucial to the safety and health of entire communities. As a public health nurse, you promote wellness for individuals, groups, and communities by helping them find the resources they need for treatments.

Another primary goal is to reduce diseases through education and evidence-based healthcare. By using research data, you can alert patients to new treatments and federal funding that covers the cost, helping them find support services for themselves and their families and tracking their progress.

A public health nurse is part of a larger medical team who delivers care to large populations. Your role as an educator includes teaching preventive care and practices to avoid injuries and illnesses.

You monitor health trends in communities to recommend healthcare that meets the needs of the people who are affected. This can ultimately lead to becoming involved in public policy that aids communities with medical needs.

A health information manager

When you can utilize technology well, becoming a health information manager can be a great route. Health information data is a wealth of insight into many facets of healthcare and diseases. Understanding disease trends can be crucial to preventing transmission in broader areas of the population.

As a health information manager, you are a critical connection between insurance companies, patients, and doctors. Part of your role includes entering or overseeing patient information in electronic databases that show health trends. These data records are essential, but you must also maintain patient privacy.

You also design medical information systems that comply with local and federal regulations and monitor them for accuracy. Your position as a health information manager ensures all medical personnel have current and accurate information for a patient so they can prescribe the proper tests and medications.

A nurse informaticist

A nurse informaticist is the backbone of technology-driven healthcare. Their focus is on clinical and information technology, ensuring it coincides with desired patient outcomes.

The nurse informaticist applies technology to secure messaging for hospital personnel, patient portals, and other secure information. They are part of critical decision-making through data analysis that shows trends in diseases, treatments, and outcomes.

Their hard work ensures nurses are trained on available resources for the best clinical care. Another key responsibility is telehealth which is rapidly growing to equal in-person doctor visits. Healthcare technology is more specialized, advanced, and in-depth than ever before, and all nurses need an understanding of informatics.

While this job might seem as if they are no longer nurses, nurse informaticists use their clinical experience to improve the workflow of nurses and elevate the patient experience. Better documentation is the goal of the informaticist since this is a core responsibility of all nurses. Documentation is a time-consuming nursing task that makes a difference in the type of care patients receive.

A certified nurse practitioner

This professional is trained, licensed, and capable of delivering superior medical care to all ages.

Nurse practitioners are one of the fastest-growing medical professions. While the scope of practice for a nurse practitioner varies from state to state, many states allow this medical professional to operate independently, much like a doctor.

Nurse practitioners can diagnose illnesses and prescribe medicine, order medical tests, and collaborate with other medical professionals to treat patients. While you will find professional opportunities in a hospital, you can also work in urgent care, surgical centers, primary care practices, and more.

Nurse practitioners can also become medical researchers who work to discover new treatments for diseases. An experienced nurse practitioner is a mentor to new nurse practitioners and new nurses, helping them learn the ropes of their professions.

Numerous medical divisions employ nurse practitioners, including pediatrics, gerontology, family health, and many specialized medical branches.

A psychiatric nurse practitioner 

As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, you can assess the mental health of patients and recommend the proper treatment. Caring for the mental health of patients is a big responsibility and one that a psychiatric nurse practitioner is particularly qualified to handle.

You are trained in psychiatric disorders that need specific treatments like psychotropic medication and psychotherapy. Working in a variety of medical settings, the psychiatric nurse practitioner is a valued partner in many treatments for patients.

Many mental health treatment plans include medications and therapy. This nurse practitioner is trained to lead individual and group therapies for a range of ages. They can coordinate other therapies as needed to aid the mental health of their patients.

The psychiatric nurse practitioner frequently works closely with doctors or family nurse practitioners since many mental health issues have co-occurring medical conditions. While the psychiatric NP focuses on the mental aspect, the family NP works in tandem to treat the physical problems.

A substance abuse nurse practitioner 

Substance abuse is a complex problem that needs specialized care, and that is the role of a substance abuse nurse practitioner. This nurse practitioner treats not only the individual patient for substance abuse but provides support for the entire family who is affected by the abuser.

A substance abuse nurse practitioner can handle pain care and treatment plans for alcohol, drug, and other addictive substances. This role requires understanding mental and physical health since the two are intertwined in substance abuse.

Substance abuse nurse practitioners can work in hospitals, private clinics, inpatient and outpatient clinics, psychiatric clinics, mental health clinics, and other medical facilities that deal with substance abuse and ongoing treatments.

Some substance abuse nurse practitioners work at the government level to effect public policies that address substance abuse and its effect on families and communities.

As a doctor of nursing practice, you can expect to have a diverse set of opportunities to combine your clinical skills with higher levels of nursing. This in-demand degree has a corresponding growth in professional roles that serve a large patient population.

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