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“When you are a nurse you know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch you” (Chamberlain College of Nursing, 2012). Nursing is the basic foundation of care giving and teaching. People who pursue a career in nursing often work in different environments or specialties. There are many fields to nursing. For example, there is Registered Nurses, Nurse Practitioners and Doctors of Nursing Practice. According to Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP (2016), a DNP is designed to prepare experts in nursing practice.
It is the pinnacle of practice-focused nursing degrees, building upon master’s programs by providing an educational foundation in quality improvement, evidence-based practice, and systems leadership, among others (Doctor of Nursing Practice, 2016).
When choosing to become a DNP, people take the time to research everything. They take the time to really distinguish whether this is the right career path for them. Obtaining a PhD in nursing takes many steps and a matter of patience. It is a career that takes a lot of work and determination but like most people say, nothing worth having comes easy.
A Doctor of Nursing Practice takes on big responsibilities daily. DNPs work in clinics or have their own practice. They often arrive at hospitals or clinics early in the morning to begin a 12-hour shift sometimes even 16-hours. According to A Day in the Life of a DNP, they immediately begin seeing a variety of patients and providing direct treatment for their needs; collaborate with other medical professionals; direct nurses and other support staff members; brainstorm with doctors in the hallway when necessary; briefly research strange symptoms presenting in a pediatric patient to aid in diagnosis; counsel a patient that has just received a devastating diagnosis; chart, chart, chart; write prescriptions for patients when needed; suture a nasty cut.
DNPs perform both the role of a doctor and a nurse (A Day in the Life of a DNP, 2017).
A DNP does all the rolls a nurse would do yet assists patients in providing medical plans. La Reina Adams DNP, at Sequoia Medical Clinic was interviewed and stated, “Some of my everyday task are speaking to patients about their health and trying to build a steady foundation for their recovery. I speak to over 80 patients a day. I diagnose them, prescribed them medication and order any medical test if needed.”
Once a person obtains his/hers DNP, they are eligible to work in a hospital setting or clinical setting. When working in a hospital, DNPs work along the side of doctors and provide patient treatment plans. Besides working along the side of patients, DNPs have the opportunity of working in Public Health Office. Working in public health offices, nurses have the chance to influence policy makers and help craft smart, research-based solutions to health issues. Another place that DNPs can out their PhD to use is in research facilities, independent practice and Physician’s Office. (DNP Career Paths, 2016).
Besides being asked what her common task were, La Reina stated that before she worked in a clinical setting she worked in a Physician’s office in Texas. “Working in other places besides a hospital or clinic really allowed me to realize that I could do so much more with my PhD” La Reina said. With a PhD in nursing, people are able to work in different setting yet still are allowed to help in a patient care.
As illustrated by Nursing. org, the Doctor of Nursing Practice is a terminal degree in nursing, the highest level of education available in the field. Most of the time, people who want to become DNPs first hold their Registered Nurse license. (Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree, 2018) After obtaining their license for several months or years, RN’s are allowed to apply a Bachelors of Nursing program where they will be granted their BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing). When a person has obtained their BSN, most of the time PhD programs for nursing require for a person to have their Master Degree in Nursing. Doctor of Nursing Practice programs emphasize areas that support nursing leadership, such as systems management, quality improvement and data-driven decision making. It’s important to distinguish the DNP from other terminal degrees available to nursing professionals, including the PhD, Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS) and Nurse Doctorate (ND) (Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree, 2018). Like any other career in the medical field, obtaining a DNP license can usually take up to 8 years or sometimes more.
Many jobs now require people to have certain amounts of hours or experience in order to get the job. Before applying to a master program, DNPs must achieve the necessary DNP requirements. DNP programs should provide at least 1,000 post-baccalaureate practice hours as part of a supervised academic program. Post-baccalaureate practice hours gained during MSN studies in a common track would be applied to the 1,000-hour total. Practice experiences should be related to the DNP Essentials and Specialty Competencies (Doctor of Nursing Practice Curriculum Elements and Structure, 2016).
Anyone who has a job in the medical field is more than capable of making over 5 figures. Each career differs yet each career has a high salary. The number of students seeking a DNP in California increased more than 11% between 2014 and 2015 according to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. The most recent data from the AACN (2015) indicated that 692 students were enrolled in DNP programs in California. Salaries for DNPs differ depending on what specialty they take on.
DNP-educated nurses in all their various roles are consistently recognized for earning top salaries. For example, Nurse-Anesthetists: $187,200, Nurse-Midwives: $154,710, Nurse Administrators and Executives: $150,696, Nurse-Practitioners: $138,174 (California Employment Development Department, 2015). According to the California Employment Development Department, Los Angeles and San Francisco have the highest pay rate for DNP-educated nurses (CEDD, 2016).
La Reina Adams, DNP at Sequoia Medical Center was interviewed and asked what her biggest challenges and rewards were. She did not know what to say at first, she went blank and thought for a while. She then said, “my biggest reward is getting the chance to help people and make a difference in their lives daily.” Every day I wake up with the urge to change lives, to save lives and to make peoples medical plans (La Reina Adams, 2018). Finding rewards was very easy for La Reina. Seeing my patients smile and monitoring their health, watching it improve with every visit is one of the most rewarding things I can ever ask for, said La Reina. She stated that her journey to become a DNP was not easy at all but at the end it drastically payed off.
Besides having many rewards in a job there is always a lot of challenges or hardships. Le Reina said her biggest challenge is “medical insurance.” Many times, people come into my clinic seeking medical attention but 30% of the time I need to decline them because of the type of insurance they have (La Reina Adams, 2018). Medical insurance is not La Reina’s only challenge. She stated, “When people do not follow their medical plans and often get worse, it breaks my heart and makes me feel like what I am doing is not enough.” Challenges and rewards will always be a part of a job. It is just a matter of balancing them out.
Becoming a DNP is the basic foundation of nursing. From caring for people all the way to becoming the voice for people who do not have one. There are many steps to conquer when obtaining a PhD in Nursing. All the way from requirements to the challenges and rewards. “When you are a nurse you know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch you” (Chamberlain College of Nursing, 2012).
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