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An In-Depth Look at the DNP Nursing Degree: History and Developments

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DNP Degree - Doctor of Nursing Practice

A nursing professional with graduate education is invaluable is an invaluable part of the healthcare industry. With a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree, a nursing leader can advocate for patients and population health outcomes, as well as research initiatives to solve complicated health issues. If you are considering getting a DNP, below are details on how the degree came to be and recent developments that indicate its usefulness today, more than ever before.

Finding your degree

To find the best degree, look for an MSN to DNP program that grows and develops to meet student needs, providing experience and opportunities to support those who want to succeed, including clinical placements. By getting the skills needed for your future work, you will be able to encourage change in healthcare.

Look for a top-ranked school in lists like that of the US News & World Report, where Wilkes University has ranked highly for 16 consecutive years. In addition, look at graduate earnings to ensure the school provides the necessary skills for securing well-paying jobs; Wilkes is in a top 10% ranked US institution for graduate earnings.

History of the DNP Degree

The DNP degree was endorsed by the AACN (American Association of Colleges of Nursing) in 2004. Following that, associated organizations voted to update the required education for Advanced Nursing Practice from a master’s degree to a Doctor of Nursing.

By 2015, the motion was recommended that the DNP be the terminal degree in nursing practice for APRNs (Advanced Practice Registered Nurses). That title applies to many, including nurse practitioners and clinical nurse specialists, as well as certified nurse-midwives. Essentially, the AACN made an endorsement for the DNP to be the entry-level for an APN role.

As for why the educational requirements were updated, a big reason has been the changing needs of healthcare environments, which have become increasingly complex. With more experience and skills learned in higher education, graduates of an online DNP program have the confidence and background to provide high-quality patient care with more safety and a better opportunity for positive patient outcomes than in the past.

What Has the Move from Master’s to Doctor Degree Meant for Nurses?

This transition from master’s to doctoral level for APN is a big one. While the changes are occurring in the United States, the differences stand to influence other countries as well. It can affect how different parts of the world approach graduate education and how they accept traveling nurses from the US too.

Furthermore, doctoral programs have continued to change over the decades, providing more options for nurses. Many schools with APN offerings now offer Doctor of Nursing programs. Thus, there are more options for where to get the desired education to take them to a higher career level, with the potential to earn more income by getting a higher-level degree. With that said, not all Doctor of Nursing programs are the same.

High Demand for DNP Graduates

There is a need for the Doctor of Nursing Practice program as graduates will go on to work in professions that need people year after year. One example is becoming a clinical nurse educator. This person can work in clinical settings as well as in a school environment.

A quality DNP program is designed to prepare you for the positions higher up the career ladder than an RN, with more earning potential. You can also become a nurse practitioner, which is a field that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates will grow by 26% by 2028. Particularly in high demand will be jobs in rural areas where the medical services are underrepresented.

Becoming a Future Leader

Reaching a leadership role with a completed Doctor of Nursing degree is a great place to be in. First, you can be proud that you have completed a respected doctorate program, which is only two years long at Wilkes University. Also, you have the experience and skills to go after and secure a top-level position in a career you’ve wanted for a long time. You will have more job opportunities, as well as more ways to help people.

Suppose you worry about finances when going back to school. In that case, it is likely best to choose an online DNP program as it provides you with the flexibility to be able to work while attending university. You can also ask the admissions counselor about financial aid options.

As a graduate from a nationally recognized MSN-to-DNP program, you will emerge as a future leader who understands nursing issues and can find ways to solve complex healthcare issues.


The CTNNews editorial team comprises seasoned journalists and writers dedicated to delivering accurate, timely news coverage. They possess a deep understanding of current events, ensuring insightful analysis. With their expertise, the team crafts compelling stories that resonate with readers, keeping them informed on global happenings.

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