A doctor of nursing practice, or doctorate of nursing practice, is a versatile degree that allows you to enter either a clinical path or an administrative path -- and if you want to influence the future of nursing as a whole, that administrative path is your ticket. This degree is different from the typical Ph.D. in nursing, but it is no less important or intensive; it merely focuses more on the practice of nursing in real life and how administrative and global changes can improve the service and treatment that patients receive.
Administrative Changes Have Long-Term Implications
You could argue that a nursing department is only as good as its nurses, and to an extent, that's true; unskilled nurses certainly do make getting care more involved, to say the least. But what really makes a nursing department excel is the involvement and leadership of the administrative core. This is the group that determines how nurses will keep up to date on the latest treatments and how policy changes will be enacted in the department. This is the group that determines how much attention the nurses have to devote to paperwork as opposed to patient care. And this is the group that sets the tone for inclusivity, diversity, and good treatment. Any changes in these policies have a long-term influence on how the department operates over time.
This Is Your Chance to Make Changes to Stagnating Systems
If you've noticed issues in nursing as you've gotten care and learned more about the profession, a DNP could allow you to get into those administrative groups and enact policies that could improve care and morale. While everyone involved in nursing, from the patients to head nurses, has a role in making the nursing department run smoothly, the administration has the power to actually approve or deny changes. If you feel nursing departments are in need of change, a DNP degree is your first step.
This Gives You Flexibility and Versatility
The great thing about a DNP program is that, if you change your mind and want to move into a more practical, patient-care-based track, you can do so without leaving the degree program or getting another degree. DNP programs have a clinical track, too, making it easy to move into another setting if you think that's what you really want.
If you want to go into nursing, but you want more departmental and policy influence than you could have as only a nurse working with patients, look into a DNP program. This degree offers more than just a path to a career; it offers a path to having lasting influence.