A DNP and a PhD in nursing are both advanced practice nursing degrees, but can be very different. One degree is not considered higher in education than the other, but the requirements for each can greatly differ. For example, a DNP student, “must complete a clinical project that demonstrates intimate knowledge of evidenced-based practices. PhD programs, however, most often have a focus on original research and research methodology, which results in a final research project and defense of a dissertation” (What’s the Difference, n.d.). But the main difference between the two degrees is, “…the DNP, or Doctor of Nursing Practice, is a clinical practice degree while the PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy, in nursing is a research-focused degree” (What’s the Difference, n.d.). A DNP focuses on different aspects of clinical patient care including: translating research evidence into nursing practice, healthcare policy, and cultivating practice expertise; while, in a PhD the curriculum focus is topics such as research methodologies, theories of nursing research, and faculty development. In a DNP program, the student is required to acquire up to 1000 hours in clinical work, while in a PhD program clinical work is minimal.
If I were to choose to pursue one of the two previously discussed degrees were I to continue my education to the doctoral level, I would strive to obtain a Doctor of Nursing Practice over a PhD, or Doctor of Philosophy in nursing. The reasoning is simply that mastering my practice skills, understanding of the nursing profession and all its aspects, and applying research evidence into actual practice in my community is far more appealing to me than that of theories of nursing and research methodologies. I enjoy being at the bedside, and even if I moved on to where my specific job does not require me to be at the bedside, I would still want my work to go towards improving bedside nursing.
Thanks for your informative post. It is interesting to know that, there is truly a correlation between the level of education in nursing and patient’s safety. Like you pointed out there are many studies with the evidence that linked patient’s safety outcome to ADN and BSN nurses. A study published by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing in 2014 revealed that there is a more than 12% increase in the number of student enrolling into the RN to BSN program from 2013 – 2014. Nursing is in high demand among students, as well as patients, and one main reason for this increase is the recognition of the role higher education plays in improving patient safety (stmary.edu, 2017). This implies that nurses with ADN and BSN are more valued than those with only RN, by their educational curriculum, they are more prepared with all the knowledge that has been acquired from the program to handle the patient with better outcome. Nice Post.