Welcome to doctoral degrees in nursing.
The place where the acronyms are confusing
and confusion runs the show.
Just kidding. Not really.
It's the truth. There are two primary
doctoral degrees in nursing.
We have the DNP and the PhD.
The DNP or the Doctorate of Nursing Practice
practice of nursing in a clinical setting.
Examples of a degree focus with your DNP can
be a nurse practitioner, a
CRNA, a nurse midwife, an educator, and
other things that are
focused on actual practice in nursing.
The biggest thing to clarify here that gets
confused all the time is just because
NP is in DNP does not mean that you have...
If you have a DNP, that you are an NP.
See, you kind of see what I mean when I say
that it's a bit of a mess.
A DNP is a doctoral degree, so you need to
pick an area of
focus. And while that area of focus can be
as a nurse practitioner, it can
also be in a ton of other clinical
specialties as well.
Now let's take a look at the other direction
with the PhD.
The PhD is focused largely on doing research
and becoming an expert in a
But the focus is not then to go out and
actually practice with patients in an
environment that uses the education every
The focus is to see how the information can
then be integrated and maybe helping to
integrate it. But you are not the clinician
out there actually doing
the implementation thing.
You are the mastermind behind all of it,
coming up with the new things and seeing if
they actually work.
And you understand the math and the
If you want to veer more into like the
exploring the frontiers of nursing,
this would be the path for you.
And once again, you would need to identify a
specialty, since all graduate
nursing degrees need a specialty attached to
them so that they then have
context. Hopefully that cleared things up a
I really would love to know who came up with
the abbreviation in the doctoral
Department of Nursing because it causes a
whole lot of confusion.
But until I can fix it, and one day I will,
here we are.