You want to play a bigger role in healthcare’s transformation. Walden’s doctoral nursing programs can help you find your voice and grow as a healthcare leader. Build the knowledge and skills to improve nursing practice and patient care—all while continuing to work full time.
As the leader in doctoral nursing education,¹ we understand the needs of busy nurses. Every aspect of our nursing programs is designed to bolster your confidence and your academic success. This includes the Doctoral Degree Coach™, our proprietary tool that lets you track your doctoral milestones and get access to the support you require along the way.
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FAQ About Walden’s Doctoral Nursing Programs
For MSN-educated nurse leaders who strive to work at the peak of their profession, a PhD in Nursing or a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is the next logical step in their online education and career strategy. Whether they choose to earn a DNP or a PhD in Nursing, there are several reasons nurses decide to pursue a doctoral degree.
A DNP or a PhD in Nursing can help you find your voice and gain the knowledge and confidence you need to reach your full potential.
A doctoral degree can help you advance to the top of your profession to make a greater impact in the quality of patient care. A doctorate in nursing also opens the door to career opportunities in advanced leadership roles in administrative, academic, or clinical settings.
Upon earning a doctorate in nursing, you will be qualified to mentor the next generation of nurses and fill leadership roles as a healthcare policymaker and advocate in a broad spectrum of public and private healthcare settings at the national, regional, state, county, and local levels.
A PhD in Nursing is a terminal degree, with the main goal of adding original research findings to the scientific foundation of nursing and healthcare. Some nursing PhD programs offer specializations in high-priority areas that emphasize research and teach critical attributes such as leadership, education, healthcare administration, interdisciplinary health, and public health policy.
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice who prefer an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs. A DNP-prepared nurse is seen as a clinical expert and leader, able to translate research into practice to improve systems and patient outcomes. With a DNP, you will have earned the top-level credential you need to become a leader in the healthcare field. Combined with the right experience, your DNP can prepare you for such roles as chief nursing officer at a hospital, director of policy in government, nurse administrator, or other nursing leadership positions.
PhD in Nursing
Focused primarily on research, a PhD in Nursing is designed for nurses who want to help guide the future of healthcare. If you want to conduct scientific research at the highest levels in your field, shape healthcare policies as a government policymaker or program director, or educate the next generation of nursing professionals, a PhD in Nursing can give you the advanced expertise you need to succeed. This is a great nursing degree for any nurse who wants to make a difference in healthcare.
Coursework focuses on research methods, research theory, and nursing science. Graduates are prepared to pursue leadership roles in academic and healthcare settings and to help shape the future of healthcare as nurse researchers, educators, or policymakers.
Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)
As a terminal degree for clinical nurses, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is becoming an increasingly valued and sought-after credential. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing has encouraged the medical community to make the DNP the expected degree for those who want to become nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, and nurse anesthetists. Nurses who currently hold an MSN and would like to advance their clinical practice would also benefit from a DNP.
Coursework covers a combination of healthcare policy and advocacy, information systems and technology, healthcare quality improvement, evidence-based practice, and organizational and systems leadership. Graduates are prepared for higher-level leadership and education roles across the healthcare industry.
A PhD in Nursing is the best choice if your goal is to conduct scientific research at the highest levels, shape healthcare policies as a government policymaker or program director, or educate the next generation of nursing professionals. A DNP is the best choice if your goal is to provide high-quality care for patients, either directly or by helping manage a hospital or clinic.
1Source: National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) IPEDS database. Based on the most recent year of completions survey data available, using CIP code family 51.38 “Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research, and Clinical Nursing” for Doctoral degrees (Award level 17). Available at https://nces.ed.gov/ipeds/use-the-data. (Retrieved January 2021; may consist of or include provisional release data.)