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When Is the Best Time to Earn a Doctoral Degree in Nursing?

The time is now. Overcome five common concerns about starting a DNP program.


If you’re interested in earning a doctoral degree in nursing, the time to pursue it is now. After all, as the saying goes, a year from now you’ll wish you started today. A doctorate in nursing can prepare you for higher-level leadership and education roles in the healthcare industry. A Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, commonly referred to as a DNP, is a practice-focused doctorate that centers on applying research in clinical settings to enhance quality of care. This advanced nursing degree enables graduates to work to improve patient care, mentor new nurses, and be an effective voice for patients and their families. If you’re still not sure if you’re ready to enroll, explore ways to overcome five common concerns about starting a DNP program.

  1. How will I find time to attend classes?

    Flexibility can be key when you’re earning a degree and working at the same time. The good news is you can earn your DNP online through Walden University. With online learning, you can access your coursework anytime, from anywhere you have an internet connection.

  2. Will I select a program with the proper accreditations?

    Walden is an HLC-accredited university, and Walden’s DNP program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), with curriculum aligned to the latest standards from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) and National League for Nursing. Walden University is the leader in doctoral nursing education.1

  3. What if I don’t have my master’s degree?

    You may not need a master’s degree to enroll in a doctoral degree in nursing program at Walden. Most of Walden’s DNP specializations offer a BSN to DNP track, enabling you to enroll if you are a registered nurse with a bachelor’s degree in nursing. You can choose any of these specializations, even if you don’t have an MSN: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGAC), Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPC), Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP), or Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Primary Care (PNP).

  4. What if I’m considering a PhD in Nursing?

    A PhD in Nursing also has many advantages. If you’re a lifelong learner, you can earn both doctoral-level nursing degrees. With Walden, you have the option of taking a shorter path to earning your PhD in Nursing once you have earned your DNP. Walden offers a DNP to PhD in Nursing Bridge Option, allowing students who already hold a DNP to build on their current knowledge and experience with scholarly research and relevant coursework. Walden can apply up to 26 DNP credits toward your online PhD in Nursing degree program, reducing the time to completion and cost.

  5. How can I ensure I’ll have the support I need to earn my DNP?

    When you choose Walden for your Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, you’ll be supported at every step on your nursing education journey. An Enrollment Specialist will help you throughout the application process, and Financial Aid Advisors will assist with identifying funding resources before you enroll. Once you enroll, a Student Success Advisor will answer questions about policies and procedures and guide you through Walden’s robust student resources. Technical assistance is available 24/7. If you have accessibility needs, Student Wellness and Disability Services will assist you. Walden also offers an Academic Skills Center with peer mentors, workshops, and individual and group tutoring in a variety of areas. Additionally, the Writing Center provides student support in all aspects of the writing process.

With your online Doctor of Nursing Practice degree, your advanced qualifications signify that you are academically prepared for roles at the highest levels of your profession, giving you the opportunity to make an even bigger impact in the healthcare field. Don’t wait. Enroll in Walden’s online DNP program today.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degree programs online. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

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 (Retrieved January 2021; may consist of or include provisional release data.)

The baccalaureate degree program in nursing (BSN), master’s degree program in nursing (MSN), post-graduate APRN certificate program, and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program at Walden University are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,