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Why Get a Doctorate in Nursing: 10 Benefits of DNP Degree


Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is one of two doctoral degrees available in the nursing profession. The other is the PhD in nursing, which provides training almost exclusively focused on scholarly research. In contrast, a DNP is a practical professional degree that can lead to a wide range of career paths, from nurse practitioner or clinical manager to health policy advocate or clinical research professional. There are many benefits of a DNP degree to explore.

Why Get a DNP vs. an MSN?

Students considering pursuit of a DNP vs. MSN may be interested in how their education will affect their salary potential and professional autonomy. MSN graduates can work as nurse practitioners, like DNP graduates, but their salary is likely to be less than a DNP salary. Furthermore, organizations such as the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) have recommended that advanced practice nurses earn a DNP to become experts in the field and potentially open their own practices.

Benefits of a DNP

All advanced nursing degrees require comprehensive education and several years of study. Maryville University offers an accelerated online Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice (BSN to DNP) program for motivated BSN graduates pursuing advanced education. If you’re considering continuing your nursing education, here are 10 benefits of a DNP degree.

1. Take on a Leadership Role

A well-rounded DNP curriculum is about much more than just the technical side of nursing. While earning your DNP, you can develop the essential leadership skills for entering fast-paced healthcare environments, such as the ability to make difficult decisions under stressful circumstances.


DNP coursework can also help nurses learn what goes into running a clinic, from managing a dynamic team to executing administrative tasks. The skills learned here can also help prepare you for an executive-level position in healthcare leadership, such as chief nursing officer (CNO). Most BSN-DNP careers are high-profile positions that empower graduates to create meaningful change in their organizations or independent practices.

2. Specialize in What You Love

Do you have a passion for a specific field in nursing? One of the major benefits of DNP programs is that students have the opportunity to focus on what’s most important to them. You may be able to choose from a number of different concentrations, including the following specialties offered through Maryville’s BSN to DNP program:


3. Fit Education Around Your Busy Schedule

Unlike many traditional BSN to DNP degree programs, an online model is tailored for current, practicing nurses with busy lives. While an online Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice is still a significant time commitment, it offers unique flexibility. You might take on a heavy course load, but in many ways, you’ll be able to work through it on your own terms.

4. Learn from Experts in the Nursing Profession

Some types of professional knowledge never make it into a textbook. Learning from a faculty made up of experienced nurses, another benefit of DNP programs is that students can gain important insights into modern nursing beyond what they have seen up until this point. Unique opportunities for career guidance and mentorship are also benefits of this environment. For those who are interested in becoming teachers, a DNP is a helpful credential for those who want to instruct the next generation of nurses.

5. Stay Current in a Rapidly Evolving Field

Another reason to earn a DNP is that many aspects of healthcare are constantly changing. From greater understanding of disease processes to novel medicines and advanced technologies, it’s important for clinicians to stay informed. Designed to prepare future leaders of nursing, DNP programs provide up-to-date information and train their students in continuing medical education strategies. These tools can help nurses stay on top of future trends and changes for the duration of their careers.

6. Gain Increased Job Security

DNP graduates are in high demand, thanks to the nursing and physician shortage. Doctorate-level nurse practitioners are the most viable option to cover and bridge the gaps between the two roles. Additionally, over the last decade, there has been a shift in the credentials recommended for advanced nursing practice from the master’s level to the doctoral. The AACN and other organizations have endorsed the requirement of a DNP for advanced practice nurses. Continuing your education from the bachelor’s level directly to a DNP can help ensure that you stay competitive for the nursing job you want.

7. Earn Your DNP on an Accelerated Path

An online BSN to DNP program can give students a quality education with a streamlined experience. While the expected path for many students is to first earn a master’s before pursuing a doctorate, a BSN to DNP lets dedicated individuals bypass this step and save valuable time. While a standard path from a BSN to a DNP might require three to four years of full-time study, unique accelerated online opportunities can help nurses reach their goals faster.

8. Become Your Own Boss

One of the significant ways that healthcare is changing is the degree of autonomy DNP graduates enjoy today. Many full practice authority states permit DNP-level nurses to open their own independent clinics. Further, trends in legislation suggest that this may one day become a nationwide norm. In the face of the current clinician shortage, one prediction is that these nurse-run clinics will become an integral part of how patients receive primary care in the near future. For these reasons, a DNP degree can be a great choice for nurses who prefer to be as independent as possible in their practices.

9. Learn from Anywhere

If you’re looking to advance your education — and your career — but aren’t sure how much time you can commit to commuting to campus, an online DNP program may be right for you. Often, these programs do not have required residencies, and all aspects of learning can be done completely online. Though students are still expected to complete in-person clinical practice, you can fulfill this requirement locally in your own community.

10. DNP Salary Is Statistically Higher Than an MSN

If you’re taking the extra educational step to earn a DNP, you’re probably considering how it’ll affect your earning power. Another major benefit of DNP programs is that they can lead to higher salaries. According to Payscale, the median salary for MSN degree-holders in March 2023 was approximately $100,000 per year, while the median DNP salary was around $110,000 per year.

Educational Benefits of a DNP

As a student in the DNP program, you can feel confident knowing that you’re getting the highest possible nursing education in the medical field. The core curriculum teaches students about key concepts and competencies of advanced nursing, including courses such as:


  • Theoretical Foundations of Nursing Practice
  • Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing
  • Health Promotion/Disease Prevention
  • Advanced Pathophysiology
  • Advanced Health Assessment
  • Advanced Pharmacotherapeutics
  • Ethics For Advanced Nursing Practice
  • Organizations Theory and Systems Leadership
  • Advanced Health Care Policy


The benefits of DNP education become even more apparent once you begin the coursework for your selected concentration. At Maryville, you’ll be able to select from five different specialties. Each learning path is designed to develop the skills and knowledge necessary to earn professional licensure so that you can advance your healthcare career.

Learn Firsthand About the Benefits of a DNP

The DNP is a versatile degree that can prepare nurses for many different advanced roles in healthcare. Enrolling in a DNP program now can be a sound investment for the future, no matter where you want to be in the years to come. If you dream of a career in advanced nursing, learn more about why you should pursue a DNP by exploring Maryville’s accelerated online BSN to DNP program. Discover how the program can help you achieve your professional nursing goals.


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