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5 Reasons to Get a PhD/DNP

5 Reasons to Get a PhD/DNP

Jennifer Fink | NursingLink

Less than one percent of all American nurses have a doctoral degree. But if the Institute of Medicine (IOM) has its way, that will soon change. Last year, the IOM, in conjunction with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released The Future of Nursing, a summary of its two-year study of nursing and healthcare. The report says nurses need to take on greater responsibility in healthcare – and recommends doubling the number of doctorally-prepared nurses by 2020. One way to do that? Ensure that 10 percent of all new BSN grads move into a MSN, PhD or DNP program within five years of graduation.

Higher education can sound a bit like alphabet soup, but the truth is that the demand for doctorally-prepared nurses has never been higher. An acute shortage of nurse faculty is delaying the education of thousands of would-be nurses each year, and national nurse organizations, including the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, are calling on advanced degree nurses to step up their education to keep pace with a healthcare environment that requires highly-educated clinical care providers.

Unsure if a PhD or DNP is right for you? Check out these five reasons to get a doctorate. You might be surprised to find out that you’d be a great doctoral candidate!

Reason #1: You want to teach the next generation of nurses

It’s clear that the nurses of tomorrow will need to be clinically competent, quick on their feet and adept at adapting to a variety of situations and practice settings. That’s where today’s nurses come in: tomorrow’s nurses need experienced nurses to show them the ropes, to ask probing questions, and to model critical thinking.

But too few nurses are stepping up to the challenge. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), U.S. nursing schools turned away over 67,000 qualified applicants in 2010 because there simply aren’t enough instructors to teach them. Nursing schools report close to 1,000 open faculty positions – and the vast majority of those positions (90.6%!) require a doctoral degree.

Not sure if nursing education is for you? Try mentoring a new nurse. If that goes well, apply for a position as a clinical instructor; a Master’s degree and work experience will typically qualify you to lead a clinical group. And if you find you enjoy working with students, go all the way. A PhD will qualify you for most nurse educator positions and provide you with a lifetime of job security. Plus – no weekends or holidays!

Next: Reason #2 >>

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