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5 Reasons to Get a PhD/DNP

5 Reasons to Get a PhD/DNP

Jennifer Fink | NursingLink

Reason #4: You want to improve healthcare

While the U.S. healthcare system is often touted as the best in the world, it’s no secret that our healthcare system leaves a lot to be desired. Too many people still lack basic healthcare coverage, and all in all, our system is still more focused on disease than on health and wellness. That’s why the Institute of Medicine recommends increased involvement of nurses in efforts to improve healthcare.

In The Future of Nursing, the IOM recommends expanding opportunities for nurses to lead collaborative improvement efforts. According to the IOM:

• "The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation should support the development and evaluation of models of payment and care delivery that use nurses in an expanded and lead¬ership capacity to improve health outcomes and reduce costs.

• Private and public funders should collaborate, and when possible pool funds, to advance research on models of care and innovative solutions, including technology, that will enable nurses to contribute to improved health and health care.

• Health care organizations should support and help nurses in taking the lead in developing and adopting innovative, patient-centered care models."

A doctoral degree (either a DNP or PhD) will help you stay at the forefront of these exciting changes. And these aren’t just some pie-in-the-sky pipedreams. Twenty-eight states have already proposed legislation to remove barriers that currently inhibit nursing practice.

Reason #5: You’re cost-conscious

Yes, a doctoral degree requires a huge commitment of time, energy and financial resources. But given the current healthcare climate, you’re probably better off enrolling in a BSN-to-PhD program, for instance, than completing a Master’s degree before your PhD. That’s especially true if you’re interested in a career as an advanced practice nurse. Why mess around with a separate Master’s program when you can enroll directly in a BSN – to – DNP program, given the fact that a DNP will soon be the preferred degree?

Besides, there are a multitude of resources out there to help you finance your education. The AACN maintains a list of funding resources for future nurse educators. The Affordable Care Act includes loan repayment options for nurses who choose to work in underserved areas as primary healthcare providers; some states have their own loan forgiveness programs. Various healthcare organizations (such as the American Cancer Society) offer scholarships and grants for doctoral nursing students as well. And don’t forget your current employer. Many hospitals and healthcare organizations provide at least partial tuition reimbursement.

Besides, the investment pays off in the long run. According to, the average salary for doctorally-prepared nurses is $95,000 per year.

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