Doctorate in Nursing
Getting your Doctorate in Nursing degree is key to becoming an advanced practice nurse, such as a Nurse Midwife or Nurse Practitioner (NP). Specifically known at most colleges and universities as the Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP), this doctorate level degree is generally required to practice advanced and highly specialized nursing in medical facilities across the country. Pursuing your doctorate, rather than a master's degree in nursing, gives you a distinct edge in the field of advanced practice nursing. In fact, by 2015 a Doctorate in Nursing degree rather than a Masters will be required by the licensing bodies for both NPs and Nurse Anesthetists.
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Work Environment with a Doctorate in Nursing
Those with a Doctorate in Nursing will find themselves practicing their craft in a much more autonomous setting then their Registered Nurse (RN) counterparts. If you use your Doctorate of Nursing to become and NP, you may have your own practice much like a physician would, as might a Nurse Midwife though he or she would spend a lot of time in hospitals for deliveries as well. A Nurse Anesthetist might work in an outpatient surgery center or hospital.
Qualifications & Training to Get a Doctorate in Nursing
Before getting your Doctorate in Nursing you will be required to complete a Bachelor's of Science in Nursing degree at an accredited college or university. This usually takes about four years of full-time school. You'll then need to apply to a doctorate program and be accepted, and then your studies can take from two to four years to complete. In addition to your studies there will be hundreds of hours of hands-on practical training required.
Licensure & Certification
Most nurses who pursue Doctorate in Nursing degrees become licensed as RNs after completing their Bachelor's degree. You will need ot pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX-RN) to become licensed. In addition to this, after completing your doctorate you will likely want to become certified in your area of specialty, such as Midwifery or being an NP. Each time of advanced practice nursing has it's own requirements for certification.
Job Outlook and Salary Opportunities
Advanced practice nurses with Doctorate in Nursing degrees are highly employable, as their high level of autonomy and education make them very valuable and desirable to a wide array of medical facilities and communities. They are also some of the most highly paid nurses in medicine, making a median income of approximately $80,000 annually according to BLS.gov.