The Difference Between DNP vs Ph.D. in Nursing

Most people have often asked themselves the question of which doctorate is right for me? Is it a DNP or a Ph.D. in nursing?

Here, we will compare and contrasting DNP and Ph.D. in nursing to answer this question and others in regard to both doctorates.

How should you choose between D.N.P and Ph.D. in nursing?

To know which doctorate suits you best, you must know the differences between the two. The DNP doctorate is practice-oriented rather than research focused which is the case with Ph.D. The DNP mainly focuses on innovative and evidence-based clinical practice that reflects on the application of reliable research findings.

On the other hand, Ph.D. in nursing programs are heavily focused on research methodology and scientific content. Ph.D. programs also differ from DNP programs in terms of their objectives and the competencies of their graduates. To decide whether to pursue either of the doctorates you should be guided by your career goals.

As a student in a Ph.D. program, you will be generating and building on new knowledge. A DNP program student on the other hand translates and tests the research that has been already done to see if it tackles certain problems or projects and then puts in into practice.

Therefore, if your goal is to become a nurse scientist or scholar with a research centered career Ph. D is the right choice for you. If you want a terminal degree in nursing practice, then a DNP would be the right choice for you.

DNP provides a good alternative to research-based doctorate. This doctorate is usually pursued by nurses who want to continue practicing in their area of specialization who are interested in acquiring advanced knowledge and skills.

Applying for admission into either of the doctoral programs

Some institutions require applicants to write an essay about the reasons why they want to earn a doctorate in nursing, their career goals, and what they hope to achieve with the degree.

For this, you should polish up your language and writing skills. If English is not your first language, taking an English course would be of great help.

Most programs also request prospective students to give written references. When giving references, make sure that the people you ask to provide a reference know you well. The application you send should not have any errors whatsoever and it should shed light on you and your achievements.

To make sure that it meets these requirements, you could ask someone you trust to review your application before you submit it.

The other requirements for admission include a master’s degree or its equivalent, an active practicing license, a 3.0 minimum GPA in the master’s program you pursued, and official transcripts of the highest coursework done. If you have any questions regarding the application, do not hesitate to check with the institution.

What to expect in the programs

A DNP in the nursing program covers both clinical hours and course work. The coursework for both doctorates is very intensive. It requires a lot of determination and sacrifice. A lot of time is spent reading and researching in the library.

Therefore, students need to manage their time well. It is also important for you to focus your coursework in the direction of your research.

A fundamental part of the DNP programs is the final project. The final project is usually about a problem or an issue at the institution where you are pursuing your degree. For this project, you need to work closely with the institution to make sure that it supports your project’s implementation.

This project is like a dissertation for a Ph.D. as it must be approved by the IRB (Institutional Review Board). The final project also includes a committee to guide the project. In either of these programs, it is important for you to direct your coursework in the area of your research and to have a mentor.

Before deciding to pursue a doctoral degree, you need to identify your career goals and to identify your passion. Obtaining a doctoral degree is not easy. However, if you are adequately prepared for the challenge it may be the best investment of your life. You will not only earn a better income but also make useful contributions to the quality and delivery of health care to patients.