If a nurse wants to obtain a doctoral degree in the field, he or she can take one of the two available educational tracks.
A doctoral degree is the highest degree for every profession.
In the USA, most of the schools accept nurses with MSN degree, and several schools offer a doctoral program for nurses who hold BSN degree.
However, doctoral programs for BSN-prepared nurses can take a bit more time.
As a doctoral degree, a nurse can choose to complete a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) or a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in nursing.
But, there are some dual programs as well.
There are significant differences between DNP and Ph.D. programs.
First of all, DNP programs have curriculums based on training nurses to provide the highest level of clinical care.
Therefore, DNP programs consist of prolonged clinical hours, extensive evidence-based research, and techniques to improve patient outcomes.
The nurses who complete DNP programs work in nurse administration or are leaders in healthcare settings.
Ph.D. programs are more of an academic track, where students research to elevate the nursing practice in general.
Unlike DNP programs, this educational track has little clinical hours and is focused on research and publishing.
Nurses who complete Ph.D. programs in nursing often work as professors at universities, they write books, are on the leadership positions in a healthcare organization, etc.
There are several dual degree programs, suitable for nurses who want to obtain both DNP and Ph.D. programs.
One of them is the program at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.
Dual programs combine the best of both worlds, combining nursing clinical skills with leadership skills.
These programs are relatively new in nursing education and have been around since 2016.
The first generation of students of these programs isn’t yet finished their studies, as the programs last around five years for full-time students.
Therefore, there isn’t too much information about the outcome and the job possibilities after graduation.
But, as for all doctoral degrees, these students will have excellent job opportunities and career paths, as they can work on several roles.
The students will be trained for different positions because their education is comprehensive and versatile.
There are several dual DNP/Ph.D. programs across the state.
For example, in Alabama, there is a dual program at the University of Alabama in Tuscon.
Next, a nurse can start a dual program on the John Hopkins University in Baltimore, in Maryland.
The University of Michigan in Flint offers a hybrid program for students seeking a combination of traditional and online education for their dual DNP/Ph.D. program.
Case Western Reserve University in Ohio and the University of Tennessee Health Science Center also have high-quality dual programs.