Career Sneak Peek: What Do Doctors Of Nursing Practice Do?

The medical field is vast. It is easy to narrow it down to doctors and nurses, but there exists a web of their specialties and expertise. Advancing technology influences the expansion of sectors. It ultimately brings new opportunities with new skill sets required. Doctors and nurses perform specific roles in their respective professions. Doctors primarily diagnose and treat patients, which includes routine checking and surgery. Nurses perform many different tasks and shoulder responsibilities depending on their area of expertise. Doctor Of Nursing Practice (DNP) is one such area.

What Is A Doctor Of Nursing Practice?

The designing of this doctorate provides nurses a leadership position in their field. DNP nurses have a high understanding of nursing expertise and work for clinics or take on management positions depending on their credentials. They have knowledge that influences the healthcare community to achieve their goals by leading organizations, implementing a shift in policies, and administering direct patient care.

DNP degrees are clinical-based with no focus on medical research. Practitioners who want to work in the field pursue this degree. This program’s curriculum is centered primarily around patient outcomes, population health, nurse management, advanced nursing practices, and healthcare advocacy.

What Can You Do With A DNP In Nursing?

There are two specialized areas in which a DNP nurse can work. They can take on administration and leadership roles or shift to Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN).

Leadership and Administration

These nurses are responsible for overlooking junior staff and managing them through effective leadership. Through organizational leadership, they work on healthcare policies both at a state and national level to shift healthcare outcomes into achievable goals. They’re responsible for introducing innovations in the healthcare system that are sustainable and cost-effective. These include the health informatics system that has incorporated automated data collection.

These responsibilities collaborate to streamline the hospital’s frame of work.

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN)

These nurses are involved in direct patient care, including managing, assessing, and performing the healthcare practices. These nurses are required to appear for the Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) certificate examination. Some hospitals may ask them to have an advanced specialty certification.

Duration Of The Program

If this makes you ask, how long is a DNP program? This program varies in length depending on the area of expertise a student chooses to pursue. A student’s educational background in nursing will determine the number of skill sets further required; for example, advancing from a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). It requires about three to four years of full-time education.

What Roles Do DNP Nurses Perform?

As DNP nurses can work as APRNs, this gives them varied clinical, organizational, and leadership skills. It enables them to guide nurses and create programs for the healthcare system that improves healthcare outcomes. DNP nurses are not a substitute for nurse practitioners, but they are their team members. DNP nurses increasingly find themselves occupying four central roles:

Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)

These practitioners address the problems in a clinical environment, including the population of patients assigned to them, researching diseases they have specialized in, and their organizational challenges. These nurses tackle complex and new health issues. They design policies and change the operational process for more cost-effective and efficient ways.

Certified Nurse Practitioner

There are many DNP roles in this setting, leading a team and clinical setting. Ensuring there are quality clinical practices administered, they are technically literate, follow ethical codes, design and reform policies, and produce an effective system. They’re also qualified to provide direct patient care in the absence of a doctor with a complete treatment plan.

Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist

These DNP nurses provide patient care pre and post-surgery while administering anti-pain medicines. They also have the skills and knowledge of practice-focused degrees such as the doctor of pharmacy and physical therapy. Their combined experience helps them shift between management positions and administering patient care. They can make the best advocates for policy improvements that impact patients.

Certified Nurse-Midwife

DNP nurses occupying this position through their organizational understanding improve maternal care significantly. They can develop public health policies that will enhance data collection quality that promotes maternal and child health. They can set standards for midwifery that provide safe delivery and childbearing. They inform women of cost-effective ways to manage the health care they receive. In short, these nurses improve the framework of natal care safeguarding the lives of mothers and their children through upgraded standards of midwifery.


The healthcare system is drastically shifting from its current operating model. Doctors and nurses used to occupy their own set spaces and performed their duties conventionally and traditionally, with one involved in patient care and the other involved in managing the hospital and categorizing data.

As the population is expanding to accommodate this expansion, many sectors are transforming massively. The healthcare system is emerging with a new structure in which doctors’ and nurses’ roles have intertwined themselves with many cross-links. An evolved degree to enable this change is a Doctor Of Nursing Practice. These practitioners are involved in different healthcare system aspects, aiming to achieve sustainable hospitals with cost-effective procedures with an economical design that benefits patients equally.

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