Exploring Your Options After A Doctorate In Nursing

Undeniably, nurses are essential to the healthcare sector. Nursing is one of healthcare’s most lucrative, demanding, and rewarding occupations. The primary job duties of nurses are to offer direct care to patients, administer medicines, monitor patients’ vital tests, and communicate with important parties, including doctors and physicians.

Whether they hold an ADN, BSN, or MSN, professionals with nursing degrees can find various employment opportunities across the health sector. However, the nursing industry has evolved significantly over time. As a result, it has become even more complex and challenging. Therefore, nurse professionals must expand their knowledge and enhance their skills to provide top-quality patient care. It is only possible if nurses pay attention to pursuing higher education.

DNP and Ph.D. are the two types of doctoral degrees that exist. 

DNP or Doctor of Nursing Practice is the terminal degree in nursing. The evidence-based practice degree prepares its professionals for leadership roles, helps them improve patient outcomes, and enables them to make an impact in the healthcare sector.

Role of DNPs in Healthcare

Nurses with doctoral degrees can hold executive or managerial positions and reshape the healthcare industry. 

Since DNP-prepared nurses have the highest level of clinical knowledge and proven experience, these nurses can offer patients a high level of research-based quality care. Moreover, nurses with a DNP degree identify critical health issues in a community and influence policymakers in their decisions regarding public health. The holder of a DNP degree can also educate the next generation of nurses by finding employment in educational institutes.

So are you already a nurse but want to expand your master’s education? In that case, consider enrolling yourself in DNP online programs and becoming a renowned nursing industry leader. The degree will help you gain advanced clinical knowledge and polish your leadership, communication, and analytical skills. Moreover, one of the best benefits of an online doctorate program is that it allows you to continue your education without interfering with your family commitments or professional obligations. 

That said, DNP offers a world of opportunities for aspiring graduates. Here are some of them:


  • Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)

In a hospital or healthcare facility, the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO) is one of the nursing staff members with the highest authority. They are responsible for managing all aspects of patient care, including staffing, clinical services, quality control, etc. However, to excel in this career, you must possess strong leadership, communication, critical thinking, and organizational skills. 

Day-to-day job duties of a CNO can include:

  • Develop strategic plannings that align with the organization’s objectives and mission
  • Offer guidance and directions to nursing staff for improving patient outcomes
  • Ensure nursing practices comply with state and federal law
  • Monitor clinical activities such as standards of nursing care, budgeting, patient satisfaction, etc
  • Work together with other healthcare professionals to offer better patient care

According to Payscale, the average wage of a Chief Nursing Officer is $134,902 per year.


  • Nurse Educator

If you wish to be a role model for the next generation of nurses, this career path might be the right fit. The primary responsibilities of nurse educators are to educate junior nurses, mentor them, review educational materials, and evaluate the student’s progress. 

As the name implies, you will be responsible for sharing your knowledge, wisdom, and skills with others and helping them grow in their career. Therefore, you need excellent interpersonal, communication, leadership, and time-management skills.

A day in the life of a nurse educator may include the following responsibilities:

  • Devise educational curricula
  • Coach and mentor students
  • Educate technical staff and caregivers on how to employ new medical tools and equipment
  • Conduct research and write papers or proposals
  • Stay abreast of the latest clinical procedures

As per Payscale, the median annual wage of a nurse educator is $79,152 per year.


  • Healthcare Lobbyist

Do you have strong persuading skills and a passion for improving the healthcare system? In that case, becoming a healthcare lobbyist might be the perfect option. As a healthcare lobbyist, you will play an integral part in the system. You will be responsible for influencing the laws and policies that govern access to healthcare resources and medical services. Thus, you must develop strong negotiation, interpersonal, persuasion, and networking skills.

Typical job responsibilities of a healthcare lobbyist can include:

  • Conduct thorough research on an issue and write a policy change proposal
  • Develop good relations with parties that can influence decisions, such as government officials, legislators, etc
  • Evaluate the effects of other policy proposals
  • Plan and host events to gain broader support

The average salary of a healthcare lobbyist is $64,272 per year.


  • Healthcare Chief Executive Officer

There is no denying that the primary objective of the healthcare industry is to offer the best care possible to the general public. However, the industry still needs leaders with strong business skills and extensive clinical knowledge who can manage an entire organization efficiently. That is where the role of healthcare executives comes into play.

As the highest executive position, you will supervise every operation performed within the facility, including budgeting, staffing, policy planning, and more. Therefore, you must hone decision-making, problem-solving, communication, teamwork, and organization skills to be exceptionally good at your job.

Some of the everyday job responsibilities of a healthcare executive officer can include:

  • Ensure the best quality patient care and efficient facility operations
  • Ensure clinical practices comply with state, federal, and hospital laws and regulations
  • Plan finance strategies
  • Cultivate strong relationships with other stakeholders, including media personnel, physicians, outside the medical community, etc

The estimated average annual salary of a hospital Chief Executive Officer is $154,055.


  • Nurse Informatics

Like any other organization, patient care is a valuable asset for healthcare organizations. Thus, nurses ensure that the data is accurately gathered, evaluated, shared, and interpreted. So a career in nursing informatics might be an ideal choice for individuals interested in analytics and information technology. 

The field combines the knowledge of nursing, computer science, and information science to manage the data and provide patients with the best quality care. Therefore, it would be best to have excellent research, clinical nursing, communication, organization, problem-solving, and leadership skills.

Below are the typical job duties of a Nurse Informatics Specialist:

  • Analyze gathered data and monitor what’s working or not
  • Advise on the necessary improvements and changes
  • Develop, test, implement, and update systems and technologies
  • Perform clinical research and promote evidence-based care in the organization

According to ZipRecruiter, Nurse Informatics are earning $101,852 annually.


Final thoughts

Although the nursing industry is ever-changing, one thing never changes: to have a good impact on an organization’s performance, the industry needs good leadership. Moreover, the demand for skilled and inspirational leadership has grown dramatically along with the patient population. Effective leadership in the healthcare setting can improve patient outcomes. Thus, consider taking the next step in your nursing career and pursuing terminal education by earning a DNP. The degree offers various exciting career opportunities and will open doors to success.