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The difference between Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in nursing lies in the area of interest. The DNP degree is practice-focused while the PhD is research-focused (American College of Nursing [AACN], 2014. Nurses who pursue a PhD are dedicated in finding new information to enhance the nursing practice through scientific study. In contrary, nurses with a DNP are prepared for expertise in practice, leadership, evidence-based practice, healthcare policy, information technology, and inter-professional collaboration, as well as direct care of patients. Working in a faculty positions, DNPs can influence quality of care given to patients through their proficiency passed to their students (AACN, 2014).

I personally prefer the inter-professional and direct patient care over research, so DNP would be my preferred choice of further education. The DNP degree would allow me to directly give, evaluate, and constantly improve evidence-based nursing care as well as meet health needs of today’s populations. If I should choose to leave retire from direct patient care, I can choose to pursue teaching and DNP would prepare me to pass on my expertise to other nurses through the faculty role. Besides, considering the direction that health care is going, DNP is useful and applicable towards health care reform.


American College of Nursing (AACN), 2014. Key Differences between DNP and PhD/DNS Programs. Retrieved from.

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