10 Doctorate in Nursing Jobs: Clinical and Non-Clinical Positions
Recent decades have brought increasing integration between health care and business, as well as health care and education. This growing collaboration creates an opportunity to explore what you can do with a doctorate in nursing beyond clinical care.
Positions for a Doctor of Nursing (DNP) are expanding in areas ranging from education, business, health policy, and telemedicine. For those wondering about career options beyond clinical practice, opportunities abound.
The leadership, analytical and organizational skills of a DNP translate well into today’s demanding job field. Many business and government sectors are hiring DNPs to fill medically oriented roles.
DNPs may occasionally need additional on-the-job training or other classes. However, much of a DNP’s education covers policy and leadership support roles outside of direct patient care.
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Benefits of a DNP
There are a number of benefits associated with earning a DNP. While nurse practitioners currently only need an MSN, some groups are advocating to make the DNP the minimum required degree for advanced practice nurses by 2025. In addition, earning a DNP can potentially lead to a lucrative salary. The salary aggregate site Payscale reports that the median annual salary for those with a DNP degree was roughly $110,000 as of March 2023, compared to $100,000 for those with an MSN and $91,000 for those with a BSN.
Many other professions, like physicians, physical therapists and pharmacists, use the doctorate as an entry to practice. The DNP provides the foundation for collaboration for nurses by making the educational preparation equal to those colleagues. A DNP degree gives nurses a voice in the boardroom as health care leaders with the knowledge and clinical expertise to make the health care system work for everyone.
4 Clinical Doctorate in Nursing Jobs
Graduates to a wide range of doctorate in nursing jobs that impact care delivery.
1. Nurse Practitioner
Nurse practitioners prescribe medications and diagnose patient conditions. Nurse practitioners have proven that they can improve patient outcomes such as surgical mortality while reducing health care costs and improving patient satisfaction. Nurse practitioners can specialize in care suited to different patient populations, such as neonatal, acute care or mental health. They can also serve a broader population by serving as family practice NPs or working in a hospital. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that the job growth for nurse practitioners will be an impressive 46% between 2021 and 2031. The BLS also states the median salary for NPs as of May 2021 was $120,680 per year.
2. Certified Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA)
CRNAs administer anesthesia in a surgical setting. They secure the patient’s airway, ensure the patient is adequately sedated and monitor the patient throughout the surgery for complications. CRNAs are the highest-paid APRNs. The BLS lists the median annual salary for CRNAs at $195,610 as of May 2021. Beginning in 2025, a doctoral degree will be required to enter the field as a nurse anesthetist.
3. Certified Nurse Midwife (CNM)
CNMs deliver babies and provide prenatal care in outpatient offices, hospitals and rural areas. Many areas of the country do not have enough OB/GYN physicians and need CNMs to provide additional resources to those needing care. CNMs also provide birth control and other aspects of reproductive health, such as gynecologic health and family planning services. CNMs earn a median of $112,830 annually as of May 2021, per the BLS.
4. Clinical Nurse Specialist (CNS)
The final APRN is the clinical nurse specialist (CNS). CNSs have similar training to nurse practitioners — but instead of seeing one patient at a time, they create interventions to help entire populations through protocols and order sets. CNSs are experts in change management and can navigate a complicated system while staying clinically proficient. They work with all populations of patients in different capacities such as mental health, cardiovascular, critical care, emergency department, obstetrical and pediatrics. CNSs have prescriptive authority in most states.
According to Payscale, the median annual salary for a clinical nurse specialist as of March 2023 was approximately $96,700.
6 Nonclinical Doctorate in Nursing Jobs
Abundant options are available for those with a doctorate in nursing. You may be surprised by what you can do with a doctorate in nursing to impact academics, government or the business sector. A DNP is a practical degree if your passion expands beyond patient care to business leadership or education. While the following doctorate in nursing jobs may not directly correspond with caring for a patient, they can significantly impact a patient’s care.
1. Medical Services Manager
Also known as health care administrators or health care executives, medical services managers coordinate care delivery strategies for a health care facility. The facilities they can manage range from an entire clinical facility to a specific area within the facility, such as a clinical department or a group of doctors. Their work is responsible for keeping a facility running efficiently and legally compliant in accordance with shifting federal laws and regulations. According to the BLS, the median annual salary for medical services managers as of May 2021 is $101,340. The BLS also projects a tremendous 28% job growth for these positions between 2021 and 2031.
2. Chief Nursing Officer (CNO)
CNOs develop and execute operational strategies for a health care facility’s nursing department. Their work can ensure cohesive, streamlined nursing processes occur in a manner that does not hinder the quality of patient care delivery. They also work with other C-suite executives to ensure their strategies effectively mesh with other departments to ensure optimized operational efficiency. Some of the duties of a CNO include:
- Overseeing budgets
- Resolving service problems
- Handling patient complaints
- Managing staff and their schedules and caseloads
- Consulting on complex cases
- Implementing policy
- Interviewing and hiring nurses
- Serving as a liaison between a board of directors or executives and nursing staff
According to Payscale, the median annual salary for CNOs as of March 2023 was around $138,600.
3. Public Health Nurses
Public health nurses educate communities on various short-term, long-term and ongoing health issues. They can develop care strategies designed to keep people healthy, from creating vaccination programs to mitigating the impact of misinformation that may crop up during a public health crisis. They may also conduct research to determine health patterns and concerns pertaining to a specific population group. Payscale lists the median annual salary for public health nurses at approximately $69,100 as of March 2023.
4. Postsecondary Teacher
A terminal degree opens the door to becoming a professor. Academia can be an excellent option for those drawn to preparing the next generation of nurses and interested in scholarly research and publishing. Some of the typical responsibilities of a postsecondary teacher concentrating on nursing include:
- Curriculum development
- Teaching in-person lectures
- Teaching online lectures
- Leading lab or clinical work
- Serving as a mentor or advisor
Most professor positions require a doctoral degree. Demand for nursing professors is extreme — U.S. nursing schools had to turn away more than 90,000 qualified applicants from baccalaureate and graduate nursing programs in 2021 due in part to faculty shortages. The BLS lists the median annual salary for postsecondary teachers at $79,640 as of May 2021.
5. Medical Writer
Medical writers produce written content regarding information, innovation and research results for the medical field. They typically work with health care professionals to properly research and obtain crucial medical findings to present information that is thorough and accurate. Those in the role must also ensure their work complies with various regulations. According to Payscale, the median annual salary of medical writers as of March 2023 was around $78,500.
6. Nurse Informaticist
Nurse informaticists concentrate on technologies such as electronic health records (EHRs) that allow for efficient analysis, storage and retrieval of patient records across multiple computer systems. This can help facilitate holistic, cohesive patient care strategies across different access points, such as separate clinics, which can boost care efficiency and potentially improve patient outcomes. The median annual salary for the role as of January 2023 was around $86,100, per Payscale.
What You Can Do with a Doctorate in Nursing Outside of Health Care Facilities
It’s also important to understand what you can do with a doctorate in nursing in other settings. Hospitals, clinics and private practices are traditional work environments for doctorate in nursing jobs. Some institutions that hire nurse administrators are hospitals, outpatient clinics, mental health facilities, health care systems and medical offices. Government facilities, rehabilitation centers, research centers, schools, and other workplaces also need DNP-educated nursing professionals.
Many educators are moving online as schools embrace distance education to accommodate increasing numbers of students in classrooms. DNPs can be ideal candidates to teach foundational courses to undergraduates. They can also teach policy, evidence-based practice and leadership to graduate students.
The Next Step in Your Nursing Career
Are you ready for the next step in exploring your nurse practitioner career options? Whether you choose a clinical or nonclinical route, earning a DNP can prepare you to make a meaningful impact on patients' lives. Learn more about what you can do with a doctorate in nursing at Marymount University Online with our DNP-FNP program, our DNP-PMHNP program and our post-master’s DNP program.
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