As healthcare evolves, nurses will get opportunities to work in areas and in roles that they traditionally could not. Nurse practitioners who have a Doctorate in Nursing (DNP) degree will be required to fill in new roles as they become available. Additionally, they will be tasked with shaping the future of the healthcare industry as well as improving patient care outcomes. Higher education opportunities for nurses are now a lot more accessible than they were a few years ago, meaning that the number of nurses with advanced degrees is also increasing. As with any other advanced degree, a Doctorate in Nursing opens up lots of career opportunities, including the following.

Research Opportunities

A Doctorate in Nursing Practice gives nurses the tools and skills they need to conduct research into new treatment options as well as ways to optimize both the workforce and patient outcomes. Nurses with a DNP can get into clinical research careers easily where they get to partner with other healthcare professionals.

In this role, they engage in implementing and coordinating clinical trials, invent new investigative methodologies, design research proposals, and take care of all participants in their various research endeavors. After all this is done, they have to come up with conclusions based on data and empirical evidence.

There is no limit to the research roles that nurses with advanced degrees can get into, as they have been involved in everything from cancer research to research into new infertility treatments. A career in research provides nurses the satisfaction of knowing their discoveries will go a long way in not only helping people, but also saving lives in the future.

Choose from Various Career Paths

A major benefit of pursuing a DNP degree is that you get a larger pick of roles and career tracks to choose from. Nurses who want to go into leadership can use their degree to become Executive Nursing Practitioners, while those who want to provide holistic care can become Family Nurse Practitioners. Those who want to work with mothers, newborns, and young kids can become a DNP midwife by studying online, as well as a neonatal nurse practitioner or pediatric nurse practitioner.


If you love academia, you can join the faculty at a university and become a member of the teaching staff. Here, you will be responsible for teaching tomorrow’s nurses the clinical and theoretical knowledge and skills they need to become great nurses. In this role, you will mostly interact with and instruct students taking bachelor’s or master’s degrees in various nursing fields.

You will be responsible for developing curriculums, evaluating student performances, teaching in both clinical and classroom settings as well as mentoring some of your students. Once you join the nursing faculty, you get to teach several areas and aspects of nursing including pediatric, maternal, acute care, geriatric, emergency nursing as well as evidence-based nursing practices and nursing research.

This role is very lucrative because there is a shortage of nurses who can teach or become nurse instructors. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the demand for nurses who can teach will grow at a steady 15% for the next 5 years.


Nurse administrators are responsible for overseeing other nurses. Also known as nurse managers, nurse administrators’ responsibilities overlap with those of Human Resource managers in other business settings because they hire nurses, manage them, ensure the right nurses are retained so they do not leave, and act as a liaison between nursing staff and the facilities they work.

Nurse administrators might also work with doctors, manage their departments or facility’s budget, assist patients and their families, handle medical records as well as discipline the nurses they manage.

Advocacy for New Technology

Nurses are responsible for managing different types of data including patient information. To do this efficiently, and to ensure this data is available to everyone everywhere and any time they need it, nurses are implementing information management systems to make this easier.

Many DNP programs offer a course in nursing informatics. This is an area of nursing that combines information technology and computer science to help nurses better communicate, manage data as well as disseminate knowledge and information. Nurses who have taken this specialty play a major role in the development of information systems that are intuitive to use as well as teaching other nurses how to use these systems and information databases.

Specialized Areas of Care

Nurses with DNP degrees are often involved in specialized areas of patient care. Their training enables them to handle complex medical conditions and illnesses in different areas including oncology, pediatrics, emergency care, or oncology.

Additionally, advanced nurses can do complex tests, physical exams, request consultations with other medical professionals as well as prescribe medication depending on the state that they practice in.

Advanced nurses who go into specialized care usually get a lot of autonomy when doing their jobs due to their specialized skills and years of preparation. These nurses can also open their own practices and can practice without a supervising doctor in more than 20 states in the United States. This level of independence is often a focal point for lots of DNP programs.


Nursing lobbyists communicate the needs of nurses and advocate for certain legal matters to government representatives. The aim of doing this is to influence policy at various government levels including federal, state, and local levels. These nurses might be employed by large healthcare facilities or private hospitals. They can also advocate on behalf of their patients and the public.

Some of the areas nursing lobbyists get involved in include research funding, insurance, the development of new medications and procedures, and a lot more.

Many lobbyists do not do this full time as many nurses choose to volunteer their time and efforts working with various nursing groups and organizations to help lobby for and implement various changes in nursing.

Having a Doctorate in Nurse Practitioner degree is a dream for many nurses due to the sheer number of opportunities and career paths that having one affords them. The investment might seem a bit steep for lots of nurses, but the personal and professional growth that comes out of completing the advanced programs will make taking the advanced degree worth it.