A Full Guide to Doctor of Nursing and Its Career Opportunities

Published 11:55 am Friday, July 7, 2023

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Choosing the right career is crucial. You must consider the opportunities while determining what you’re passionate about. If you love taking care of others and would like to turn it into a career, the nursing path has several directions that can be rewarding. Those interested in the medical field might want to understand better what career path you can take as a nurse. Here are several things you must know before taking a Doctor of Nursing program. 

Doctor of Nursing Practice

DNP or a Doctor of Nursing Practice is a terminal degree in nursing. It’s the highest level of education available for practice-based training in nursing. It’ll prepare nurses to become leaders in the field. It’s one of the reasons why a Doctor of Nursing Practice is a highly sought-after position in nursing leadership. DNPs are considered a crucial role in shaping the future of healthcare. 


DNP programs aim to develop nursing professionals with the highest expertise level. Check this AGACNP DNP online program open to Virginians to get more information. 


Graduates of the program work in clinical settings or take on leadership roles using their knowledge. They could also influence healthcare outcomes through leadership within organizations, knowledge of implementing health policies, and providing patient care directly. In conclusion, DNPs are trained to impact the quality of healthcare delivery significantly. 

Nurse Practitioner Specializations

Nurse practitioners can pursue a specialization that focuses on a specific patient or concern area. The level of insight is essential for NPs. They can acquire certification to provide primary care for non-urgent conditions or acute care for more immediate and critical needs. Here are several specializations for NPs.  

Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioners (AGACNP)

AGACNPs are professionals with specializations in senior care and acute care. These nurse practitioners’ tasks include caring for patients with complex critical, episodic, or deteriorating conditions. In their role as acute care providers, they work with individuals who require immediate and intensive medical attention. Their expertise in the senior area will also allow them to address patients’ specific needs or challenges older adults face.


To pursue a career as AGACNP, you need a master’s degree and complete the certification. You might also need on-site experiences before taking the graduate program. 


Family Nurse Practitioners

FNPs, or family nurse practitioners, are one of the most common nurse practitioner specializations. In short, their scope of work is similar to a primary care physician. They’ll provide direct patient care, examine their physical performance, screen their health, and more. 


Besides monitoring, FNPs will also develop and adjust treatment plans for non-acute issues. They must provide education and support for patients.  

Pediatric Nurse Practitioners

Pediatric nurses specialize in giving healthcare to children of all ages. They’ll work in various settings, such as private practices and public health centers. Pediatric nurses will help patients and give advice to their families to help better understand and manage the patient’s healthcare. Their tasks include providing physical examinations, diagnosing, performing health screenings, and treating non-urgent medical conditions. 


For acute conditions, PNP in Acute Care will deliver treatments to young patients. These patients could be facing critical, complex, or chronic health issues. They’re usually assigned to emergency departments, Pediatric Intensive Care Units, and specialized clinics. 

DNP Program

Here we’ll cover the essentials you’ll first learn when taking a DNP program. They’re core competencies defined by AACN (American Association of Colleges of Nursing). So, they’ll be required if you want to become an accredited DNP. 


There are 10 newly added core competencies from AACN in 2021 for nursing education. Accredited nursing schools will gradually incorporate these new competencies into their curricula. However, some programs haven’t implemented these changes yet. So, their course content will focus on the eight essentials outlined by AACN. The table below compares the program with and without AACN’s 2021 competencies. 


Eight Fundamental Essentials AACN’s 2021 Competencies
The scientific foundation for nursing practice Population health
Leadership skills in organizational and healthcare systems Person-centered direct care
Applying clinical scholarship and evidence-based practice methods Nursing practice knowledge
Utilizing information systems and patient care technology Nursing discipline scholarships
Advocacy in healthcare policy Safety and Quality
Collaborating with interprofessional teams to improve health outcomes Interprofessional cooperation
Promoting clinical prevention and population health Professionalism
Advancing Nursing Practice to a higher level Practice based on the system
Healthcare and informatics technologies
Professional, leadership, and personal developments