Ph.D. Nurse versus DNP

Ph.D. Nurse versus DNP

Advancement in nursing education opens the opportunity for nurses to become either a Ph.D. nurse or Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). The two are very distinct concerning the roles they play in the healthcare sector. With the continual emphasis to advance the nurse education in the contemporary medical world, an understanding of the differences between the two is central to making decisions on which path to follow. In essence, this analysis targets to highlight the differences between the two levels of nursing education.

Primarily, a Ph.D. nurse is one that has completed the prescribed doctoral degree of nursing education. Persons with this qualification mainly focus on nursing research as they try to build the body of knowledge of nursing. A Ph.D. in Nursing prepares nurses at the peak level of nursing science to carry out research that will advance the body of knowledge in nursing(Johnson, 2014). Lastly, Ph.D. nurses have the highest level of competency in research that is reflective to the academic program emphasis(AACN, 2014).

On the contrary, the DNP is a nurse that has the qualification of practice or research doctorate in nursing. Additionally, the DNPs possess expertise in the area of teaching. The DNP has a strong attachment to practice career, in which their aim is to improve patient care outcomes and population health(Johnson, 2014). As such, the DNP aim at coming up with evidence-based practice as they seek to integrate the theory to practice.  Finally, a DNP possesses a high level of competency in practice that is reflective of focus of the academic program (AACN, 2014).

Lastly, between the two options of advance nursing education, my choice is to become a DNP. That is the case given my desire to influence nursing-related issues as a practicing nurse rather than from a theoretical standpoint. Central to this preference is also the evidence-based practice contribution that a DNP can offer in the health care sector.

In closure, this discussion aimed at differentiating between a DNP and a Ph.D. nurse. Indeed, the two provisions of advanced nursing education are different as noted from the analysis. However, both are crucial to the growth of nursing, and none is inferior to the other. Therefore, new enrolled nurse must examine their potential before deciding which of the career path to follow.


AACN,. (2014). Key Differences between DNP and PhD/DNS Programs. AACN. Retrieved 10 February 2017, from

Johnson, M. (2014). What’s the Difference Between a DNP and PhD in Nursing?. Retrieved 10 February 2017, from

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