Discuss the difference between a DNP and a PhD in nursing. Discuss which of these you would choose to pursue if you decide to continue your education to the doctoral level and explain why.


Doctor of Philosophy PhD and Doctor of Nursing Practice DNP are terminal degrees in nursing field. However, they are comparable. While DNP is clinical practiced based, PhD is research based (Schmidt, Henne & Carley Wippich, 2018). Furthermore, DNP and PhD programs differ in terms curriculum requirements. Whereas for DNP programs students have to complete an added capstone project explaining an issue in healthcare and recommend solution to the problem. PhD students on the other hand engage in projects that are specific to clinical practice area of specialization. In addition, career goals of individuals determine degree path they will choose. For instance, a nurse with master degree will opt to pursue DNP as a terminal degree to improve her practice.

In my personal opinion, I will prefer to pursue PhD in my further studies. The reason behind my preference is that I have passion in research and would like climb ladder in the top managerial positions. PhD program will not only help me utilize evidence based research in policy and procedure development but will equip me with necessary leadership skills (Sebach & Chunta, 2018). It is also believed that PhD improve patient care outcomes.


Schmidt, B., Henne, C. T., & Carley Wippich, B. S. N. (2018). Current Perceptions: The DNP–PhD Divide. Journal of Doctoral Nursing Practice, 11(2).

Sebach, A. M., & Chunta, K. S. (2018). Exploring the Experiences of DNP-Prepared Nurses

Enrolled in a DNP-to-PhD Pathway Program. Nursing education perspec


Discuss the difference between a DNP and a PhD in nursing. Discuss which of these you would choose to pursue if you decide to continue your education to the doctoral level and explain why.

Nursing education has become extremely important among nursing professionals to get further knowledge and expertise and be able to face the new trends and continuous changes in the American health care delivery system. Nurses with higher levels of education become essential protagonist of changes in the health care delivery system by promoting evidence- based practice care and better patient outcomes. The DNP is a high level of education that allow nurses to apply new nursing practice and knowledge to improve patient care services and promote a culture of wellness and prevention. Carter (2013) further suggested that, “this level of expertise will be critical as the nation focuses on improving patient care and the safety of the systems that deliver health care” (p. 34).

The PhD, DNS are higher levels of education that promote nursing research and new discoveries that strive for better nursing practices and science-based practice knowledge approach.The DNP is designed for nurses seeking a terminal degree in nursing practice and offers an alternative to research-focused doctoral programs. DNP-prepared nurses are well-equipped to fully implement the science developed by nurse researchers prepared in PhD, DNS, and other research-focused nursing doctorates (AACN, 2019).

Well, I like the idea to get higher education, however I do not have plans to continue with MSN degree. I have plans to retire within a few years and doing something different than nursing. I know that higher education in nursing, it is crucial to keep a stable job and being competitive in the labor market. Young nurses have great opportunities to continue with higher levels of education and help to restructure the health care delivery system.


American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2019.DNP Fact Sheet: The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). American Association of Colleges of Nursing website.


Carter, M. (2013). The evolution of doctoral education in nursing. In S. M. DeNisco & A. M. Barker (Eds), Advanced practice nursing: Evolving roles for the transformation of the profession (2nd ed.) (pp. 27-35). Burlington, MA: Jones & Barrlett Learning.

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