5 Reasons to Get a Doctorate Degree in Nursing
Hollis Forster, RNC-NP
Nursing Career and Education Expert
Hollis Forster, RNC -NP received her RN in 1980 and her nurse practitioner license in 1982 from the University of California at Los Angeles. She’s worked in intensive care units and ambulatory care centers, delivering hands-on women’s health care services to countless women. During many of these years, she also worked as the risk and quality manager of ten women’s health centers, assuring compliance with local and federal law and managing the details of protocol development and implementation.
From 2003-2005, she served as the Executive Director of the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, drawing on her knowledge of cervical cancer from her twenty years as a provider of cervical cancer services. This experience enriched her knowledge of the administrative needs of health care services.
In 2006, Holly joined Affiliates Risk Management Services, a risk management organization that serves a national health care association. She is currently Director of Risk and Quality Management for over 860 health care sites. She also continues her hands-on work to stay connected with the most important part of this job- the patient.
Ms. Forster has also served on the board of medical management for the Family Planning Funding organization in California and has been a visiting faculty member for the Association of Reproductive Health Professionals, delivering medical education to reproductive health care professionals across the U.S.
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Hollis Forster, RNC-NP
A nursing education can take many different forms and can lead in many different directions. Degrees range from an Associate degree in nursing to Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. The more advanced the degree, the more flexibility you have to move into management, teaching and leadership roles. Although doctorate degrees in nursing have always been offered, they are increasing in popularity both on the part of practicing nurses and for nursing associations.
Recently, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing ( AACN ) has recommended the Doctor of Nursing Practice ( DNP ), the Doctor of Nursing Science (DNSc) or the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) degrees for prospective nurses. They, in fact, would like all advanced practice nurses (nurse practitioners, certified nurse midwives, nurse anesthetists) to have Doctorate degrees by the year 2015.
Why should you get a doctorate degree?
l. The Doctor of Philosophy degree in nursing can lead to exciting research posts. Research in nursing practice itself is essential to the growth of the field, and research projects can benefit immensely from the special focus that someone trained in the nursing process can bring to it.
2. The nursing view is unique. People who enter the nursing field do so to practice nursing, not because the schooling is easier than being a medical doctor. However, a nurse holding a doctorate degree can help level the playing field among medical doctors, psychiatrists, and nurses involved in a team. That is, if you were part of a project team that consisted of a medical doctor, a psychiatrist and a nurse all aimed to improve the care of patients entrusted to them, having a doctorate would “elevate” the nursing perspective to that of the other team members.
3. A doctorate degree in nursing is the preferred degree for a faculty position. Quality teachers are the essential way to advance quality nursing practice. So if your intention is to have a wider influence on the nursing field, a doctorate degree can help get you the teaching post you prefer.
4. The expanding field of nursing demands more highly trained nurses. Leadership and management skills will be more and more important as the functions that nurses perform expand. The health care community recognizes the need for the nursing perspective to be a part of major and minor decisions in the care of patients as well as the management of health care systems as a whole. Having these skills yourself and being able to mentor others will only benefit our field, the systems of care and the patient.
5. Increasing the level of education of our nursing leadership will only improve the reputation and image of nurses in every area of practice.