Why I Chose a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program

By Tyler Owitz, DNP, RN, FNP-BC

A career as a nurse practitioner has always been my ultimate goal, ever since the start of my journey through nursing education and practice over a decade ago.

Through my years of experience working in a level I trauma center emergency department, I developed the knowledge, skills and drive to apply what I’ve learned to a higher level of nursing practice. 

Additionally, my opportunities to work as an educator with new emergency department nurses, nursing students and experienced nurses solidified my passion for teaching and fostering the growth of the profession as a whole. The DNP represents the ideal combination of those concepts in one role while embracing our discipline’s highest standards and emphasizing our obligation to never stop improving as health care professionals.

Wondering if a DNP is right for you? Here are five reasons why I chose to earn my DNP.

Maximize career opportunities

I’ve found that UB’s DNP curriculum emphasizes the variety of roles and responsibilities available to the doctorate-prepared nurse practitioner while giving students several opportunities to explore these for themselves. My DNP project area of interest stood out to me as just one way I’ve been able to explore the diversity of the role.

What is a DNP project?

The DNP project provides an opportunity for students to integrate newly learned skills into practice and to demonstrate how to apply principles of nursing practice scholarship guided by competencies outlined in the AACN’s eight DNP Essentials.

A DNP project may focus on intervention, program, policy, quality improvement project, nursing informatics project or a creative entity that promotes improvement or change related to the health of individuals and populations or health care and systems. Learn more about DNP projects.

Guide the future of nursing

Although I pursued a practice-based doctorate, I have just as strong of a passion and vision for nursing education. Not only was I able to involve myself in the educator role as a graduate assistant and through courses, but my interests and ideas for nursing education were encouraged and supported by those around me throughout my time in the program. 

Advocate for the nursing profession

We have an obligation to hold our profession to the highest standards, whether in practice, education, or otherwise. My time in the DNP program gave me greater insight into the health care systems we exist both within and around, and in doing so cultivated a stronger desire to continually improve upon these systems in my DNP role.  

Grow and gain new skills

The DNP project was a perfect opportunity to invest in a practice change that I care about. I gained valuable experience in research and investigation skills and learned from NP preceptors about their practice as clinical mentors, which gave me valuable insight into a role and responsibility that I have a passion for. 

Transform health care systems

Changing antiquated perceptions and systems in health care has never been more feasible than it is today, thanks to the ever-growing demand for equity and partnership among disciplines and populations. Through interprofessional learning and the practice I experienced in the DNP program, I feel better equipped to move forward as an advocate for unity in health care, and as an important part of the multidisciplinary health care team. 

Earning my DNP at UB

While the DNP program can be an overwhelming undertaking and was made more so by the COVID-19 pandemic, the constant support, encouragement and understanding from those within the UB SON throughout my time in the program truly made a world of difference. Interacting with students from non-UB programs made this difference abundantly clear, and I count myself lucky to have been so well-guided throughout these trying times. 

Published October 24, 2022