NRS-440 Topic 3 DQ 2: Discuss the difference between a DNP and a PhD in nursing. Select a role requiring either a DNP or a PhD in nursing, and explain how this role functions within an interdisciplinary healthcare setting (clinical or non-clinical).   

nrs-440 topic 3 dq 2: discuss the difference between a dnp and a phd in nursing. select a role requiring either a dnp or a phd in nursing, and explain how this role functions within an interdisciplinary healthcare setting (clinical or non-clinical).

NRS-440 Topic 3 DQ 2: Discuss the difference between a DNP and a PhD in nursing. Select a role requiring either a DNP or a PhD in nursing, and explain how this role functions within an interdisciplinary healthcare setting (clinical or non-clinical).

A DNP and PhD are both advanced degree programs that requiring increased schooling and advancements is a person knowledge in the field in which they are prating. “For decades the DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice) degree has been referred to as practice focused whereas the PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) has been identified as research focused” (Radzyminski,.2023). A DNP or a doctorate in nursing practice is a degree obtained above a masters in nursing sciences. This can allow for greater opportunity and growth within the medical field.

An example of a role requiring a DNP is a nursing leader that does research and works on innovations aimed at heling advance medical practices and the nursing profession. “The role of nursing was deemed crucial in transforming health care delivery and improving patient outcomes. Nurses educated at the doctoral level can achieve these goals due to their ability to evaluate through research, accumulate the evidence for best practices, and design the context through which care is delivered” (Radzyminski,.2023). A PhD is a degree that establishes a person to have a doctorate in philosophy. This type of degrees is often utilized in jobs such as pharmacology and biochemical research.

“The top five disciplines in our sample are Biological sciences, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering and Medical Sciences” (Manta,2022). These two roles help create greater advancements in the medicinal management we provide and the patient care we give and therefor have a direct influence and impact on the interdisciplinary team. Most acute care settings have many leadership roles filled with people with increased education and advancements in their degrees to the doctoral level.


Mantai, Lilia; Marrone, Mauricio. Studies in Higher Education. Nov2022, Vol. 47 Issue 11, p2273-2286. 14p. 5 Charts, 3 Graphs. DOI: 10.1080/03075079.2022.2061444. , Database: Education Research Complete

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Radzyminski, Sharon. In Journal of Professional Nursing. January-February 2023 44:33-37 Language: English. DOI: 10.1016/j.profnurs.2022.11.003, Database: ScienceDirect

Thank you for your post. Doctor of nursing practice (DNP) degree is a clinical doctorate designed for advanced practice nurses who are actively working to improve healthcare outcomes in medical settings and who are championing the leadership role that nurses play in bringing about those outcomes. DNP represents the highest level of clinical educational training that’s available to members of the nursing profession.

Coursework may include advanced training in specific , hands on skill sets and leadership training and practice in applying evidence based solutions to real life problems that nurses may encounter in the course of their practice. Doctor of Philosophy in nursing degree is a research focused doctorate designed to advance the science on nursing practice. Ph.D. prepared nurses help educate future generations on nursing practice and health ( Montalvo, & Byrne, 2016).


Montalvo, W., & Byrne, M. W. (2016). Mentoring nurses in political skills to navigate organizational politics.

The DNP and PhD are both advanced level qualifications in nursing but they are different. PhD is the highest level qualification that one can get in nursing. PhD nurses do not work in the clinical area but they are qualified nurse educators who train other nurses. They hold positions as lecturers in colleges. PHD nurses hold high expertise in different areas, hence they work as consultants who offer professional advice related to nursing. Unlike the DPNs who work in the clinical area, PhD nurses are nurse researchers.

They inform the nursing profession with evidence-based information (Falkenberg-Olson, 2019). DNP nurses work as managers and administrators in clinical practice. They work as nursing officers and they are highly ranked and positioned as overall in charge of units and departments. PhD nurses work less hours and they get more salaries compared to DPNs. Training for DNPs requires is much shorter, whereas PhD requires a number of years to complete.


Falkenberg-Olson A. C. (2019). Research translation and the evolving PhD and DNP practice roles: A collaborative call for nurse practitioners. Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, 31(8), 447-453

A Doctor of Nurse Practice (DNP) and a Doctor of Philosophy in nursing (PhD) have similarities in that they are both research focused. However, having a PhD in nursing means that the research that is done is research that is original. Meaning, the PhD of nursing is finding groundbreaking research that will create new processes in healthcare.

PhD grads are “prepared for careers as nurse scholars to conduct research that advances the discipline of nursing, health, and health care quality” (Johns Hopkins University, 2022). DNP grads are prepared “to become expert clinicians by applying research and knowledge to create more efficient practices and better patient outcomes” (Thomas, 2018). The DNP program involves research, but the difference is that the DNP uses the research and evidence-based processes created by the PhD. The DNP is focused on “quality improvement” and improved patient outcomes. 

While a DNP prepared NP can wear many hats in education, management, acute care, and primary care, they can also be Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetists (CRNA). These advanced practice nurses fully practice to the “extent of their license” and work among physicians and surgeons in the surgical setting (American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology [AANA], 2018). CRNAs are responsible for anesthesia needs during surgical cases.

They intubate patients and place central and arterial lines prior to surgery. CRNAs are involved in the leadership of interdisciplinary teams. CRNAs offer “leadership and expertise in the interdisciplinary team though relationships, clear communication, shared goal creation and decision-making” (American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology [AANA], 2018). Further, they are able to promote patient safety and satisfaction by introducing improved anesthesia care treatments.  


American Association of Nurse Anesthesiology [AANA] (2018). Patient-driven interdisciplinary practice.

Johns Hopkins University (2022). Nursing, doctor of philosophy: School of nursing.

Thomas, J. (2018). Professional development in nursing. In GCU’s: Trends in healthcare: A nursing perspective.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) defined the DNP degree’s objective as a practice-based doctorate that trains students to be leaders in a variety of practice areas, such as interdisciplinary care, quality improvement, patient safety, and information technology utilization. It is crucial that there be consistency regarding the content of DNP training programs and how DNP graduates are prepared to perform in the contemporary healthcare system because the DNP degree is currently recognized as the terminal degree for the practicing nurse. The Task Force’s study makes clear the difference between PhD programs that are practice- and research-focused.

Although the translation, application, and evaluation of scientific knowledge have historically been central to DNP projects, the AACN Task Force recognizes that DNP program graduates may also be equipped to create new knowledge using approaches that differ from those used in research-based programs. Practice change initiatives, evidence translation, and the application of quality improvement procedures for groups are some of these techniques. Such approaches might benefit people who are suffering from a variety of diseases. 

Reid Ponte, P., & Nicholas, P. K. (2015). Addressing the confusion related to dns, dnsc, and dsn degrees, with lessons for the nursing profession. Journal of Nursing Scholarship47(4), 347–353. 

thank you for your response! I agree that is is quite the financial undertaking to be a Doctor of Nurse Practice (DNP) Nurse Practitioner versus a Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Nurse Practitioner. As I was researching this topic, I was researching different Universities that provide the opportunity for a BSN to DNP bridge. Sadly, GCU does not have this bridge program, only the MSN to DNP program. I hope that one day soon that will change for those of us hoping to stay a student with this university. University of Arizona does, however, have BSN to DNP bridge options. One such, the Adult Gerontological Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP), is a program they provide that can either take 2.5 to 3 years to complete as a full time student or 4 years as a part time student (University of Arizona, 2023). The cost of this degree is approximately “$67,707” for tuition and other fees (University of Arizona, 2023). This is a very daunting fact knowing that one must go into quite a bit of debt to reach their goals.


University of Arizona (2023). DNP program: Tuition, fees, and financial aid

In contrast to DNP programs, Ph.D. programs are quite demanding and require a significant amount of independent research. Therefore, Ph.D. programs equip nurses to test hypotheses and educate nurses on topics such as evidence-based practice (EBP) and other fields. On the other hand, DNP programs provide a greater emphasis on clinical work and thus educate nurses for more advanced nursing practice. Nurses need to make decisions based on their capabilities and aspirations. Making the wrong choice might lead to feelings of frustration. Ph.D. programs, for example, last longer than DNP programs and place more emphasis on research methodology (Jones & Taylor, 2015). As a result, one should only consider enrolling in the program if their ultimate career goal is to work in nursing education, research, or scholarship rather than as a nurse practitioner. On the other hand, Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs is designed to teach nurses the abilities necessary to address complicated issues.


Jones, M., & Taylor, A. R. (2015). Exploring Nursing Students, Registered Nurses, and Advanced Practice Registered Nurses’ Interest in Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree Programs. Clinical Scholars Review8(1), 66–69.

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