Why I’m Switching my Major + What is a DNP?
*The following is in partnership with Smitten Scrubs. All views and opinions are my own.*
You may or may not know I’m a nurse. You may also be aware (or not) that I’m currently pursuing my doctorate in nursing practice. I announced recently on Instagram that I abruptly decided to switch majors. I figured since we’re in the back to school season, I’d elaborate with you all a little more about the process and what exactly a DNP is.
Why I’m Switching Majors
You all should know by now I’m a ginormous advocate for mental health. I’ve written several different posts about my own personal struggles, tips to being a calmer person, etc. My former major was a Doctorate of Nursing Practice in Executive Leadership – aka a mouthful. I was sitting on an airplane a couple of months ago going to California to start my CoolSculpting partnership when someone saw my school books in my bag and thus asked what they were for, etc. They then asked me the unavoidable question: So what do you want to do when you graduate? I’ve never had a great answer for that question, ever. My nursing career has been sprinkled across critical care, emergency medicine, trauma, and solid organ transplant (my biggest love).
My transplant career bled into an administrative role with the program – which I slowly began to hate the more I got into it. Administration, to be blunt, was garbage. While I have an undying love for my patients, healthcare administration just loses all sight of the patients they’re committed to serve. They really even lose sight of their front line workers – typically not having a clue what they actually deal with or what their day to day is like. I realize I’m speaking in generics but I’m specifically speaking about the administration from my previous job. It was flat out poisonous. That being said, my master’s in healthcare systems management seemed to then be useless, so why was I getting a doctorate in the same damn thing?
It really was like a lightbulb moment on that plane; I suddenly asked myself what the heck I was doing? What was I actually passionate about? And then it hit me like a bus, a big bus filled with reality and inspiration. MENTAL HEALTH yall! I’ve been so heartbroken about the very public suicides of several major celebrities over the past several months and yet, wasn’t doing anything about it. THIS now seemed like the ultimate solution so I began my research.
How to Find your Program
First, you need a heading where to go, like a ship with a port. I knew now what I wanted to do, but needed to learn how to channel it. I began researching mental health doctorate programs and found Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner + DNP programs, woo! Now that I had a specific program in mind, I began my school search. Unfortunately, the school I’ve been at for the past year in my current doctorate doesn’t offer this mental health degree – so I had to search for new schools and begin a new application process. I narrowed down the criteria that best suited me: online program, no limit on transfer credits, and accredited nursing school. I reviewed the application criteria and began my application process. Letters of recommendation are going to be essential and your best bets, besides any applicable test scores. This is why it’s crucial to never burn bridges with people who have the power to speak on your behalf: managers, peers or coworkers, etc. Now that I’ve completed all of those things, I’m now waiting for the news. It’s driving my anxiety bonkers but I’m praying this new program is what God has in store for me- I’ll keep you posted.
What is a DNP?
So many people have no clue what a DNP is or think it’s a PhD (not the same). A DNP or doctorate of nursing practice is a practice-focused doctorate degree. PhD programs are research-based doctorates. Think of DNP students as putting into practice the theoretical research done by PhD students. This works like a dream for nurses because nursing and medicine are focused on evidence-based practice: what works, what doesn’t work, why it doesn’t work, and how to fix it. DNP students complete a capstone project dissertation via clinicals and actual work in the field, then present the project, dissertation, and findings to an audience of faculty and students. This also gives them the ability to tell why or why not the project worked and what they would do differently. DNP degrees can also be a combined doctorate + nurse practitioner program, meaning you can sit for boards after you graduate to become a licensed nurse practitioner in your field OR they can be a pure doctorate without NP option. My previous major was a pure doctorate, my new mental health major will be both. I can hopefully sit for boards and start my own practice, wouldn’t that be incredible?
The Blush Collection may be my most favorite I’ve seen with Smitten scrubs. Almost everywhere I’ve worked I was required to wear navy scrubs, which I considered boring. These, however, are gorgeous. Can you see the rose gold details embedded within the design? Talk about beautiful details! The material is soft, stretchy, and not scratchy. I love the zippered bodice – makes the scrub top so much easier to get into and out of. By the end of a shift I’m literally cringing when I undress, the germs crawling all over me at that point are endless. The pants feature loops on the side, ideal for hanging a pen or shears from (love).
I hope this post answered a few your questions about my major, my reason behind switching, and a little more about me in general. Share with me your thoughts!
September 17, 2018 @ 11:48 am
I did know you were a nurse but I didn’t know that you were pursuing your doctorate in nursing Practice, how amazing! I actually used to work at a trade association for Occupational Therapists and we would collaborate with the Nurses’ association a lot so I learned a lot about various degree requirements for the field. How awesome!
September 17, 2018 @ 12:07 pm
Thanks for sharing this life update! I’m happy to hear you’ve found something that really sets your soul on fire. cool luck in the new major!
September 17, 2018 @ 1:29 pm
Okay I’ve never heard of a DNP before but I absolutely love that it is practice-based!!! my husband and i were just talking about how not enough programs operate that way. i’m so glad to hear this exists!! I never considered going into nursing personally but i love to hear that it is something you are so passionate about!
September 17, 2018 @ 2:11 pm
Wow! Loved reading this- it was really insightful because i didn’t even know there was a thing as a DNP! Thanks for enlightening me!
September 17, 2018 @ 3:50 pm
1. you are the most fab nurse I’ve ever seen. & 2. I am so inspired by your story & your decision to switch majors. these types of realizations come at the craziest times! x, nicole // http://www.nicoleeigh.com
September 17, 2018 @ 4:14 pm
You are the most chic nurse I know! You make even scrubs look cute! I love that you are doing something to help in the whole mental health issue. I believe you will be a god sent to many people.
September 17, 2018 @ 4:42 pm
i completely agree with regarding administration being more business minded instead of patient focused! I thought i wanted to become an administrator at one point but once i began to get my feet wet in leadership roles, I quickly extinguished that thought!!!
September 18, 2018 @ 12:10 pm
Right? It’s amazing what a different world it is. I am SO proud of you and your journey!!
September 17, 2018 @ 6:44 pm
Interesting! I’m glad that you are now pursuing what you are passionate about. <3
September 17, 2018 @ 7:43 pm
Boss babe! That is so awesome and so inspiring to hear you are going after what you’re passionate about!
cute & little
September 17, 2018 @ 8:06 pm
Oh my goodness, I admire your dedication to switch your major and even completely change schools! I hope you hear back from the schools you want to. So glad you are pursuing the one thing you know you are passionate about!
September 18, 2018 @ 5:26 am
Thanks for sharing this with us lady and good on you for following through and switching your major!
Kenzi || Life of a Sister
September 18, 2018 @ 6:42 am
Oh I’ve never heard of DNP before! I love that you are able to further your knowledge and what you’re passionate about!
September 18, 2018 @ 7:22 am
Those scrubs are so cute on you! I wish ours looked that good. I am glad you are pursuing your dream and didn’t settle for something that you weren’t passionate about.
September 18, 2018 @ 8:36 am
I didn’t know you were pursuing a doctorate in nursing. How cool!!
September 18, 2018 @ 8:46 am
This is so incredible! Mental health is such an important issue, and it’s people like you who are willing to change their entire career path for the greater good who make all the difference. Good luck on this new path! You’re going to do amazing things!
September 18, 2018 @ 8:58 am
I have never heard of a DNP before but congratulations to you for deciding what you are passionate about and going to pursue it!
September 18, 2018 @ 10:41 am
So awesome that you decided to switch! I have several cousins who went the DNp and the Phd method.
Cameron - Diary of a Southern Millennial
September 18, 2018 @ 12:26 pm
So glad you found your niche! One of my friends is working on her DNP actually so it’s very cool to hear more about it. And love those scrubs btw!
September 18, 2018 @ 1:24 pm
I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, but somehow was so oblivious because I missed that you were in nursing. I really enjoyed reading about what your end goal is with this major change and the difference between a DNP and a PhD. I never knew! Also, those scrubs are cute! I wish brands like this had existed when I was in my scrub-wearing days so many years ago!
September 18, 2018 @ 4:50 pm
Love the scrubs. 🙂 I remember switching majors and i’m glad that i did, because i love waht i studied.
September 18, 2018 @ 6:38 pm
I’m so proud of your for finding your calling! I have OCD And anxiety and right now the world needs those like you who are passionate to help in this field. congrats girlie! can’t wait to follow along with you on this journey!
September 18, 2018 @ 9:46 pm
This is so great that you’re doing this! I loved reading all about it! Thanks for sharing!! Xo
September 19, 2018 @ 12:16 pm
Oh my goodness, tara! how exciting! I had no idea you were a nurse. I wish you all the best as you transition your studies over to a DNP with a mental health focus. Please keep us updated on how it goes!
September 19, 2018 @ 4:11 pm
They really are two totally different things – what’s most important is that you love your job! Best of luck!
September 19, 2018 @ 7:11 pm
This is so interesting! good for you for being a huge proponent of mental health, it truly is so important!
September 21, 2018 @ 6:05 pm
I have a lot of friends who are nurses or studying to become a nurse and I’m so impressed with how cute scrubs seem to be getting.
September 23, 2018 @ 4:16 pm
I am so excited for you and your new journey! I’m sure a practical focused degree will be perfectly in line with your dream career. Congrats on this big step 🙂
-xo, Azanique | http://www.lotsofsass.com
September 24, 2018 @ 4:03 pm
i’m so glad to hear that you’ve discovered something that you’re passionate about babe! good luck with the new major – though i am sure you don’t need it because you’ll do so well 🙂 xx