If you have an RN degree, you’re able to open the door on a number of rewarding careers in a medical career. Many view nursing as a noble field, as your time is dedicated to helping others. While nursing certainly carries with it a number of rewards, it may be that your career goals reach further. If that’s the case, then you may be looking for ways to advance your career, stepping into a more senior role in the medical field.

Here’s a look at how that foundation of an RN masters can be built upon so that you can indeed chase those dreams and realize your next career goal.

The Doctor of Nursing – Leadership Track

Once you’ve got your masters-prepared RN, you’re able to start working in the field. As a registered nurse, you’ll be working with patients to evaluate and then record their symptoms, help doctors during surgery and medical exams, do lab work, teaching patients about self-care, and more. While this may be more than enough for some people, others they have dreams of reaching that next career rung – that of a leadership role.

If that’s the case, the doctor of nursing (DNP) leadership track could be the way to go. According to statistics, less than 1% of the doctors in the United States have a doctoral degree, so right there you will be setting yourself apart from the competition in a big way. With that doctoral degree, your clinical expertise will be expanded in a huge way, allowing you to actually step into a leadership role.

As for how to get this doctoral degree, you can actually take your courses online through a school such as Bradley University. The Bradley University online program takes nine semesters, which works out at three years to completion. The entire program is done online, so you can also work at the same time and fit your studies in and around your schedule.

What Can You Do With a DNP?

In this program, you will be focusing your attention on data analysis, statistics, advanced clinical skills, leadership skills, and nursing philosophy. A DNP is referred to as a “terminal degree”, which means is it the highest degree a person can earn in the field. It will give you a high-level of specialty skills, which is why you will be that much better suited for those senior roles.

Once you earn your doctorate you’ll be able to work in a clinic, hospital, research facility, independent hospital, a doctor’s office, or even the public health office. You’ll be able to act as a leader in the classroom, in a clinical setting, in information systems, and as an advocate for public health policy across the country.

The Future is Yours to Decide

With a DNP doctorate, you are essentially opening all the most senior-level positions in the medical field that still fall under the nursing umbrella. It’s a great way to ensure that you always have choices and options when it comes to your career path.