If you're interested in advancing your education as a nurse, you may be considering a career as a nurse practitioner in a specialty area, such as women's health. Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs in women's health are available to bachelor's degree program graduates who want to learn nursing leadership and management skills while getting the training necessary to work as advanced practice nurses.
DNP Women's Health Courses
Curriculum for a women's health DNP program will generally provide you with core courses in advanced practice nursing in addition to training specific to caring for women's health, such as courses on childbearing and reproductive healthcare. Along with these courses, which typically take about two or three years to complete, you'll complete a series of practicums with a women's health department or OBGYN office.
You'll have already completed some pharmacology courses in your undergraduate program. However, nurse practitioners are able to write prescriptions, so it is even more important that you understand dosing and side effects. This class will build on previous knowledge, taking a look at diseases and illnesses that are treated by medications across the lifespan. You might spend additional time studying pharmacology specific to women's health.
In this course, you can hone your patient interaction skills when assessing patients with illnesses, diseases, and injuries. You will also learn how data is used in clinical decision making. Most importantly, you'll get to put your skills to use in lab simulations and clinical settings.
In an advanced physiology course, you'll build on your previous physiology knowledge to understand the body's systems and functions. You will study genetics and the relationship it has with certain diseases. You'll learn more about pathology in addition to symptom management.
Healthcare of Women
There are many names for this type of course, including well women healthcare and women's health concepts. In general, this course will look at women's health needs throughout the lifespan. You'll study adolescence, adulthood, menopausal, and post-menopausal years. You'll learn about common illnesses, complications, and treatments associated with them in addition to wellness promotion. Often, this class is accompanied by a clinical practicum.
Gender & Women's Health
This course is offered under different names. For instance, one college refers to this class as disparities in women's health. In general, it will look at how women are treated differently from men in the U.S. healthcare system, both historically and in contemporary settings. Topics of discussion also include how age, income, race, sexual orientation, gender identity, and current mental and physical health affect access to treatment. Depending on the school, you might also compare U.S. healthcare to women's healthcare in other countries.
Women of Childbearing Age
Also called reproductive healthcare courses, instruction focuses on the care of women in their prenatal and postpartum stages. You will learn about the normal stages of pregnancy and how to reduce chances of complications during pregnancy. Depending on the university, you might also study public policy as it relates to prenatal care.
DNP Women's Health Admission Requirements
Many colleges ask that applicants to women's health DNP programs have a bachelor's degree in nursing and a GPA of 3.0 or higher. However, some colleges have no GPA requirement. Some of the other requirements that often come up include:
- An active registered nurse (RN) license
- Professional letters of recommendation (3 is common)
- Personal statement or essay
- Resume or CV
- Interview (by phone, video or in-person)
DNP Women's Health Salary and Career Info
A DNP in Women's Health can lead to a career as a nurse practitioner (NP) in the women's health and obstetrics area. According to PayScale.com figures for September, 2018, women's health nurse practitioners earned a median salary of $86,994. Furthermore, it is estimated that the number of job opportunities for NPs in general should increase 36% between 2016 and 2026, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
As a women's health NP, you'll likely work in physicians' offices, obstetrics departments in hospitals, and clinics. Women's health NPs sometimes perform annual exams, discuss treatments with patients, and care for reproductive concerns. Along with nursing licensure, you'll also typically need the National Certification Corporation's (NCC) Women's Health Care Nurse Practitioner certification (WHNP-BC).
Women's health nurse practitioners work hard to make sure that women's healthcare needs are met. A DNP program can prepare students to enter this advanced practice nursing specialty through courses that focus on reproduction and gynecological health.