The doctor of nursing practice is a clinical based advanced degree. This level has several degree options, as does the masters degree.
The DNS and the PhD are more focused on academic research. This degree leads to eduction or research positions.
When I began nursing the RN was the norm, while LVN/LPN's were very common and a BSN was required for management level positions. As the years have passed, it has changed to BSN required or preferred for many positions, and a decrease in LPN/LVN training and available positions. Now more and more companies are requiring MSN for higher level positions, with a trend moving toward the even higher degree. This field has been advancing in practice and in it's requirements. The good news is it can be done in steps while you work as you continue to advance your degree and your knowledge base.