PhD in Nursing

With over 2.5 million nurses, nursing is one of the fastest growing areas in the healthcare sector. According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, the demand for nurses is expected to grow due to a shortage in their numbers in the coming years. There are different types of nurses and their employment outlook and salary differs as well. For example, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts 19% job growth for registered nurses from 2012-22. However, the same source predicts 35% job growth for postsecondary nursing teachers and instructors for the same period. These teachers typically hold a doctorate degree in nursing.

What is a PhD in Nursing?

A PhD in nursing is a post-graduate degree that prepares students for an advanced career in nursing. The program focuses on research, professional leadership, and contribution to the development of knowledge in the nursing profession.

The program is designed for nurses who want to incorporate nursing knowledge into research, clinical practice, and qualify for advanced positions in the field.

What will you learn in a PhD Nursing Program?

  • How to conduct research and use conceptual frameworks to guide research projects
  • Demonstrate ethical integrity and scientific principles in the design and implementation of research
  • Disseminate and analyze data
  • Integrate knowledge in research
  • Build strong communication, analysis, and assessment skills
  • Understand the importance of disease prevention and community health
  • Conduct independent research by using various tools and practices

What is the Coursework like?

The coursework will consist of theoretical learning, research, and clinical practice. Students will learn how to use scholarly thinking techniques and understand the issues in nursing practices. In the initial segment of the program, the coursework will emphasize on fundamental concepts, research methodologies, and nursing science. It is important for students to gain familiarity with research principles and ethics before moving onto research-oriented coursework. Some of the common areas of study are:

  • Biostatistics (2-4 credits)

In this course, students will gain in-depth knowledge of statistical analysis and scientific research. The course will familiarize students with the use of graphical and statistical techniques, scientific hypothesis, and statistical decision making.

  • Health Disparities – Theory, Research and Methods (2-4 credits)

This course will help students understand the health disparities that exist within health care delivery, topics such as culture/ethnicity, socioeconomic contexts, and diversity are covered in this course.

  • Philosophical and Theoretical Perspectives of Nursing (2-4 credits)

Students enrolled in this course will examine the philosophy of science and its relation to nursing. The course will shed light upon the development of nursing knowledge, theory, and application in the field of research.

  • Contemporary Design and Methods (2-4 credits)

This course is geared towards equipping students with research skills. Students will learn how to use alternative methodological approaches. Important topics covered in the course include nursing science, classic approaches, sampling, and health disparities.

PhD Nursing Research and Dissertation

The final segment of the program usually consists of development of a dissertation research proposal, data collection, and writing of a dissertation. Please remember that students must first pass a qualifying examination.

The independent research study will enable students to practically apply nursing and research theories, and conduct research.  The dissertation must meet the standards set by the approval committee of the nursing school.

Requirements for Completion

  • Successfully earn a minimum number of credit hours by completing the coursework
  • Successful completion of written and oral work
  • Pass qualifying examinations
  • Successful completion of research and dissertation

How Long Does it Take to Complete a PhD in Nursing

The duration of a PhD in nursing will vary – it typically takes 4-8 years to complete the degree, depending on the pace of the student, research, thesis, and institute.

How to Enroll in PhD Nursing Programs

The general admission requirements are:

  • Minimum 3.0 CGPA score in an ACCN accredited BSN or MSN degree
  • Must have a valid nursing license
  • Sufficient work experience as a nurse
  • Pass an admission test
  • Pass a criminal background check

Why Pursue Online PhD Nursing Programs?

Not everyone has the time and money to quit their job and enroll in a college. This is why the introduction of PhD nursing online programs has gained popularity, more now than ever before. If you are working, and wish to advance your academic skills, goals, and career by acquiring a doctorate degree, consider enrolling in an online program. Online education involves teaching via videos, tutorials, and online lectures. Some of the benefits of online learning are:

  • Studying while working
  • Managing your time more effectively and conveniently
  • Studying from any location
  • Studying at your own pace
  • Flexibility and convenience
  • Low costs

What Can You Do With a PhD in Nursing Degree?

A PhD in nursing can qualify you for leadership roles in research as well as nursing practice. Some of the job positions that you may consider are:

  • Director of research
  • Nursing teacher/professor
  • Assistant professor
  • Head of policy
  • Director of program development

The income level will vary from job to job. However, according to O*NET OnLine, nursing instructors and post-secondary teachers made a median annual salary of $65,940 and medical/health service managers made a median annual salary of $90,940 in 2013.

You can choose to work in different healthcare settings such as hospitals, research facilities, etc. The working conditions will depend upon your job position.

Acquiring a leadership role in nursing can be challenging but will also give you the opportunity to qualify for better income, and contribute to the development of the field.

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