Any PHD nurses out there?

  1. Are there any PHD nurses out there that can tell me what the benefits of have a PHD and what exactly it prepares you for? Also stupid question prob. but what does ADN stand for?? is it associates degree in nursing? Thanks!!!
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   llg
    Quote from galaxy781
    Are there any PHD nurses out there that can tell me what the benefits of have a PHD and what exactly it prepares you for? Also stupid question prob. but what does ADN stand for?? is it associates degree in nursing? Thanks!!!

    I have a PhD in nursing and am quite happy that I do. It is a considerable investment to get that much formal education ... so, I wouldn't recommend it for everyone. But as I said, I definitely have no regrets.

    Most people get PhD's because they want to work in academia. A PhD is required for upper-level faculty positions at universities, particularly at larger and/or more prestigeous schools. A PhD is also gives you an advantage in securing research grants.

    However, that's not why I did it. Some of us just want to learn all that we can. For me, getting my PhD fulfilled an intrinsic need that I had to study my profession at the highest level. I wanted the knowledge that was obtainable through that study. I didn't do it to obtain a specific job. The particular PhD program that I chose stimulated my thinking in ways that would not have happened if I had not gone back to school. It helped me develop a deeper understanding of the nursing, intellectual activity within nursing, and knowledge in general. That's what I sought and that's what I got.

    My PhD also gives me an inner satisfaction in knowing that my academic preparation equals (or betters) that of my colleagues in other professions -- such as medicine. It's not that I use it as a big "power trip thing," but people sort of quietly nod and give my ideas a little more respect. It's made it a little easier for me to get my ideas implemented in practice.

    Finally, my PhD program helped me develop some specific skills (mostly related to research and/or educational topics) that have helped me develop a nice role for myself within the hospital setting. I get to teach some of the "fun" classes within the staff development ... I get to do surveys, investigate issues, establish and evaluate new programs, etc. That kind of work is usually done in the context of a "nice job" with good flexible hours, minimal stress, etc.

    I hope that helps. ... and yes, ADN does stand for "associate's degree."

    But I'm curious ... why are you asking about a PhD?

    llg
  4. by   futurenp
    Do you know much about research positions requiring a PhD? Do you have to live in big cities to have those opportunities?
  5. by   llg
    Quote from futurenp
    Do you know much about research positions requiring a PhD? Do you have to live in big cities to have those opportunities?
    Most research is done in the larger hospitals, teaching hospitals, etc. If you are looking for other people to be the leaders of the research and/or to join an existing team, then you will have to find a place where research is already being conducted and the support services already exist. That is most likely to be a larger medical center and/or academic environment. (Think of that scenario as BiG RESEARCH. You would be joining a larger, ongoing research effort already underway.)

    However, if you are willing to "do it all yourself" and work without a lot of support from others ... then you can establish your own research program in any-sized environment. That can be harder to do because you won't have the resources to help you and your local colleagues may not be able to support you -- but it IS possible. You just have to be willing to take responsibility for more of the activities yourself -- and that can be harder than most people imagine.

    llg
  6. by   galaxy781
    IIG,

    I have already gotten my bachelors degree and am now working towards my masters degree. I love learning and also like you said have a desire to know everything I can! I realized that most PHD's work in academia but I just wondered if there were other patient care related responsibilites that a PHD could do that a masters or BSN couldnt do, for example I know to be a NP you must have an MSN, so I just wondered if you had a PHD if you were qualified almost as an MD maybe? Are you qualified to do things that a NP wouldnt be? I was just curious. Everytime I receive a degree I always feel like I need to know more, I figured after I got my bachelors Id feel like "i was done" but I didnt and felt a need to get my masters, now that i'm almost done with my masters I feel like i'm not ready to stop learning and just wondered what other opportunities a PHD would offer me that my MN would not. THanks for you imput!
  7. by   elkpark
    The PhD is focused on scholarship and research, which is why the majority of nurses with PhDs (not all) are found in academia. It does not get you any additional clinical privileges in an advanced practice role. Taking a PhD might make you a better NP (or CNS, or whatever) on a variety of levels for a variety of reasons, as llg has noted, but you will still have the same licensure, certification, and scope of practice as Master's prepared advanced practice nurses. Anyone else can correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that clinical skills/expertise are not the focus of study in PhD programs.

    There are some recent threads about the clinical doctoral degrees in nursing that might interest you (since you are asking about this subject) -- those degrees are focused on clinical practice rather than research and scholarship. However, at the present time, they still do not make you any "more" of an advanced practice nurse, in terms of licensure, certification, and scope of practice, than a Master's does.
  8. by   galaxy781
    ok I get it, PHDs mostly do research and work in education, so I know a few of you who responded actually have PHD's if you dont mind or if you can talk about it, what are you researching? I graduated with a BA in psych and soc and for my senior year I worked with 2 different PHDs on their child and adol. research projects. I enjoyed it for the most part. The acutal data entry was boring, of course my profs had us do it! not complaining though it was a good expereince! I think that I am more interested in the clinical part of nursing though, I really like the patient/nurse interaction.
  9. by   llg
    I don't do much research at the moment -- though I am coordinating my hospital's participation in a multicenter study of nursing workloads. Mostly, I work on solving problems. I monitor our recruitment and retention, keep track of national trends, and evaluate my hospital's performance in the whole recruitment/retention area. I've established a few new programs and evaluate the programs we have in place. I also run our summer nursing student extern program and do a little staff development -- particularly leadership development.

    I am using my broad and deep knowledge of nursing and my academic skills to help run the hospital better. I am a resource for the managers, CNS's, and educators to use to help them in their jobs. I am the hospital's liaison with the local schools of nursing. I work on some special projects for the Vice President for Nursing.

    It's a great job!

    llg
  10. by   galaxy781
    wow very impressive Ilg! how many years of experience did you have before you were promoted to your current position, also what education track did you take? BSN to PHD? or did you go BSN to MSN to PHD? or perhaps another track? Do you miss the patient care part of nursing?
  11. by   llg
    Yes. Most people think I have a dream job -- but then, I have earned it. It didn't come quick and it didn't come easy.

    I started with my BSN at the age of 22. After being a staff nurse in NICU for 2 years, I went back to school and got my MSN at the age of 26. I got a very general Master's that was longer and more comprehensive than most programs offer today. My major was basically a CNS track. I also had an official minor in Nursing Administration and took electives in the Nursing Education track. That gave me a great, comprehensive background for hospital leadership positions in either management, staff development, or CNS.

    After being a NICU CNS and/or staff development instructor for 10 years, I returned to school at the age of 36 for my PhD. Again, I got a very general PhD (at the age of 41) that focused on philosophy, theory, and research methods. My dissertation topic was the development of a philosophy of technology for nursing --establishing a philosophical foundation for the study of technology and nursing. As a doctoral student, I worked for 4 years as a research and teaching assistant at the school. That gave me a lot of experience in data collection, management, analysis, and presentation.

    When I graduated, I had trouble finding a job because I didn't "fit a specific position". That was a real crisis in my life. So I went back to being a Neonatal CNS and unit educator -- at a hospital that I really liked and with people I felt I could work with. Demonstrating that I could do more for the hospital than just the NICU CNS/educator stuff, the VP for Nursing created a position for me that gives me a chance to use my PhD background to work on miscellaneous projects, support her and the other nursing leaders, etc.

    I'm still paid on the CNS pay scale -- but that's OK because I have a great deal of freedom to establish my own priorities, my own work hours, etc. The quality of my work life is so high compared to other job options that I am quite content with the financial arrangements. Money isn't everything.

    As I said ... it's a great job ... but I have worked very hard to be qualified for such a job over many years and to "sell" the idea to my current employer.

    llg
  12. by   futurenp
    Wow..does it really take 4 years beyond the masters to get a PhD? I've checked into the closest program (which is an hour and 45 minutes drive each way) and it was a little vague on the time commitment. Is a PhD program usually something that you have to attend everyday or is it only a couple of days a week? With a 3 1/2 hour drive, I don't think it's something I could do everyday. I LOVE research which is why I'm contemplating this, but it sounds like the opportunities are few and far between. How is the financial compensation? Thanks for all your great info. I'm learning a LOT!
  13. by   llg
    In general, the better programs require more of a committment on the part of the student. 3-4 years of full time work is typical ... 4-6 years part time.

    There's not much of a financial reward for that committment. Entry level PhD faculty positions pay less than mamy (most?) MSN positions in the practice environment. A few people in top academic positions make money ... and some people work outside of academia and make a lot of money ... but that's not the reason anyone should get a PhD. It's one of those things you have to really WANT to do because you want to learn the stuff in the program. The people who have seemed happiest with their educations and what it brought them (and who made the most of the opportunities) seem to be the ones who do it for intrinsic reasons, not those who do it for financial and/or career security incentives.

    llg

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