Any info on PHd programs, life as a faculty person..

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    Hi, I am a CNM, MN. I am at a crossroads in my career path, and I am seriously considering a Phd in nursing and then teaching/researching. However, I have no idea what a day in the life of a phd student or faculty person is. I know that I like to write, am interested in research, and also really enjoy learning and teaching.
    I've been a full-time, full-scope CNM for 11 years and have just taken a break in order to reevaluate. I am working in the ICU, getting back to the basics of nursing, and making sure I will always have a way to pay the bills. I've thought about nurse-anesthesia, but I'm not sure it's for me - I may be tempted by the monetary rewards. I made great money as a midwife, but felt awfully burned out by the long, long hours and lack of regular sleep patterns. Any input is appreciated.
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    HI!
    I spent 13 years as a staff nurse working long hours, nights, weekends, etc, before becoming a facultymember at at university. I have been teaching for 8 years now...
    The rewards of teaching are: better hours, weekends off, summers off, more flexibility, the satisfaction of making a difference to students, and the students who truly love nursing and will be great someday.
    The downsides are: low salary, lots of paperwork and careplans to read, students who don't care about anything, being caught between students and staff nurses in clinical, serving on committees, and pressure to do research and publish. You need to balance out the pros and cons and what is really important to you. I have seriously considered leaving academia several times over the past few years, but now i have applied to a Phd program and will stick it out for the long-term.
    Why don't you try teaching clinical for a semester part-time to see if teaching interests you? Look around at local community colleges - they may hire faculty with a Master's degree. Good luck!
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    I think jef's suggestion to try a little teaching before making a big investment in that direction is a good one. Sometimes, life within the "ivy-covered halls" of academia is not as sweet as it seems from the outside.

    Personally, I loved the 5 years I spent getting a PhD. The grad-student lifestyle suited me very well. However, I eventually had to graduate and get a job that paid more money. At that point, I discovered that the transition to university faculty was not going to be as smooth as I had hoped. My clinical expertise (NICU) is not taught at the undergraduate level -- and schools tend not to hire new faculty members to teach their graduate level courses unless they are nurse practitioners. Schools tend to assign those coveted grad school courses to their experienced faculty members. So ... as a NICU expert, but with only a little previous teaching experience, I was not a good match for the faculty job market. And I have no adult med/surg experience at all to qualify me to teach undergraduates.

    So ... I found myself back working for a hospital as a NICU CNS -- the same type of job I had before spending 5 years getting my PhD. 4 years later, I was offered a job working for our VP for Nursing focusing on special projects. I investigate things for her, collect and analyze information for her, etc. I have established a nursing student extern program at our hospital and am now establishing an endowed fund to sponser scholarships for our employees. I also serve as a liaison with all the local schools of nursing who use our hospital as a clinical site. It's a good job with minimal stress, flexible hours, etc., but it is not what I envisioned when I went back to school for that PhD.

    Good luck,
    llg


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