Best route to become a professor

  1. Hi everybody, I am looking for advice concerning the world of academia and nursing. I have a BSN and have been accepted to an NP program that I will not be able to finish until three years from now because of the core classes being full for a year (first time I've ever used one of those!). Anyway, I have thought hard about teaching and considered using an FNP masters in nursing to do so, however I have recently found a masters program with a focus in nursing education and I am thinking about doing that as it can be done much, much quicker.
    I am looking for comments/advice about getting a masters with an education focus vs. an FNP focus. How hard is it to find, get into, do a postmasters program for advanced practice nursing?
    How hard is it to find a teaching job? How hard is it to find a PHD program? etc., etc. Thanks
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  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   puggymae
    I am an Associate Professor at a small college in the Nursing Department. I have an ADN, BSN, & MSN. My MSN is in Family Nurse Practitioner. I started out 14 years ago as an instructor and have worked my way up to my current rank over time. I will never gain the rank of Professor at our college without getting my PhD and being published (topic to be of suitable significance).
    Getting a teaching job is not that hard. It is a different kind of stress than bedside nursing.
  4. by   reznurse
    Thanks puggymae. do you think i will be better or worse off as far as academia goes getting a MS in nursing education and then trying to get a phd as opposed to NP then PHD?
  5. by   Dr. Kathy
    Quote from reznurse
    Thanks puggymae. do you think i will be better or worse off as far as academia goes getting a MS in nursing education and then trying to get a phd as opposed to NP then PHD?
    The NP and PhD is the way to go! This is a powerful combination, and highly sought after.

    Dr. Kathy, PhD, RN, CCNS
  6. by   traumaRUs
    I agree with Dr. Kathy. I have been asked to teach at several of our colleges of nursing. I have an MSN in management and leadership, a post MSN CNS but absolutely no desire for a PhD. So...I would take such a pay cut that I can't afford to do this at the moment. However, by getting my MSN, I will be in a position to teach later on or if I decide to go part-time.
  7. by   puggymae
    I would go for the NP & PhD - It is a powerful combination. Being an NP enhances my teaching so much - I truly understand physiology, can describe courses of treatment.... When my child is bigger I plan on working on my PhD.
  8. by   barb4575
    Hello Reznurse,

    I would have to disagree with some of what has been posted here thus far. I am certain that becoming a NP would be beneficial for that role and the money/autonomy/respect are just some of the rationales NP's cite for job satisfaction. However, just as all nurses cannot teach, all NP's cannot teach. What I have found in both BSN and ADN education is that an NP is not taught how to teach with the exception of client education. I have seen a few that could do very well in the theory portion, but were unable to cope with the clinical arena due to the high instructor:student ratio.

    I am a firm believer in selecting a graduate program where all of the graduates are competent Clinical Nurse Specialists. Then, a track for Education should be selected so that the graduate will hold the competencies which are required to be effective in academia. I can say that in my experience, most nurse educators are ineffective in their role. Most of this is due to the new nurse educator not receiving appropriate orientation or mentorship and he/she was not taught the basics of education and its theories. For example, many nurse educators are not aware of Bloom's Taxonomy. I am unclear why they did not learn this at the BSN level when learning to write client objectives and testing of the client's knowledge gained through teaching.

    This is something that I feel very strongly about and I also believe that many nurse educators today will teach how they were taught. For the most part, this was ineffective. There are always exceptions.

    Hope this helps you to see another perspective and one that is quite different than the majority who have written here. As a current doctoral student in Education with 24 years of experience, I can assure you that I am speaking first-hand regarding the academia issue of educational preparation for the nurse faculty.

    Thank you and good luck,

    Barbara
  9. by   traumaRUs
    barb4575 - you bring up an interesting point. Although I'm an adult health CNS, I did this as a post-MSN certificate. I find it interesting that you note such a difference between NP and CNS education. In IL (where I live), NP's and CNS's have virtually the identical practice act. So...the difference that you talk about is in the educational realm. Thanks for bringing this up.
  10. by   barb4575
    Hi again, Trauma,

    Yes, I do think you have a very valid response here. I can say that I have hired FNP's who are excellent educators and they did not have any educator experience or nursing graduate level education courses. Some are just merely born to teach. One item that they all have in common is they spend a great deal of time in the clinical area where they are serving as preceptors to BSN and graduate level students. This experience only makes them better.

    Barb
  11. by   MikeyJ
    Quote from barb4575
    Hello Reznurse,

    I would have to disagree with some of what has been posted here thus far. I am certain that becoming a NP would be beneficial for that role and the money/autonomy/respect are just some of the rationales NP's cite for job satisfaction. However, just as all nurses cannot teach, all NP's cannot teach. What I have found in both BSN and ADN education is that an NP is not taught how to teach with the exception of client education. I have seen a few that could do very well in the theory portion, but were unable to cope with the clinical arena due to the high instructor:student ratio.

    I am a firm believer in selecting a graduate program where all of the graduates are competent Clinical Nurse Specialists. Then, a track for Education should be selected so that the graduate will hold the competencies which are required to be effective in academia. I can say that in my experience, most nurse educators are ineffective in their role. Most of this is due to the new nurse educator not receiving appropriate orientation or mentorship and he/she was not taught the basics of education and its theories. For example, many nurse educators are not aware of Bloom's Taxonomy. I am unclear why they did not learn this at the BSN level when learning to write client objectives and testing of the client's knowledge gained through teaching.

    This is something that I feel very strongly about and I also believe that many nurse educators today will teach how they were taught. For the most part, this was ineffective. There are always exceptions.

    Hope this helps you to see another perspective and one that is quite different than the majority who have written here. As a current doctoral student in Education with 24 years of experience, I can assure you that I am speaking first-hand regarding the academia issue of educational preparation for the nurse faculty.

    Thank you and good luck,

    Barbara

    I am by no means any sort of expert on this subject; I am merely a BSN student finishing up my degree.

    However, I was speaking to a few professors concerning this same issue. I plan to pursue my NP and then my Ph.D. right after my BSN. I was asking professors whether they think an Ed.D or a Ph.D. would be of benefit, or whether I should pursue my Ph.D. in nursing and focus on education in some way. They both disagreed. They said that it would be nice for professors to have a great deal of experience in the education field and know the ideas and concepts behind education; however, it not necessary at all. They said that if you look at a list of all of the college professors within a university, you will find that the majority of them never had any sort of educational experience, aside from any sort of TA/GA experience or their few required education classes within their graduate program. Universities are not necessarily looking for quality in their education skills, but rather quality in the work they did as a Ph.D., their published work, and their area of specialty.

    I started thinking about what they had said, and I realized they were completely right. When I think back over the last 4 years, a large % of my professors obviously had no educational experience because they were some of the most horrible teachers/professors. However, I also came upon many that were absolutely wonderful and had this knack to be a professor.

    I think I've come to figure out why those wonderful professors were so wonderful, and it comes down to passion. I've noticed that those people who are passionate about their area of expertise and passionate about academics are by far better than those unpassionate professors who received their Ph.D. in education.

    Just my input though.

    OP:
    So, I guess the overall point of my post is -- if you are passionate about nursing and academics, then by all means pursue what you feel will make you marketable and content. If you have the passion and want to become an FNP, then by all means, pursue that field. Don't pursue an MSN with a concentration in education if that isn't what you necessarily want. If, and when, after you receive your FNP, you decide to continue on for your Ph.D., definitely look into schools and begin applying.
    Last edit by MikeyJ on Dec 5, '06
  12. by   scribblerpnp
    I am currently teaching in a BSN program with an MSN degree. I plan on obtaining a doctorate, but I think I will go for a EdD instead of a PhD in nursing. I want a change and a different point of view now. Up to this point, both of my undergrad and grad courses were in nursing and taught by nurses. I'm loooking foward to a different type of educational process taught by people with different backgrounds from my own. I think this will make me more well-rounded, and am hoping the EdD will have a focus on the education of undergrad and grad students that wasn't present in my BSN and MSN programs. I went the NP route because I initially didn't really consider teaching at that time, I just sort of fell into the whole thing by accident. Also, working part-time as an NP helps to supplement my less-than-great salary as a faculty member, which is not an option I would have were I to have obtained a master's degree in education.

    Even with a BSN you can get your foot in the door as a teacher. Look into ADN or LPN programs in your area. Usually the qualifications for clinical instructors for those programs is a BSN or higher. You can learn a lot about teaching and the academic atmosphere this way, and usually doing one clinical a week can easily fit into most people's schedules (plus the pay for adjunct faculty isn't bad either). It is a way to get some experience and start making a name for yourself.

    Often times (especially now with a nursing educator shortage) you can get a faculty position in a college with a BSN program with only a Master's degree. Some colleges will pay for all or at least most of your schooling to go back and obtain a doctorate, and there are quite a few doctoral programs that are engineered towards the full-time faculty student.

    Good luck, we sure need more educators for all of these students!
  13. by   barb4575
    Scribblern,

    It is my understanding that if you want to obtain a clinical degree, the EdD is the best route. For me, I want a pure education degree because I know what the nursing degrees are all about now...quite simply, those degrees are not meeting my needs and I have no intention of suffering through the demands of another nursing degree. That is the beauty of individual choice and different educational offerings/tracks.

    Good luck,

    Barbara
  14. by   scribblerpnp
    I would think that the best route for a clinical degree would be the DNP degrees which are becoming more available. Anyway, where I work we have all kinds of faculty with different doctorates: PhD, DNS, EdD, DNP. But everyone has to find their own nitch, that is for sure!

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