PhD Nurses

  1. I'm curious to know what MSN specialties are most beneficial for PhD in nursing programs.

    For example, would a MSN in nursing management/leadership provide enough opportunities for research topics for a PhD program?

    Please be kind as I am just beginning to evaluate different programs and am not seeking to short-cut any system. My interests are in nursing work environment and nursing education at the post-secondary level. However I feel that earning an EdD will limit my career opportunities in nursing.

    Thank for any input.
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  2. 9 Comments

  3. by   bookwormom
    I do believe that there is a slight prejudice against the EdD for nursing educators. It may be seen as a less demanding or less relevant degree, (although I personally have respect for anyone with a EdD). Just my experience... I think a PhD, depending on the program, would allow you to do educational or management research, however. Of course, there are other doctorates a nurse can pursue. Personally, I think it would be best to pursue the masters degree in the nursing field you love; you'll be with it a long time. Then look for the doctoral program that fits your interests and career needs.
  4. by   Ottalie
    Thanks for the input. Threre are a few other nurses I work with that, like me, would like to teach at the post-secondary level, but there aren't many PhD programs geared specifically towards nursing education.

    After attending a PhD information session I realized the program I was looking at was more clinically research based rather than nursing education based. My bias towards EdD stems from my undergrad dean urging me not to pursue a degree in education because it would make me less marketable.

    I would love to hear from both PhD and EdD nurse professors if there really is a difference when it comes to working for a school of nursing and getting into a tenure track.
  5. by   llg
    In academia, the PhD outranks the EdD. It is the top-of-the-line degree for academic work. If you want an academic career and have the opportunity to get a PhD, then that is what you should do.

    What you are finding out, though, is that the PhD is a research degree -- not a teaching degree. The focus of the PhD degree is on the development of knowledge within your specialty. It's not a degree that "teaches you how to teach." That is true in every discipline. PhD's in chemistry learn to do chemistry research ... PhD's in English do research in English ... etc., etc. etc. Learning how to teach is something that is generally done through seminars, experience, and osmosis. That's one of the weaknesses in our system of higher education in general. The best research biochemist doesn't necessarily make the best teacher of biochemistry. But that's the way a biochemist becomes a college professor -- by studying and doing research in biochemistry.

    In nursing, we are lucky in that there are Master's level courses (and even majors) that focus on how to teach nursing. There is now even a certification in nursing education. You can take those courses as electives or as part of a program leading to an MSN in nursing education. Then, you can get your PhD in nursing focusing on whatever research area interests you. That combination gives you the best of both worlds. It is the route I would recommend.

    Get your MSN in whatever field interests you the most -- and pick up the certification in nursing education along the way. Then get a PhD in nursing to move up the ladder.

    llg, PhD, RN
  6. by   barb4575
    llg,

    Written and explained perfectly. I enjoyed this post, thank you!

    Barbara
  7. by   MBARN
    Would a Phd in nursing enable me to also consult, specifically in the legal field? Also, what types of jobs are available to someone with a PhD in nursing, an MBA and BSN? I am pursing a second career in nursing and want to use my varied background to capitalize on my experience. I am interested in research, teaching and also establishing my own consulting firm. Any insight would be greatly appreciated. I am 48 if that matters.
  8. by   llg
    If you want to be a consultant in the legal field, you'll need to get some credentials in that specialty. As I am not in the legal field, I don't know what they would be exactly. I suggest you talk to someone who has the type of job you seek and find out what credentials would be most beneficial for legal work. It might be a law degree ... or a paralegal degree. I don't know.

    Most consultants I have worked with have had Master's Degrees plus several years experience in the field developing practical expertise that they are now ready to share with others. For example, management consultants have several years of experience in nursing management positions, etc.

    A PhD will open doors in academia ... for you to teach college. Some of the larger hospitals also hire PhD's to engage in research and other scholarly activities. I do a little of both. My primary job is in the Staff Development Department of a hospital and I do a little teaching for a local university on the side.

    What type of nursing experience do you have?
  9. by   MBARN
    I don't have any experiece as of yet because I just starting. My problem is that I am trying to incorporate my business and consulting/sales background with nursing. I am looking into administration, PhD, own business with consulting or nurse related. There are so many things that I can do with a nursing degree. I am investigating now so that when I am ready to take on a new position I have my direction set. I understand I need clinical experience but I don't know what type of clinical experience would be best for me or whether a large, diverse background would be a better fit.

    I like automony, flexibility and the ability to branch off into different areas. That was one reason why I went to school for nursing. I might have to speak with a professional career councelor that has seen many different backgrounds and who can make an assessment as to what I would be best at and also utilize my skills optimally!
  10. by   llg
    Quote from gioia311
    I like automony, flexibility and the ability to branch off into different areas. That was one reason why I went to school for nursing. I might have to speak with a professional career councelor that has seen many different backgrounds and who can make an assessment as to what I would be best at and also utilize my skills optimally!
    You'll also need to spend some time actually doing nursing to find out which patient populations interest you, which aspects of nursing come easily for you, etc. As you do you clinical rotations in school, you'll have an opportunity to "get a feel" for a variety of different clinical areas. Pay attention to how you feel about working in each type of environment and which environment and patient populations seem a more natural fit than the others.

    Some of the best decisions are made, not only with your brain, but also with your heart and the rest of your body. Pay attention as you do your clinical rotations and that will help you decide where to start your career. Then, after you get a little clinical experience, you can choose a path for career advancement that builds on those initial experiences.
  11. by   MBARN
    LLG,

    Thank you so much for your wisdom and kind words. I am the type of person that needs to love my job because I don't plan to retire. I want my job to exhilerate me and also challenge me because I do get bored easily. I want to find my niche in nursing and then bring together my business/sales/people skills to that particular niche. Sometimes it is hard when you have many options. The sciences come easy to me so school wasn't very difficult.

    I was accepted into one of the top programs in the country so I am very much looking forward to experiencing all I can about every aspect of nursing. I thoroughly love the human sciences and math and my people skills have been hones through my inside and outside sales experience.

    I will keep everyone posted as to my progress.

    Once again, thank you for your time and worldly insight!

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