PhD or EdD?

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    Interested to see who decided or is deciding to continue their education in Nursing education, which path did you choose to take, why and what program are you in or looking at?

    I'm currently in an MSNed program and looking ahead to see if I want to do a EdD program or a PhD program. I like the educational focus of the EdD rather than the research focus of the PhD. I aslo have considered DNP but have no interest in re-routing my career plans to become an aprn just to get a DNP when I don't want to practice in that role. I love teaching and love being a certified Registered Nurse and do not want to be a NP, CNM or CNS.

    Thanks in advance for your insight!
    chiandre likes this.
  2. 21 Comments so far...

  3. 4
    I did a PhD program several years ago. It qualifies me to teach at a university and also to work in a hospital as a researcher and in Staff Development. It's a degree that works in both the academic and practice environments.
    lecavalier4, chiandre, charlottegirl, and 1 other like this.
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    Thank you so much llg! I have actually read a few of your previous posts to others forums so to hear advice from you on mines is very inspiring! Thank you.

    If you don't mind, I'd like to get your input on when's a good time for me to go back and pursue my PhD. I am a young nurse(in my 20's) and don't know if going back to school now to get my PhD would be a good idea? I guess my hesitation is becasue I don't know many people (if anybody) that has gotten or is pursuing their PhD in their 20's in nursing, only NP's for DNP's. I still plan on working as a RN in various areas to continue to gain experience that I can use in academia to teach at the same time with my PhD. What are your thoughts on that?

    Thanks again for your insight!
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    I am waiting on an acceptance to a PhD program, strictly out if convenience, location and price. When I was in my MSN (education) program I was convinced that I'd go for the EdD. This was quite a few years ago, and things have changed for me. I'd like the option of having a more transferable degree as well (in case I decide to do something more clinical/research like.

    My current employer will be paying a good amount for the school I'm applying to (it is affiliated), and will arrange my teaching hours around my classes.

    As far as your age, not only do you have have plenty of time, but you also have plenty of years experience to gain. You need those years of experience to decide what it is you really want to focus your dissertation on. I personally think some more solid experience would be beneficial.
    lecavalier4, elkpark, chiandre, and 2 others like this.
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    Thank you ProfRN4! You make some great points.

    I guess the push for me right now is that my husband and I are planning to start our family soon and I would like to get schooling out of the way while the kiddos are young.

    But I also see the need for me to gain valuable clinical experience so I can know where my research will be focused when I do decide to get my PhD. Meanwhile, I can also do some teaching on the side to gain valuable teaching experience at the CC level.
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    mjh11RN,
    I am currently pursuing my PhD in Nursing Higher Education, with will allow me to continue to teach at the college and university level. My view of you pursing your education quickly is a bit different. When you are pursing a degree at this level, the knowledge learned relies on clinical knowledge but is different. I do not feel you need years of experience in the clinical area to be successful. You also mentioned that you do not have children. As a full time nurse educator and PhD student with one child age 8, it is very difficulty to manage all the responsibilities. My advice to you would be to go for it while you are young. We need nurse educators very badly (In fact, there were 750 nurse educator jobs listed on a popular web site for jobs in Higher Education this morning). In addition, the current average age of faculty with PhD in nursing in the USA is 62 years old. Nurses such as yourself who are interested in this field are the future of nursing....so go for it!
    Blessings, RNJourney
    lecavalier4, jrtaylor4, and mjh11RN like this.
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    I don't think you have to wait tooo long between the MSN and the PhD, but I think a little break might be wise. Not because of your age, but because you don't seem to have yet developed a focus area for your research. Some people are ready to get their PhD early in the careers -- and that's OK. Other people need time to "find their niche" first -- and that's OK, too.

    I do think it is wise to get at least a year or two of experience in the field you plan to focus your dissertation on before entering a PhD program. Think of what a disaster it would be to get deep into your dissertation topic and then discover that you don't like the field as much as you thought you would -- or that your approach to the topic was not a good one because your view of it was so naive -- etc. Get a firm grasp on your specialty and focus area, and then go back to school. One of my best friends in my PhD program started the program at age 29. (I was 35, after getting my MSN at 25.) She was a great student, very mature in her thinking, clear in her thinking about her research topic, and ready for the indepth work the PhD program required. Other people aren't ready at 40.

    I was in a position to enter a DNS program at 24 -- but decided against it as I did not feel ready to committ to a research topic yet. For me, that was a good decision. The 10 years I spent as a CNS and Nursing Professional Development Specialist really helped me mature in my thinking and made me much more ready. But that's just me.

    There are no firm "rules" on that question. Good luck with whatever you decide to do.
    shmassrn, mjh11RN, and elkpark like this.
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    Thank you rnjourney and llg for yalls insight and advice! I am definitely and open-book in receiving input and appreciate you all taking the time to answer my questions and yield your opinion.

    You both have made some great points and it seems the consensus from everyone is to wait until I'm ready but if me being ready means I'm still in my 20's when that happens then go for it! I agree!

    I have ideas of the areas I am interested in researching but nothing solid to run with just yet. I can say I do know that I am in the area of nursing that I will eventually do research on, which is womens and children's particularly childrens since I work currently in post-partum. I want to specialize in critical care, whether picu or nicu I haven't decided (but nicu is definitely on my top radar) and the heart (cardiac) is my favorite to study. I just understand the pathophysiology and disease process better in adults and children when it comes to the heart. So inpatient critical care of cardiac pediatirc patients in picu's and nicu's is definitely an area of interest. Also, I know young educators and proactive vs reactive nursing care in the inpatient clinical environment are other areas of interest to me. But I definitely need experience in critical care pediatrics before I make that leap to PhD.

    rnjourny, your words are more encouraging than you know and have definitely given me the boost I need to pursue graduate studies on that level at an early age. I hope, God-willing, I can play a monumental role in the nursing furture, especially for young educators!

    llg, as usually, you lend a lot of wisdom and insight. Thanks again!
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    Research more into DNP. It I making a slow but large change. If that is completely out of the question and you are still thinking Edd vs phd. Go phd. Some programs would choose a phd in nursing over edd just because it's based in nursiń (even thought you are now in education). Crazy I know. Strange rules
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    I have looked into DNP and see it only as a practice doctorate. Of course you could use that to teach but I'm getting my Masters in Nursing Education so a PhD is the logical path without having to reroute my career plans into a practice Masters, unless you can inform me of the large changes taking place with the DNP I would love to know?


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