I was accepted into nursing (accelerated programs) for this year as well as a PhD in Population Health. After much debating, I chose the PhD in Population Health. Although the idea of nursing really excited me, the decision mostly came down to thinking of future lifestyle (in terms of not having to work night shifts, lower stress). The PhD is a great opportunity for research in childhood obesity and physical activity with a supervisor who is supportive and the top in his field.
That being said, I have been exposed to nursing alot in the past couple of months because of my aunt being hospitalized, and I still feel very drawn to it as a career. I am aware that I would be more stressed constantly working with people but I figure it's worth it if you feel passionate about it. I know that it is stressful in terms of constant understaffing, but still feel like I would feel really satisfied with even being able to improve a patient's stay/care in some minor way. I worked clinically in the past (I have an MSc in Psychology with a Specialization in Neuroscience) and worked doing psych assessments and as a therapist with children with autism, and I miss the clinical work.
My big dilemma is whether I should drop the PhD program and pursue my BScN (and possibly MSN Nurse Practitioner stream after getting a few years of experience as a floor nurse), or should I do my PhD and take my BScN afterwards? Would this reversed order even make sense? There are a couple of nurses who are now taking the PhD in Population Health in order to get into research and potentially health policy work, but I have never seen anyone do the reverse.
I do not want to completely rule out doing research in the future, but I would like to also have some clinical component to my career. I'm not sure if it is worth doing the PhD if I am pretty sure that I don't want to go into academia...it's just that I have a great opportunity that I am worried about giving up...
My heart says "nursing" and my brain says "health research"
Any help would be much appreciated!! Thanks!
Oct 12, '13
Lily, it sounds like you have a lot to learn about the field of nursing. I attend a reputable public university that employs dozens of RNs who conduct research studies, write papers/grants, and teach courses. How do they do this? They have PhDs in nursing.
There are plenty of nursing jobs - RN jobs - that don't require working nights (clinic, outpatient settings). You can also become an RN-MPH and do public health work on a community scale, you could be a CRNA and work in the OR, or you could be a nurse practitioner and own your practice/set your own schedule. You could also do case management or work a couple years and go back for an administrative degree.
It sounds like you have some stereotypes about nurses (they only do shift work in hospitals, they're always understaffed etc) and you could use to learn more about the wide range of options. Best of luck!
Edit: Based on some of the language you use (nurse practitioner stream etc) - it sounds like maybe you're not in the US but in Canada? If you're not in the US, I'm not sure my advice would apply, as the scope of practice for nurses at various levels varies by country.
Oct 14, '13
Hi, Thanks for your reply.
I am in Canada.
I am aware that there are many nurses academia and doing research. It's just that with my PhD, I would do strictly research and would not have any clinical component to my career. If I went into nursing, I wouldn't rule out potentially working as a clinical research coordinator or assistant, but would not ultimately want to get a PhD and go into academia.
One of the reasons I am drawn to nursing as a career is because there are so many choices of what you can do. I was just trying to be realistic that as a floor nurse at least my first couple years I may need to work night shifts...maybe I'm wrong about that...I was thinking it probably all ends up what is needed and what shifts are preferred by other nurses on the unit I would end up?
Anyways, thanks for the examples of different jobs...although there are some differences between US and Canada, there are definitely also similarities.