My PhD Journey - Part 1 - page 3

It is hard to believe that it has been three years since I started the epic journey towards a PhD in nursing, as a part-time student who already had a full plate as full time nursing faculty in a... Read More

  1. by   vinsmuffin
    Hi VickyRN,

    I read the blog on your PhD journey, such a beautiful write up, realistic and detailed. I searched for part 2 of it and could not find it. Is it because you are still working on it, or is it because I am not looking hard enough? Please share the link with me if you did publish it.

    I appreciate you taking time to write your experiences, I am currently in my PMHNP program and am doing my search for a PhD program that would be a good fit for me.

    I am willing to relocate to find the best fit. I don't want a major city as Manhattan, Seattle or SF, but a smaller city as Philly or Baltimore would be great for me an family. Hence would love to look into John Hopkins or UPenn, I know I am being ambitious here, but I have learned to dream big to achieve what I have so far achieved.

    I would like to find a program with nurse scientist/research focus, I know there are a few programs that are educator focus, that is really not my interest, even though I understand I would have have educator skills through the process (but not the primary focus for me). I understand the importance of having the in person contact with your cohort and professors, hence I have almost ruled out online programs except MUSC and UT Denton, which I have heard good reviews about.

    I will continue to look for programs with faculty with mental health focus specifically child and adolescent mental health (Johns Hopkins post doc fellowship in child and adolescent mental health research hence looks great for that).

    I am sure you did your fair share of research on best programs available. Hence if you have any gems you could to share, I would highly appreciate it.

    Thanks in advance and I highly appreciate you taking time to help other in this wonderful journey of caring that we are all in!

    Lakshmi Nair
  2. by   feelix
    Thank you for all that information. Can I ask what was the subject matter of the oral candidacy exam?
  3. by   TiffyRN
    I see Vicky hasn't checked in to this site in a couple of years. Since my earlier posting I have completed all PhD coursework and passed Comprehensive Qualifying Exams (equivalent of "orals"). At my university once you pass "comps", you form your committee and writes your dissertation research proposal. Then you defend your proposal before your committee. If approved, you then are able to apply for candidacy. I am at that stage now. My next steps are to submit my proposal to the IRB and await approval for them (my research will qualify as for exempt or expedited review). I am going with a qualitative study using Classical Grounded Theory. The plan at this stage is that my study should take approximately 1 year from recruitment of participants to final write up and defending before my committee.

    Someone asked what were the topics covered in "orals". So the exam I took was all written, at a testing center and limited to 5.5 hours. We were able to bring any and all resources such as books and notes and we had access to the internet. It was still the hardest exam I have ever seen in my life. It was split into 2 sections, one qualitative, one quantitative. It covered pretty much everything we had taken as coursework. Statistical methods, research design, and most of all critical analysis of existing research. We were given 2 articles the day before the exam and urged to break these studies down using a critique form we had practiced with for the last year. Then the questions were things like: On the Smith & Jones study, was the sample appropriate to the research question? Did the researchers address potential type I or type II errors? Could a different recruiting method have rendered a more representative sample? Were the conclusions justified? And of course, if you gave a simple yes/no question, that would have gotten you zero credit for the question.

    On the qualitative study they asked questions more appropriate to qual like "Did the researchers address trustworthiness and if they did, which model did they follow?". Did the researchers adhere to any specific theoretical model (not necessary in many qualitative methods)? What were the recruiting methods for participants and were they appropriate to the stated method? Were the analysis methods consistent with the stated method? Could there have been a more useful qualitative method for the research question? State 3 PICO questions one could generate from this study to enhance knowledge on the phenomenon of interest.