PhDs need advice on which job to take that would help with getting into PhD program
- 0Feb 19, '13 by dxlpochaccoBefore my question here is the background info. I have an MSN in Public Health Nursing and my main focus is on health disparities. I previously worked as a research nurse in a health disparities NIH funded study during graduate school. After graduating, I found a job teaching M/S Nursing at an ADN program full time. I took that job to help me get to my ultimate goal of working and or doing research in health disparities (teaching can help open doors in public health and thought it would be good in the future if I wanted to teach at a large research university to show that I can teach students well).
The dilemma is that now I am looking to move forward. I have two jobs I am considering and have interviewed for. One is a research nurse position in HIV/AIDS clinical trials unit working for a very well known research university, working with amazing faculty for their schools of public health and medicine. Another is a program associate position for a non profit working on health disparities whose board of directors include BIG names in federal agencies. Why the dilemma? Well the research nurse position is better pay and much much shorter commute plus they would pay free tuition (I'm not going into the PhD program yet but would be good to get some advanced stats courses, etc to prepare) and the health disparities non profit would pay $18,000 less than what I make now. We could swing that but it would be a big sacrifice for my family.
My main concern and questions is, which of these opportunities would look best in my future goal of applying to a PhD program to do research on health disparities. Research nurse would (I'm thinking) allow me to understand good research design and work closely with renowned faculty that could give me great recommendations. Health disparities job would have me do work in the area I'm interested in but the job description is really more of an entry level non-profit position.
I would love some advice for those that have applied to research oriented PhD programs or anyone else that would have some thoughts about this.
Thanks in advanced and sorry it was a bit long-winded.
- 0Feb 19, '13 by llg GuideAs a nurse with a PhD, I feel I should respond ... but I don't really know what to tell you. I guess the bottom line is that I think you should "go with your gut." Which job do you really want? I think that's the one you should take.
I think that you may be "over-thinking" the strategizing for getting into a PhD program. Follow your heart in the job situation and put yourself in a situation in which you can thrive professionally. From there, build your skills and your resume with projects relevant to your research interests. If you are happy in your work, you are most likely to be successful. Don't take a job you don't want just because you think it will help you with school. Take the job that interests you most and that will make you happy. Success should follow.
Your particular job at the time of application is less important than your potential as a scholar in the applications process. Particularly in today's economy, admissions committees aren't going to emphasize that.
- 0Feb 19, '13 by BCRNAI agree, Phd admission committees will not care exactly where you work. You should pick the job you think you would enjoy the most. Money doesn't compensate for a job you don't truly enjoy. Your scholarly potential will be what matters most. Work on your writing skills, maybe get something published. Helping with research could give you some real hands on experience and maybe give you some networking opportunities. I am a current Phd student, and a DNP graduate. I would recommend you focus on your writing skills and identify areas you want to research. Most programs want a student who already has a very clear idea of what they want to research, because picking a dissertation topic can take considerable time and will delay graduation if the student doesn't start with a clear goal (the exact research can be vague if you know your topic).
PreferencesLast edit by BCRNA on Feb 19, '13 : Reason: reformat
- 0Feb 21, '13 by dxlpochaccoThank you both for replying. I agree that I'm probably over thinking it and honestly part of the reason why is that both are amazing opportunities. This makes it even more difficult to decide. I like both jobs for different reasons and both have different downsides. With that said, I am taking your advice and focusing my energy on doing things that would advance me professionally regardless of the job I take. I need to just focus on honing in on my research interests ( I'm thinking of using mobile technology to reduce health disparities). I am not published yet but would like some advice on how to do this prior to applying. If either of you (or anyone for that matter!) have advice on how to go about doing this, I would appreciate it.Also, any advice on making myself a stronger PhD candidate in general, would be greatly appreciated!Thank you!