To those with a PhD.....

  1. I am the type of person that always has to be learning something new. I have been debating on whether or not to get my PhD...... I want it.......but I dont want it in nursing.

    I would love to have one in pathology. The university where I am finishing my masters has a PhD program in Patho, and I found one of the faculty whos research interest is in cardiomyopathy and cardiovascular risks........ I have ALWAYS loved the cardiac system....most of my ICU experience has been in a CCU or Heart Transplant ICU...... I love knowing how the cells work.

    My question is how did you decide what you wanted your PhD in, and how has it paid off for you....not monetary wise...but time wise and career wise.
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   Selke
    I don't have a PhD but I just want to say, DO IT. JUST DO IT. Don't even think about a job. You'll continue to be older no matter what you do and you will regret not spending it on a goal that will enrich you in so many ways. I'm with you on not wanting a PhD in nursing. Blecchh. Pathology is a real field, a real scientific discipline, and you can do more good with this than with a PhD in nursing. I worked once with a nurse working on her PhD in cardiac physiology, actually, at UIC but lost touch with her. Very cool. I'd also think there will emerge a wonderful career for you with a PhD in cardiac physiology, BTW, but you have to start the path to find the goal. There's also more funding for PhD students in the sciences than MSN students, so don't let money hold you up.
  4. by   CardioTrans
    Thanks for the reply...

    I have been looking into this ever since I started my masters program. Always looking ahead..... At one time I was thinking about an MPH in epidemiology...but then I came across the PhD in cardiology...so that is where I am headed. I have been doing some more intensive research about it and have decided to go for it instead of the MPH.

    Again, thanks for the reply....... now to look for the funds to go!

    Hope you have a Merry Christmas!
  5. by   llg
    It's really just a matter of deciding what type of career path you want after you graduate. If you want to be taken seriously as a Physioloigist/Pathophysiologist, then you will have to devote a great deal of time and effort to doing research in that field, working as a "junior scientist" in someone else's lab, etc. as you gain the research credentials you will need to secure future research grants to fund your own research later. Many people love that life path and if that is what you want for yourself, then by all means "go for it."

    However, be sure you fully understand what that pathway entails before you invest heavily in it. Don't just sign up for classes and assume that a great job will be waiting for you when you graduate. It's not always that simple. Have some serious conversations with the Patho faculty about the typical careers available for graduates of their program so that you can be sure your hopes and dreams are in line with reality. I read a lot of articles in The Chronicle of Higher Education (the weekly newspaper for people with academic careers) about the difficulties of launching a successful science career -- particularly for women. Be sure you understand what an academic career in the hard sciences involves before "signing of the dotted line."

    If after doing thorough research on career pathways for PhD's in physiology/pathophysiology, you aren't sure that life is for you ... you might want to consider combining your physiology interests with you nursing background. You could pick up a Master's Degree in physiology/pathophysiology as you get your PhD in nursing. Then you could teach physiology/pathophysiology to nursing students and do research in that field. Unlike switching to a totally different career in pathophysiology, by staying in nursing, you wouldn't have to start at the bottom. Your nursing background would "count for something" in the nursing world and you would be more marketable a lot sooner and probably have more career options open to you to choose from.

    Just a thought ...

    llg, PhD, RN
  6. by   juan de la cruz
    Just wondering...what is the typical length of time from start to degree completion for a PhD in Nursing? A colleague of mine said it can run up to 6 years part-time, whew! that is too long. A teaching assistant from my master's program who was in the process of defending her dissertation at the time told us she was going for a post-doctorate at another university immediately after her PhD. Now, how much more schooling is that going to take her? I have been interested in a doctorate myself. However, I think a nursing PhD would be the best match for my goals. I actually did set-up a meeting for a PhD informational meeting at a university here in Michigan but cancelled at the last minute...still feeling unsure if I really want to take the plunge.
  7. by   llg
    3-4 years full time after you complete your MSN is typical. If you go part time, it can take a lot longer. I took 5 years, with much of that full time -- as I took a summer off due to illness, had lingering serious health issues for another semester, and worked 20 hours per week as I wrote my dissertation.

    Yes ... If you go to a good program, it involves making a serious committment. It's not just taking some classes that "add up" to a PhD when you have taken enough: it is being a serious scholar and living an academic life for a while.

    I loved it. It was the happiest 5 years of my career.
  8. by   juan de la cruz
    I fully understand the work involved. I am actually thinking of doing more research in nursing eventually as opposed to my current role in clinical practice. Nursing research has not been the most popular among nurses in clinical practice because a number of studies by nurse scientists do not seem to address clinical issues. However, I have come across some faculty researchers who do significant work addressing issues which nurses at the bedside can relate to. My hesitation to start a program is that I foresee a move for myself to a different region of the country in a couple of years for family reasons. Because of that, it wouldn't be a good idea to start a program any time soon. But thanks for the info, llg.

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