BSN-PHD program?

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    What options are there for nurses with a phd? I am looking into a BSN-PHD program, and it seems like something that is really interesting. I don't want to work as a floor nurse for long, actually I don't want to work as a floor nurse at all. So that's why I'm thinking the BSN-PHD program is a good idea for me. I have heard with a phd you can teach, do research, basically the sky's the limit. Can anyone give me more specific things one can do with a PHD?
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    Hmmmm.... It's hard to know what to say about that because the whole BSN-PhD option is still new. The jobs currently available for PhD's all require that the person also have actual experience in nursing -- so, it's hard to say what opportunities will be out there in 5 or 10 years for people with the academic degree but no actual experience in the field.

    While I support the development of the BSN-PhD option, I hope that the discipline retains realistic expectations of recent graduates of such programs. In most fields, people who go directly into PhD programs start their academic careers at the lowest rungs on the academic career ladder. For example, they might do a post doc research fellowship and/or work as an Assistant Professor at a university. Such jobs pay less than what a typical staff nurse would make. That's important to remember. It's only after those PhD's get a few years of experience AFTER they graduate that they move into Associate Professor and Professor positions, which pay better.

    In the practice arena, clinical experience is even more important for advancement into higher level (and higher paid) positions. No experienced nurses wants to be "led" or "taught" by someone who has never actually practiced nursing.

    If the BSN-PhD programs foster realistic expectations, I think it can work. The students can get "real world" experience as part of their academic program and/or by working part time as a nurse while in school. Then, after graduation, the new PhD could qualify for a mid-level position in education, staff development, administration, research, etc. With a few more years of experience, that person would be ready to advance into higher level positions of leadership.

    I did it the conventional way: BSN, 2 years as a staff nurse, MSN, 10 years as a CNS/staff development instructor, PhD.

    I now work for a hospital focusing on special projects supporting our nursing resources. I monitor our recruitment and retention, serve as liaison with our local schools of nursing, run our nursing student extern program, teach a few classes, assist/advise the VP for Nursing, and do a little research. The job requires that I have an advanced education -- but it also builds on my many years of experience actually working in hospitals and understanding how nursing is actually practiced in real life.

    Good luck to you.
    llg
    Last edit by llg on Jul 14, '06
    scoloya likes this.
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    Great advice, as usual. I will also pursue a Phd in Nursing.

    Ilg, do you think that working part time as a nurse while in school (for the next 7-8 years) provides *enough* clinical experience, or are you suggesting that one needs a full time work load for X number of years after schooling to reach what is commonly referred to as "experienced?"
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    Any advice about an RN (BSN) with an MBA, extensive sales experience, some consulting experience, getting her PhD in nursing? What kind of career options are there? She also has 2 years working in a top US hospital in a major medical center and will have about 6 years as a floor nurse before she gets her phd, any thoughts as to what careers lie ahead for her?

    Thanks,
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    What kind of work would you like to do, MBARN? That's the question you should be asking first. The PhD is a research degree. Are you interested in an academic role (either at a school or healthcare facility),? Then a PhD might be a good choice for you.

    If you are not interested in an academic role, then maybe the PhD is not a good choice for you. Maybe a DNP would be a better fit ... or a second Master's.

    Identify the type of work you want to do ... then choose the education that will prepare you to do that type of work. Don't choose a degree first and then hope to find a job with it that you will like.

    So ... what type of work do you want to do?
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    I want something more intellectually challenging and flexible since I am older and am trying to prepare myself
    for a non bedside nursing role. I would like to doing my own business in consulting and do research. Stay in the business/healthcare field but in a different role other than bedside nursing. I would stay working as a nurse while going to school, this would give me additional years of nursing experience. I really don't want to do hospital, department management at a hospital. I am too old to climb the latter and I want a very flexible career that will
    enable me to travel if I want and research integrative medicine topics as well as marketing topics.


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