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Career advice for a nurse scientist?


This is my first time posting to this website in many many years (I was a member as an undergraduate student and regularly visited this website). I am looking for some career advice, or for someone who has experienced something similar.

I currently work at a major university as an Assistant Professor. I have worked at the same university since 2012 (received my masters degree in 2011) but was recently promoted to Assistant Professor after receiving my PhD in Nursing Science in 2015. I received my PhD degree from an extremely reputable and well known university. Although I thoroughly enjoyed my PhD program, I have not enjoyed my job as an Assistant Professor, which heavily focuses on conducting research (writing grant proposals, conducting research, and writing articles for publication). I love the flexibility and autonomy of working in a university setting, but dearly miss working with patients and people. Most of my job as a researcher is spent sitting behind a computer in my office.

I have thought about leaving my university job for many months but am hesitant. I worked extremely hard to get my PhD and feel like I am letting myself down by not doing research. Moreover, my job pays me an extremely healthy salary (over $100K) and am a little wary of taking a big pay cut.

I am wondering if there is anyone else on this site who has had a similar experience where they earned their PhD but did not like working in academia and took a job elsewhere. I don't want to work as a floor nurse again, but am wondering if there is another job that would involve more patient interaction and where I could translate the skills and talents acquired during my PhD.

Thanks for any insights or suggestions!

llg specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

I have a PhD and work for a hospital in their Nursing Professional Development Department. We have another nurse with a PhD heading our Quality Improvement Department. More and more hospitals are hiring doctorally-prepared nurses for roles in staff development, quality management, and research facilitation. You may have to take a step down the ladder a bit to make the move ... before moving up the ladder once you get some experience outside of academia, but there are definitely positions out there that are being filled by PhD, RN types.

A good way to get a broad overview of possibilities might be to look at the brochures for some of the major nursing conferences that are geared towards the upper level of clinical practice in a variety of specialties.. Look at the credentials and job titles of the speakers.

llg, PhD, RN-BC

Buyer beware specializes in GENERAL.


You would have to agree that the position you presently hold is a coveted one among the hoards of Ph.Ds and DNPs pounding the pavement these days and having to settle for subsistence adjunct positions with no benefits.

I know my words are of no consolation but I do wish you well and urge the audience to PM you with any substantive and creative information you can provide.

Edited by Buyer beware

I have a PhD and am part of a home-based primary care multidisciplinary team. We see mainly older adults with multiple chronic conditions who are at risk of frequent ED visits/hospitalizations. My role is an interesting mix of case management and direct patient care. A PhD is not a requirement but I have found it immensely useful. I also have the opportunity to do side projects if I want. I went into this position immediately after finishing my PhD. I found that I really missed patient care!

Most of the faculty in my graduate program had limited clinical practices in addition to their teaching responsibilities and research programs. Lots of people in your kind of position are maintaining some contact with hands-on clinical practice. You just have to be willing to put in the time and effort.


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