Quote from KatieBell
. As I was browsing I noted that many of the nursing professors have rather than a PhD, an EdD. which I assume is a doctorate in education. Should I be looking at a Doctorate in Education rather than a PhD in Nursing? Can someone explain the benefits and the differences?
There was no such thing as a PhD in nursing until the 1970's ... and even during the 1980's and 1990's, there were very few programs. Nurses wanting a doctoral degree had to get them in other fields because nursing doctorates were not readily available.
Many nurses also choose to get a doctoral degree in Education because they may have families that don't want to move to another state so that "Mom" can go back to school, etc. EdD degree programs are very common as they were originally developed by the Education profession to prepare school administrators and school teachers are generally well-supported and encouraged to get graduate degrees. (Both of my brothers-in-law have EdD's and they worked for the public school system as administrators.)
The EdD is a degree within the discipline of education. It is designed for people who are professional educators. There is nothing wrong with that degree ... But if you never get a graduate degree in nursing, your level of education within the nursing discipline will always be that of a "beginner-level nurse." You will never have received an advanced nursing education.
Because of the faculty shortage, the ability of people with graduate degrees in fields other than nursing to get jobs teaching nursing will probably continue indefinitely ... but it is not optimal and some universities limit the number of faculty that they will hire who do not have advanced degrees in that discipline. One of the signs of a mature academic discipline is that its leaders and professors have advanced education in that discipline.
So ... what should you do? It depends on how important nursing is to you. If you want to be an expert nurse, then get your degrees in nursing. If you just want to teach and don't care that the lack of any advanced education in nursing will put a few constraints on your career, then maybe the EdD would work for you. You might only be allowed to teach undergrads and/or might be limited from teaching at certain schools.
One thing to think about ... Most of those nursing faculty members with EdD's probably have Master's Degrees in Nursing.