Demystifying phds: A review of doctorate programs designed to fulfil the needs of the next generation of nursing professionals

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Journal Article
Contemporary Nurse, 2011, 39 (2)
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Commonly, the expression 'PhD' evokes a level of trepidation amongst potential candidates from both the clinical and academic spheres. In contemporary settings, a Doctor of Philosophy is highly regarded and increasingly necessary for a successful academic nursing career. The aim of this paper is to explore the options for doctoral education for nurses, and consider the role of the doctorate in career planning for nursing, and in the attainment of career goals. Here we discuss some key issues and practicalities including career planning, selecting a doctoral program, choosing a university, supervision, committees and panels, achieving a work-life balance and dealing with conflict. The PhD process should be an enriching and satisfying experience which may lead to enhanced professional and personal growth; however, there are potential pitfalls that nurses should be aware of before embarking on doctoral training. Future studies are needed to assess the impact of the different doctorates offered to see if, in fact, they are advancing nursing practice and research endeavours. © 1992-2011 eContent Management.
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