A nursing PhD degree is the highest level of educational achievement in the field of nursing. Some universities also offer the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP). PHD stands for doctor of philosophy. Only a small percentage of the population reaches this level of academic achievement. This degree calls for extensive research and study and when achieved, allows for the title of “doctor”. To be a doctor of philosophy in any subject one must master the subject completely and do something to extend or enhance the total knowledge on the subject.
Nursing PhD Education and Training
Related heath doctorate programs in the health and medical field include: online doctorate degree programs in health management, health administration, pharmacy, health promotion, audiology, physical therapy, health services, human services. Like practitioners with a master of science in nursing (MSN), nurses with doctoral degrees are expected to see significant professional demand over the next decade.
The doctor of nursing programs prepare nurses for careers in health administration, including a Doctor of Nursing Practice, (DNP) which is the preferred degree for nursing executives, clinical research and advanced clinical practice. The doctoral programs take 4-6 years to complete.
As this is the ultimate in academic achievement, one must first hold a masters in nursing to be a doctor of philosophy. The doctorate can only be obtained with extensive research. This research results must be placed in the form of a written thesis. A thesis is presented to the faculty members of a university. You will then be subject to an oral examination about your thesis, and must defend any arguments against it.
This program may take from four to six years, to complete. If you pursue your doctoral degree at a university, you may need as many as 60 credits or more. Educational curriculum will most likely be divided into four parts. Those components are as follows.
- Developing expertise in methods of research
- Nursing science and related subjects
- Supporting courses for research
- The research thesis – this will be your final paper
Expect to have several courses in nursing science and several in research methodology. You may need to complete research with faculty members, too. You may also need as many as 15 credits or more in a specialty area. There will also be several required courses in areas not related to nursing.
The doctor of philosophy in nursing varies from the doctor of nursing practice (DNP). The DNP is more focused on the clinical applications of nursing as opposed to the academic or research side. In this sense, the Doctor of Nursing Practice program prepares nurse leaders for postition that depend on evidence-based practice in direct patient care and executive positions.
The DNP requires competence in translating research into practice, evaluating emperical data and evidence, applying research in decision-making, and implementing clinical and organizational innovations to in and effort to change nursing practice.
The nursing PhD on the other hand prepares nurse scholars to be able to develop and conduct scientific evidence-based research wchich advances the theoretical foundation of nursing practice and delivery of health care. The program prepare nurses with professional experience for careers as research scientists in academic, governmental, pharmaceuitical and related positions.
Careers in Nursing
Many people pursue this high level of academic achievement to teach at a university. They may also wish to have a career in advanced research or pursue careers in health administration. Any type of executive or high position job in the field of nursing will be available to them. Some career paths with a doctorate in nursing are:
- Nurse Anesthetist
- Nurse Educator
- Nurse Midwife
- Nurse Practitioner
- College Professor
Some of these jobs positions are usually considered as APN or advanced practice nurses and include jobs like midwives and nurse practitioners. These careers can be obtained with a master’s degree, in most cases.
Estimated Income and Projected Career Outlook
You can expect a six figure annual income from with a nursing PhD degree. Your actual income will vary by location and position. It is possible to make $150,000 a year as a health specialty professor at some universities. The health care industry is expected to grow considerably in the next few years, as the main population gets older. This growth is expected to exceed twenty percent in many areas. Keeping in mind that these round figures that are based on variable such as geographic location, years of experience and particualr positions, nursing leadership and management income may range as follows:
- Nursing Manager: $65,000
- Head of Nursing: $178,000
- Director os Nursing Director: $110,000
- Nursing Home Administrator: $93,000
- Associate Professor: $68,000
- Head Nurse Anesthetist: $173,000
You can expect to have an excellent future and many opportunities in your chosen field. You will be qualified for any position in the nursing industry. This means that you will never be without employment, if you wish. As a nursing PHD degree holder, you will be among the elite in the nursing industry. Very few people achieve this level and that means that there will be little competition for good jobs. You may be able to take your pick from many opportunities.