Skip to main content

How to Choose the Right Nursing PhD Program for You - Part 1: The Right Program

Congratulations! You've decided to take your career to another level and pursue a research degree. I can assure you that you've not lost your mind (however, you can email me during years 1 and 2 when you're sure you've lost your mind and I'll give you a pep talk), you've just probably come up with more questions that you cannot find answers for in the existing evidence. Even though your undergraduate self that probably did not like your introduction to research course is in shock at the moment, you've made a good choice.

So at this moment you're trying to figure out where to go to study. Here's how you should choose.  This is the first post in a series getting published in the Fall of 2015.

Do you see yourself doing research just about all the time or maybe part of the time?

Just about all of the time = You need to choose a top 25 graduate school that is designated as a Research I university. Most of your time will be spent doing research and less time teaching.

Part of the time = You probably can choose any PhD program since your next career move would likely be a teaching role in academia - and we need you there!

Does "name" matter?

It depends on what you want to do with your PhD. Some universities are generally more internationally known than others and their name will open doors that lesser known universities will not. If you want a career in global health, for example, that may be an important consideration.

Other times name matters based on what the university is known for researching. If you want to do big data research, you should be considering University of Minnesota, University of Wisconsin-Madison, or Columbia.

What is a "Faculty Match"?

Faculty match means that the school you want to study at has faculty who are currently conducting research in your area of interest. Ideally, you want to go somewhere that has a faculty member that is currently funded because that means you might get your PhD paid for through tuition and a stipend.

For your PhD, it's really about the match of the faculty to your research interests. It would be a bad idea to try to do a dissertation about some aspect of the nursing workforce and the link to patient outcomes if there was no one on faculty with expertise in those areas. The same holds true if you want to study addictions and no one has expertise in that area.

If there is not a good faculty match at your PhD program, then you'll probably get rejected.


Popular posts from this blog

To Post-Doc or Not to Post-Doc, That is a Very Good Question - Part 1

Happy 2019!

Much to my surprise, I realized I went all of 2018 without posting anything. I got tenure in 2018 so technically, I should have had more time with that monkey off my back. Yet as a wise colleague told me, tenure usually means more work. Sure enough.

Nonetheless, let's start 2019 off fresh with a burning question I get from many of my PhD students: To post-doc or not to post-doc. For those of you not in academia, I post-doctoral fellowship (post-doc) involves additional training. You see, science has evolved so much these days that despite doing a PhD for 4 to 7 years, you might need more training.

I went into my post-doc reluctantly. After 5 years of PhD study, I was really hoping to have a just one job and a regular salary that might actually allow me to travel and start paying down my student loans. A post-doc just seemed like more years being poor.

It was, however, the best decision I ever made. I was lucky to have a great mentor who passed along many wonderful oppo…

There Are Other Masters Degrees Besides a Nurse Practitioner - Part I

It strikes me that many students and nurses do not seem to know about the "other" masters degree options for nurses.  Everyone seems to want to be a nurse practitioner these days.  Now, that's great news for the primary care provider shortage, but we need nurses with masters degrees who can work in other positions and have other skill sets.
Let's review the other masters degrees in nursing.  Nearest and dearest to my own heart is Nursing Education.  Remember that really cool clinical instructor you had in your entry-level nursing program --that could be you!  Do you like precepting new hires?  Are you the person on your unit who unofficially keeps everyone up-to-date on the latest evidence?  Do you really enjoy patient teaching, whether in the hospital or community setting?  Do you just like to teach?  Nursing education is the right masters for you.  Skills learned in a nursing education masters cannot be learned on the job.  Curriculum writing and program developmen…

Here's a Great Study Highlighting the Impact of Racism on Nurses

“I Can Never Be Too Comfortable”: Race, Gender, and Emotion at the Hospital Bedside
That's the title of a new study that just came out in Qualitative Health Research. The study of bedside nurses' diaries of their experiences reveals how nurses experience racism on the job. It comes not just from patients, but also from peers and management.
We have to talk about this more folks. It's time we deal with it better, in every setting.