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Clin Nurse Spec. 2006 May-Jun;20(3):134-8.

The PhD-prepared nurse in the clinical setting.

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Kent State University and The Department of Nursing Research, MetroHealth Medical Center, 2500 MetroHealth Drive, Cleveland, OH 44109, USA.



The emergence of new doctoral programs within the nursing discipline has stimulated dialogue regarding the role of the doctorally prepared nurse in the clinical setting. National nursing organizations have cited the need for additional research that would provide information regarding the current practice of doctorally prepared nurses. A review of the literature reveals little published information about the role of PhD nurses in the clinical setting.


The purpose of this descriptive qualitative study was to investigate how PhD-prepared nurses describe and define their role within the clinical setting.


Interviews were conducted with 5 PhD nurses who were all employed full time in the clinical setting. Interview notes were recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using qualitative data analysis. Recurrent themes that emerged from the interviews were identified.


The 2 themes that emerged from the interviews were bridging the research/practice gap and serving as a healthcare leader. All participants spoke to their role in leading, encouraging, or participating in clinical nursing research within their healthcare institutions. Phrases regarding leadership emerged throughout each interview and reflected a number of leadership responsibilities that each participant had within the healthcare environment.


The findings from this qualitative study provide insight into the current role of the PhD-prepared nurse in the clinical setting. This information can be used to guide additional research that might influence the development of future doctoral programs in nursing.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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