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Collegian. 2008;15(4):135-41.

Nurses in the clinical area: relevance of a PhD.

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  • 1Clinical Nursing Research Unit, PO. Box 63, Penrith, NSW 2751, Australia.


This project aimed to explore the application and relevance of a PhD to nurses working in the clinical area. The complexity of nursing practice requires clinical nurses to be competent as investigators and professional leaders who could help structure nursing practice in more efficient ways. Research proposes that a PhD offers Limited employment opportunities, is mainly research oriented and tends to direct a nurse away from the clinical field. A mixed method study design utilising surveys and interviews was chosen to collect data for this study. Participants were nurses with a doctoral degree working/having worked in a clinical area after obtaining their PhD Nurses were recruited through student databases from Australian universities that offer doctoral degrees in nursing and also by using a snowball sampling technique. The majority of the 19 nurses who participated in the study had: varied expectation of doing a PhD; maintained their clinical positions after obtaining their doctoral degree, considered that the degree helped them to obtain better jobs/promotions and acknowledged the value of the PhD in patient care, in improving research and informing health policy. This study has exposed the positive aspects of completing a PhD and identifies its constructive application in the clinical area. It is essential to provide support and opportunities for nurses working in the clinical area to pursue doctoral degrees in order to enable them to enhance knowledge and build confidence and leadership skills and contribute to the improvement of nursing practice and the continued development of the profession.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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