What You Need to Know About a PhD in Nursing

While pursuing higher education in the nursing field, the coursework is rigorous but you’ll find that the benefits are well worth the effort

Nurses posing happily in the corridor | Concept pic for PhD in Nursing
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The field of nursing is more than just working in a facility in the medical field. Some go beyond that and play a vital role in shaping the landscape itself. Many will utilize their nursing knowledge and become academics to educate the future generation of nurses.

This guide will discuss what you need to know about pursuing higher education in the nursing field. While the coursework is rigorous, you’ll find that the benefits are well worth the effort.

It Starts With an Excellent Education

If you are considering a higher level in the nursing field, you may have plenty of educational options available. Going the academic and research route might be something you’re interested in. For example, you may be looking to pursue a PhD in nursing.

So what is PhD in nursing? Programs such as those offered at Wilkes University will give students a glimpse into the world of the academic and research disciplines of the nursing field. In the program, you will be able to prepare for what could be a good nursing career advancement. During your time as a PhD student, you will be able to explore such topics as the Philosophy of Science, which will be instrumental in developing critical knowledge in the nursing field.

You’ll be able to learn about the seven steps of the research process used in the quantitative and qualitative research approaches. You’ll also can study different research areas including leadership, disease management, and nursing education among others.

In terms of length, a nursing PhD program may vary and depend on several factors such as the program, coursework, and more. The average time could range anywhere from three to six years.

What Can Someone With a Nursing PhD Do?

What can nurse PhDs do once they have obtained a high-level degree? Nurses can perform a variety of different disciplines in the field. So, what are those options you have? Let’s look at each one and why they might be important:

You can continue clinical work with research

Just because you have a PhD in nursing, that doesn’t mean you have to stop working in a clinical setting. You can still do that while administering the same excellent medical care your patients need. One of the best opportunities you can take when continuing clinical work is making contributions regarding research.

If you are part of a research project or looking to advance an idea that may change the nursing landscape, you’ll be able to gather and document your findings in a clinical setting. From there, you can share your research documentation with others who may be studying to become a nurse themselves. Others can also review it in the medical field who may be interested in changing the way the medical field operates.

For instance, you can use certain patients as part of your research regarding groundbreaking medical ideas. You may be working in the oncology field and suggest exercise to patients in an effort to reduce fatigue after treatment.

Clinical work can also be your laboratory for performing your own evidence-based research. With strong evidence based on your work, you can help assist others in the medical field in the way they treat and prevent illnesses and injury.

Join the academic field as an instructor

As someone with a PhD in nursing, you may find yourself in the classroom teaching and mentoring the nurses of tomorrow. You can work full-time as a professor or as an adjunct, depending on your personal preferences. Whether it’s in a local setting or online, you can lend your knowledge and expertise to students that are interested in working in the field.

You can also provide them with hands-on experience. This way, you can prepare them for the duties they perform as nurses after their education is complete. Whether it’s by way of a bachelor’s or an associate’s program in nursing, you’ll have a sense of fulfillment knowing that you are molding the next generation of nurses with your own knowledge, expertise, and everything else you’ve learned when you were a nursing student yourself.

Join or lead a research team

Nurses with a PhD can join a research team that will work in conjunction with various organizations, public or private. They may also lead a team in the future with enough experience. As such, they can work with various organizations such as health insurance companies and manufacturers of medical supplies and pharmaceuticals.

What Can Research Teams With Nurses Achieve?

Research teams come together to develop advancements in the medical field that benefit their patients. Imagine being part of a team that is created to develop medical supplies and technology that may change the game when it comes to the treatment of illnesses and injuries.

You may be leading a team that collaborates with a pharmaceutical company creating a drug that can make it easier for people to live with certain conditions. With so many developments of technology in the medical and pharmaceutical fields, chances are that nurses with PhDs may have played a role. That nurse with a PhD could be you. Would that be enough for you to join a PhD program? It’s up to you.

The opportunity to change public health

Research teams don’t always collaborate with private organizations. As mentioned before, they can also work with public organizations such as those in local, state, or federal government agencies. You may be working with those who may handle infectious diseases such as the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

You may also be performing research for something that may end up being a groundbreaking policy implemented by state or federal governments. That policy may be created in Congress and then passed on to the President of the United States for approval. Imagine nurses like yourself with a PhD playing a role in policies that can better the entire country.

As you can see, having a PhD in nursing can open up many doors – especially when you want to work in the research aspect of the medical field. You work with fellow nurses along with physicians, policymakers, and others that may have a hand in creating the things that shape the future.

Your nursing experience can go beyond the doctor’s office or hospital. What kind of resume can you build on with a PhD? That’s up to you regarding your own career goals.

What Is the Salary of a Nurse With a PhD?

The salary of a nurse that holds a PhD degree may vary based on several factors. For example, it may depend on the environment they work in and their years of experience among others. It’s typical for those with higher education degrees like a Master’s or a Doctorate to command a higher salary.

For example, it wouldn’t be unusual for a nurse holding a PhD degree to earn over $82,000 per year in terms of salary if their experience ranges from one to four years. After at least 10 years, some nurses with this higher level of education could potentially see a salary increase of 17%, making it one more good reason why a PhD might be the best option for those looking to further their nursing career.

While nursing can be rewarding in terms of pay, it’s about more than just what you bring home for money. It can also be about the fulfillment of accomplishing your purpose as a nurse, such as helping others. You may also be at the forefront of the latest medical developments as part of a research team.

Or you may be building your own legacy of nurses who first start out as your students. Then later, they model after you and become one of the best in their field – wherever they may be. Yes, it pays to have a PhD in nursing, but you’ll be rich in gratitude and appreciation from those who benefit from your work and knowledge.

What Are the Benefits of Having a PhD in Nursing?

Nurses with a PhD will be able to enjoy excellent benefits aside from the substantial salary. Here are some of the extra benefits that you can also enjoy:

You can prepare for leadership roles

In the nursing field, there’s plenty of opportunities where you can attain leadership roles. This can be in an academic setting, a research team, or a hospital. As a leader, you can work with other nurses to help them adjust to their respective environment.

You can lead a team of researchers while serving as a point of contact with various collaborators such as private and public organizations. Nursing leaders working with other leaders creates new opportunities and ideas that can help create a brand new approach to the field of nursing and medicine as a whole.

Become the architect of a future generation of nurses

Imagine that 10 or 20 years from now one of your students is working as a nurse. They talk highly of you because you showed them the skills and tools they need to become successful in their career. As a mentor, you leave a lasting impact on the future generations of nurses.

You’ll receive a lot of appreciation and admiration from those who further their own nursing careers. They might also pursue PhD degrees. Either way, you can be the mentor that is always a phone call or email away whenever they need help.

You can provide them with tailor-made advice based on your own personal experiences with an issue they may be struggling with. They will thank you for the advice and follow through. You know that your students have what it takes to succeed, and you will make sure they mold their nursing career into something special.

You have a deeper understanding of policies and procedures

As a nurse with a PhD, you’ll be able to learn and understand more about the moving parts that keep the healthcare industry in motion. This includes the policies, procedures, services, and systems that they follow. You’ll know how things work in various settings in the healthcare field.

This can be useful whenever you decide to teach nursing classes on the side as an adjunct professor. You’ll educate your students on things they may not know about the healthcare field or nursing.

A chance to receive recognition for your accomplishments

As someone with a PhD in nursing, you’ll have plenty of opportunities. These can be chances that you can take where your accomplishments are appreciated and recognized. You may lead a research team that could win awards or accolades or lead students to achieve success in competitions designed only for nursing students such as the Sarah B. Pasternack Nursing Student Essay Contest held by the American Association for the History of Nursing.

Whether you’re in the classroom, a hospital, or a research facility, the chance to receive recognition for your achievements exists. Nursing is indeed a rewarding career with regular education and credentials. But those are even greater should you pursue a higher education like a PhD.

When the time comes to call it a career, you’ll look back and marvel at the achievements you’ve accomplished – not only as an individual but also as a team member, leader, or a teacher. You will certainly make your mark in the nursing field and lead by example for future students.

Conclusion: PhD in Nursing Is Your Key to a Better Career

As someone with a PhD in nursing, you have the key that will open all kinds of doors in your field. You’d never guess where your career will take you after your hard work in a Nursing PhD program. The rewards you enjoy after you graduate will all be worth it.

Take time to consider whether a PhD in nursing program may be the best step forward in your career. Once you decide to go through with it, you won’t regret making such a life-altering decision.

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