DiversityNursing Blog

A PhD in Nursing Might Be The Best Goal For You

Posted by Pat Magrath

Fri, Feb 03, 2017 @ 03:39 PM

shutterstock_26085196_crop380w.jpgAre you considering furthering your education? Is a PhD a goal of yours? This article will give you good information and some terrific role models. It also encourages you to go for your PhD sooner, rather than later.

As our population continues to grow and people live longer, the need for Nurses with their DNP or PhD must increase as well. Perhaps your goal is to be a Nurse Educator, Researcher, or you want to look at the big picture and design ways to achieve better patient outcomes. There are many paths you can take. It’s up to you.

The Institute of Medicine’s Report, “The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health” states nurses should be encouraged to pursue doctoral degrees early in their careers to maximize the potential value of their additional education. I finished my PhD in nursing when I was 30 years old. Several people told me I didn’t have enough clinical nursing experience to continue with my education. Why some nurses feel the need to hold others back from continuing their education is beyond me.

The fact is, some of the most respected contributors to our profession obtained their PhDs early in their careers. Here is only a partial list of these amazing nurses: Jacqueline Fawcett, PhD, RN, FAAN, of the University of Massachusetts, received her PhD 12 years after completing her BSN. She is internationally known for her metatheoretical work in nursing.

• Jean Watson, PHD, RN, AHN-BC, FAAN, earned her PhD 12 years after earning her initial nursing degree. She is the founder of the Watson Caring Science Institute and is an American Academy of Nursing Living Legend.

• Afaf I. Meleis, PhD, RN, FAAN, of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, earned her PhD seven years after obtaining her BS in 1961. She is an internationally renowned nurse-researcher and an AAN Living Legend.

• Margaret Newman, PhD, RN, FAAN, obtained her BSN in 1962 and her PhD in 1971. She is the creator of the Theory of Health as Expanding Consciousness and an AAN Living Legend.

Are you thinking about going back to school? Has someone encouraged you to consider it? The Future of Nursing report notes that major changes in the U.S. healthcare system and practice environment will require profound changes in the education of nurses. But the report also notes that the primary goal of nursing education remains the same, which is to educate nurses to meet diverse patient needs, function as leaders and advance science from the associate’s degree to the doctorate degree.

One of the recommendations of the Future of Nursing report was to double the number of nurses with doctoral degrees by 2020, and by 2016 that recommendation had been met mainly due to the creation of the DNP or doctor of nursing practice degree. Knowing this, the IOM’s Assessing Progress on the IOM Report the Future of Nursing updated their recommendations in 2015 stating that more emphasis should be placed on increasing the number of PhD-prepared nurses. The DNP has been regarded as the degree for those who want to get a terminal degree in nursing practice while the PhD has been regarded as the degree for those wanting to do research. But the difference is not that simple.

"Several people told me I didn’t have enough clinical nursing experience to continue with my education. Why some nurses feel the need to hold others back from continuing their education is beyond me.”

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, “rather than a knowledge-generating research effort, the student in a practice-focused program generally carries out a practice application-oriented final DNP project.” The AACN further notes key differences between the DNP and PhD programs. PhD programs prepare RNs to contribute to healthcare improvements via the development of new knowledge and scholarly products that provide a foundation for the advancement of nursing science. A richer more reflective understanding of the PhD in nursing is that it is heavily grounded in the science and philosophy of knowledge. DNP programs, on the other hand, prepare nurses at the highest level of nursing practice to improve patient outcomes and translate research into practice. A PhD-prepared nurse can contribute to the profession through research, creating new nursing theories or through a focus on national, global system level change and public policy.

I have had many conversations with nurses looking to go back to school who say they don’t want to do research. However, in further discussion on what they really want to do and the problems they want to solve, it becomes clear that the PhD is the best track for them. Also, you don’t need to be a nurse practitioner to get a PhD; there are many PhD-prepared RNs like myself. For those who want to become a nurse practitioner or other advance practice registered nurse, there are dual DNP/PhD programs just as there are MD/PhD programs for individuals looking for both the practice and research education.

As you can guess, I didn’t listen to the naysayers. I knew as a nurse I could make the largest impact for patients and nurses by getting my PhD in nursing (majoring in health systems and minoring in public administration). Does having a PhD make me a better nurse than anyone else? No. I am a different type of a nurse who knew what I needed to do to make my unique contribution to our profession. I started as an LPN and then became an associate’s degree RN. I worked full time while going to school full time. I also completed a BSN-PhD program, which I started at age 25, four years after I became an RN. I have been an RN for 20 years — PhD-prepared for almost 11 years. Earning my PhD was the best decision in my professional career.

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Topics: nursing degree, PHD in Nursing

Perceived Economic Barriers to Gaining a Nursing Degree

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Thu, Jul 09, 2015 @ 09:00 AM

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By Pat Magrath – DiversityNursing.com

The first step toward a college education often starts with the parents and grandparents when a child is born. Many families focus on education as a way to break an economic cycle that has held them back for generations. Seeing their children educated is one the most precious gifts a parent or grandparent can give and receive. This drive for education often brings together the extended family around this common purpose and goal. The desire for education burns bright, but the dreams often fall short when the discussions inevitably move from the quest for an education to the reality of financing that education.

Even when immediate and extended family members come together to support a student financially, it is often only a small part of the overall financial equation. The process of helping a student and their family understand how to financially prepare for college can be overwhelming and daunting. What is important to understand is that there are many resources available for funding a college education, but it takes time and commitment to research the many options.

The Hispanic population is the fastest growing minority group in the United States. However, according to a 2010 study by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (National Sample Survey of Registered Nurses), out of 3.2 million registered nurses in the U.S., only 3.6% are Hispanic. What this means is that Hispanics as a percentage of the overall population are underrepresented in the nursing profession. To address this issue and to help Hispanics/Latinos pursue college degrees and become registered nurses, many local, regional and national associations, civic organizations and private foundations have created scholarship and grant opportunities to aid students with the cost of attending college.

Even with the many opportunities to apply for financial aid and scholarships, the college funding process can be intimidating, but it is important for students and their families to realize that the education system now offers more choice and opportunity than ever before. With access to a computer and the Internet, a student can enroll, take classes and graduate while still living within their home support structure. With some additional effort, a student or parent can also research and apply for the many annual grants and scholarships that are specifically set aside for students with a Hispanic/Latino background.

For example, our website, DiversityNursing.com, offers an annual $5,000 Education Award that can be used to start or continue your nursing education. There is one winner who receives the $5,000 and is drawn every year in May during Nurses Week. To date, we have given away $35,000 in educational funding and our next award will be drawn during Nurses Week 2016. For information, terms and conditions, and to register for our award, please visit http://www.diversitynursing.com. There is no essay requirement!

If you’re considering a nursing career or are continuing your nursing education, According to Scholarships.com®, “Colleges are always looking to diversify their campuses and to make their schools more accessible to students of all ethnicities, economic backgrounds and religious beliefs. For this reason, many scholarships are restricted to minority students, Hispanics being one of them.”

We encourage all students to take advantage of the many opportunities to help fund your college aspirations. There are financial resources available to help make your college dreams a reality! And if you have time constraints due to a busy life, consider taking your classes online.

I’m compensated by University of Phoenix for this blog. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Topics: education, nursing, economic, nursing degree

'Fearless' Ebola Nurse Trains At Emory University

Posted by Erica Bettencourt

Mon, Apr 13, 2015 @ 10:29 AM

By Elizabeth Cohen and John Bonifield

www.cnn.com

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Just eight months ago, a young woman named Fatu Kekula was single-handedly trying to save her Ebola-stricken family, donning trash bags to protect herself against the deadly virus. 

Today, because of a CNN story and the generosity of donors from around the world, Kekula wears scrubs bearing the emblem of the Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing in Atlanta, where she's learning skills she can take back home to care for her fellow Liberians. 

"It's a surprise -- a young child like me who came from a very poor background coming to the U.S.," she said. "I'm thankful to CNN and I appreciate the people who made donations, and I'm thankful to Emory for accepting me to study."

At Emory, Kekula has asked for special training on certain skills, such as caring for burns, a common type of injury because children in Liberia sometimes fall into the open fires used for cooking. 

One of her instructors, Kelly Fullwood, said Kekula's an excellent student who has taught her teachers a thing or two about how to do procedures without costly equipment, as she's been forced to do in Liberia. 

"She fascinates me every day," Fullwood said. "She gets nursing. She gets what it's about."

Kekula, 23, was just a year away from finishing up her nursing degree in Liberia when Ebola struck and her mother, father, sister and cousin came down with the disease. Hospitals were full and no doctors would visit her home, so with just advice from a physician on the phone, Kekula took care of all four of her relatives at the same time. 

All but her cousin survived -- a high success rate considering that at the time, about 70% of Ebola patients were dying in Liberia.

Kekula couldn't continue her nursing education in Liberia, because the schools had closed. 

A CNN story about Kekula in September prompted donations from around the world to IAM, an organization that raises money to help African natives pay for education. 

David Smith, an associate dean at Emory's nursing school, said they accepted Kekula because they were struck by how both she and Emory each treated four Ebola patients at around the same time last year -- and Emory had dozens of doctors and nurses and millions of dollars in technology while Kekula had nobody and nearly no supplies.

"It was obvious to us that this woman was intelligent and strong and fearless," he said. 

Kekula is scheduled to return to Liberia in August. 

"These things that I have learned here I am going to take back to my fellow nurses," she said. "I love to care for people. I love to save lives."

Topics: medical school, Ebola, West Africa, nurse, hospital, medicine, Liberia, Emory University, CNN, nursing degree

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