Exploring the Pursuit of Doctoral Education by Nurses Seeking or Intending to Stay in Faculty Roles

Kristina Thomas Dreifuerst, Angela M. McNelis, Michael Weaver, Marion Broome, Claire Burke Draucker, Andrea S. Fedko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to describe the factors influencing the pursuit and completion of doctoral education by nurses intending to seek or retain faculty roles. Traditionally, doctoral education evolved to focus on the preparation of nurses to conduct scientific research, primarily through the doctor of philosophy programs. Most recently, the doctor of nursing practice degree emerged and was designed for advanced practice nurses to be clinical leaders who translate research into practice and policy. Nurses who pursue doctoral education in order to assume or maintain faculty roles must choose between these degrees if they desire a doctorate within the discipline; however, factors influencing their decisions and the intended outcomes of their choice are not clear. During this study, 548 nurses (current students or recent graduates of doctoral programs) completed a comprehensive survey to generate critical evidence about the factors influencing the choices made. Principal findings are related to the issues of time, money, and program selection. These findings can be used to develop strategies to increase enrollment and, therefore, the number of doctorally prepared faculty who are specifically prepared to excel as nursing faculty.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Professional Nursing
StateAccepted/In press - 2016


  • DNP
  • Doctoral education
  • Faculty shortage
  • PhD in nursing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)

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