1. Patterson, Barbara J.
  2. Alfes, Celeste M.

Article Content

Welcome to this special issue of Nursing Education Perspectives. The focus of this issue is on educational research collaboration among doctorally prepared faculty. As co-editors, we questioned how collaboration happens in schools of nursing, and we asked, What is collaboration in the educational context?

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Dr. Beverly Malone, CEO of the National League for Nursing, described collaboration as "complex, requiring more energy and patience but lasting longer than work done alone. It has sustainability." She also shared that collaboration, as a vehicle for diversity, provides clarity and transparency of communication and demonstrates a respect and valuing of what individuals bring to the table (personal communication, May 15, 2018). The articles in this issue reflect the complexity and clarity of examples and outcomes of diverse efforts in collaboration.


In April 2018, the NLN released the Vision Statement "Doctoral Faculty Collaboration in Nursing Education" (, see Headlines from the NLN). This document calls for inclusivity among faculty and graduates with both clinical and research doctorates and makes a compelling argument for the need to shift the dialogue away from how faculty are prepared to a better appreciation of their similarities and shared experiences as nurse faculty. The document references multiple recent publications (Murphy, Staffileno, & Carlson, 2015; Staffileno, Murphy, & Carlson, 2016, 2017) that advocate for the creation of formal structures to support collaboration among doctorally prepared faculty.


The need for collaboration has never been greater for the profession as we experience a shift in the profile of nurse faculty, with increased numbers of doctor of nursing practice graduates. As faculty, we have common goals: to prepare the next generation of practitioners and to advance the science of nursing education. To reach these goals, schools of nursing need to build the organizational infrastructure to facilitate and support collaboration among all faculty. Faculty need to embrace the strengths of all faculty and serve as role models for the next generation of practitioners and educators.


Beyond the diversity of doctoral preparation, diversity of intellectual perspective is critical to develop knowledge and advance the science (Emami, Thompson, & Gimbel, 2018). Literature supports that collaboration and partnerships can create environments for faculty scholarship, catalysts for innovation, and student leadership opportunities (Gubrud, Spencer, & Wagner, 2017). With doctoral students and faculty working together collaboratively through scientific inquiry, important education practice questions can be addressed and investigated with the generation of new knowledge, followed by the translation of findings into practice.


The examples of collaboration in this issue are diverse. The articles cluster within three themes. The first centers on analyzing and implementing strategies to facilitate collaboration and collegiality among DNP and PhD students to support the unique needs of the doctoral student body and doctoral education experience. Authors share their analyses of doctoral support issues that predict successful completion as well as innovative efforts to implement a doctoral student organization and a strengths-based curriculum.


The second theme provides unique educational strategies developed by PhD-DNP faculty teams, demonstrating that diverse groups of faculty can combine efforts to enhance undergraduate and graduate student learning with such topics as population health or ethics. Faculty role preparation is the third theme, with contributors exploring experiences of DNP-prepared nurses enrolled in a DNP-to-PhD pathway program as well as opportunities for delivering and receiving constructive feedback in prelicensure programs to enhance teamwork, professional development, and self-improvement.


This special issue represents the collaborative efforts between a PhD-prepared faculty (Patterson) and a DNP-prepared faculty (Alfes). We looked at manuscripts through different lenses, and we brought unique experiences to the review process. We believe that this diversity has strengthened this issue and truly makes it a Special Issue. We challenge all of you to embrace the diversity of nursing education and create opportunities for collaborative educational practice in your settings.




Emami A., Thompson H., & Gimbel S. (2018). In support of diversity in doctoral nursing education. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 74, 758-759. doi:10.1111/jan.13397 [Context Link]


Gubrud P., Spencer A., & Wagner L. (2017). From start-up to sustainability: A decade of collaboration to shape the future of nursing. Nursing Education Perspectives, 38, 225-232. doi:10.1097/01.NEP.0000000000000212 [Context Link]


Murphy M. P., Staffileno B. A., & Carlson E. (2015). Collaboration among DNP- and PhD-prepared nurses: Opportunity to drive positive change. Journal of Professional Nursing, 31(5), 388-394. doi:10.1016/j.profnurs.2015.03.001 [Context Link]


Staffileno B. A., Murphy M. P., & Carlson E. (2016). Overcoming the tension: Building effective DNP-PhD faculty teams. Journal of Professional Nursing, 32(5), 342-348. doi:10.1016/j.profnurs.2016.01.012 [Context Link]


Staffileno B. A., Murphy M. P., & Carlson E. (2017). Determinants for effective collaboration among DNP- and PhD-prepared faculty. Nursing Outlook, 65(1), 94-102. doi:1016/j.outlook.2016.08.003 [Context Link]