1. Grey, Margaret DrPH, CPNP, FAAN
  2. Knafl, Kathleen PhD, FAAN
  3. McCorkle, Ruth PhD, FAAN

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Although we don't disagree that academia needs more clinical experts, nursing also needs more researchers. Further, we need more scientific evidence on which nurses can base their care.


BSN-to-PhD programs are one way to meet the needs of those (too few) young people who know they want a career in nursing research. How can we reach the goal of truly evidence-based practice if there is a dearth of researchers? For just this reason, a recent report by the National Academy of Sciences about research training specifically recommended the nursing community and the National Institute of Nursing Research extend their support of BSN-to-PhD programs to increase the number of nurse scientists. 1


Pursuing a doctorate immediately after obtaining a baccalaureate doesn't mean there are no opportunities for clinical experience. For example, many graduate students work as clinicians to supplement their stipends. Bright, motivated people can gain clinical experience. Perhaps clinical scholar programs for young faculty members could also be offered after completion of the doctorate.


One of the strengths of nursing is that there are so many roles environments in which we can practice. Competency in these varied jobs settings requires different levels of training and experience. There shouldn't be a one-size-fits-all approach to solving nursing's faculty shortage. We need strong clinical faculty members researchers. The BSN-to-PhD programs are one way of filling this need.


Margaret Grey, DrPH, CPNP, FAAN


Kathleen Knafl, PhD, FAAN


Ruth McCorkle, PhD, FAAN




1. National Academy of Sciences Committee on National Needs for Biomedical and Behavioral Scientists. Addressing the nation's changing needs for biomedical and behavioral scientists. Washington, DC: National Academies Press; 2000:52. [Context Link]