1. McCabe, Pamela J. MS, RN, CNS, APRN, BC

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This presentation will provide clinical nurse specialists (CNSs) considering doctoral education at the PhD or DNSc level with information about research-focused doctoral programs and issues to consider in selecting and applying to a doctoral program.



Programs offer the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) grant professional practice degrees to CNSs who wish to focus on application and utilization of existing knowledge. However, there is also a critical need for CNSs to be educated at the PhD level to assume the role of independent researcher to generate knowledge that will improve healthcare safety and quality.



Rationale: CNSs who desire to function as researchers seek education from research-focused programs that grant PhD or DNSc degrees rather than the DNP. There are many options for research-focused doctoral education but finding the best match for the CNS's personal and professional goals can be a challenge. Selection of the optimal program requires a thorough exploration of the varied characteristics of the program, its faculty, and an evaluation of the program's fit with personal and professional values and goals.



This session will provide a brief history of the evolution of doctoral education in nursing followed by an overview of the characteristics of research-focused doctoral programs. Challenges and opportunities associated with nontraditional classroom settings will be discussed. Factors to consider and activities to undertake to explore the program fit with personal and professional values, goals, and learning styles will be reviewed. Common requirements of the application process will be presented. Resources for information and consultation will be shared.



Knowledge of the characteristics of research-focused doctoral programs, factors to consider, and activities to undertake in exploring doctoral programs will assist CNSs to choose a doctoral program to fit their personal and professional goals and values.



PhD or DNSc education is an option for CNSs who wish to prepare for a research role. Prospective students are advised to avail themselves of multiple sources of information to help them select a program to match their values, goals, and learning style.


Implications for Practice:

Selection of the optimal educational program will promote successful preparation for the researcher role.