What To Expect After Earning a Doctoral Degree in Nursing: An Interactive Workshop to Facilitate Your Success (003)

There is a growing emphasis on higher education in nursing. The Institute of Medicine [IOM] report Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health outlined mechanisms to achieve these goals (IOM, 2010). The number of nurse professionals enrolling in terminal degree programs, either the doctorate of nursing practice (DNP) or the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), is increasing among APHON members. This interactive workshop is designed to address the inquiries of members interested in pursuing terminal degrees and sharing experiences of employment opportunities after earning a doctorate.

The framework for this pre-conference workshop will model the program used by Taylor & Terhaar (2018), with modifications. Presenters will first provide foundational information on both terminal degrees, what roles have historically been defined for each, and how those roles may have changed over the past decade. The remainder of the workshop will be planned as an interactive session designed to meet the specific needs of registered attendees who want to feel confident in their decisions about higher education programs to fit their future goals. Topics for interactive engagement may include which degree program to pursue; how to choose the best program to meet individual interests; the different types of educational formats available; deciding whether the goal is to achieve excellence in advanced clinical practice, to teach, or to primarily conduct research; overcoming the many challenges of completing the terminal degree; and choosing the best position after the degree is obtained (Bednash, Brelin, Kirschling, & Rosseter, 2014; Vessey, McCabe, & Lulloff, 2017). APHON members who attended the DNP-PhD town hall at the 2018 conference voiced these challenges to enrolling and successfully completing a terminal nursing degree.