Student nurse perception of doctoral graduate programs

Peggy Ward-Smith, Jane Anthony Peterson, Susan Kimble


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore the perception of nursing students, enrolled in either a DNP or PhD program, of the roles and responsibilities of nurses with terminal degrees. Using the items identified by position statements from the AACN, a study-specific Likert-response survey was developed.

Data sources: Data were collected from 199 students, presently enrolled in either a DNP or PhD program. Survey Monkey® was used to collect these data. Study consent was implied upon submission of the survey responses. Descriptive statistics were used to describe the roles/responsibilities of each degree.

Finding / Results: Discriminating the role/responsibility of the DNP and PhD-prepared nurse, with respect to research or clinical focus, was clear. Leadership, mentoring, and dissemination of knowledge activities were perceived to be a responsibility of the nurse educated with either degree. Policy activities, utilizing theory for research and/or practice, data analyses, and mentoring activities were not identified as critical to either role.

Implications: These data identify course content which should be included in each educational program. These results also describe areas in which additional focus is needed to clarify the roles/responsibilities of the DNP and PhD-prepared nurse.


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Journal of Nursing Education and Practice

ISSN 1925-4040 (Print)   ISSN 1925-4059 (Online)

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