The Benefits of a PhD in Nursing
Individuals looking for a satisfying and high-paying career in the health care field may want to set their sights on a PhD in nursing. Nursing PhD programs are designed to enhance students’ knowledge of health care policies, research techniques and leadership skills. In addition to furthering their knowledge of issues surrounding the field, the nursing PhD degree will prepare students for a variety of administrative jobs at medical institutes.
The pursuit of a PhD in nursing will lead students down a challenging educational path. The curriculum will include at least two years of coursework involving nursing science and health care theory and policy. A comprehensive exam typically assesses the knowledge of the students before they move onto the development of a dissertation. The dissertation process may involve a thesis proposal and defense, collection of data, and then the construction of the actual dissertation. Overall, the program may take four or five years to complete, although the length will vary depending on the student. While some may view this as a daunting task, others will welcome the challenge and the educational opportunities it will bring.
Along with providing educational benefits to students, a PhD in nursing will open the door to the following career paths:
- Nursing manager: Unlike a typical registered nurse, a nursing manager mostly tends to the nursing staff rather than patients. Hiring and training new employees is often on a nursing manager’s list of tasks. In addition, the nursing manager is responsible for supervising, managing and evaluating current staff. Other duties may include analyzing reports concerning hospital services and handling budget information. The annual salary for a nursing manager typically ranges between $60,000 and $90,000. In some cases, the duties of a nursing director may overlap or take the place of the duties of a nursing manager; however, the director’s salary may exceed $100,000.
- Chief nurse anesthetist: An anesthesia team is responsible for the administration of sedatives during medical procedures. A chief nurse anesthetist shares many of the same duties as the other nurse anesthetists; however, the chief is also responsible for additional tasks, such as supervising, scheduling and organizing the anesthesia team. Chief nurse anesthetists can expect to make over $170,000 in annual pay.
- Associate professor of nursing: Nursing professors aim to educate future health care workers, whether the students are undergraduates or graduates. A professor will be responsible for preparing lessons, delivering lectures, advising students and grading student work. Because nursing programs will likely involve laboratory work, a professor should also be able to supervise students in a clinical setting. Annual pay for an associate professor of nursing will be around $68,000.
Before deciding to obtain a PhD in nursing, research additional potential job opportunities, such as nursing home administrator and head nurse.
Nursing PhD Programs
Numerous schools around the country offer a PhD program in nursing. Here are a few of the top schools:
- Johns Hopkins University
- University of Washington
- University of California at San Francisco
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- University of Pennsylvania
Compare the curricula of multiple schools to ensure you get the most out of your PhD in nursing.