The Simultaneous Experiences of Being a Nurse Faculty Member and PhD Student
Repository Posting Date2016-07-13T11:10:11Z
Author(s)McCarthy, Lolita Ann
Author DetailsLolita Ann McCarthy, RN
Lead Author Sigma AffliationLambda Chi
Other Title(s)Doctoral Education: Building Research
Session presented on Sunday, July 24, 2016: Purpose: While the nursing shortage has a global effect, in the U.S. approximately 75,000 qualified applicants were denied admission into basic nursing programs in 2011 due to insufficient nurse faculty. At a time when nursing needs academically prepared nursing faculty to teach the next generation of nurses, nursing faculty with earned doctorates has dwindled. Advanced nursing education develops nurse educators who will prepare future generations of nurses and can conduct research to advance knowledge and care including research performed as part of collaboration with other health care disciplinary experts. The demand for nursing faculty with doctoral degrees has prompted some universities to devise strategies to hasten the preparation of doctoral faculty. Nurse faculty who are not doctorally prepared are encouraged to obtain a doctorate for retention and promotion required by universities, placing them in the academic roles of faculty and student. As a result, this requirement has placed enormous stress on nurse faculty due to the increasing conflicts with navigating the roles of faculty and doctoral student simultaneously. Methods: Hermeneutic phenomenology, the interpreting and understanding of the human experience, guided by van Manen's method to analyze the data. The participants were asked to describe their experiences as well as any rewards and challenges of being a faculty member and nursing doctoral student simultaneously. The data were analyzed for themes and structure of meanings that will eventually lead to a description of the essence of the phenomenon. The doctoral degree is considered the desired credential if one is pursuing a career in nursing education. This expectation of doctoral preparation has become an accepted standard; therefore, non-doctoral prepared faculty who enroll in a program while continuing to teach full- time experience the combined demands of faculty and doctoral student roles and life. Results: Six related themes of role confusion, lack of time, sacrifices, painful process, in need of support, and new perspective emerged as a result of this phenomenological investigation. These themes illuminated the nurse faculty members' experiences of simultaneously being a nurse faculty member and PhD student, and Stark's (2004) middle range theory of meaning provided a framework for gaining a deeper understanding of this phenomenon. Conclusion: The findings of this study highlighted the essence of their experiences by revealing that the obstacles, sacrifices, time constraints, and pain of pursuing a PhD, they embraced numerous positive aspects of the experience including professional and personal growth and an overwhelming sense of accomplishment. Therefore, understanding the depth of how this experience affected the nurse faculty members can be fundamental in eliciting support and understanding on the journey towards the PhD.