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Nurs Outlook. 1986 Nov-Dec;34(6):286-8.

Opening a doctoral program in nursing: factors to consider.

Nursing outlook

L S Shores

PMID: 3640343


As nursing education has evolved from hospital-based training schools to the college campus, the need for doctoral nursing faculty and other leaders has increased. The greatest needs are for nurses capable of conducting research in nursing and for faculty to teach in baccalaureate and master's nursing programs. Therefore, schools of nursing across the country are considering initiation of new doctoral programs. This decision is a complex one that depends on numerous factors related mostly to resources. Ideally, new programs will develop only after the necessary resources have been identified and secured. Another critical decision is the type of doctoral program a school chooses to offer. Nursing should make an attempt to determine whether there actually are substantial differences between the present professional and research degree programs. In addition, the roles that doctorally prepared nurses will be expected to fulfill in the health care system should be defined. Overall, in spite of the documented need for many more doctorally prepared nurses and the inability of existing doctoral nursing programs to meet that need, new programs should be initiated with utmost caution. Thorough, extensive data gathering should provide information about available alternatives. The positive and negative consequences of each alternative should be identified and carefully weighed. Finally, once a school has decided to initiate a program, it should plan carefully for implementation. Thorough preparation will assure that the program selected is well matched to the resources available to support it.

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