The Experiences of Doctoral Nursing Practice Students Scholarly Writing Development

Saturday, 16 November 2013: 3:55 PM

Teresa Shellenbarger, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF
Department of Nursing and Allied Health Professions, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Indiana, PA
Diane F. Hunker, PhD, MBA, RN
Department of Nursing, Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA
Elizabeth A. Gazza, PhD, RN, FACCE, LCCE
Nursing Programs, Chatham University, Pittsburgh, PA

Learning Objective 1: 1. describe the themes emerging from the hermeneutic phenomenological study exploring DNP student development as scholarly writers.

Learning Objective 2: 2. suggest strategies that faculty can use to develop student scholarly writing skills.

Purpose:  Doctoral nursing practice (DNP) program graduates are expected to serve as leaders and contribute to the nursing profession by disseminating their work from projects that translate research into practice and ultimately improve patient outcomes.   Central to leadership development involves the use of scholarly writing skills.  However, DNP students enter doctoral programs possessing varying backgrounds, educational preparation, and writing skills.  Little is known about the process of developing as a scholarly writer and the literature provides minimal direction for faculty wanting to promote scholarly writer development. This presentation describes a hermeneutic phenomenological study completed for the purpose of understanding the experience of developing as a scholarly writer. 

Methods: All first semester post-master’s DNP students enrolled in online coursework at a private MidAtlantic university were invited to participate in the study.  Six students provided informed consent and were interviewed by a research team member.  To understand the lived experience of developing as a scholarly writer the participants were asked during telephone interviews to tell about their experience in learning how to write.   

Results: Transcribed interviews were analyzed using a 5-step process that resulted in the identification of common themes.  The three major themes include:  learning throughout life, influence of emotions, and getting through the gate.   Using these themes the researchers identified a variety of pedagogical approaches that can be implemented by nursing faculty to help students develop as scholarly writers and ultimately emerge as future nursing leaders advancing the discipline. 

Conclusions: These strategies can be combined to establish a comprehensive support system that will enable nursing program graduates to adequately contribute to the profession in an advanced role, practice to the full extent, improve practice, and be prepared to disseminate their knowledge through scholarly writing.