The Doctoral Journey: Exploring the Relationship between Workplace Empowerment of Nurse Educators and Successful Completion of a Doctoral Degree

Monday, 9 November 2015: 10:40 AM

Lisa Anne Burrell, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN-BC, CNE
Behavioral Health First Step, Carolinas Healthcare System, Monroe, NC, USA

Nursing education and practice trends reflect an increasing need for nurse educators prepared with a doctoral degree. However, more than 50% of doctoral learners never complete the program. The purpose of the study was to examine the relationship between nurse educators’ perceptions of workplace empowerment and completion of a doctoral degree. McClusky’s Theory of Margin served as the theoretical framework to guide the investigation of empowerment as a predictor to doctoral degree completion. The research questions were used to guide the correlation between nurses’ perceptions of empowerment while in a teaching position and completion of a doctoral degree. The study included nurses/nurse educators in two eastern states. A quantitative, correlational design was conducted. A convenience sample of 80 nurses/nurse educators who enrolled in doctoral studies while in a teaching position participated in the study. The Psychological Empowerment Instrument (PEI) was administered as an internet survey to collect the data. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis were conducted to examine the data. Results of the study demonstrated no statistically significant relationship between workplace empowerment and completion of a doctoral degree or workplace empowerment and time to completion of degree (p>.05). The lack of a significant correlation between the variables suggests that empowerment on the job is not a predictor of whether or not a nurse educator will complete a doctoral degree. Recommendations for further research include replicating the study using a larger sample, examining correlations between all but dissertation (ABD) status and empowerment, and conducting qualitative studies designed to examine motivating factors for enrollment in doctoral programs.