Advancing the Journey to a PhD in Nursing Science: A Retrospective Case Study

Monday, 30 July 2012: 11:35 AM

Karen Pancheri, PhD, RN
Nelda C. Stark College of Nursing, Texas Woman's University, Houston, TX

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to describe the advantages of social support in the PhD process.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to analyze the barriers in the PhD dissertation process.

Purpose: The shortage of nursing professionals around the world is evident in the World Health Organization Data Report.  In 2005, the ratio of nursing and midwifery personnel/total population was .0.827/1000 in Viet Nam while in the United States it was 9.815 /1000.  In the United States, the AACN (2009) reported that nursing faculty shortages resulted in 1,002 qualified doctoral and 5,902 master level applicants turned away from their chosen university.  Increasing the number of doctorate of nursing science faculty around the globe is an essential key to increasing nursing faculty and enhancing global nursing research.  The purpose of this study was to examine an intervention to help PhD in Nursing students overcome the barriers to PhD graduation.

Methods: A retrospective case study examined a collegial support group of doctoral students (N=6) from course work through final defense.  The intervention involved monthly group meetings organized by group members during which each participant reviewed the status of their dissertation project.  Group members provided essential feedback related to various aspects of the dissertation work.  Qualitative methods of self-reflection and quantitative comparisons between the collegial support and traditional students were performed.

 Results: Independent group t-tests with equal variances not assumed revealed a significant difference in the time to completion of the dissertation process between the traditional and the collegial support group. There were no significant differences between the two groups in age, research methodology, and time between MS completion and PhD entry.

 Conclusion: This case study conveyed the positive potential of a scholarly collegial support group to achieve the goals of doctoral programs and increased faculty.  The findings suggested that the intervention of scholarly collegial support was effective to support a timely dissertation completion process as compared to others who did not engage in like group support.