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Why Would a Nurse Get a PhD and Does the Degree-Granting Institution Matter?

I receive many press releases and often skim them to learn about new initiatives. I tend to ignore the ones about staffing changes within companies; I also rarely read the quotes that I always suspect are written by marketing but attributed to executives within the company.
This morning I received notice that the “University of Phoenix Expands Advanced Degree Programs; Adds Ph.D. in Nursing and Educational Specialist Degrees”. I was curious enough to read more. One of the things I learned was that “During the quarter ending May 31, 2009, 420,700 students were enrolled at University of Phoenix, the largest private university in North America.” I hadn’t seen their enrollment numbers recently and was amazed.
I know the University of Phoenix has a mixed reputation. I interviewed Brian Mueller a while ago and received more emails in reponse than I have to any article I’ve published, including a recent one from a disgruntled student who went into quite a bit of detail about his experiences there.
About the new PhD in nursing: I was curious what what the value of a PhD is to a nurse and how much impact the institution granting the degree has. I asked a friend who is an RN, who said:

Nursing, like any other discipline, has its own body of research etc. (separate from medicine), and the PhD is one of the terminal degrees. There is also a new doctorate that is being debated within the nursing/medical realm, called a DNP (doctor of nursing practice) which is more clinical in focus. All full time, tenured, nursing faculty at a major university will have a PhD or sometimes an EdD and will have conducted significant research and published in their area of nursing theory and expertise. I believe the value of an institutional reputation is in the type of research and collaboration a PhD candidate would have been able to participate in their doctoral program. I don’t know enough about the University of Phoenix program, but I would guess that that component of the program would be weak or non-existent.

Which raises the question: Is good, extensive, practical research possible in an online institution? Having gone to a “traditional” graduate school, it’s a little hard for me to imagine how it can be as effective. But I know many people get online PhDs – and even write about their experiences.
Please let us know if you think there is a difference between research in online and “traditional” institutions.

14 Responses

  1. Mark Notess

    Collaborative research at a distance happens all the time between researchers at traditional institutions working with peer researchers, former students, etc., who are now at other institutions, or who just happen to not be in the office very often. Even at traditional institutions, research is increasing “blended.” As with teaching, it’s less about mode and more about design. I can easily imagine a research group at an online university functioning better than many research groups at traditional institutions.
    In some respects, I think online research collaboration is easier to pull off than online teaching.

  2. Online Doctoral Degree Program

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    Online PhD degree programs offered by accredited universities in a wide range of subject

  3. Bill Bartmann

    Excellent site, keep up the good work

  4. Bill Bartmann-

    Cool site, love the info. I do a lot of research online on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,
    A definite great read…

  5. online universities

    Even at traditional institutions, research is increasing “blended.” As with teaching, it’s less about mode and more about design. I can easily imagine a research group at an online university functioning better than many research groups at traditional institutions.

  6. Lean Six Sigma Healthcare

    While it may seem that a nurse may not need a PhD, those interested in teaching graduate level course work, will need either a DNP or PhD. Since most nursing programs have some sort of hands-on component, i.e. a relationship with a hospital or medical research facility, I don’t think doing a nursing doctorate online will have any adverse longterm effect on the doctoral candidate’s career.

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  8. memory power

    i definitely would say there is a huge difference.but that is just my opinion

  9. Lisa

    Since the main part of a Ph.D. degree is the thesis, a doctorate even at a traditional university setting does not have to involve being alot on the campus: You may be doing your research at home, in a lab or elsewhere.

  10. online doctoral degree

    and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say I’m glad I found your blog. Thanks,

  11. advertising agency Dubai

    I feel Phd for nursing is not such a good idea. Kept it simple for a while.

  12. online phd degree

    Amazing one, i appreciate this work….

  13. certified nursing assistant program

    There is a difference between online classes and classroom learning. Online classes work to an extent but lack the hands-on experience and direct student-professor interaction that is necessary in many industries, especially nursing.

  14. Information Systems Security Training

    Absolutely the degree institution matters.
    Accreditation and name recognition are as important as educational value and tuition costs.
    Online certificates and degrees make obtaining more education easier, but definitely be smart about where you spend your time and money.

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