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AACN to Host National Summit on the Research Focused Doctorate in Nursing

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Press Release
For Immediate Release

AACN to Host a National Dialogue on the Future of Nursing Science
and the Research-Focused Doctorate in Nursing

National PhD Summit Will Bring Together Academic Leaders from Across the Country
to Chart the Future of Doctoral Nursing Education

WASHINGTON, D.C., May 20, 2013 – The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is pleased to announce a convening of academic leaders for a National Dialogue on the Future of Nursing Science and the Research-Focused Doctorate on September 19-20, 2013 in Chicago, IL.  Nursing faculty, deans, and associate deans will come together to discuss the changing nature of research and shape the development of academic programs that will prepare the next generation of nurse scientists. Dr. Margaret Grey, dean from the Yale University School of Nursing, is serving as chair of the summit planning committee, which also includes representatives from Case Western Reserve University, University of California-San Francisco, University of Kentucky, University of Pennsylvania, University of Texas at Austin, and Seattle University.

“Maintaining a robust nursing research agenda is critical to the evolution of nursing practice and how nurses are educated to provide optimal, evidence-based care,” said AACN President Jane Kirschling. “With the Institute of Medicine calling for a doubling of the number of nurses with doctoral degrees, bringing more students into PhD programs, while maintaining academic rigor, has become a national priority of the profession. AACN welcomes the opportunity to gather stakeholders together to assess the current state of nursing research and build consensus around the future of doctoral nursing education.”

Among the many questions to be addressed at the “PhD Summit” are the following:

  • How will the changing nature of research – including interprofessional teams and translational science – impact the preparation of nurse scientists?
  • How can faculty best educate and manage a different generation of PhD students?
  • What opportunities and challenges exist with post-baccalaureate and online programs leading to the PhD?
  • What supports are needed to ensure PhD graduates engage in meaningful research?
  • How do PhD programs prepare students to identify and address complex healthcare questions?
  • What research areas need further exploration by nurse scientists?
  • What resources are needed to sustain a successful research enterprise?

The PhD Summit is the second in a series of national meetings convened by AACN to help chart the future of doctoral nursing education with input and participation from the full community of stakeholders. A summit focused on the practice doctorate in nursing – the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) – was held in April 2013 and attended by more than 400 deans and faculty from nursing schools nationwide as well as a wide array of representatives from national nursing organizations and practice leaders.  Presentations from the DNP Summit are now available online at www.aacn.nche.edu/dnp.
Topics discussed at both the PhD and DNP summit will be explored further at AACN’s annual Doctoral Education Conference planned for January 29-February 1, 2014 in Naples, FL.  For preliminary details about this conference, see www.aacn.nche.edu/events/2014/01/29/doctoral-education-conference.

More information about the PhD Summit, including a program agenda and details on how to register, is available at www.aacn.nche.edu/events/2013/09/19/phd-summit.

Research-Focused Doctoral Nursing Education: A Current Snapshot

According to AACN’s latest annual survey, 131 research-focused doctorates in nursing are now available in the U.S., including 122 PhD programs and a handful of programs offering the DNS, DNSc, or EdD credential. Enrollment growth in these programs over the past 10 years has been impressive with the student population expanding from 3,098 students in 2002 to 5,110 students in 2012 ( a 64.9% increase). Though this increase is welcome news, many more nurse researchers are needed to serve in faculty roles and lead research teams to further develop the science that informs nursing practice and healthcare delivery.

AACN has a long history of advocating for quality nursing research and setting standards for research-focused doctoral degrees. For more information on AACN’s work in this arena, see:

AACN Position Statements:
The Research-Focused Doctoral Program in Nursing: Pathways to Excellence (2010)

Nursing Research (2006)

Indicators of Quality in Research-Focused Doctoral Programs in Nursing (2001)

Additional Resources
Directory of Doctoral Programs in Nursing (PhD and DNP)

AACN Policy Brief: National Institute of Nursing Research: Promoting America’s Health through Nursing Science

Your Guide to Graduate Nursing Programs (student resource)

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing is the national voice for baccalaureate and graduate programs in nursing. Representing more than 720 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN’s educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor’s and graduate degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice. For more information, visit www.aacn.nche.edu.



Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext. 231