'Half the fun is getting there': A beginner's guide to doctoral study

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5 Citations (Scopus)


Background: There is a significant need for more nurses to enrol in doctoral studies and to improve attrition rates in these courses. It is therefore important that those who consider undertaking doctoral studies are prepared for the many challenges associated with pursuing a higher degree by research.
Aim: To present a personal reflection of the first year of doctoral study to inform others about the challenges and joys associated with beginning a doctorate, as well as to demystify some of the challenges of studying a PhD, and to encourage nurses and other healthcare professionals to pursue a doctorate.
Discussion: Issues discussed include the changing identity of a doctoral student, how to select and manage the supervisory team, and some of the barriers that will be faced in the first year of candidature and ways to overcome them. ‘Imposter syndrome’ and threshold concepts are also discussed.
Conclusion: Embarking on a PhD is a challenging and transformative journey. Those who wish to undertake doctoral studies must plan carefully and pursue a topic they are passionate about.
Implications for practice: Research is essential in contemporary nursing practice. Greater numbers of nurses enrolled in doctoral studies would increase generation of new nursing knowledge and translation of research to practice.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)26-30
Number of pages5
JournalNurse Researcher
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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