Background: Given the aging nursing education workforce and the persistent high demand for doctorally-prepared nursing faculty, there is a critical need to increase the number of nurses entering and completing PhD programs. To fill this need, accelerated PhD education pathways, such as the direct entry BSN/BS-PhD education pathway, have become popular. Objective: The objective of this study was to explore the unique characteristics of the direct entry BSN/BS-PhD student experience. This study defines and details the experiences of current and past direct entry BSN/BS-PhD students. Design: This was a qualitative, descriptive study. Setting: Web-based journals and feedback. Participants: Our sample includes four former and current direct entry BSN/BS-PhD students. Methods: We used the Delphi method to first analyze participants’ journal entries on their lived experiences, and then iteratively summarize and classify the experiences into summative themes. Results: We found four themes unique to participants’ experiences: commitment to science, nursing identity, exploring prospects, and balancing family and student expectations. Conclusions: To ensure that BSN/BS-PhD students have a high-quality education, nurse leaders should be aware of the unique perspectives of direct entry BSN/BS-PhD students. Results from this study can be used to evaluate BSN/BS-PhD programs from students’ perspectives.
- Doctoral education
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