Jeremy Ohara

Jeremy Ohara

Revolutionizing Healthcare: How PhD Nurses Lead the Way

  Jan 17, 2024
Reviewed by Ravinder Kaur

PhD Nurse

The healthcare landscape is constantly evolving, presenting new challenges and opportunities each day. Amid this dynamic environment, PhD-prepared nurses are emerging as the vanguards of health care transformation. 

Despite the growing demand for nurse scientists, faculty, and leaders, it’s concerning that less than 1% of the current caring workforce holds a PhD. This shortage becomes particularly worrisome. The need for highly qualified professionals in this field continues to escalate. 

This decline poses a significant challenge in meeting the increasing demand for nurse scholars and leaders in care. 

Do You Know?:
Regrettably, over the past decade, there has been a consistent 12% decline in enrollment in PhD nursing programs. The number of students has decreased from 5,110 to 4,476 since 2012. 

Nevertheless, with their advanced expertise, these caregivers are positioned at the forefront of change, driving innovation, enhancing patient care, and influencing aid policy.

Let’s explore how PhD professionals are playing a pivotal role in transforming the medical sector:

Bridging the Research Gap

PhD experts are trailblazers in the realm of medical research. Their extensive training equips them with the skills needed to delve deep into studies, analyze data, and contribute to the development of evidence-based practices. 

The Ph.D. in aiding stands as the pinnacle of formal education in the pursuit of a research-oriented career and the realm of discovery. 

Graduates of these programs emerge as torchbearers of new aiding knowledge, stepping into leadership roles and nurturing the next generation of caregivers.

These specialized programs are meticulously designed to craft nurse scholars who will push the boundaries of nursing science. 

These programs place a strong emphasis on scientific knowledge and research methodologies. 

This focus culminates in the creation and defense of a dissertation, which serves as a testament to their scholarly expertise.

Achieving a PhD necessitates a profound commitment to scientific exploration within the discipline. 

It also demands an understanding of the broader scientific landscape, including related disciplines and the necessary aspect of translating research into real-world applications.

Moreover, these programs underscore the importance of sharing research discoveries and fostering a spirit of collaboration across disciplines. 

They acknowledge that the most substantial leaps often result from the combined efforts of experts from various fields. 

In the United States, there is a wide range of 149 research-focused doctorate programs offered at aiding schools. 

These programs encompass a variety of options, including the traditional PhD, Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS), and Doctor of Education (EdD). 

What’s particularly noteworthy is that many of these programs are designed to cater to the unique needs of working nurses.

For instance, there are online PhD nursing programs that are custom-designed to offer the flexibility that healthcare providers need to advance their careers. 


According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, job opportunities for nurse anesthetists, nurse midwives, and nursing practitioners are expected to grow by an average of 45% over the next ten years.

They are specifically crafted to accommodate the demands of their pivotal roles, allowing caregivers to balance work and education effectively. 

Wilkes University notes that this accessibility enables them to pursue higher education without disrupting their indispensable contributions to the system. 

Shaping Healthcare Policy

Ph.D. nurses leverage their expertise to influence policies at local, national, and international levels. 

They are strong advocates for necessary reforms that target accessibility, affordability, and quality. 

Actively engaged in committees, boards, and government organizations, these experts are instrumental in driving changes that benefit both patients and providers.

Many caregivers aim to maximize their impact and actively participate in the transformative process. 

They often choose to align with organizations dedicated to reform. Notable institutions, including the American Academy of Nursing and the American Nurses Association (ANA), provide valuable resources for them. 

These resources include platforms for engaging in federal advocacy and participating in policy reform efforts. 

These organizations serve as a unifying force, bringing them together to consolidate their efforts. 

Collectively, they have the power to influence change on a grander scale, ultimately shaping the future of healthcare.

Filling the Education Gap

The demand for highly qualified aiding educators has reached unprecedented levels, as indicated by an American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) report.

Interesting Fact: 
In 2018, U.S. nursing schools had to turn away over 75,000 qualified applicants primarily due to a shortage of faculty.

Looking ahead, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) forecasts a significant 18% increase in employment for nurse educators between 2022 and 2032. 

In response to this pressing need, PhD-prepared experts are stepping into the role of educators. 

They are equipping the next generation of caregivers to tackle the ever-evolving challenges of the industry. 

They bring the latest research findings and best practices into the classroom, ensuring that students are thoroughly prepared to provide high-quality care.

Nurturing a Culture of Continuous Improvement

PhD-prepared nurses play a pivotal role in cultivating a culture of continuous improvement within healthcare settings

They are the driving force behind encouraging staff to fully embrace research and evidence-based practices. 

Through their guidance and expertise, these professionals lead the charge toward improved patient outcomes. 

Their influence extends well beyond the patient’s bedside, reaching into the development of cutting-edge protocols and guidelines. 

They ensure that patient safety and the delivery of high-quality care remain at the forefront of practices. 

With their dedication, Ph.D. professionals are instrumental in shaping an environment that continually strives for excellence and the well-being of patients.


PhD-prepared nurses are undeniably leading change in the healthcare industry. 

Their impact is felt in every facet of industry, from research and clinical practice to education, policy, and administration. 

Their commitment to advancing medical knowledge and improving patient care is propelling the industry forward. 

This dedication ensures a brighter and healthier future for us all by promoting innovative practices.