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Doctoral theses in nursing and midwifery: challenging their contribution to nursing scholarship and the profession

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-18, 17:02 authored by Wilkes, L, Cummings, J, Ratanapongleka, M, Carter, B

Objective: To determine the impact and outputs of research conducted as part of doctoral studies in nursing.

Design: An online survey was conducted with 27 nursing doctoral graduates from United Kingdom and Australia who had graduated between 2001 and 2012. Textual and numerical data were collected and sorted on outcomes of research for management, education, practice and workforce. Numerical data were collected from journal article outputs regarding impact factors and citation rates; as well as demographic information on graduates. Frequencies were tallied, percentages calculated for both textual and numerical data and tables and figures formulated.

Setting: University and health sector.

Subjects: Doctoral nursing graduates who graduated between 2001 and 2012 from universities in Australia and the United Kingdom were recruited to complete the online survey.

Main outcome measure: The outcomes and outputs of doctoral research are usually implied in the theses but assessment of these is often not apparent in the literature or clinical area. There is little evidence to demonstrate whether or not the nursing profession is influenced by the outcomes of and outputs from nurses’ doctoral studies.

Results: The top three topic areas covered by their theses were paediatrics, acute care and the role of nurses in practice. The key outputs from the 21 doctoral studies were 86 publications. Articles from the individual theses had verified citations ranging from 0 to 75. Outcomes from the research were evident in contributions to policy development, models of care, workplace issues at universities, and nursing curricula.

Conclusion: The study shows the need for nursing research at the doctoral level should be directed towards professional needs which ultimately impact on patient care.


Publication title

Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing










School of Nursing


Australian Nursing & Midwifery Federation

Place of publication


Rights statement

Copyright 2015 Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in the health sciences

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