‘Half the fun is getting there’: a beginner’s guide to doctoral study
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‘Half the fun is getting there’: a beginner’s guide to doctoral study

Elyce Green PhD candidate, School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, NSW, Australia

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.

Nurse Researcher. 23, 6, 26-30. doi: 10.7748/nr.2016.e1446



Peer review

This article has been subject to double-blind review and has been checked using antiplagiarism software

Conflict of interest

None declared

Received: 04 November 2015

Accepted: 11 February 2016

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