Re-visioning the Doctoral Research Degree in Nursing in the United Kingdom

Christopher R. Burton, Joy Duxbury, Beverley French, Rob Monks, Bernie Carter*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

    6 Citations (Scopus)


    In the light of concerns about the wider social and economic value of the PhD training programme, this article discusses the challenges being directed primarily at the traditional doctoral programme of study. While the PhD is primarily concerned with the student making an original contribution to knowledge, the value-added component of the doctoral research degree needs to respond to the needs of a wider market of purchasers, and to meet practice and policy requirements for research leadership. The United Kingdom Research Councils (UK GRAD, 2001. Joint Skills Statement of Skills Training Requirements. Available at (last accessed 1st April 2008.) suggest a range of seven skill domains over and above research design and management that should be offered to students. The seven domains are research skills and techniques, participation in the research environment, research management, personal effectiveness, communication, networking and team working, and career management. This article develops and extends these skill domains for the current healthcare context and considers how these should guide the development and evaluation of the value-added components of doctoral research degree programmes in nursing. The challenges that these issues present to academic departments are also discussed. Our conclusion is that PhD research training needs re-visioning and broadening so that the students' experience includes these value-added components.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)423-431
    Number of pages9
    JournalNurse Education Today
    Issue number4
    Early online date25 Nov 2008
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2009


    • Doctoral research programme
    • Health care
    • Leadership
    • Nursing
    • Skills training


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