Nursing Doctoral Program

1. Quantitative research knowledge that students should have upon entry into a doctoral nursing program

How to differentiate continuous from categorical data
Properties required for a questionnaire
When to use a T-test versus Chi-Squared procedures
What is a P-Value and what affects the P-Value [eg, sample size]
When to use a randomized trial design
When to use other quantitative designs
Understand what is an interaction
Understand what is ‘bias’, sources of bias, and how bias can be reduced or controlled
Understand Odds Ratios and Risk Ratios

2. Quantitative research knowledge that students should have upon completion of a doctoral nursing program

More advanced knowledge in all of the areas above
Advanced understanding of different quantitative designs, when to use one over another, and what types of biases can result from each of these
Multiple Regression (linear and logistic); when to use these procedures; what do the results mean; how they are related to ANCOVA/MANCOVA
Confidence intervals and how to interpret them
How to prevent or control bias
What conclusions can be made with different designs


General objectives
The doctoral program is designed to further prepare nursing leaders for a diversity of domains, including research, education, administration, clinical services and policy development.
Specific objectives
Nursing concepts and theory
Doctoral education includes the development of advanced knowledge of theories and concepts relevant for nursing.
Students will learn to:
Outline the foundations of nursing knowledge development in Italy as well as relevant international nursing knowledge
Discuss the moral and ethical foundations of nursing
Identify ethical concerns in nursing and discuss models for analyzing and reconciling these concerns
Describe the most rigorous frameworks for evaluating nursing theories and concepts
Analyze and critically evaluate theories and concepts in nursing
Analyze and critically evaluate theories and concepts relevant for the student’s particular area of interest

Nursing research

Doctoral preparation involves a major concentration on the development of knowledge and skills in nursing research.
Students will learn to:
Use scientific literature databases to rigorously and comprehensively identify and retrieve research literature relevant for nursing
Critically examine the scientific strengths and limitations of nursing research publications
Describe evidence-based practice and knowledge translation

Quantitative research
Describe the qualities and nursing applications of various quantitative research methods (including: non-experimental and quasi/experimental research designs as well as measurement)
For the quantitative methods described above, demonstrate how to develop: statement of a research problem; research questions; hypotheses; sampling plans; data collection methods; and data analysis plans
Design and conduct the statistical analyses required for the quantitative methods described above
Describe systematic reviews and meta-analysis

Mixed methods
Describe various models of mixed methods design and discuss their strengths and limitations
Describe the recognized standards in research ethics and discuss how these should be adapted for the various research methodologies described above
In the student’s domain of interest, the student will: develop and defend a research proposal, including the successful completion of a research ethics review; implement the proposed study; analyse the study data; and prepare and defend a thesis that reports the background, design, findings, and discussion of the study.

Academic and scholarly competencies
Doctoral students will develop advanced academic competencies.
Students will learn to:
Express advanced nursing ideas orally and in writing
Prepare and submit proposals for research grants
Prepare and present oral and poster presentations at professional conferences
Prepare and submit manuscripts for publication in academic journals, including theoretical and research papers
Discuss the ethical standards that should be upheld in academic and scholarly activities (example: respect for intellectual property, academic integrity, fairness)

Pedagogical methods
Various pedagogical methods are used to ensure the achievement of the doctoral program objectives. These include:
Independent readings and analyses
Doctoral program seminars to be completed during the first two years of the program, including completion of the advanced reading as well as oral and written assignments required for the seminars additional hours may be required during any year of the program, depending on the student’s particular learning needs). Themes addressed in the seminars can include: epidemiology, statistics, publication, research methods, theoretical and conceptual analysis, preparing research grants, leadership & management.
All students are required to complete an international stage (2nd or 3rd year) to work on a relevant nursing problem with nursing scholars in other academic settings (the specific duration and focus of the stage will be developed through tutorial supervision)
Development, implementation and documentation of doctoral level thesis research (development of proposal during the second year of the program; successful defense of proposal at the end of the second year; implementation of the study during the third year; analysis and documentation of the research during the third year and possibly into a fourth year if an additional year is justified; successful defense of the thesis by the end of the third year or during the fourth year if an additional year is justified; at least one manuscript, based on the thesis research, must be accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journal before the final defense of the thesis).
In collaboration with their faculty supervisors, students will seek funding for onducting their thesis research and for conference travel expenses
Faculty tutorial supervision of student learning and development in all aspects of the program objectives (requires participation in regular tutorial meetings)
Supervision of the student’s thesis research (requires participation in regular meetings with the student’s thesis supervisor)
Students may be required to complete supplemental learning activities to address particular learning needs (example: academic writing courses; statistical analysis courses or workshops; literature identification and retrieval on scientific databases; software workshops such as Endnote, SPSS, NVivo)
Students and their supervisors will complete an annual progress form to document students’ progress and specify further objectives and timeline, based on the standards outlined in this document

Seminar activities
Students are expected to engage actively with all seminar activities. This includes: demonstration of a comprehensive understanding of assigned materials; prepared notes for assigned preparatory questions or other exercises; demonstration of critical analysis by oral and written expression of rigorous critique of assigned materials; oral and written expression of critically developed original ideas that build on the assigned materials. Students will receive feedback regarding their participation in the seminars. This feedback will be entered into the students’ records.

Annual review of student performance
Students’ overall performance will be reviewed on an annual basis. At the end of each year, students will submit a summary of their relevant annual achievements as well as an outline of projected objectives for the following year. This summary will be reviewed and evaluated by the students’ supervisors. These two reports (student and faculty) will be completed using the forms and Doctoral Student Annual Review Form Student Report and Doctoral Student Annual Review Form Supervisor Report. Completed forms are entered into the students’ records.