The Ph.D. in Nursing program at the College of Nursing and Public Health aims to have a positive impact on a negative trend.

The Ph.D. in Nursing program at the College of Nursing and Public Health aims to have a positive impact on a negative trend. Despite a national nursing shortage, students eager to advance their nursing education are being turned away from many schools due to a lack of qualified faculty.

Now celebrating its 35th year, the College’s Ph.D. program currently has 41 students enrolled in its three-phase curriculum.

“The Ph.D. program supports the advancement of knowledge development and its contribution to nursing science, as well as the advancement of healthcare through research, teaching, leadership and policy endeavors,” said Associate Professor Patricia Donohue-Porter, Ph.D. ‘87, director of the College’s doctoral program. “We prepare our students with unique high-level courses and offer qualitative courses in research.”

The program is divided into three years of course work followed by a mentored dissertation process. By the final phase of the program, graduates are actively contributing to the advancement of nursing science through research and by publishing their work. Many subsequently apply their education to professions in administration, research and healthcare. At some point in their career, most nurses with a Ph.D. also find an opportunity to support the next generation of nurses by teaching in a clinical or academic setting.

Doctoral students of different nursing backgrounds and varying research goals are brought together in cohorts of six to eight people, something Mariya Gold ’10, M.S. ’14, a Ph.D. student in her third semester of course work, finds beneficial for the networking experience alone. “We all want to share knowledge and provide the best possible care,” she said.

Gold’s own specialty and concern revolve around adult geriatric care, a specialty in which she’s practiced for 10 years.

“Nursing homes aren’t being recognized for the type of care that nurses provide to these patients, and there is a lack of resources. Nothing is changing. Nobody is fighting for nurses or for their patients to receive a better quality of care,” she said, as she described shifts where a single nurse tends to 40 patients—all of whom require specific medication and other daily needs.

Gold said asking the right questions and conducting effective research are the keys to addressing such challenges. Her ideas are refined through her course work and, importantly, through a dynamic relationship with one of her mentors, Anne Peirce, Ph.D.

“Mariya is one of our most promising young nursing leaders,” Dr. Peirce said. “I love her creative forward thinking. Knowing that she will be at the forefront of nursing scholarship gives me great confidence in the future.”

On The Job with a Doctorate

Carol Della Ratta, Ph.D., earned her doctoral degree from the College of Nursing and Public Health in May 2015. We caught up with Dr. Della Ratta by email recently to learn about her past, present and future.

What is your current job?

Upon completion of the Ph.D. program, I assumed the role of chair of the Department of Undergraduate Studies at Stony Brook University. I’ve been a faculty member at Stony Brook for over 25 years, and the knowledge I gained at Adelphi will enhance my ability to mentor faculty and prepare our nurse graduates for increasingly complex and demanding careers.

How did your Ph.D. work help shape your future?

I was fortunate to find exceptional faculty who delivered state-of the-art curriculum in such a way that I was able to develop a strong knowledge base in research and education. If I were to use one word to describe the experience at the College, it would be “transformative.”

What was the focus of your dissertation?

My dissertation was a qualitative study focused on nurse residents caring for patients with deteriorating statuses. The findings of my study identified the unique needs of novice nurse residents during high-stakes patient encounters.

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