PhD in Nursing–A nursing shortage strategy

One of the strategies to reduce the nursing shortage and the impact the shortage will have on patient care is to prepare more masters and PhD nursing graduates who are qualified to teach in colleges in universities. Without new faculty to replace retiring faculty, it will be impossible to graduate enough new nurses to fill positions as older nurses retire. The average nurse is over 48 years old and retirement is just around the corner for many.

ECU’s PhD in Nursing Program is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year, and the celebration is more about the success of our students than the longevity of the program. There have been 19 graduates from the program since it began in 2002.

The doctor of philosophy degree in the College of Nursing is a research degree that prepares nurses to serve as leaders, researchers and educators. Our PhD graduates hold positions as chief nursing officers of hospitals, leaders of research projects, and faculty at universities. There are 29 students currently enrolled in the PhD in Nursing Program.

The program’s history includes leadership by nursing experts such as Dr. Judy Bernhardt, Dr. Therese Lawler, and Dr. Martha Alligood. The current program director is Dr. Marie Pokorny. For more information about the PhD in Nursing Program, contact Dr. Pokorny at

Sylvia T. Brown, EdD, RN, PhD
Dean, ECU College of Nursing