The demand for doctorally prepared nurses is growing, but many would-be doctoral candidates are confused and overwhelmed by the variety of programs and the wealth of opportunities.

Many more  are still unsure of the difference between a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree. To demystify the array of choices,  Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (JHUSON) is offering a free “boot camp” that promises to help master’s-prepared nurses sort through their options.

GuIDE, for Guiding Initiative for Doctoral Education, a one-and-a-half day boot camp  will be held July 12 and 13 at the Billings Building, 601 North Broadway in East Baltimore.  By clearly defining both degrees and providing decision-making tools, camp “counselors” will  help nurses figure out which best fits their personal and professional interests,. Boot camp participants will also learn how to create compelling admissions applications, and how to successfully balance work, school, and home life.  

“We have a panel of current DNP and PhD students, as well as relatively new PhD and DNP grads, and for an hour and a half, they will tell their stories--what they’re doing, how they made their decisions, and how they made it through,” said Laura Taylor, PhD, RN, and assistant professor at JHUSON. Other boot camp sessions include a discussion of facilitators and barriers to doctoral education, as well as a session about the value of mentoring and coaching. Boot camp participants will also have the opportunity mingle with faculty members, doctoral students, and other nurses considering doctoral education.

A Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) grant made the free program possible. Two lunches and a networking soiree are included.

"With the surge of DNP programs across the country, there continues to be quite a bit of confusion as to what’s the real difference between a DNP and a PhD,” said Taylor. “This boot camp is designed to give an overview of the differences between a DNP and a PhD and to give nurses the tools they need to make decisions regarding their own professional choices.  It’s a day and a half of helping individuals really see what’s out there before they make a final decision.”

For more information on the GuIDE program, contact Laura Taylor at laura.taylor@jhu.edu. To register, contact Jodi Layton at jlayton@jhu.edu.

Learn more about the doctoral programs at JHUSON.