2024 Graduate Student Grant Recipient

Sobia Idrees (RN)

University of Alberta

Development of Future Nurse Scholars and Leaders: Exploring PhD Students’ and Supervisors’ Perspectives in the Context of Dissertation Development and Writing in Western Canada

Globally, nurses are the largest group of healthcare professionals, with approximately 27 million accounting for almost 50 percent of all health care professionals globally. World Health Organization anticipated that the world will need an additional nine million nurses and midwives by the year 2030. Further, the landscape of healthcare is changing rapidly as a result of the increased burden of noncommunicable diseases and mental illnesses, communicable diseases emerging and reappearing, the needs of an aging population, an increase in displaced populations, and increasing health inequalities. Addressing the aforementioned challenges will require an increased investment in nursing education, as well as opportunities for career advancement and ongoing role development to advance nurses’ leadership and scholarly abilities and empower them to effect change and impact policy and practice at all levels of healthcare. PhD nursing education is a crucial pathway for preparing the next generation of nurse leaders and scholars. Despite growth in Canadian PhD nursing programs over the last decade, ensuring a steady supply of doctoral-prepared nurses remains an ongoing challenge in Canada. Prior research has extensively examined the nursing PhD supervisor-student relationships, but there is limited research that has examined how this process evolves in the Canadian context, specifically as to how the student-supervisor interactions during the PhD research dissertation development and writing contributes to developing students’ scholarly and leadership potential. 

My research aims to understand PhD students’ and faculty supervisors’ perspectives about the dissertation research process and the influence on the development of nurse scholars and leaders in Western Canada. The study will answer the following two research questions: (1) What are the perspectives of PhD nursing students in Western Canada about their interactions with their graduate supervisors in the context of the dissertation development and writing research and how they believe this process contributes to developing their scholarly and leadership potential? (2) In which ways do faculty supervisors contribute to developing PhD students’ abilities as future scholars and leaders in the context of dissertation research?

Interpretive Description methodology is used to answer the research questions. Using purposive sampling, I will recruit 15 to 20 student participants and 15 – 20 PhD supervisor participants and collect the data through in-depth individual interviews. Each interview will be between 45 to 60 minutes over Zoom and these conversations will be recorded. I will recruit participants from nursing educational institutions that offer PhD programs across Western Canada. I will analyze data concurrently with data collection using NVivo software. Ethics approval from the University of Alberta (Pro00136183) has been received and data collection is currently in progress.