Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Title

Nurse Education Today


Churchill Livingstone

Place of Publication

United Kingdom


School of Nursing and Midwifery




This is an Author's Accepted Manuscript of: Geraghty, S., & Oliver, K. (2018). In the shadow of the ivory tower: Experiences of midwives and nurses undertaking PhDs. Nurse education today, 65, 36-40. Available here.


Aims: The aims of this study were to gain an understanding of the experiences of nurses and midwives enrolled in a PhD, explore any barriers that PhD students encounter whilst completing the degree, and develop recommendations for consideration in formulating support strategies to encourage completion for nurses and midwives enrolled on a PhD degree. Background: It is important to understand what is happening at doctoral level education for nurses and midwives, and how those enrolled on PhD courses can successfully complete their studies, transition learning, and acquire the ability to undertake research into the clinical environments. Design: The criteria for inclusion into the study was that participants were either a Registered Nurse or Registered Midwife enrolled in a PhD degree. Methods: A mixed methodology, non-experimental design approach was used with purposive sampling in an anonymous survey, that included both qualitative and quantitative questions to collect data in 2017. Findings: Supervisors and supervision were the focus of the participant's responses, and issues were identified in negotiating the right supervisors for nurse/midwife PhD students. PhD students would benefit from specific teaching and the opportunity to discuss issues that occur as part of the PhD process. Conclusion: Academia needs to consider new approaches to more effectively integrate teaching time into supervision, thereby optimising PhD completion for nursing and midwifery PhD students