BACKGROUND - Continuing concerns over the diverse degree names and the quality and quantity of doctoral nursing programs make it essential that nursing leadership take consensus-driven action on the basis of today's educational realities.
PURPOSE - To explore the state of US doctoral nursing education to determine what leadership initiatives are needed in program definition, scope, and resources.
METHOD - The researchers used a mailed survey (63.4% response rate) and Web site review (all remaining progress) to gather data on all US doctoral nursing education programs (n = 87). The survey included 12 items pertaining to each degree program and 11 institutional environmental questions.
DISCUSSION - The doctor of philosophy was the most common degree title (n = 71). Degree title was not consistently associated with requirements (eg, dissertation and practica requirements) or stated degree purposes. Reports of program resources, as defined by faculty rank and research experience, indicated fiscal and educational threats to program integrity in many schools.
CONCLUSIONS - Although individual schools should continue efforts to increase educational quality, consensus and action by all doctoral programs is needed. Five recommendations for immediate action are proposed.