Audiologists and physical therapists will soon be joining advanced practice nurses, according to the recent U.S. News.com article, Doctoral Degrees Gain Steam in Healthcare Industry.
In the debate for the nursing doctorate, nurses are told other professions are requiring a doctoral education, often as the entry level of practice.
But is it as controversial for other professions as it is for nursing?
Yes, and for the same reasons it is controversial in nursing.
Looking at a page from TherapyJobs.com, Physical Therapist Share Their Thoughts on the DPT we find:
- Physical therapists bemoan the lack of increased compensation for the advanced degree; nurses often find themselves earning little more than they did pre-doctorate unless they enter a high-earning specialty.
- Nurses debate that experience matters more than an advanced academic degree, physical therapists find that patients respect experience and outcome more than the therapist’s degree.
- Therapists are split on whether or not the term “Doctor” should be used. Nurses (and doctors!) have heated debates on this topic.
- Nurses often say there is no incentive to go back to school and it’s much too expensive to consider. Physical therapists have the same issues.
A quick Google search on “audiologist doctorate controversy” yields similar results.
I always had the impression that nursing needed to rush to advanced degrees to keep up with other professions. My take-away from the debate was that they were light-years ahead of us and that if nursing didn’t make haste to push ahead we’d be left in the dust, so-to-speak.
Well, the other professions, at least physical therapy and audiology, are exactly where we are, having the exact same debate.
A debate that didn’t begin yesterday for those professions, either.
You can see the nursing debate raging in the comment section of the U.S. News article linked above.
Personally, I see the reasons for an advanced degree. I want one. I am encouraging my daughter to get one.
It has nothing to do with money or outside respect; I’m want it because I want the knowledge that comes with it; I want it for my own professionalism. It’s a personal decision, something deep inside me that is driving me to do it.
While I can understand wanting a doctoral degree to be the standard for advanced practice, I might have more confidence in that decision if we, as a profession, were able to at least come to a consensus on an entry-level degree.
That’s taken over 60 years.
I wonder if some blogger will be writing about this issue 60 years from now.