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Doctoral Readiness

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Running Head: Doctoral Readiness and Sense Making

Doctoral Readiness and Sense- Making

Annette Tucker Osborne

University of Phoenix

1. What is a doctorate? According to Wellington text, how is a professional doctorate different from a traditional PhD?

As I understand it, a doctorate degree is “an academic university qualification that requires research above a Masters’ Degree level. It is an academic degree or professional degree that qualifies the holder to teach at the university level in the specific field of his or her degree or to work in a specific profession. Doctoral degree is competency acquired depth in a specific area. According to Wellington (2005) students deliberately choose to take a professional doctorate rather than a PhD because they found the path to obtaining a PhD a lonely one, timing and topic not a match, and preferred a degree with the structure which the professional doctorate offers.

Wellington identified the following common reasons for a professional doctorate versus a traditional PhD: * perceived structure; * cohort effect; * peer learning; * community of practice that developed as a result of a group all commencing a program at the same time and meeting on a regular basis; and * it is believed that a professional doctorate has a wide range of staff, with varying interest and expertise, would be encountered in a professional, taught doctorate.

Reasons for choosing PhD rather than a professional doctorate included: * self-actualization, * community development, * cloak of responsibility, * close supervision, and * PhD required in some professions 6) PhDs respected internationally

2. How does this program fit with your current and future identity?

The program is a great fit for my current and future identity. Because of my 37 years of health care experience the DHA is a perfect fit that matches my vision and values. I am ready to pursue a Doctorate in Health Administration. This program will allow me to explore prevention and treatment intervention that families can use as it relates to Alzheimer’s disease. My personal attraction to this program began several years ago but really came into fruition when on my maternal side my grandmother who is now deceased and now my two aunts both have Alzheimer's disease. My mother is the youngest of those sisters. This program will allow me to conduct research into Alzheimer’s to determine whether or not it is, in effect, a hereditary disease and if it will affect all generations. There are five generations of females on my mother’s side so I could be affected by this disease. This is a part of my identity as I see it. I am an advocate for individuals affected by Alzheimer’s. As a former Community Health Nurse, I am also interested in exploring Alzheimer’s from the caregiver’s perspective and in forms of respite for them. I chose to pursue my doctorate for two reasons. First, during my military “yellow ribbon” family weekend, one of the colleges represented was the University of Phoenix (UOP). Second, once I decided to apply, the Advisor that I had was very personable and continued to contact me in case I had any questions or apprehensions of attending the UOP.

3. How prepared are you for the doctoral program? How will you position your self to succeed in the doctoral study?

I am very prepared for the doctoral program. In applying for the program, I involved my family, as the saying goes “it takes a village”. One needs the support of one’s family whenever one engages in a large endeavor such as pursuing a doctorate degree. One has to consider the sacrifices one may need to make such as taking time away from family for school. I have a very high powered position at work which sometimes interferes with family, and now I am a doctorate degree. Only a year ago I returned from a year long tour of duty in Kuwait; something that family had to get used to as well. With the love and support of family, friends, my colleagues I am prepared to embark on this adventure with. high expectations of myself to succeed in this doctoral program. To stay on top of my requirements, I must take care to keep abreast of my DHA and departmental requirements. I will seek support programs, and use resources that are available to help me develop professional skills, form study groups, networking, and, lastly, seek mentors. During my undergraduate and graduate studies I was fortunate to have mentors that guided me through my collegiate careers.

4. What are your strengths? What skills do you need to deepen or further to begin, advance , and complete the doctoral journey?

I believe to be my greatest strength to be oral/human relations skills which I use with patients, therapist, administrators, regulators, medical professional individuals.. In both my civilian and military career, I frequently present to large audiences. I have a way with presenting so I have no fear in speaking in front of a class or colleagues. I am a strong motivator who can interact with anyone. An excellent leader in both my professional career and when I lead my medical staff overseas. I am an articulate individual, conscientious, sincere, and curious and feel fulfilled in what I am doing. As a person who was the Chief Nurse of over 200 nurses, it was my responsibility to investigate, develop, implement, and evaluate new models of care and practice innovation to keep nurses competent. Those skills will further my doctoral journey when I start my research into Alzheimer’s disease for which, as stated earlier, I have a passion to explore and understanding. The skill I will need to sharpen would be time management; I will need to establish priorities and set small goals for myself everyday. I am working on developing daily schedules to achieve my goals at the end of the day.

5. How are you ready to make a change in your life, transform your thinking, and expand your work view?

To enhance interactions with Associations, Health Care Administrators, Policy Makers, Regulators and Patients. To excel in my program, I have balance in my life and engage in activities that are fun, relaxing, and uplifting; jogging, dancing, avid reader, tennis, and gardening. Those are not changes I am willing to make, but changes in my life is keep my enthusiasm up, persevere, have self-confidence, be able to self-reflect, and be responsible for my actions.

6. How will you collect data to monitor and improve your learning throughout program?

To improve my learning throughout my doctoral journey I will cross reference materials from patients and providers and maintain a journal, the journal to address my daily goals ensure that I am meeting them and on the right track. My journal will include observations and experiences.

7. There is a risk and reward in the doctoral journey. How much risk are you willing to take? What obstacles do you perceive you need to overcome

There is always a risk in everything we do and chances one must take the doctoral journey will be no different. I have entered this program not just for myself (fear of having Alzheimer’s) but also for my mother and my female cousins; not knowing if we may also becomes victims of this disease. If I must use the word “risk”, I am willing to take the risk to find out my fate. There will always be obstacles that we can not factor in our lives. As one of two nurses in my family and the designated representative for most, I never know when someone may become very ill and I have to administer to them. I need to overcome the need to be needed all the time when I can have other family members help out.

8. What individuals or networks can support you in overcoming these obstacles?

Work with others, collegiality, team work, and networking with other students. The support of family, friends and colleagues are included in my network. With these support systems will allow me to achieve the goals to obtain my degree.

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