Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Nursing and Allied Health Professions

First Advisor

Kristy S. Chunta

Second Advisor

Teresa C. Shellenberger

Third Advisor

Michelle A. Gerwick


The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) acknowledges two terminal degrees in nursing: the practice-focused Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and the research-focused Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). While the AACN recognizes DNP and PhD programs do not exclusively prepare graduates for careers in academia, both DNP and PhD graduates seek faculty positions. However, there are no published research studies examining the skill acquisition of DNP- and PhD-prepared academic nurse educators in relation to the National League for Nursing (NLN) Core Competencies for nurse educators. The purpose of this study was to examine the influence of doctoral degree preparation on full-time nurse educator perceived competence and skill acquisition of eight NLN Core Competencies. A descriptive correlational design was utilized to examine select professional characteristics and their influence on NLN Core Competency skill acquisition. A randomized, nationwide sample (N = 160) of full-time academic nurse educators teaching in AACN member schools across the United States participated. PhD-prepared academic nurse educators reported higher levels of NLN Core Competency skill acquisition than DNP-prepared academic nurse educators. Results also indicated that full-time teaching experience, participation in a formalized orientation program, assignment of a mentor upon hire, doctoral degree preparation, and Carnegie classification were significant predictors of NLN Core Competency skill acquisition. Findings of this study provide numerous implications for academic nurse educators, nursing program administrators, and nursing doctoral programs to increase nurse educator skill acquisition and to guide future research.