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Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing

Steven and PhD studentsMemorial University's School of Nursing launched a new Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing program in September 2013.

The aim of the program is to educate our next generation of nurse researchers and scholars as leaders in nursing practice, education, research, administration, and policy.

The PhD program will influence nursing practice, improve care, and promote positive patient/client outcomes.

Our next intake of doctoral students is in September, 2015.  Students are expected to enroll full-time in the PhD program and be on-site in St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador, for the first two years of study.

Program overview:

The degree of Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Nursing is offered in areas reflective of the strength and expertise of current faculty members in the School of Nursing. All candidates will be required to attend as full-time students during the first six semesters (two academic years). The program's curriculum consists of six courses, two internships, graduate seminars, and a dissertation.

List of required courses:

  • 7011 Nursing: The Science
  • 7012 Nursing: The Profession
  • 7100 Nursing Research I: Conceptualizing Research
  • 7101 Nursing Research II: Conducting Research
  • One of Nursing 7200-7210: Reading Courses in Research Methodology, or equivalent
  • One of Nursing 7300-7310: Reading Courses in a Substantive Area for Research, or equivalent

PhD Fall 2014 Textbook List

Application procedure:

Applicants must normally hold a Master of Nursing (MN) degree with a minimum GPA of 3.0 and be eligible to register as a registered nurse in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Applications for September, 2015 are due on March 31, 2015. You will need to have a supervisor identified and confirmed prior to submitting your application, which can be a lengthy process. Therefore, it is important to begin your search by reviewing faculty profiles listed below and contacting a potential supervisor as soon as possible.

Because the 'fit' between student and supervisor has been identified as the main predictor of success in doctoral programs, the applicant's research interest must align with that of one of our research-intensive faculty members. 

For additional information about the PhD program or the application process please contact Michelle Caines-Puddester, academic program assistant in graduate programs and research at

Application forms and additional information are available on the School of Graduate Studies website at


Faculty profiles:

 Alice Gaudine, M.Sc. (Applied) (McGill), PhD (Concordia), RNDr. Alice Gaudine

Dr. Alice Gaudine focuses on research is in the area of the ethical conflicts of nurses, nurse managers, and other health professionals. Working with other colleagues and using qualitative and quantitative methodologies, she has explored ethical conflicts related to value differences with health care organizations, ethical conflicts related to clinical situations, professionals' use of clinical ethics committees, the functioning of clinical ethics committees, and outcomes of nurses' ethical conflict including stress, turnover, and absence.

Dr. Gaudine plans to extend this research by examining the ethical conflicts of health professionals working in nursing homes and in community services, how these professionals manage their ethical conflicts, how ethics consultation functions in nursing homes and the community, and the satisfaction of health care professionals, clients, and family members with ethics consultations.

In addition, Dr. Gaudine's research interests include bullying and incivility in the work place, outcomes of these behaviours for professionals and clients and programs to reduce bullying and incivility. She is interested in the quality of nurses' work life and clients' views of the quality and safety of their care.

Dr. Sandra LeFortSandra M. LeFort, BA (Trent), BN, MN (Memorial), PhD (McGill), RN
Tel: 709-777-2232

Dr. LeFort's research interest is in the area of self-management education for those with chronic conditions, particularly chronic pain, chronic stable angina, and a broad spectrum of other chronic diseases. She is interested in many aspects of self-management including theory and theory development, interventions and approaches including physical activity and exercise, cognitive/behavioural/holistic approaches, skill development and, knowledge translation among other topics.

She is also interested in related topics such as how chronic conditions affect the family. Dr. Le Fort is currently involved in several research studies including pain assessment in the deaf population, a review of how chronic pain affects the family, provincial evaluation of the Stanford self-management chronic diseases program and a study on aging and work. Primarily a quantitative researcher, she has have worked with colleagues on a number of qualitative studies.

Donna Moralejo, BA (McGill), B.Sc. (McGill), M.Sc. (Applied) (McGill), PhD (Calgary), RNDonna Moralego

Tel: 709-777-6527

One of Dr. Moralejo's areas of research interest is infection prevention and control in any setting, although she also has experience in different international projects related to capacity building for improving childhood immunization. She is interested in the effectiveness of different initiatives in infection prevention and control, such as promotion of routine practices, or specific screening or surveillance protocols.

Over the next few years Dr. Moralejo will focus specifically on the development and evaluation of programs to improve understanding and application of routine practices and additional precautions in different healthcare settings and in nursing undergraduate programs. She has co-authored two Cochrane systematic reviews on interventions to improve hand hygiene, which she is currently updating. She is also starting a systematic review on interventions to improve application of Standard Precautions.

Putting evidence into practice, including evaluation of education initiatives, is Dr. Moralejo's other area of research interest. Over the next few years she will also look at the evaluation of strategies or tools to promote critical appraisal of literature for guideline or policy development.

Dr. Karen ParsonsKaren Parsons, BN (Memorial), MN (Memorial), PhD (Rush), RN 

Tel: 709-777-6528

Dr. Parsons' research expertise is in the area of aging and the older adult. Although she is interested in many aspects of healthy aging, she is primarily interested in the older adult's experience with age-associated memory loss and mild cognitive impairment.

Dr. Parsons is also interested in the area of family care giving for the older adult especially families caring for frail older adults and those with dementia of the Alzheimer's type. She is currently planning to explore innovative teaching strategies with undergraduate students as a means to increase interest and improve attitudes toward caring for the older adult. Methodologically her expertise is in qualitative research, particularly hermeneutic phenomenology, but she also has experience in grounded theory.

Sandra P. Small, BN (Memorial), M.Sc. (Nursing) (Toronto), PhD (Alberta), CREDr. Sandra Small, RN 

Tel: 709-777-6973

Dr. Small has a broad range of research interests that include coping with chronic illness and disability, particularly as it pertains to respiratory illness, health promotion and disease prevention. Recently her main focus has been on smoking prevention in youth and smoking cessation during pregnancy.

Dr. Small is particularly interested in parenting children about risk behaviours such as smoking. Her research method expertise is qualitative, predominantly grounded theory, but she has also used phenomenological methods.