The Keys to Success in Doctoral Studies: A Preimmersion Course

Deborah Salani, Laura Dean Albuja, Khitam Azaiza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


This article will review an innovative on-line preimmersion course for a hybrid doctor of nursing practice (DNP) program and a traditional face-to-face doctor of philosophy nursing program. The doctoral candidates include both postbaccalaureate and postmaster's students. The authors of the preimmersion course developed and initiated the course in order to address various issues that have surfaced in discussions between students and faculty. Examples of common themes identified include writing skills, statistics, life–work–school balance, and navigating instructional technology. Doctoral studies may pose challenges to students studying nursing, in regard to academic rigor and experiencing on-line education for the first time, especially for students who have been out of school for an extended amount of time or are not accustomed to a nontraditional classroom; thus, having a preimmersion course established may facilitate a smooth transition to rigorous academic studies in a hybrid program. The course, which was developed and delivered through Blackboard, a learning management system, includes the following 9 preimmersion modules: academic strategies (learning styles, creating an effective PowerPoint presentation), library support (introduction to the university library, literature review tutorial, and citation styles), mindfulness, wellness, statistics essentials, writing express, DNP capstone, netiquette, and DNP/doctor of philosophy mentorship. Each module consists of various tools that may promote student success in specific courses and the programs in general. The purpose of designing the preimmersion course is to decrease attrition rates and increase success of the students. While the majority of students have succeeded in their coursework and been graduated from the program, the authors of this article found that many students struggled with the work, life, and school balance. Future work will include the evaluation of results from graduate students enrolled in the program.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)358-363
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Professional Nursing
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Academic success
  • Graduate nursing students
  • Hybrid approach
  • Modules
  • Online preimmersion course
  • Rigorous academic studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nursing(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'The Keys to Success in Doctoral Studies: A Preimmersion Course'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this