postdoctoral training with 31 percent receiving their degree in the period 1997 to 2006. This also is likely contributing to the increasing age of assistant professors on nursing faculties.

A majority, 64 percent or 801 of the nursing faculty, have extramural funding, and these grants support 810 students either totally or partially. The average number of publications per faculty per year during the period 2000 to 2006 was about 0.5 in nursing, which is much lower than seen in other fields in the biomedical sciences, where the range is between 1.3 and 1.9.

The Trainees

In the fall of 2005, 2,176 students were enrolled in 55 doctoral programs, and the first-year enrollment was 442 students. As is the case with the profession, 94 percent of the doctoral students were female. In addition 12 percent were underrepresented minorities, and 10 percent were temporary residents. The enrollment status of the students is very different from other fields, with 1,294 (59 percent) full-time and 882 part-time. For full time-students the time to degree was 3.8 years. One of the 55 programs had an M.D./Ph.D. program with an enrollment of 3 students.

The level of full financial support for nursing students in 2006 was only 35 percent, and 27 percent of the students received no support. Presumably many of these graduate students worked to offset all, or part, of the cost of their education. A total of 37 of the 55 programs had externally funded training grants, and 17 percent of the students were supported on these grants. A small percentage, 9 percent and 7 percent, respectively, were supported on research assistant-ships and teaching assistantships. In addition to predoctoral training activities, 24 of the 55 nursing programs in the fall of 2005 supported 99 postdoctoral trainees.

Emphasizing Research Intensive Training Environments

Typically funded by the NINR, research training for nurse scientists has uses a variety of National Research Service Awards (NRSAs) and Career Development K awards. Individual predoctoral awards (F31) have been slowly increasing, but there are very limited numbers of individual postdoctoral awards (F32). In contrast, the institutional NRSAs (T32) initially grew considerably over time, but since 2003 there have been no steady increases in the number of slots supported (see Figure 7-1). There were 245 trainees supported in 2009 (156 predoctorates and 62 postdoctorates), which represents a decline from 2003.

The institutional and individual research training awards under the NRSA program both serve an extremely valuable purpose in nursing research and should continue to be funded. Individual awards build scientific capability, and T32 institutional awards build a cadre of strong senior researchers. The individual predoctoral awards (F31), if allocated for up to 5 years per award, will support full-time, consistent progression for research training.

FIGURE 7-1 Training positions at the postdoctoral and predoctoral levels.

FIGURE 7-1 Training positions at the postdoctoral and predoctoral levels.

SOURCE: National Institutes of Health.

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