May 24, 2019  

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Southern Miss Launches Fully Online Nursing Leadership Doctoral Program

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The University of Southern Mississippi has added a fully online Ph.D. program in Nursing Leadership. The degree provides nurses with an opportunity to earn an advanced degree and open their career opportunities for a range of healthcare and educational settings. Best of all, a loan program is making this degree highly affordable for students.
Dr. Tom Hutchinson, director of the Office of Online Learning at Southern Miss, says this accredited doctoral program offers the flexibility nurses need. “We understand today’s nurses are very busy. This program allows them to complete everything from their residency to their dissertation 100 percent online. These students never have to worry about coming to campus.”
The Southern Miss Nursing Leadership doctoral degree program emphasizes original research and offers busy nurses opportunities for careers in research, teaching, and leadership roles in universities, colleges, and healthcare organizations.
Janie Butts, Ph.D., RN, Professor and Ph.D. Program Coordinator in the School of Leadership and Advanced Nursing Practice at Southern Miss, has taught Ph.D. students for about 15 years, almost since the beginning of the Ph.D. in Nursing Program at USM. Butts says, “Over the years I have seen our nursing Ph.D. graduates find remarkable careers in business organizations, as nurse educators, professors in universities and colleges and entrepreneurship.”

Many nurses desire to teach at the college or university level, and Butts says this degree is designed to meet their needs. “This research-focused degree offers working nurses a way to reach their goals and aspirations,” said Butts. “Our fully online Ph.D. in Nursing Leadership gives them a unique opportunity to further their education without leaving their current job.”

Tuition can be expensive, and Butts says Southern Miss can provide students with a loan program that can pay up to 85 percent of their tuition for this degree. “It’s an outstanding way to fill the growing need for higher education nursing faculty,” said Butts. “Southern Miss is giving students the opportunity to participate in the Nurse Faculty Loan Program (NFLP). The NFLP is a great resource for nurses who plan to teach at any accredited school of nursing in the country after graduation.”

Butts says interested nurses should consider how much the online Nursing Leadership Ph.D. could mean to their futures. “When a student completes their doctoral degree, it is considered the highest academic achievement. For nurses, the Ph.D. in Nursing Leadership can open numerous career opportunities,” said Butts. “Upon completion of this degree, nurses can teach, but they can also be hired by hospitals and even consulting firms to conduct research and promote healthcare delivery to patients in need.”

Butts says the degree can be completed in just 60 credit hours by Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) qualified nurses. “For students who already have their master’s degree, they can earn our Nursing Leadership Ph.D. in as few as 48 credit hours,” says Butts.

Hutchinson is excited to support the growth of this program, noting that this unique online doctoral path provides students with a “one-of-a-kind combination of convenience, quality, and affordability.”

For more information about this program, visit