Educational innovations that encourage younger students to pursue doctoral research training are timely and important. To this end, an evaluation of an early-entry doctoral (PhD) program in nursing was conducted. One component of this evaluation examines qualitative data from students admitted to the PhD program as undergraduates or immediately upon graduation from the undergraduate program. The evaluation included all students (N = 29) admitted over a 10-year period, from 2002 to 2011. Eighty-three percent of this population agreed to participate. Transcriptions of individual interviews were analyzed using a qualitative descriptive method. The results are categorized into three general areas: decision making about becoming a nurse and a PhD student, facilitators of admission to and progression in an early-entry PhD program, and the challenges of being an early-entry PhD student. The findings provide the data necessary to guide revisions of existing programs and stimulate the development of new early-entry PhD programs.
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