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College of Nursing

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Day in the life with PhD student Alli Walsh


Some nurses want to advance their degree right away, making an impact through research and scholarship. Alli Walsh answered that call and showed the Spartan nurse community what a PhD student does. 

While Walsh is working on her PhD, she works as a registered nurse on an adolescent floor. Her interest area focuses on social media and how it affects mental health of middle school aged students and how we can avoid the harmful effects of media. 

“The first thing on my schedule today is a final presentation for one of my nursing classes.” being a PhD student while working Walsh has to keep organized to balance her life. “The things that I carry in my bag that make me successful for class are my computer, my iPad for notes, and my planner.” 

Walsh’s presentation covered social media and body image. 

Q: What are you getting your PhD in? 

A: “I am getting my PhD in nursing! This PhD is a research-focused degree as opposed to a clinical one. I am looking at creating new nursing knowledge and advancing previous research in nursing!” 

Q: Did you or do you know anyone who got into the nurse scholar program? 

A: “Yes! I was in nurse scholars my first year! I cannot recommend the experience enough. I am still close with my friends from the program, and it was my first introduction to nursing research!”

Q: What is your favorite part about being a PhD student? 

A “My favorite part is that my courses are centered around my specific area of research and what I’m learning relates back to the population I am trying to help! It is a much more specialized focus than undergrad.” 

Q: Why did you decide to get your PhD? What are the benefits of getting a PhD in Nursing?” 

A: “I decided [to go for it] after working as an undergraduate research assistant. The faculty member I was working with was a great advisor to me. She inspired and pushed me to advance my education.” 

After a successful presentation to her program and busy day, Walsh logs off for the night to finish editing a final paper. 

View her entire takeover on our Instagram @michstnursing in the highlight on our profile called “Alli PhD.”