My Doctoral Journey – Part 7

Next week, it will be 40 months since my decision in August 2010 to begin a doctoral journey. It has been eight months since I provided an update on the journey, and that is the purpose of this post. As of September 30, I have completed 100% of the academic coursework and have learned a lot from 23 courses — most of them 8 weeks in duration — and from writing 95 papers. The doctor of health administration program includes three “residencies”. These take place in one of several locations and involve an intensive week of study with faculty and students from your cohort. I chose Atlanta for my residencies and I have completed all three. The third residency, which ended in November 2012, was 100% focused on the development of a research proposal that ultimately becomes the first three chapters of the doctoral dissertation. 
The research proposal, CARDIAC TELEMONITORING FOR THE REDUCTION OF HOSPITAL READMISSIONS FOR CONGESTIVE HEART FAILURE PATIENTS, was approved by the hospital institutional review board (IRB) in January and by the university IRB in February. The proposal was approved by the university quality review process in March of this year. The hospital study began in mid-March and phase one of the study was completed on November 15. The phase one study resulted in an anonymized secondary data archive, which formed the basis of my research. The research was completed on December 15. I began writing the dissertation in November 15 and completed the third draft today. The dissertation contains five chapters: Introduction, Literature Review, Method, Results, and Conclusions. The document is 153 pages and includes 157 references in the bibliography. My research included 460 references.
Important steps are ahead. The dissertation chair approved the latest draft today, and I have I submitted it for review to the other two members of the dissertation committee. With the holiday season upon us, it is hard to say when the committee members will be able to respond with comments. After their approval and any necessary revisions, I will submit the dissertation to the university for a final quality review. This can take 30-60 days and may result in further revisions and a follow-on review that can take an additional 30-60 days. After the university has approved the dissertation, comes scheduling of the oral defense with the committee. The purpose of the oral defense is to demonstrate a deep level of understanding of the subject matter literature, the research methodology, findings, and conclusions. I will be developing a presentation about the study and prepare for questions, clarifications, and recommendations of the committee. If the dissertation and oral defense gain approval of the committee, I will have completed al of the doctoral requirements and will then publish the dissertation. I cannot make an accurate prediction of when I will reach the end of the journey since it is beyond my control at this stage, but I can fairly say I am on the home stretch. I have follow-on post-doctoral plans that I will discuss in the next update of my scholarly journey.