Aim: The purpose of this study was to examine the current state and issues of doctoral nursing programs from the perspective of recipients of the educational process. Methods: All 46 doctoral nursing programs in Japan in 2008 were asked to participate in this study and 28 programs agreed to participate. The questionnaire had 3 sections that evaluated the quality of doctoral education, which are 17 items on the program features, 12 items on the quality of faculty, and 9 items on resources. Results: The questionnaire was distributed to 304 graduate students and 127 students returned by mail. Most of the students agreed that the program goal and curriculum were consistent with the philosophy and mission of the university. The quality of the faculty and of the resources, such as library and computing facilities, were highly rated, while faculty mentorship and support staff for student research were viewed as areas for improvement. Only 30% of the students reported that a periodic assessment of the doctoral program was available in the university, and even when such an assessment did exist, students and graduates were not often involved in the program evaluation. Conclusions: To improve the quality of doctoral nursing education in Japan, there is an urgent need for faculty development and the provision of research support services for faculty and students including more technical and support staff. Furthermore, it is imperative to conduct periodic evaluation of doctoral nursing programs in Japan.
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