College of Nursing

From Editor-in-Chief to Doctoral Student: Meet Ph.D. Candidate Carl Kirton  

carl kirlton x320Since its creation in 2006, Seton Hall University's Ph.D. in Nursing program has attracted exceptional students, and Carl Kirton, D.N.P., M.B.A., R.N., ANP is no exception. He is a nurse leader with more than 15 years of experience as a chief nurse executive in academic, medical and safety net facilities.

In addition to working as a nurse educator with adjunct faculty appointments at New York University, Rutgers University, Temple University and Philips School of Nursing, Kirton’s nursing experience is diverse and includes critical care nursing, HIV-AIDS nursing, ambulatory care, and nursing leadership.

His contributions to the nursing profession have been significant, including serving as the editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Nursing, as well as associate editor of the Journal of Association of Nurses in AIDS Care and the Journal of LGBTQ Health and Population Health. He has received multiple recognitions and awards for his work, including the Distinguished Alumni, Estelle Osborne, and Joseph and Violet Pless Faulty Research in HIV Nursing awards from New York University and has been honored by the New Jersey Association of Nurses in AIDS Care.

When asked why he chose to pursue his terminal degree, Kirton said, “Of all the opportunities to advance your education, the Ph.D. in Nursing is what I like to call the ‘transformative degree.’ No other degree in nursing offers you the opportunity to get into the particulars of what interests you the most. The Ph.D. provides you with the theoretical, methodological and analytical foundation necessary to ask very specific questions and to answer those questions through a variety of methods. It is transformative in that based on your research you have an opportunity to transform and inform lives, health care or policy.”

Kirton’s research interests are far-reaching, but he is particularly interested in understanding factors associated with obedience behaviors of healthcare executives. “I hope to make an important contribution to understanding the conversations and decision-making in the executive suites everywhere,” he said.

“Carl’s research will make an important contribution to the literature on a topic that has not been studied,” agreed Graduate Chair and Ph.D. in Nursing Program Director Judith Lothian, Ph.D., R.N.,FAAN. “In addition, as a student, Carl’s knowledge and enthusiasm has inspired his fellow students as they move forward with their dissertations.”

When asked what stands out the most as a student at Seton Hall, Kirton acknowledged that all doctoral students begin their studies with a general idea of the topic they would like to study. “During the core sequence, students are exposed to a variety of faculty with diverse research interests. Then, all Ph.D. nursing students at Seton Hall are required to take an ethics course taught by Bonnie Sturm, Ed.D., R.N. It was only after taking this course that my interest in ethics emerged as a potential factor in my investigation and has shaped my current research interest. I am currently investigating factors associated with moral disengagement and obedience in hospital executives,” he said.

Kirton also spoke about why he chose Seton Hall for his Ph.D. in Nursing. “The Seton Hall Nursing program is known for attracting and growing nurse leaders to its program. As a nurse leader in New Jersey healthcare, I knew that several of the major medical centers were led by Seton Hall nursing graduates, which speaks to its ability to grow and support future healthcare leaders. The faculty strength in both quantitative and qualitative methods and diversity in thought provides students with ample opportunity to develop a research study that improves health or healthcare outcomes.”

He added, “The program is uniquely designed to meet the needs of the working health professional, carefully coordinating the selection and progression of classes.” said Kirton, reflecting on the model where students can participate in classes synchronously online or in person.

Kirton’s passion for educating and mentoring nurses to be leaders is evident, and he is known to mentor leaders in their professional development and achievement of their career goals. In his spare time, he is a voracious reader of fiction and non-fiction works, a patron of the theatre and spends.

Kirton's story is a testament to the transformative power of the Ph.D. in Nursing program at Seton Hall University.

Categories: Health and Medicine

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