Doctoral Student Survey FAQs

Q1. Why is AACN collecting data on doctoral nursing students and how will this information be used?

With the approval of the Board of Directors, AACN launched its Doctoral Student Roster Survey in 2007 to collect data on doctoral students at the individual level.  This data is very important for the nursing education community to understand the academic progression of doctoral nursing students and their post-graduation career directions including faculty careers.


Q2. How long will it take to complete the roster?

For schools with a small number of doctoral students, it may not take as long to complete the survey. For schools with many doctoral students, we recommend sending the data in a preformatted spreadsheet to AACN, and AACN staff will upload the data to the survey website for them. After the initial data submission, only minor updates (when students graduated or left without graduating) will be needed for your school's existing records in future years. When your school admits new doctoral students, you will need to enter or have AACN staff upload new records of those students to the survey website. 

Q3. What type of data is being collected and are there privacy concerns?

The following data is collected and required: school name; record ID; the type of doctoral degree pursued; whether a master’s degree was conferred before doctoral education; year the doctoral education began; faculty status while pursuing the doctoral degree; and full-time/part-time student status. NOTE: From the year 2019 and on, a record ID instead of name is required for each student, which ensures that student data is collected anonymously to protect student privacy. 

Record IDs should be recognized by students’ own school only. They should be designed in such a way that schools can easily identify their student records in the future when they need to update the status of students for graduation or attrition.    

Q4. How will data security be maintained?

The data collected are kept strictly in the AACN-secured SQL database.  All individual- level information about doctoral students, including name, will be treated as restricted.

Q5. How do I change my password?

Once you are logged in to the survey, go to the "User Profile" tab, type your new password to the "Password" and "Verify Password" boxes, then click Save.

Q6. I don’t see the records of the doctoral students who graduated or left without graduating. Did I lose those records?

No. To view the records of the students who graduated or left without graduating, check the "Display inactive student records only" box at the upper right side of the doctoral student matrix, then click "Search". To go back to the active student records, uncheck the box, then click "Search" again.

Q7. I updated all the doctoral student records. How do I submit the survey? 

To submit the survey, go to the survey "Home" page and check the "Doctoral student records completed" box.

Q8. When I logged into the survey, I saw the previous Dean’s name shown at the upper right side of the survey Home page. I am the current Dean and how do I change it to my name?

Please go to the "User Profile" tab, delete the previous dean's information, enter in your name and contact information, and click "Save". 

Q9. When I opened the pre-formatted spreadsheet for data upload, there was a message “Security Warning: Macros have been disabled. Enable Content”. Should I click Enable Content?

Yes. The spreadsheet contains the code to identify potential input errors and required fields with missing values. By clicking "Enable Content", you will be able to access this spreadsheet. When you see another window saying, “Do you want to make this file a Trusted Document?”, please click Yes.

Q10. I tried to upload an Excel spreadsheet to the survey and the system gave me an error message. What should I do?

We ask that schools not upload spreadsheets to the survey website by themselves. Please contact us and we will send you a Preformatted Excel Spreadsheet for Data Upload, fill it out and send it to us, and we will upload the data to the survey website for you.

Q11. I see two new fields “Record ID 1 (Formerly Last Name)” and “Record ID 2 (Formerly First Name)” both on the survey website and in the pre-formatted spreadsheet. What are these two fields?

From the year 2019 and on, we ask schools to use Record IDs instead of student names in order to protect students’ privacy. Therefore, the “Last Name” and “First Name” fields were changed to “Record ID 1 (Formerly Last Name)” and “Record ID 2 (Formerly First Name)”. When entering new student records to the survey website or to the pre-formatted spreadsheet please assign each of your students a unique Record ID and enter it into the “Record ID 1 (Formerly Last Name)” field. If you have additional information that helps your school identify your students’ records, you can use the optional field “Record ID 2 (Formerly First Name)”. Please do not enter a student’s full name in the “Record ID 2 (Formerly First Name)”. 

Di Fang, PhD
Director of Institutional Research and Data Services
(202) 463-6934

Jenny Keyt, MS
Data Manager
(202) 868-4328

Carrie Byrne
Data Coordinator
(202) 868-4223