Category Archives: Future of Nursing Scholars
Heather J. Kelley, MA, is deputy director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Future of Nursing Scholars program.
“Being selected as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar was such an honor! I was already excited about starting my PhD program, but this took that excitement to another level. I wasn't sure what to expect from the boot camp, but it was truly transformative.” - Laren Riesche, a Future of Nursing Scholar attending the University of Illinois at Chicago.
Riesche was one of the 16 new scholars I was privileged to meet on August 5 and 6 at our program’s first-ever scholars’ event. In addition to providing financial support to nurses to complete their PhDs in three years, the Future of Nursing Scholars program will also provide a series of leadership development activities. One of these activities is a boot camp which will be held for each cohort prior to the start of their doctoral programs.
The first-ever boot camp was a two-day event at which the scholars were able to meet and connect with one another, and begin the work of developing skills that will serve them well as they pursue their PhDs. Sessions addressed crucial issues, including developing strategies for peer coaching, and identifying and understanding one’s own approach to change and exerting influence. The new scholars met with current doctoral students to discuss a variety of issues and were given time to network with program leaders, guest speakers, and each other. A workshop served as an introduction to scholarly writing and the event closed with a panel on selecting and working with mentors.
The new Future of Nursing Scholars program has announced its first cohort of 16 nurse scholars who are receiving scholarships and other support as they pursue PhDs in nursing. The students were selected by schools of nursing that have received grants to provide those scholarships.
Each Future of Nursing Scholar will receive financial support, mentoring and leadership development over the three years of her or his PhD program. They are in the initial stages of selecting the topics for their doctoral research, which range from infection control in the elderly population to the impact of stigma on people with mental illness to the quality of life of children with implanted defibrillators.
In addition to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, United Health Foundation, Independence Blue Cross Foundation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Rhode Island Foundation are supporting the Future of Nursing Scholars grants to schools of nursing this year. The program is located at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.
Faith Ikarede Atte, RN, MSN, is a Future of Nursing Scholar studying for her PhD at Villanova University, supported by Independence Blue Cross Foundation. The Future of Nursing program is a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
There are things in life so personal and private that when one vocalizes them, there is fear of being judged. It was eleven years ago that I had a personal encounter with myself. It is admittedly odd to look back at the path that I have walked on, now overgrown and distant—yet still so close to my heart.
Eleven years ago is when I lost a sense of who I was in the eyes of society, and I had to look within myself to find my footing. It is during this time that I had arrived from Kenya, full of vigor, light spirited and quick to laughter. I was hungry for knowledge and the sky was the limit.
Little did I know that life was about to teach me a lesson. It became obvious to me that my accent was different. Most immigrants can identify with the situation of being different. The more I spoke, be it in class or in a group of people, the more I felt isolated due to reactions like, “What did you say? Speak up. Your accent is too thick. I don’t know what you are saying.”
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) has announced the first 14 schools of nursing selected to receive grants to support nurses as they pursue their PhDs. Each of the inaugural grantees of the Future of Nursing Scholars program will select one or more students to receive financial support, mentoring, and leadership development over the three years during which they pursue their PhDs.
The Future of Nursing Scholars program is a multi-funder initiative. In addition to RWJF, United Health Foundation, Independence Blue Cross Foundation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and the Rhode Island Foundation are supporting grants this year.
The program plans to support up to 100 PhD nursing candidates over its first two years.
In its landmark future of nursing report, the Institute of Medicine recommended that the country double the number of nurses with doctorates in order to support more nurse leaders, promote nurse-led science and discovery, and address the nurse faculty shortage. Right now, fewer than 30,000 nurses in the United States have doctoral degrees in nursing or a related field.
An Interview with Julie A. Fairman, PhD, RN, FAAN, co-director of the Future of Nursing Scholars program, and Nightingale Professor of Nursing and director, Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing, at the University of Pennsylvania.
Human Capital Blog: What is the goal of the Future of Nursing Scholars program?
Julie Fairman: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation launched the Future of Nursing Scholars program to create a large and diverse cadre of PhD-prepared nurses who are committed to long-term leadership careers that advance science and discovery, strengthen nursing education, and bring transformational change to nursing and health care. It is vitally important that we meet the growing need for PhD-prepared nurses, not only to ensure that we address the shortage of nurse faculty members, but because nurse researchers make valuable contributions to practice and policy. The program will fund schools of nursing to provide scholarships, and it will provide mentoring and leadership development activities to build the capacity of a select group of future nurse leaders. The program’s call for proposals launched this week, and scholars will be selected by the nursing colleges and universities that submit successful program proposals.
HCB: Congratulations on the release of the program’s first call for proposals! As schools begin applying to participate in this program, what would you like them to keep in mind?
Fairman: We are very excited about this program. The major requirement for participation is that research-focused schools of nursing must be ready and able to graduate PhD students in three years. We understand that acquiring a PhD in nursing in three years is not the norm and that many schools have not previously graduated students within that time frame. So, schools are not necessarily ineligible if they have never operated this way, but they will need to provide a thorough description of how they will meet this obligation. We are asking applicant schools to provide information not only about their curricula, but also about their mentoring activities and faculty engagement with research. We also ask that they provide a discussion of interdisciplinary engagement in their institutions, and details about their admission, retention, and graduation of PhD nurses.
Schools that are chosen for the program will be responsible for selecting the scholars who will participate. Schools should select scholars who understand and accept the challenge of completing their PhD degrees in three years. To succeed, the scholars they select will be goal-directed, focused, and committed to long-term academic careers with a focus on science, health policy, and/or innovation. They also should be interested in health policy formulation or in the development of new evidence-based solutions to address health care problems.
Heather J. Kelley, MA, is deputy director of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Future of Nursing Scholars program. Prior to this role, she was the program associate for RWJF’s Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative and a former vice president in a political advertising firm.
Three years ago, the Initiative on the Future of Nursing at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) set a revolution in motion with the release of The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health report. Among the bold recommendations offered in the report was the call to double the number of nurses with doctoral degrees by 2020.
RWJF recognizes the valuable contributions that PhD-prepared nurse scientists and researchers make in the lives of patients and families. Their discoveries have the potential to change our health care system. However, as the IOM report suggested, we do not have nearly enough doctorally prepared nurses seeking new solutions to ongoing problems. Currently, less than 1 percent of the nursing workforce has a doctoral degree in nursing or a related field.
Human Capital News Roundup: Nurse PhD scientists, shared decision making, mammogram guidelines, and more.
Around the country, print, broadcast and online media outlets are covering the groundbreaking work of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) leaders, scholars, fellows, alumni and grantees. Some recent examples:
RWJF this week launched the Future of Nursing Scholars program, a $20-million initiative to support some of the country’s best and brightest nurses as they pursue PhDs. The program will provide scholarships, stipends, mentoring, leadership development, and dedicated post-doctoral research support, the Philadelphia Business Journal reports. John Lumpkin, MD, MPH, RWJF senior vice president and director of the Health Care Group, said: “The PhD-prepared nurses the Future of Nursing Scholars program supports will help identify solutions to the country’s most pressing health problems, and educate thousands of nurses over the course of their careers.” Read more about the program.
Patients who are involved in their care spend more time in the hospital and increase the cost of their hospital stays, compared to patients who delegate medical decisions to their doctors, according to a study led by David Meltzer, MD, PhD. Meltzer is an alumnus of the RWJF Generalist Physician Faculty Scholars program, and recipient of an RWJF Investigator Award in Health Policy Research. Among the outlets to report on the findings: HealthDay, Time Magazine’s Healthland blog, United Press International, and Modern Healthcare.
A study led by RWJF Nurse Faculty Scholar Jodi Ford, PhD, RN, finds that having lived in a poor neighborhood as a teen—even if the teen’s family wasn’t poor—increases the risk of having chlamydia in young adulthood by 25 percent, compared to teenagers living in wealthier settings, Science Daily reports.