University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing PhD students Brooke Cherven, MPH, RN, CPON, CCRP, and Rachel Wells, MSN, RN, CNL, are among 55 nurses nationwide to receive funding through the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Future of Nursing Scholars program to further their PhD studies.
It is the second consecutive year the School has had students selected and brings the number in the program to three, including Jacqueline B. Vo, BSN, RN, who was among 46 nurses selected in 2015. The program seeks to significantly increase the number of nurses holding PhDs in Alabama and around the country.
More PhD-prepared nurses are needed to increase the number of nurse leaders, conduct nurse-led science and discovery and educate the next generation of nurses. The awards will provide Cherven and Wells with $150,000 in support over the next three years as they work towards their doctorates.
Professor and Associate Dean for Research Karen Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN, was thrilled to see Cherven and Wells join the ranks of RWJF Future of Nursing Scholars.
“When you think about Brooke Cherven and Rachel Wells, you think about two very bright, passionate young nurses who are dedicated to improving the health of the patient population,” Meneses said. “Along with Jacqueline Vo, we have been very successful in our selection process for our first two cohorts of RWJF Future of Nursing Scholars.”
Cherven and Wells are excited about the doors their involvement in the program can open for them down the road.
Wells, a 2010 graduate of the School’s first Accelerated Master’s in Nursing Pathway (AMNP) class, previously worked in heart and lung transplant, cardiac ICU, outpatient cardiology and psychiatric settings throughout Alabama. Prior to starting the PhD program, she worked as a research nurse coordinator/nurse coach in the ENABLE: CHF-PC study under the guidance of her now mentor, Professor and Marie L. O’Koren Endowed Chair Marie Bakitas, DNSc, CRPN, NP-C, AOCN, ACHPN, FAAN, with a focus on palliative care.
“The support the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides you as a future nurse scientist is amazing,” Wells said. “This is going to be a great jumping off point for me professionally. There will be so many opportunities that come out of this and so much exposure to other routes of funding and ideas.
“This will provide me a really solid foundation on which to build my career, and, my hope is, find novel and economically effective ways to deliver palliative care to communities that so desperately need it.”
Cherven, who for almost 15 years has worked as a nurse in the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorder’s Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, has a focus on pediatric oncology and the health and quality of life of childhood cancer survivors. Her mentor in the School is Associate Professor Wendy Landier, PhD, RN.
Cherven is looking forward to the webinars, the one-week in-person immersion for her and Landier at the RWJF Summer Institute, and the opportunities to interact with some of the nation’s top PhD students and other mentors the program provides.
“One of the things that is really exciting is that, as part of the program, the other RWJF Future of Nursing Scholars around the country will be my peers, and potential future collaborators, as I move from PhD student to novice researcher to a more experienced researcher,” Cherven said. “It is such an honor, and I am really excited to have the opportunity to network with other scholars as well as the support that will be provided through the RWJF Scholars program. That will add a whole other layer to the PhD program at the UAB School of Nursing.”
The Future of Nursing Scholars program provides grants to schools of nursing to provide scholarships to PhD candidates who will commit to completing the program in three years. The UAB School of Nursing is one of only 32 schools nationwide to receive funding this year.
The Future of Nursing Scholars program was launched in 2014 with an inaugural cohort of 16 scholars and is now supporting 117 scholars over three cohorts.
The multi-funder initiative also aims to address the issue of the age at which nurses in the United States get their PhDs. Currently, the average age is 46 – 13 years older than PhD earners in other fields.
The program will provide an incentive for nurses to start PhD programs earlier so that they can have longer leadership careers after earning their PhDs.
“These funds are critical to achieving our mission to develop a highly educated nursing workforce that will be tomorrow’s leaders in health care, nursing education and nursing research,” said Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Linda Moneyham, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Top nursing PhD programs like ours ensure that students are engaged in the research programs of nationally recognized nurse scientists.
“Our ability to provide this level of funding from these sources and others, combined with our nationally and internationally recognized nurse scientists, has increased our capacity to recruit some of the top doctoral students in the nation like Brooke, Rachel and Jacqueline. We are very proud and honored that they are representing us as part of the RWJF Future of Nursing Scholars program.”
To learn more about the UAB School of Nursing PhD program, click here.
Cherven, Wells chosen 2016 RWJF Future of Nursing Scholars
PhD students will receive $150,000 in funding over next three years as they work towards their doctorates