For the third consecutive year, University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing doctoral students have received Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Future of Nursing Scholars program funding to help develop a new generation of nurse leaders to transform America’s health care system.
Colleen Anusiewicz, BSN, RN, and Jessica Corcoran, MSN, RN, students in the School’s Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) Program, the only one in Alabama, will each receive $75,000 in RWJF funding over the next three years and a dollar-for-dollar match from the School to pursue their doctoral studies.
“The commitment Dean Doreen Harper and the UAB School of Nursing has made to the RWJF Future Scholars program is truly phenomenal,” said Professor and Associate Dean for Research Karen Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN. “We are using money available for scholarships within the School and leveraging it with great success as part of one of the country’s premier initiatives focused on increasing the number of PhD-prepared nurses nationally.”
Anusiewicz’s doctoral research examines the relationships among nurses and patients, nurses and nurses, nurses and health care providers and staff, and the health of nurses in general. She seeks to determine if new applications of current practices can improve the work environment and job satisfaction among nurses.
“I am truly appreciative to be accepted into such a prestigious program that so greatly values nursing, nurse leaders and the vital role nurses play in America’s health care system,” Anusiewicz said. “More importantly, I recognize that I am now part of an initiative that is not only greater than myself, but one that is focused on an important cause that is most dear to me.
“Through this association with RWJF and the UAB School of Nursing, I believe my potential to provide leadership and change within the nursing profession and the health care system locally and globally is unlimited.”
While working as a pediatric nurse practitioner, Corcoran has cared for many children with developmental delays. Through her doctoral research, she hopes to develop better methods to care for these children and their families in an effort to improve their quality of life.
“The RWJF’s mission of ‘building a culture of health’ is vitally important, and I am grateful that it sees the value of utilizing the nursing profession in helping to create that culture,” Corcoran said. “The RWJF is investing in the future of nursing, and I am very thankful that the UAB School of Nursing has chosen to invest in me as an RWJF Scholar as well. The RWJF will open many doors for me as a PhD student and beyond.”
Anusiewicz and Corcoran are the School’s fourth and fifth RWJF Scholars, joining Brooke Cherven, MPH, RN, CPON, Jacqueline B. Vo, BSN, RN, and Rachel Wells, MSN, RN, CNL. Vo is a member of the 2015 cohort and Cherven and Wells the 2016 cohort.
Anusiewicz is mentored by Associate Professor and Coordinator of the School’s PhD Program Karen Heaton, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC, FAAN. Corcoran is mentored by Associate Professor Gwendolyn Childs, PhD, RN, and earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the School in 2014.
The RWJF Foundation awarded grants to 28 schools to support 51 nurses in 2017, bringing the number it is supporting nationwide in its first four cohorts to 160.
“We are playing a key role in helping RWJF meet its goal of increasing the number of PhD-prepared nurse scientists in the pipeline,” Meneses said. “It has been ideal for us, and I believe it will continue to be a successful, sustainable program here for many years to come.”
PhD students named RWJF Scholars
Third straight group from School receives three-year RWJF funding commitment, matching scholarships