The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) is one of 31 schools of nursing nationwide selected to receive a grant aimed at increasing the number of nurses holding PhDs. The selected schools comprise the fifth cohort of grantees of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Future of Nursing Scholars program, which provides financial support, mentoring, and leadership development to nurses who commit to earning their PhDs in three years. UMSON has received a $150,000 grant to award two nursing students with this prestigious scholarship.
“Our fifth cohort of scholars will join an impressive group of nurse researchers who are already making significant contributions to the field. This program is designed to empower nurse leaders to progress efficiently. The selected scholars will complete their PhDs in an expedited three-year time frame,” said Julie Fairman, PhD, RN, FAAN, Future of Nursing Scholars program co-director and Nightingale Professor of Nursing and chair of the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.
In its landmark nursing report, the Institute of Medicine recommended doubling the number of nurses with doctorates. While enrollment in Doctor of Nursing Practice programs has increased exponentially, PhD program enrollment has seen less growth. Increasing the number of nurses with PhDs can help ensure that more nurses are conducting vital research and address the nurse faculty shortage.
“When this program concludes, we will have graduated more than 200 PhD-prepared nurses. RWJF is thrilled to see the program succeed so well, and we are very thankful for the other funders who have joined us in support of this work,” said Susan Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, co-director of the program and RWJF’s senior advisor for nursing.
In addition to the $75,000 per scholar that UMSON has received from RWJF, the School of Nursing will provide matching funds of $50,000 per scholar from an endowed fund for educational assistance. UMSON will select its two scholars this spring, and the students will attend a boot camp with the Future of Nursing Scholars program this summer and begin their PhD studies this fall.
“We are thrilled to be able to have two PhD students participate in this cohort of the Future of Nursing Scholars program and are grateful to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the other funders for establishing such a robust program of financial support, interdisciplinary mentoring, and networking,” said UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN. “There is a critical need for additional PhD-prepared nurses to lead in the spheres of research, education, practice, and policy and address the challenges of our health care system to ensure that we are able to meet the needs of our patients and society at large in the years ahead.”
For more than 40 years, RWJF has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. The organization is striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come.