The newly appointed associate dean for the PhD program advocates for advancing nursing science in diverse settings while adapting to new generations of students and advancements in health care.

Eun-Shim Nahm, PhD, RN, FAAN, FGSA
Professor and Associate Dean, PhD Program

I am honored to have been serving as the associate dean for the Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) program at the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) since March. The school has been my home since 1997, after I arrived in Baltimore from Hawaii to attend UMSON’s PhD program. After I graduated, I joined the faculty, and in 2010, I was appointed director of the Master of Science in Nursing program’s Nursing Informatics specialty. While I served as director, the program consistently ranked No. 1 in the nation throughout the entire period that U.S. News & World Report provided rankings for the specialty and grew significantly.

A few factors drove my decision to accept the position of associate dean for the PhD program. A primary driver was the excellent fit among my perspective on nursing research, education, and UMSON’s mission: “We develop preeminent leaders in nursing education, research, and practice. As a catalyst for creativity and collaboration, we engage diverse groups of professionals, organizations, and communities in addressing local, national, and global health priorities.” I believe that these principles will serve as the foundation for growth of the PhD program.

The other important factor that I considered is the current landscape of academia and research, which is changing rapidly. Now is an excellent time to rethink and re-envision the program. Students are returning to in-person education after nearly two years of learning remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic and are facing a new normal. Recently, major research and educational organizations have reset and transformed their directions. The National Institute of Nursing Research shifted its focus by identifying five new research priorities: health equity, social determinants of health, population and community health, prevention and health promotion, and systems and model of care.

In addition, last year, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing published the new “Essentials” for nursing education, which are driven by a competency-based model. On campus, exciting opportunities that can catalyze scientific advancement are being offered through the University of Maryland, Baltimore’s (UMB) Institute for Clinical and Translational Research and the University of Maryland Claude D. Pepper Older Americans Independence Center, as well as the expansion of the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center.

My vision for the PhD program and the pathways I foresee to achieve it also are based on my in-depth experience with the PhD program and our students, the current trajectory of related academic and professional organizations, and the pedagogical direction of PhD programs at nursing schools nationwide. Of course, I am seeking the feedback of faculty members and students to refine the plan.

Together, we will continue to make progress in growing our nationally renowned UMSON PhD program as we expand its commitment to:

  • advancing nursing science in diverse settings, including academic, health care, and other industries
  • applying a student-focused, competency-based research education model that values innovation, discovery, integrity, diversity, and inclusiveness  
  • embracing and adapting to new generations of students and rapid advancements in the health care research ecosystem.       

We recognize that we have a lot of work ahead of us. However, this journey will be an incredibly rewarding experience for all of us. I have a deep trust in UMSON’s leaders, faculty members, staff, and students and believe that together we can envision the UMSON PhD program for the future, develop a pathway to reach our goals, and work together on them. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to serve in this role at this opportune time.   

Disclaimer: Elm Voices & Opinions articles reflect the thoughts or opinions of their individual authors, and may not represent the thoughts or values of UMB as an institution.

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