Future of Nursing Scholars Program Selects 14 Schools of Nursing to Receive Grants to Prepare PhD Nurses

July 15, 2014 7:14 pm

Future of Nursing Scholars Program Selects 14 Schools of Nursing to Receive Grants to Prepare PhD Nurses

New multi-funder initiative aims to help reach Institute of Medicine goal to double the number of nurses with doctorates.

Philadelphia—The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) today announced the first 14 schools of nursing selected to receive grants to support 16 nurses as they pursue their PhDs. These 14 schools are the inaugural grantees of the Future of Nursing Scholars program. Each school will select one or more students to receive financial support, mentoring, and leadership development over the three years of their PhD programs.

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 the Future of Nursing Scholars grants to schools of nursing this year. The Future of Nursing Scholars program plans to support up to 100 PhD nursing candidates over its first two years.

In its landmark nursing report, the Institute of Medicine recommended that the country double the number of nurses with doctorates; doing so will support more nurse leaders, promote nurse-led science and discovery, and put more educators in place to prepare the next generation of nurses.

RWJF is working through all its programs to build a Culture of Health that enables all people to lead healthy lives, now and for generations to come.

“We cannot build a Culture of Health without many more highly educated nurse leaders,” said Julie Fairman, PhD, RN, FAAN, Future of Nursing Scholars program co-director. “PhD-prepared nurses are leaders in research, innovation, policy, and education. The alumni of the Future of Nursing Scholars program will be among the nurse leaders who pioneer the groundbreaking research that provides solutions to our most pressing health problems, and they will educate thousands of nurses over the course of their careers. We are creating the next generation of change-makers.” Fairman is also the Nightingale professor of nursing and director of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

Fewer than 30,000 (or 1%) of the nation’s more than 3 million nurses have doctoral degrees in nursing or a related field. While enrollment in doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs has risen dramatically over the past few years, enrollment in PhD programs has been flat. In addition, the average age at which nurses get their PhDs in the U.S. is 46—13 years older than PhD earners in other fields. This program will provide an incentive for nurses to start PhD programs earlier, so that they can have long leadership careers after earning their PhDs.

“This is a crucial and ambitious endeavor,” said Susan Hassmiller, PhD, RN, FAAN, co-director of the program and RWJF’s senior adviser for nursing. “It’s one that everyone in our country should be engaged in and that’s why the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is inviting other funders to participate in this effort. We believe that working together, we can ensure that we are able to educate the PhD-prepared nurse leaders we need to shape the future of health care education, research, and policy.”

The schools selected for Future of Nursing Scholars grants anticipated to start September 1, 2014, are:

From the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation:
Duke University (two scholars)
The Johns Hopkins University
Medical University of South Carolina
University of California, Davis
University of California, Los Angeles
University of California, San Francisco
University of Cincinnati
University of Illinois
University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston

From Independence Blue Cross Foundation:
University of Pennsylvania (two scholars)
Villanova University

From United Health Foundation:
Columbia University

From Cedars-Sinai Medical Center:
University of San Diego

From Rhode Island Foundation:
University of Rhode Island