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Wayne State University College of Nursing receives prestigious Future of Nursing Scholars grant to prepare Ph.D. nurses

Multi-funder initiative aims to help reach Institute of Medicine goal to build the next generation of Ph.D.-prepared nursing leaders.

February 11, 2016


Detroit – The Wayne State University College of Nursing is one of only 32 schools of nursing nationwide to receive a grant to increase the number of nurses holding Ph.D.’s. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s (RWJF) Future of Nursing Scholars program will provide financial support, mentoring and leadership development to nurses who commit to earn their Ph.D. in three years. Wayne State’s College of Nursing will select one nursing student to receive this prestigious scholarship.

The Future of Nursing Scholars program is a multi-funder initiative. In addition to RWJF, Johnson & Johnson Inc., Independence Blue Cross Foundation, Northwell Health (formerly North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System), Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, Sharp HealthCare, Rush University Medical Center and the Michigan Funders Collaborative are supporting the Future of Nursing Scholars grants to schools of nursing this year.

Wayne State’s College of Nursing is receiving its grant from the Michigan Funders Collaborative, which includes Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Foundation, Metro Health Foundation, Ethel and James Flinn Foundation, DMC Foundation, and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan.

The college will select a scholar in April. The student will begin the Future of Nursing Scholars program this summer and their Ph.D. studies in the fall.

“We are delighted to be selected to participate in the RWJF Future of Nursing Scholars Program,” said Laurie M. Lauzon Clabo, Ph.D., RN, Wayne State University College of Nursing dean and professor. “This prestigious award will allow our selected scholar to complete Ph.D. studies in a timely manner and to make substantive contributions to the discipline as a leader and researcher even earlier in his or her career. In the college, we are fully committed to helping to achieve the Institute of Medicine’s goal of increasing the number of doctorally prepared nurses in the United States. We are deeply grateful for the commitment and generosity of the five foundations constituting the Michigan Funders Collaborative and for their recognition of the tradition of excellence in the preparation of nurse researchers in the College of Nursing at Wayne State.”

In its landmark nursing report, the Institute of Medicine recommended that the country double the number of nurses with doctorates; doing so will prepare and enable nurses to lead change to advance health, promote nurse-led science and discovery, and put more educators in place to prepare the next generation of nurses. The Future of Nursing Scholars program is intended to help address that recommendation.

“Since the release of the IOM report, enrollment in doctorate of nursing practice programs has increased an incredible 160 percent from 2010 to 2014. However, the increase in Ph.D. enrollment has only been 14.6 percent. At RWJF, we are striving to grow the number of nurses with Ph.D.’s who will be prepared to assume leadership positions across all levels,” said Susan Hassmiller, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, co-director of the program and RWJF’s senior adviser for nursing.

The number of nurses enrolled in Ph.D. programs is not the only issue addressed by this program. The average age at which nurses get their Ph.D.’s in the United States is 46 — 13 years older than Ph.D. earners in other fields. This program will provide an incentive for nurses to start Ph.D. programs earlier so that they can have long leadership careers after earning their Ph.D.’s. 

“The Future of Nursing Scholars represent a group of students who are already making considerable contributions to the field,” said Julie Fairman, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Future of Nursing Scholars program co-director. “These nurses are publishing their research and meeting with national leaders while working at an advanced pace so that they can complete their Ph.D. education in only three years.”  Fairman is also the Nightingale professor of nursing and the chair of the Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

For more than 40 years, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at rwjf.org/facebook.

Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 380 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to more than 27,000 students. For more information, visit wayne.edu/