The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Future of Nursing Scholars program recently selected 28 schools across the nation to receive a $15,000 grant to increase the number of nurses with doctorates. The University of Connecticut (UConn) School of Nursing was one of the schools selected, and the grant will go toward providing support, mentoring, and leadership development to nurses who commit to earning their doctorates in three years.
This is the second time the RWJ Foundation has awarded this scholarship funding to UConn. The School of Nursing has two scholars currently enrolled and plans to choose additional students in April to begin their doctoral studies in the fall semester.
The Future of Nursing Scholars official website states: “The Future of Nursing Scholars Program is creating a diverse cadre of PhD prepared nurses who are committed to a long-term leadership career; advancing science and discovery through research; strengthening nursing education; and furthering transformational change in nursing and health care.”
Following recent guidelines from the National Institute of Medicine that the country double the number of nurses with doctorates, the Future of Nursing Scholars program hopes to help contribute to educating more advanced level nurses. Currently, nurses holding PhD degrees make up only one percent of nurses, but the demand for these nurses is much higher, and UConn amongst other prestigious nursing programs around the country intends to continue increasing the number of doctorate level nurses graduating from their programs each year.
According to William J. Pape’s 1918 book “History of Waterbury and Naugatuck Valley, Connecticut,” the City of Waterbury inaugurated the medical inspection of pupils by school nurses in 1904, making them an early adopter of the school nursing revolution. By 1913, the Medical Inspector of Schools had designated a central room to be used as a clinic for the nurses to examine and treat students.
A 1919 City of Waterbury Health Department Report cited that the school was using 5 school nurses to examine each child for contagious and infectious diseases. Infections were given prompt treatments when necessary, and followed up on by the school nurses to accomplish better health and sanitation for students. The 1920s and 30s brought in new standards to differentiate between medical care and school nurses, designating school nurses to tend to first aid, health screenings, and disease prevention. By that time, the Waterbury School Nurses had already pioneered the practice of school nursing, contributing greatly to the health and wellbeing of the city’s school children.
Today, school nursing is considered a specialty that requires advanced education and professional emergency care experience. School nurses promote health and safety practices, providing interventions to actual and potential health problems including acute injuries and managing chronic conditions like food allergies and asthma. For 112 years, Waterbury School Nurses have pioneered and specialized the practice of school of nursing, treating over two million pupils in that time. You can learn more about the School Nurses of Waterbury in their full report here.
Newly appointed inaugural Linda Koch Lorimer Professor of Nursing, Ann Kurth, is the dean of the Yale School of Nursing and an expert on global health. Kurth is a clinically trained epidemiologist whose research focuses on how to improve prevention, detection, and care of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Her work to promote reproductive health and strengthen global health systems through information and communication technologies has been funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UNAIDS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the US Health and Resources Administration.
Kurth’s educational background comes from an undergraduate degree at Princeton, an MPH in population and family health from Columbia, a master’s in nursing with a specialization in midwifery from Yale, and a PhD in epidemiology from the University of Washington. Her academic career began as the Paulette Goddard Professor of Global Health Nursing at New York University (NYU). She also founded and served as executive director of NYUCN Global in the NYU College of Nursing, a research and implementation program for improving health and well-being for individuals, families, and communities nationally as well as globally. Kurth now serves as adjunct professor of nursing and public health at NYU, and adjunct professor and dean of the Yale School of Public Health and the Yale School of Nursing, respectively.
The Yale professor also has an impressive academic literary background with over 160 published peer-reviewed articles, book chapters, and scholarly monographs. She is also a regular reviewer for public health, medical, and nursing journals. One of Kurth’s highest achievements was editing one of the first books published on women and HIV, “Until the Cure.” Kurth has also consulted for the NIH, the Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization, and the CDC, as well as served as a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Academy of Science Committee on PEPFAR Evaluation where she led a Health System Strengthening workgroup.
Kurth has been honored on multiple occasions for her leadership and contributions to science. Most notably, she was awarded the International Nurse Research Hall of Fame award from Sigma Theta Tau International, a global nursing honor society. She is vice chair for the Consortium of Universities in Global Health, and a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and the New York Academy of Medicine. Currently, Kurth is a member of the 2014-2018 US Preventive Services Task Force, a program to set screening guidelines for primary care in the US.
Yale created the Linda Koch Lorimer Professorship to honor a distinguished faculty member in any field, “who is an exemplary citizen of the university, and who embodies the attributes and character demonstrated by Linda Koch Lorimer, including her commitment to a legacy of women at Yale.” Lorimer served Yale for over 30 years as a vice president and secretary, overseeing numerous transformative initiatives, including the creation of the Office of International Affairs, the Office of New Haven and State Affairs, and the Office of Digital Dissemination and Online Education.
Congratulations to Ann Kurth, our Nurse of the Week.