News Releases

Two University of Maryland School of Nursing Students Selected for Prestigious Future of Nursing Scholars Program

August 4, 2015

Initiative seeks to boost number of nurses holding PhDs.

Baltimore, Md. – The University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) is pleased to announce that students Alisha Hackney, BSN ‘13, RN, and Stacey Iobst, BSN ‘07, RNC-OB, C-EFM, are among 46 nurses to receive the prestigious Future of Nursing Scholars program award to support their PhD study. Their scholarships are being funded by Johnson & Johnson and were awarded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

A multi-funder leadership program spearheaded by RWJF, the Future of Nursing Scholars program aims to increase the number of nurses holding PhDs in Maryland and around the country. The Institute of Medicine has recommended that there be more PhD-prepared nurses, resulting in an increase in the number of nurse leaders, nurse-led science and discovery, and high-quality educators preparing the next generation of nurses. Less than one percent of the nation’s more than 3 million nurses have PhDs in nursing or a related field.  In addition, the average age at which nurses get their PhDs in the United States is 46, which is 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 degrees.

Hackney intends to focus her research on the pathophysiology of labor and delivery, an interest that she developed during her senior year in the UMSON’s BSN program. Prior to beginning the PhD program, Hackney was a clinical nurse in the University of Maryland Medical Center’s Adult Emergency Department.

Iobst intends to focus her research on improving maternity care through strategies such as quality measurement, patient education, and provider education. Iobst was a nurse on the Labor and Delivery Unit at Holy Cross Hospital in Silver Spring, MD, prior to beginning the PhD program.

The Future of Nursing Scholars program provides grants to schools of nursing, so they can provide scholarships to PhD candidates who will commit to completing the program in three years. Hackney and Iobst will receive an award of $75,000, as well as mentoring and leadership development over the course of the PhD program.

“We are excited that two of our students will be a part of this prestigious program. The funding support from Johnson & Johnson for the RWJF Future of Nursing Scholar program offers much-needed assistance for our goal of educating the next generation of nursing leaders, and we thank the organization for its continued generosity,” said UMSON Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN.

In addition to RWJF and Johnson & Johnson, Inc., Independence Blue Cross Foundation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, 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 was launched in 2014 with an inaugural cohort of 16 scholars.  This new cohort brings the number of nurses it is supporting to 62.

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The University of Maryland School of Nursing, founded in 1889, is one of the oldest and largest nursing schools, and is ranked sixth nationally. Enrolling more than 1,600 students in its baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral programs, the School develops leaders who shape the profession of nursing and impact the health care environment.