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UPenn receives grant to increase nurses with PhDs

Tuesday August 5, 2014
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University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in Philadelphia is one of 14 schools of nursing nationwide to receive a grant from a new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation program to increase the number of nurses holding PhDs, according to a news release.

As an inaugural grantee of the Future of Nursing Scholars program, Penn Nursing will select two nursing students to receive financial support, mentoring and leadership development during the three years of their PhD programs.

United Health Foundation, Independence Blue Cross Foundation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Rhode Island Foundation also 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 during its first two years, according to the release.

Penn Nursing will receive its grant from Independence Blue Cross Foundation and will select scholars later this summer. Those students will begin their PhD studies this fall.

“We are committed to developing PhD prepared nurse scientists who will address the unique challenges in our society and become the future intellectual leaders, innovator and transformative change agents in nursing science,” Connie Ulrich, RN, PhD, associate professor of bioethics and nursing and graduate group chairwoman of PhD studies, said in the release.

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 DNP programs has risen dramatically over the last few years, enrollment in PhD programs has been flat, according to the release.

“PhD-prepared nurses are leaders in research, innovation, policy and education,” Julie Fairman, RN, PhD, FAAN, Future of Nursing Scholars program co-director and the Nightingale professor of nursing and director of the Barbara Bates Center for the Study of the History of Nursing at UPenn School of Nursing, said in the release. “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.”


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