Eileen Searle, CGSON ’15, was given a grant by the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare and named a Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar.
There were 50 to 60 Jonas Scholars selected this year with generally one doctoral student and one doctor of nursing practice student per state, according to Searle.
The mission of the Jonas Center is to improve healthcare through nursing. The Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars Program, created in 2008, funds doctoral nursing students through grants to help them pursue their educational and professional goals. The Jonas Center itself is funded through the Barbara and Donald Jonas Family Fund.
“I was very excited when I learned that I was selected to be a Jonas Scholar,” said Searle, who received her B.S. in nursing from Boston College in 2006, her M.S. in Public Health from the Boston University School of Public Health in 2012, and her M.S. in nursing from BC in 2013. “The Jonas family is actively engaged in promoting the future of nursing, and being able to be a part of their plan is very exciting.”
Mary Katherine Hutchinson, the associate dean for graduate programs at CSON, nominated Searle for the grant, which was to be given to a Jonas Scholar.
They worked together on the application to reflect Searle’s unique interests and CSON’s plans for supporting and helping her develop as a nurse leader and future nurse faculty member, Searle said.
“Having this grant will offset the cost of my tuition as I move into the dissertation phase of my program,” Searle said. “It will also help me attend conferences, including one hosted by the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, and present some of my research and network with others in my field.”
The conference hosted by the Jonas Center will be held in fall 2015 in Washington, D.C., where Searle will join other attending Jonas Scholars.
She will also join one of the state Action Coalitions, which include nurses and other healthcare providers and who are part of the Future of Nursing: Campaign for Action, a national initiative by the Center to Champion Nursing in America. The goal of the campaign is to provide Americans with a health care system that allows nurses to perform to the best of their abilities.
As a student in the Ph.D. program at CSON, Searle is finishing her last semester of coursework and is preparing for her comprehensive exams in May.
“When I decided to get a doctorate degree, I was torn between a nursing Ph.D. and one in public health,” she said. “I decided to return to BC to pursue my doctorate because my nursing background had shaped all of my decisions to that point, and I feel that strong nursing leadership and nursing care is vital to improving public health.”
Searle also works one day a week with Paul Biddinger, the director of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Exercise Program at the Harvard School of Public Health.
“Because my primary goal is to become a nurse faculty member and teach undergraduate nursing students, I work clinically in the surgical intensive care unit at Mount Auburn Hospital several days a month,” she said.
After taking her comprehensive exams, Searle plans to work on her dissertation, which will probably take two years to complete, she said. During these two years, Searle plans to search for a full-time faculty position.
“I am actively seeking out opportunities to strengthen my teaching skills,” she said.
Searle is also works as an adult-gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, “providing primary care to all adults, from young adults to the very aged among us,” she said.
“It is rewarding to try to find ways to help people live healthier and explore how their health impacts other areas of their lives,” Searle said.