CORAL GABLES, Fla. (December 3, 2014) – A three-year grant from the Florida Blue Foundation will enable the School of Nursing and Health Studies to promote diversity in the nurse-scientist workforce and increase minority student enrollment in nursing Ph.D. programs.
The key component of the project is a ten-week summer research experience that will provide minority nursing students with intensive training in health disparities research as well as a stipend to help support their participation in the program. Participating undergraduate nursing students from the South Florida community will learn the role that Ph.D.-prepared nurses play in advancing nursing as a discipline and in addressing health disparities. It is hoped that this newly acquired knowledge will steer them toward a scientific career.
“Among the obstacles that minority nursing students face in pursuing their doctoral education are limited access to suitable mentors, economic barriers, and lack of exposure to undergraduate research experiences,” said the study’s principal investigator, assistant professor Rosa Gonzalez-Guarda, Ph.D. ’08. “We hypothesize that the summer research program will increase students’ interest in pursuing their doctorate degrees in health as well as their chances of getting into Ph.D. programs.”
Every student selected for the special research training initiative will be mentored by a nurse faculty researcher who will set goals with the student, supervise his or her activities, including participation in research studies, and provide guidance on professional aims. At the end of the program, each student will prepare a scientific poster to be shared with the South Florida community and presented at a local conference.
“The support from the Florida Blue Foundation helps us reach out to a greater number of future nurse scientists at the undergraduate level,” said study co-investigator Mary Hooshmand, Ph.D. ’10, assistant professor of clinical. “By encouraging gifted students from minority backgrounds to pursue a doctoral education, we hope to advance the goal of having a nursing research workforce that mirrors the increasingly diverse demographics of South Florida and of the nation.”
The funded project helps address the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) 2010 The Future of Nursing report, which called for doubling the number of doctorate-prepared nurses by 2020. The project also comprises part of the rollout efforts of South Florida’s Education Act Team of the Florida Action Coalition—the driving force for implementing the IOM report’s recommendations and transforming health care through nursing in the state.