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Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis receives one of initial Future of Nursing Scholars grants to prepare doctoral nurses

New multifunder initiative aims to support Institute of Medicine goal to double the number of doctorally prepared nurses

July 16, 2014

The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis is one of only 14 nursing schools nationwide to receive the first grants from a new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) program to increase the number nurses with Doctor of Philosophy degrees. As an inaugural grantee of the Future of Nursing Scholars program, UC Davis will select one nursing student to receive financial support, mentoring and leadership development over a three-year Doctor of Philosophy program.

The Future of Nursing Scholars program is supported by several funders. In addition to RWJF, United Health Foundation, Independence Blue Cross Foundation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Rhode Island Foundation all provide financial support. The Future of Nursing Scholars program expects to support up to 100 doctoral nursing candidates over its first two years. UC Davis will receive its grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The scholar will be selected later this summer and will begin doctoral studies this fall.

“We are honored to be included as one of the first nursing schools to receive the Future of Nursing Scholars grants, especially as a new school that this year graduated our first Doctors of Philosophy,” said Heather M. Young, associate vice chancellor for nursing and dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. “Being a part of the Future for Nursing: Campaign for Action has brought home to me the importance of increasing the number of doctorally prepared nurses in the nation. This effort goes a long way toward promoting that goal. It's a wonderful way to create community among doctoral scholars who will be our future leaders."

In its landmark nursing report, the Institute of Medicine recommended that the country double the number of nurses with doctorates; doing so will support more nurse leaders, promote nurse-led science and discovery, and put more educators in place to prepare the next generation of nurses.

RWJF is working through all its programs to build a Culture of Health that enables all people to lead healthy lives, now and for generations to come.

“We cannot build a Culture of Health without many more highly educated nurse leaders,” said Julie Fairman, a nurse and professor at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and Future of Nursing Scholars program co-director. “Ph.D.-prepared nurses are leaders in research, innovation, policy and education. 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.”

Fewer than 30,000, or 1 percent, of the nation’s more than 3 million nurses have doctoral degrees in nursing or a related field.  While enrollment in Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, which focus on nursing practice, has risen dramatically over the past few years, enrollment in Doctor of Philosophy programs remains flat. In addition, the average age at which nurses earn doctoral degrees U.S. is 46 — 13 years older than doctoral graduates in other fields. This program aims to provide an incentive for nurses to start Ph.D.  programs sooner, so that they can have long leadership careers after earning their doctorate.

“This is a crucial and ambitious endeavor,” said Susan Hassmiller, co-director of the program and RWJF’s senior adviser for nursing. “It’s one that everyone in our country should be engaged in and that’s why the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is inviting other funders to participate in this effort. We believe that working together, we can ensure that we are able to educate the Ph.D.-prepared nurse leaders we need to shape the future of health care education, research and policy.”

About the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

For more than 40 years the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has worked to improve the health and health care of all Americans. We are striving to build a national Culture of Health that will enable all Americans to live longer, healthier lives now and for generations to come. For more information, visit www.rwjf.org. Follow the Foundation on Twitter at www.rwjf.org/twitter or on Facebook at www.rwjf.org/facebook.

About the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis

The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis was established in March 2009 through a $100 million commitment from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the nation's largest grant for nursing education. The vision of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is to transform health care through nursing education and research. The school’s first programs, doctoral and master’s degrees, opened in fall 2010. Master’s degree programs for nurse practitioners and physician assistants, with a focus on preparing primary-care providers for rural and underserved communities, opened in summer 2013. The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing is part of UC Davis Health System, an integrated, academic health system encompassing the UC Davis School of Medicine, UC Davis Medical Center and the UC Davis Medical Group. For more information, visit nursing.ucdavis.edu.