Oct. 31, 2016
By Greg Peters
Four doctoral-level students in the University of Kansas School of Nursing joined the ranks in the newly minted class of Jonas Scholars this fall, helping the philanthropy surpass its goal of training 1,000 nurse faculty and clinical leaders before the year 2020.
In September, the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare announced 440 new Jonas Scholars had begun their doctorial work, including KU Doctor of Nursing Practice student Shu Wen Cheng, RN, BSN; and Ph.D. students Heather Lewis, MSN, RN; Marian Savage, MSN, RN; and Christine Sommers, MN, RN.
"Applications for Jonas Scholar support are competitive, and with each new application cycle, KU has been successful in gaining support for more doctoral students," said Cynthia Teel, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, professor and associate dean for academic affairs in the KU School of Nursing. "We are delighted to participate in the Jonas Nurse Scholar Program."
A Jonas Veterans Health Scholar, Shu Wen Cheng is the fifth of six children born to a family in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Cheng says the death of her mother and her husband left an indelible impression on Cheng, who is pursuing her DNP in an effort to give back to the people of the United States, who she says have given so much to her and her children. "If I had the knowledge of life support that I gained in my nursing when my husband had his heart attack, it is likely he'd still be alive today."
A Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar, Heather Lewis earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and her Master of Science in Nursing at Research College of Nursing, where she is currently an assistant professor in the nursing program. Prior to becoming a nurse, Lewis earned a bachelor's degree in education and a master's in theater, and her research interests concern including the arts in nursing education to enhance engagement and promote learning.
A Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar, Marian Savage is seeking her doctorate with a concentration in informatics and patient safety. Savage is the associate vice president of quality and patient safety at Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington. Savage has 20 years of experience in clinical nursing, patient care quality and safety, and leadership.
A Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar, Christine Sommers has more than 20 years of experience teaching nursing in hospital and academic settings. Her research focuses on the use of flipped classrooms and technology to meet challenges in culturally diverse classrooms; evaluation of clinical reasoning and judgment in nursing students; and best practices in teaching methods to prepare nursing students to meet current health care challenges. Sommers is currently the executive dean and lecturer on the faculty of nursing at Universitas Pelita Harapan in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare was founded in 2006 by Barbara and Donald Jonas with the goal of improving health care through advancing nursing scholarship, leadership and education. The Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholarship Program aims to address a dire shortage of nursing faculty nationwide. The Jonas Veterans Healthcare Programs seeks to improve veterans' health by supporting nurses seeking doctoral-level education. Teel said each Jonas Scholar receives financial support from the Jonas Program and the KU School of Nursing.
KU has had students included in each of the previous two funding cycles for the Jonas Scholars. Linda Moody, DNP, a 2012-14 Jonas Scholar, earned her Doctor of Nursing Practice and is now an assistant nursing professor at Wichita State University. Heather Nelson-Brantley, Ph.D., RN, and Meredith Bell, BSN, were members of the 2014-16 Jonas Scholars. Nelson-Brantley completed her Ph.D. and is now a clinical instructor in the KU School of Nursing. Bell is continuing to work on her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree.