Pictured are (from left to right) Cynthia Diefenbeck, Robbi Alexander, Deborah Friedel and Regina Sims.

Nurse leader-scholars

Doctoral students receive funding from Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence


3:46 p.m., May 14, 2012--Two Ph.D. students in nursing science at the University of Delaware have received support for their doctoral work through an institutional grant from the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence. Deborah Friedel and Robbi Alexander have been named Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars for the 2012-14 academic years.

As an oncology nurse, Friedel has a strong interest in the psychosocial features of health behaviors and the cancer experience. “With degrees in both nursing and psychology, I hope to have a positive influence on minority health promotion through my research,” she says. 

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Her dissertation work centers on factors associated with mammography adherence among African American women. Friedel is advised and mentored by assistant professor Regina Sims.

Alexander’s background is in mental health and community health nursing. “My long-range goal is to enhance nursing workforce diversity and improve cross-cultural care,” she says.

Her research focuses on the experiences of African American and Latino nursing students and the barriers and facilitators of recruitment and retention for minority students in baccalaureate nursing programs. Alexander is advised and mentored by assistant professor Cynthia Diefenbeck.

The two students are among the first cohort enrolled in UD’s Ph.D. in nursing science program, which was officially launched in the fall 2011 semester. According to Veronica Rempusheski, Jeanne K. Buxbaum Chair of Nursing Science, the program prepares researchers and academic faculty to advance the art and science of nursing and to assume leadership positions in the profession.

With U.S. nursing schools currently turning away thousands of qualified applicants every year due to a number of constraints, including an insufficient number of faculty, the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program is aimed at preparing some 200 potential nurse faculty across the 50 states.

“The funding we received from the Jonas Center is a testament to the rigor of our program and commitment to research mentoring in ensuring the success of our Ph.D. students as future nurse scientists and faculty,” Rempusheski said. 

“This award is significant and timely to maintain a competitive edge in a national environment of a severe nurse faculty shortage. The Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar is a well-earned award for Robbi Alexander and Deborah Friedel following their successful first year of full-time doctoral study. They and their mentors are to be commended for this nationally recognized honor.”

About the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence

Founded in February 2006, the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence is supported by the Barbara and Donald Jonas Family Fund. Its mission is to advance professional nursing through grant making and programs that improve nurse recruitment and retention, increase ethnic and racial diversity among the nursing workforce, advance innovative practice models and improve practice settings in New York City.

Article by Diane Kukich

Photo by Ambre Alexander

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