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MelanieHorningCHS

Nursing Ph.D. acceleration

Horning is first student in UD program designed to identify ‘rising stars’

The University of Delaware School of Nursing launched a bachelor of science in nursing to doctorate in nursing science (BSN to Ph.D.) track in fall 2016. Thanks to additional funding from the Virginia Lee Franklin Memorial Trust, the program grants post-baccalaureate nurses the opportunity to earn a doctorate without having to obtain a master’s degree.

The program is intended for BSN nurses who aspire to a research career as a nurse scientist. This allows students to achieve their terminal degree at a faster pace.

“The focus of the program is to identify rising stars who show potential for success in doctoral study to become scientists and contribute to the knowledge development in nursing science and the preparation of future nurse academics/leaders,” said Sarah Noonan Davis, director of corporate and foundation relations at the UD Office of Development and Alumni Relations.

In the program, post-BSN students take an additional 12 credits beyond what students entering with a master’s degree take for a total of 62 credits. This allows students to take additional tailored cognates to support their dissertation research. The program is structured to allow completion within four to five years.

The first student in the program is UD alumna Melanie Horning, who completed the accelerated BSN degree program after earning a bachelor of arts in psychology.

“A friend took me out to lunch and told me about the BSN to Ph.D. program. It is such a great opportunity and fits my needs,” Horning said.

She is currently working as a research assistant for associate professor Regina Wright’s National Institutes of Health-funded three-year study titled “Reduced Endothelium, Brain, and Cognition.”

Through her work as a research assistant and with support from the Virginia Lee Franklin Memorial Trust, Horning receives tuition and stipend support to pursue her studies.

Horning’s own research interests are focused on palliative care and respecting the wishes of patients with advanced illness in acute care settings. After her Ph.D., Horning will pursue an academic position where, in addition to teaching, she can continue her research aimed at improving patients’ end-of-life experiences.


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