Danny Hopgood, a bachelor’s trained registered nurse and PhD student in the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Nursing, is one of 16 nurses nationally to receive a Future of Nursing Scholars program award.
This new multi-funder scholarship program, spearheaded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), is aimed at increasing the number of nurses holding PhDs. Hopgood’s scholarship is funded by RWJF and was awarded by the UC College of Nursing.
Hopgood intends to focus his PhD research on the quality of life of children who have cardiac disease and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs). ICDs stop many heart arrhythmias but patients report a lower quality of life with them. As these devices become more common, understanding how they affect quality of life is important.
Before starting UC’s PhD program, Hopgood was a staff nurse at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Cancer and Blood Diseases Institute.
"I am so grateful to receive this scholarship and other support, which will allow me to help identify and address the needs of children with ICDs,” says Hopgood. "Additionally, I am truly excited to help foster more scientific knowledge among new and practicing nurses through my role as an educator. RWJF and their partners are wonderful and I am filled with gratitude.”
The Future of Nursing Scholars program provides grants to schools of nursing so that they can provide scholarships to PhD candidates who will commit to completing the program in three years. Hopgood will receive an award of $75,000, as well as mentoring and leadership development over the course of the PhD program.
"The UC College of Nursing is grateful to work in partnership with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and its affiliates and for all that they do to improve the quality of health care and access in the U.S.," says Donna Shambley-Ebron, PhD, a registered nurse and associate professor and director of the PhD program at the UC College of Nursing.
In addition to RWJF, United Health Foundation, Independence Blue Cross Foundation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, and the Rhode Island Foundation are supporting the Future of Nursing Scholars grants to schools of nursing this year.
In its 2010 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.
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) programs has risen dramatically over the past few years, enrollment in PhD programs has been relatively flat. In addition, the average age at which nurses get their PhDs in the United States is 46—13 years older than PhD earners in other fields. This program will provide an incentive for nurses to start PhD programs earlier, so that they can have long leadership careers after earning their PhDs.