Doctoral candidate selected for prestigious nurse leaders program

Two doctoral candidates in nursing – one from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) and one from Marquette University, have been chosen by the The Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence as members of the prestigious Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program.

A local funding consortium of the Faye McBeath and Greater Milwaukee foundations, Aurora Health Care, United Way and Rogers Memorial Hospital are providing local support for the two Jonas Nurse Leader Scholars, Rhonda Powell and Denise Matel-Anderson.

Rhonda Powell, UWM

Rhonda Powell

Powell is a second-year student in the Ph.D. program in nursing at UWM. She was a member of the first Direct Entry Master’s Program cohort, graduating in 2007 with a Master of Science as a Clinical Nurse Specialist.

As part of her graduate-student experience, Powell served as a research assistant with Professor Sandra Millon Underwood on a study regarding the impact of religion and spirituality on health/risk behavior and cancer screening behavior in African Americans, and as a project assistant for Professor Eugenie Hildebrandt on a longitudinal narrative study on women who were unsuccessful in work-based welfare programs.

Powell’s honors include induction into Sigma Theta Tau International, the Honor Society of Nursing. She is a recipient of the National Black Nurses Vitas Hospice Scholarship, the Milton and Joan Morris Doctoral Scholarship, the Dr. Harriet Werley Doctoral Fellowship and the Chancellor’s Graduate Student Award. and currently is an Advanced Opportunity Program fellow.

Powell has worked in hospice for several years and is now an assistant professor of nursing at the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

UWM College of Nursing Dean Sally P. Lundeen said, “Rhonda exemplifies all the qualities of a Jonas Scholar. She is intelligent, compassionate, has a keen understanding of the healthcare needs of our underserved populations. Her interest in end-of-life decision making by African Americans is timely and relevant. Being a Jonas Scholar provides her with the opportunity to make significant contributions to meeting healthcare needs and influencing policy.”

Denise Matel-Anderson, Marquette

Matel-Anderson will begin her doctoral studies in Marquette’s College of Nursing during the fall 2012 semester. For the past five years, she has been employed as a nurse in acute care settings at Aurora Health Care, where she was recognized for going above and beyond in patient care and serving on the stroke committee at Sinai Hospital.

Matel-Anderson recently earned her graduate degree in the Adult Nurse Practitioner program at Marquette, during which she served as a research assistant to Abir Bekhet, assistant professor of nursing, in three funded studies related to using positive psychological concepts, such as resilience and resourcefulness, to overcome adversity in vulnerable populations.

The Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program will provide Matel-Anderson with leadership development and networking opportunities throughout the nation.

“Denise exemplifies the best qualities of a Marquette nurse, which in turn make her a natural nurse leader,” said Margaret Faut Callahan, dean of Marquette’s College of Nursing. “Her commitment to providing the highest quality of patient care, leadership on hospital committees and interest in academic research make her a rising star in the profession. We’re proud of Denise’s accomplishments and look forward to supporting her continued development as a Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar.”

The Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars Program

Launched in 2008 with six scholars in three states, the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars Program now includes more than 200 students in nearly 85 schools across the United States. It is the largest program addressing the nation’s shortage of nursing faculty, and also seeks to expand the number of advanced-practice nurses who can serve as primary-care providers and healthcare leaders.

Both Wisconsin Jonas Scholars will have the unique opportunity to work together on “Workforce Data and Mental Health Redesign: Nursing’s Voice,” a project coordinated by the Faye McBeath Foundation. This project will create a new, replicable model of work force data collection and analysis to better project the skills needed in nurses of the future, and in particular to identify the nursing work force needs in mental health services in Milwaukee.

“Our mission is to improve healthcare through nursing, and by reaching all 50 states, we can improve healthcare for all Americans,” said Darlene Curley, executive director of The Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence. “Enthusiastic support from our donor and education partners has made all the difference as we built this innovative way to support future nurse leaders to improve patient care and reduce healthcare costs.”

The Jonas Nurse Leader Scholars Program will be funded through 2014 with $2 million from the Jonas Center. The American Association of Colleges of Nursing administers the program.