Nursing Student Receives Prestigious $100,000 Grant
Laura M. Wagner, RN, MSN has received a $100,000 grant to support her
doctoral studies in the field of geriatric nursing at Emory University's
Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. Wagner is one of 20 nurse scholars
nationwide named for the honor from the John A. Hartford Foundation's
Building Academic Geriatric Nursing Capacity Scholar Program.
The Hartford Foundation program
focuses on producing expert academicians, practitioners and researchers
who will be the leaders in geriatric nursing, and then cultivate the
next generation of practitioners and faculty.
While a graduate student
at the University of Pennsylvania, Wagner met Elizabeth Capezuti, Ph.D.,
R.N., F.A.A.N., an internationally known research scholar in gerontological
nursing who at the time was working at the University of Pennsylvania
School of Nursing. In the fall of 2001, the 26-year-old Wagner followed
her mentor's footsteps and began studying at Emory's nursing school.
"I came to Emory to specifically
be with Dr. Capezuti," Wagner said. "She can provide me with everything
I need in order to be a successful educator and researcher."
From the beginning of their
relationship, Dr. Capezuti recognized Wagner's future in research.
"She had a strong interest
in research and she began working on several of my nursing home research
projects," said Dr. Capezuti, who is now the Independence Foundation-Wesley
Woods Chair in Gerontologic Nursing at Emory University's School of
Nursing. "Within a short time she began coordinating some projects and
was an excellent supervisor for the other student research assistants."
Seeing her strengths, Dr.
Capezuti suggested that Wagner work for a few years as a geriatric nurse
practitioner in a nursing home so that she would become familiar with
areas that needed nursing research. For two years while working at a
nursing home in Columbus, Ohio, Wagner learned how nursing homes operate
and how care can be improved in nursing homes.
"When I tell someone I am
a geriatric nurse, people see it as a depressing job," says Wagner,
who enjoys listening to her patients share the history of their lives.
"I want to change this image of caring for the elderly because it can
be such a rewarding experience to care for a dying person or make their
last years more comforting and full of quality."
Wagner's focus is on attracting
younger nurses to the field of geriatric nursing, improving the nursing
care of residents in nursing homes, and researching innovative ways
to reduce falls and fall-related injuries.
"Research in geriatric nursing
is the vehicle for how practice and policy is changed in nursing homes,"
Wagner explained. "I want to help change how care is delivered and the
way that is done is by changing current policy based on good research."
The Nell Hodgson Woodruff
School of Nursing is recognized as a leader in the preparation of nurses
for beginning and advanced practice. Graduates of the programs are at
the forefront in leadership, serving as role models for excellence in
nursing practice throughout the world. The School of Nursing is especially
committed to evolving nursing practice through scholarship, leadership
and social responsibility.