Media contacts:
Tia Webster, 404-727-5692,
April 11, 2002


Emory Nursing Student Receives Prestigious $100,000 Grant

Nursing student 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.

Return to April Index

For more general information on The Robert W. Woodruff Health Sciences Center
call Health Sciences Communication's Office at 404-727-5686,
or send e-mail to

Copyright © Emory University, 2001. All Rights Reserved.