The first three graduates of the Fuld Fellowship program at Emory University's Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing will enter the workforce this year.
This May, Kelly Moynes and Laura Rainer will graduate respectively as a family nurse practitioner with a master's degree in nurse-midwifery, and with dual master's degrees in nursing and public health. In December, Emile Toufighian graduated with a master's degree in nurse-midwifery. All three share a strong commitment to social responsibility and plan to serve vulnerable populations in their new careers.
Social responsibility is at the core of the Fuld Fellowship program, which targets second-career nursing students committed to improving care for vulnerable populations. Currently, 16 students are taking part in the program, through which they receive both a bachelor's and master's degree in nursing. Fellows are enrolled through the Emory Nursing Segue Program, a combined degree option for non-nurses with degrees in other fields.
As a second-career nurse-midwife and Fuld graduate, Toufighian hopes to empower and support women through their pregnancies.
"Women are very vulnerable during the birthing process--physically, as many expect, but also emotionally and spiritually," says Toufighian. "They need to have positive messages about themselves, their bodies, and their babies communicated to them. Encouragement, awareness, and empowerment during this vulnerable time help women adjust to motherhood and increase their self-esteem. The benefits of these things can only be positive for the babies they care for."
Prior to nursing school, Toufighian majored in religion and studied abroad in India before joining the U.S. Social Security disability system. Her experiences helped her recognize the importance of preventive and empowering care for women during pregnancy and new motherhood. As a nurse-midwife, she aspires to help women recognize that their bodies are capable of birth in the way that they choose and the power of their potential as mothers to their children.
Like Toufighian, Kelly Moynes plans to practice as a nurse-midwife and also become certified as a family nurse practitioner. As a first-time college student, Moynes majored in psychology and Japanese. She then taught English in Japan and served as a volunteer English teacher to refugee Tibetan Buddhist nuns in India. When she returned to the United States, she worked as a research assistant in psychiatry at Grady Memorial Hospital.
"I was so impressed by the nurses that cared for our patients that I knew I wanted to develop that deep caring that seemed the domain of nursing," says Moynes, who currently works as a staff nurse on the medical-surgical floor at Emory Crawford Long Hospital. "It was only in nursing school when I started to focus on midwifery. I felt that I could do a lot to minister to the emotional needs as well as the health needs of families during pregnancy and child birth."
As a nurse-midwife, Moynes hopes to improve the infant mortality rates for African-American babies, whose mortality rates are twice that of white babies, even taking into account socioeconomic and education levels.
"That is just completely unacceptable," says Moynes. "Everyone has the right to be healthy. But there is a huge gap in health care between the African-American and white communities. I plan to devote my life to helping to change that."
Laura Rainer came to Emory and nursing with a degree in microbiology and Spanish and a background in global health having been a Global Service Corps volunteer. She also worked as a nursing assistant and a translator with a Columbian-born pediatrician serving a large Hispanic immigrant population.
It was this work that sparked her interest in public health and nursing, says Rainer, "While I was working with this physician, I began to envision partnering with the community to improve the health and well being of the Hispanic population, specifically immigrants and migrants."
With this goal in mind she will complete the dual master's degree in nursing and public health program, specializing in Global Health/Infectious Diseases. Upon graduation she plans to begin her career as a public health nurse for the Fulton County Health Department and continue working with the School of Nursing to coordinate the Farm Worker Family Health Program serving migrant farm workers and their families in South Georgia.
"I am fortunate to have the support of the Fuld Fellowship as I transition from graduate school into a career. The people and experiences have shaped my education and will color the way I live and practice," says Rainer.
Funded through a $5 million endowment from the Helene Fuld Health Trust, the Fuld Fellowship program is awarded to students with a previous undergraduate degree in a field other than nursing who want to become nursing leaders focused on issues of social responsibility.
The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University, ranked sixth among U.S. private schools of nursing, is recognized as a leader in the preparation of students for beginning and advanced practice nursing. Graduates of the school's programs are at the forefront in leadership, serving as role models for excellence in nursing practice throughout the world. The School of Nursing is committed to improving care and nursing leadership through its key values of scholarship, leadership, and social responsibility. To learn more, visit www.nursing.emory.edu or call 404-727-7980.