The necessity of quality doctoral programs

John Heiderscheidt

Features of Marquette’s program that helped the university secure the grant include: preparing teacher scholars to address vulnerable populations of society; the opportunity for residencies in research and teaching; dedication to developing cultural sensitivity in the teachers Marquette prepares; categorizing the program’s research into women’s health, tailored nursing interventions, international health, end of life careand nursing systems; and interdisciplinary study with course work in education, philosophy and psychology.

The new program, headed by Judith Miller, the Associate Dean of Graduate Programs and Research, was awarded a federal grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration branch of the Department of Health and Human Services. The grant amounts to roughly $1.2 million, to be dispersed over three years.

The money will go toward a program assistant and portions of teacher’s salaries. It will also be used to purchase “telehealth” equipment. This equipment allows health care professionals to use “connected” medical devices in the evaluation, diagnosis and treatment of patients in other locations. These devices are enhanced through the use of telecommunications technology, network computing and video-conferencing systems.

College of Nursing Dean Lea Acord said she is honored by the grant that makes these purchases possible.

“Quality doctoral programs in nursing are in great demand,” Acord said. “I am so pleased that the College of Nursing at Marquette has demonstrated the quality of this new program by receiving such a large and prestigious federal grant.”

Miller agreed.

“This doctoral program is truly needed, in that it addresses the severe shortage of (properly trained nursing) faculty in this country as well as a commitment to expanding our body of knowledge about vulnerable populations,” she said. “The health care disparities of this country need investigation and resolution.”

The program currently has 10 students: five part-time and five full-time. Three more students are enrolled in the non-degree program and the program is actively recruiting more interested pupils. It consists of 51 credit hours: 12 nursing science credits, 12 research and statistics credits, nine teaching credits, six cognates credits and 12 credits for their dissertation.

The program objectives are to teach students to be nurses and advanced practitioners who can improve the health status of vulnerable populations, design and conduct independent research that will impact the health of vulnerable populations, develop and refine theories as a basis for nursing, analyze patterns of health and illness among vulnerable populations and synthesize research findings to provide leadership in health care, according University Provost Madeline Wake.

The central purpose is a simple one, according to Miller: to prepare teacher-scholars and graduate students who have the ability to advance health care through teaching, research and health care leadership.

“There is a clear goal to reach out to the vulnerable populations, helping to ease and understand their plight,” Miller said. “Most important, there is a goal to give the underserved better health care, an objective central to the goals of a Catholic Jesuit school such as Marquette.”