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Nursing Ph.D. Student Garners National Nursing Scholarship from Johnson & Johnson

University of Virginia doctoral nursing student Hershaw Davis Jr. recently received one of five nationwide scholarships intended to bolster the ranks of minorities in academic nursing.

Johnson & Johnson awarded Davis its Campaign for Nursing’s Future AACN Minority Nurse Faculty Scholarship, worth nearly $60,000 over three years. It covers tuition for Davis’ study and pays for him to attend nurse faculty development conferences each year.

Nearly 90 doctoral nursing students applied for the Johnson & Johnson scholarship.

“Hershaw embodies already what we so often want to teach, model and nurture in our students,” said Dorrie Fontaine, dean of U.Va. School of Nursing and Sadie Heath Cabaniss Professor of Nursing. “That he will join the ranks of nursing academia is outstanding because not only do we need more professors in our field, we need more from diverse backgrounds. Hershaw will be an exceptional nursing professor – and is such an exceptional nurse already.”

Davis, originally from Richmond, earned his master’s degree from U.Va. in 2012 while working full-time as a night shift emergency room nurse at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore. He was among the nurses interviewed, photographed and videotaped for “The American Nurse Project,” a project led by photographer Carolyn Jones aiming to elevate the voice of nurses in this country by capturing their personal stories through photography and film. Begun in early 2012 by Jones, the American Nurse Project recorded the unique experiences of nurses at work, ultimately compiling a book – “The American Nurse” –­ and website of video interviews, to much acclaim from the health care community and beyond.

“I am humbled to receive such a prestigious honor,” Davis said. “This scholarship will be instrumental in my development as a nurse scientist as well as fulfilling my aspiration of becoming a professor of nursing.”

The program – developed in 2006 by Johnson & Johnson and the American Association of Colleges of Nursing – provides financial support to graduate nursing students from minority backgrounds who plan to teach in a nursing school after graduation. Beyond the nursing shortage itself, there is a dramatic, well-documented shortage of nursing professors to teach and mentor new nursing scholars. According to the AACN, more than 75,000 qualified applicants were turned away from the nation’s nursing programs due to a lack of clinical space and faculty to teach them. The average age of a nursing professor, according to the AACN, is 55.

The scholarship is also designed to address the growing shortage of nurse educators while diversifying the nurse faculty in the U.S., expanding the number of culturally competent nurse educators available to teach and increasingly diverse student body.

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