School of Nursing Receives Grant to Support Doctoral Study

September 25, 2009

September 25, 2009 — The University of Virginia's School of Nursing has been awarded for the first time a $500,000 "Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need" grant from the U.S. Department of Education. The grant will support three Ph.D. fellowships each year for the next three years.

"It is unusual for a school of nursing to receive this award, so we are very pleased with the support," said nursing professor Barbara Parker, director of the Ph.D. program at the school and the grant's principal investigator.

In writing the grant proposal this spring, Parker believed the funding would speed students through the Ph.D. program, helping address the national nursing shortage with more immediacy.

The goals of the grant fellowship are to increase the number of new students admitted to the program and to boost the Ph.D. students' teaching skills. Increasing the number of nursing professors will help schools alleviate the national nursing shortage, Parker said.

The Ph.D. students chosen for the fellowship will receive full tuition and fees, including up to a $30,000 annual stipend and $11,000 per year to cover professional expenses, such as research resources, textbooks or travel to conferences.

The first three fellows will be selected by the end of September from currently enrolled Ph.D. students. The school expects that the grants will lead to an increase in applications for the doctoral program, Parker sad.

To be considered for the fellowship, students must be enrolled full time in the Ph.D. program, have an ultimate career goal of nursing research and education, and take additional classes to develop their teaching skills.

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About the U.Va. School of Nursing

The University of Virginia School of Nursing stands among the top 5 percent in the nation, ranked 19th by U.S. News & World Report magazine; two of its graduate programs are currently listed in the U.S. News Top 10. With a vigorous research program that includes studies in rural health care and disparities, oncology, gerontology, complementary therapies and nursing history, the school has implemented new programs and strategies to address the national nursing shortage and the concurrent need for more highly educated nurses to deliver increasingly complex health care. The recently opened Claude Moore Nursing Education Building and upcoming renovation of McLeod Hall allow for an enrollment increase and expansion of the Clinical Simulation Learning Center and the Center for Nursing Historical Inquiry. Dean and Sadie Heath Cabaniss Professor of Nursing Dorrie Fontaine is a past president of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, the largest specialty nursing organization in the world. For more information, visit

— By Hannah Walker