September 28, 2009 — Randy Jones, an assistant professor of nursing at the University of Virginia, has won a competitive grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to study strategies to help patients feel more at ease in the final stages of life.
Jones is one of 15 nurse educators from around the country to receive the three-year, $350,000 "Nurse Faculty Scholar" award this year. It is given to junior faculty who show outstanding promise as future leaders in academic nursing.
"The generous support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will enable me to study strategies to ensure that patients are more comfortable and satisfied with treatment decisions," Jones said.
Jones will further test a decision aid for patients with advanced-stage prostate cancer to facilitate informed, shared decisions about treatments that affect their quality of life. The intervention will also be given to the patient's designated support person to test a "transitional proxy" concept (a person in the best position to know the patient's wishes as they transition across the illness trajectory).
Jones will test whether the decision aid will enhance treatment decision-making skills to decrease anxiety and conflict and increase decision satisfaction. In addition, he will determine whether quality of life scores of patients and supporters converge over time.
U.Va. faculty members Patricia Hollen, a nursing professor, and Dr. Christopher Thomas, a professor of medicine, will serve as mentors.
"This research will help us understand how to maximize comfort and satisfaction for patients with terminal illnesses," Hollen said.
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's "Nurse Faculty Scholars" program aims to curb the effects of the nursing shortage by helping more junior faculty succeed in, and commit to, academic careers. The program provides talented junior faculty with salary and research support as well as the chance to participate in institutional and national mentoring activities, leadership training and networking events with colleagues in nursing and other fields, while continuing to teach and provide institutional, professional and community service in their universities.
To receive the award, scholars must be registered nurses who have completed a research doctorate in nursing or a related discipline and who have held a tenure-eligible faculty position at an accredited nursing school for between two and five years.
To learn more about the program, visit www.rwjfnursefacultyscholars.org.