The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing in cooperation with the Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation have launched an innovative program to produce nursing scholars faster.

With the average age of nurses graduating with a PhD reaching 45 years old, this program seeks to shorten the time starting with the entry to nursing school until earning a doctorate to about seven years.

Known as the Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation, it aims to prepare young scholars as premier researchers and integrate them into a broad community of researchers at Penn Nursing, throughout the University, and in the world.

The goal is for these students to become innovative nurse leaders who will have a significant impact on nursing, healthcare, and the health of society.” – ¬†Terry Richmond PhD

The first students began the program this fall. The scholars are academically talented traditional and second degree BSN students planning careers as nurse leaders and researchers who can commit to a seamless BSN-to-PhD pathway without the traditional breaks for clinical practice.

The program’s diverse and demanding educational experience incorporates interdisciplinary education with research career development and guidance starting at the undergraduate level. Students work closely with faculty mentors and collaborate with established research teams in Penn Nursing’s research centers.

Penn graduates of the Hillman Scholars Program in Nursing Innovation are expected to integrate nursing knowledge within broad social, economic, and political contexts to influence scientific research and healthcare policy and practice, said Dr. Richmond.

The University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing is one of the premier research institutions in nursing, producing new knowledge in geriatrics, pediatrics, oncology, quality-of-life choices, and other areas. Penn Nursing researchers consistently receive more research funding from the National Institutes of Health than any other private nursing school.

The Rita and Alex Hillman Foundation is a New York-based philanthropy dedicated to improving the lives of patients and their families through nurse-led innovation.