Doctoral student selected as Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar

Eric O'Connor
Eric O'Connor

June 13, 2014 - Eric O'Connor, a second-year student in the doctor of nursing practice program in the School of Nursing, has been selected for the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare's 2014-16 Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program.

As one of 250 Jonas Scholars across the country, O'Connor will receive $10,000, which will be matched by Quinnipiac, over a two-year period to support his doctoral studies.

"I am thrilled and honored to be named a Jonas Scholar," O'Connor said. "The Jonas Center plays a crucial role in improving health care for our veterans as well as providing resources to doctorate level nurses. I am looking forward to working with the Jonas Center and Quinnipiac University on these important endeavors." 

The Quinnipiac University Jonas Scholar joins nearly 600 future nurse educators and leaders at 110 schools supported by Jonas Center programs, the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program and Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program (JVHP). These scholarships support nurses pursuing PhDs and DNPs, the terminal degrees in the field.

"We are pleased to be the recipient of this prestigious award," said Jean Lange, founding dean of the School of Nursing. "The scholarship will support Eric O'Connor, a doctoral student who is committed to improving the care of our nation's veterans and complements our School of Nursing's pledge to 'join forces' with other schools across the country to prepare graduates with the capacity to become leaders in delivering the best care to those who have served."

The School of Nursing also will support O'Connor's attendance at a national networking meeting of Jonas Scholars. Leadership skill-building will be a focus of the meeting.  

The Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program was created in 2008 to support the educational development of nursing doctoral students, helping to increase the number of advanced practice nurses and health care leaders as well as nursing school faculty.

The Jonas Center, the leading philanthropic funder for nursing, is addressing a critical need, evidenced by troubling data from the American Association of Colleges of Nurses showing that 2013 saw the lowest enrollment increase in professional registered nurse programs in the past five years. This is due primarily to a shortage in qualified faculty.

"The call for more nurses - and thus the faculty to prepare them - is massive. Health care in America has never been more complex, yet tens of thousands of would-be nurses are turned away from the profession each year," said Donald Jonas, co-founder of the Jonas Center. "We've stepped up the pace and expanded our programs to meet this need."