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Office of News & Public Affairs

Connell School of Nursing Awarded Grant from Jonas Center to Fund Doctoral Nursing Students

CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (2-14-14) – Boston College Connell School of Nursing doctoral student Eileen F. Searle has been named a Jonas Scholar, thanks to a grant from the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare, matched by the Connell School’s own funds, to underwrite a scholarship for a doctoral nursing student. As a recipient of the Jonas Center grant, the Connell School of Nursing is part of a national effort to stem the nursing faculty shortage and prepare future nurses.

Searle joins nearly 600 future nurse educators and leaders at 110 schools supported by Jonas Center programs, the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars Program and Jonas Veterans Healthcare Program. These scholarships support nurses pursuing PhDs and DNPs, the terminal degrees in the field.

Eileen F. Searle

Searle is a primary care nurse practitioner, specializing in adult-gerontology. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from Boston College. She also graduated from Boston University’s School of Public Health with a master of public health degree. She works as a clinical nurse at Mt. Auburn Hospital in Cambridge. Her research interests are in critical care surge capacity and providing comprehensive nursing care in austere conditions.

“Eileen is an innovative scholar and a rising star,” said CSON Associate Dean for Graduate Programs Kathy Hutchinson. “Eileen’s area of research, pandemic flu preparedness, is a priority area for interdisciplinary research in the U.S. and internationally. She is raising key questions that no one else is asking and is often the only nursing voice at the table.”

“The mission of the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare ‘to improve healthcare through nursing,’ is actualized through the support of doctoral students, like me, as we journey to become nursing leaders and faculty members,” said Searle. “Being selected as a Jonas Scholar is an honor given my many deserving peers. I am incredibly grateful for the generosity and support shown by Barbara and Donald Jonas.”

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 Nursing showing that 2013 saw the lowest enrollment increase in professional RN 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. Healthcare 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.”

--Kathleen Sullivan, Office of News & Public Affairs,