The University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) College of Nursing received a commitment of $500,000 from Michael Carter, D.N.Sc., D.N.P., and Sarah Carter, M.D., to create the Dr. Elois R. Field Endowed Scholarship for Ph.D. Students.
The scholarship will encourage Ph.D. nursing students, preferably Arkansas residents from underrepresented groups in the nursing profession, to prepare early in their career to conduct research. It will cover tuition and fees for one Ph.D. nursing student. Applicants must demonstrate high interest and potential for being a research scientist.
“We at the College of Nursing are incredibly thankful to the Carters for establishing this scholarship in honor of Dean Field, who fostered the careers of so many nurses and nurse practitioners,” said Patricia Cowan, Ph.D., RN, dean of the College of Nursing. “For our doctoral students to make changes in health care, they need to start their research careers earlier, and this scholarship will allow them to do that.”
“The real goal here is to prepare an emerging scientist who can answer some of the perplexing questions that face us as nurses when we care for patients,” Michael Carter said. “Research has to have the voice of nursing – the way we see the world, the way we see the patient.”
He said that typically to engage in a career of science, successful nursing Ph.D. students finish their degrees, enroll in postdoctoral programs, and then spend several more years building their research.
“Younger people don’t often see the path to do this,” he said. “We want to shine a flashlight on their path and say: we want you to push forward the frontiers of science, and we want you to not be encumbered by debt.”
Dr. Field, for whom the scholarship is named, was dean of the UAMS College of Nursing from 1965 to 1978 and developed the nurse practitioner program and the master’s program. Her vision was to prepare nurses for broad service, including in remote areas that had little access to medical care. She died in 2007.
Carter credits Field as a mentor who encouraged his pursuit of an advanced nursing education. Field was an inspirational professor, he said, who opened her home to him and other nursing students. She treated her students like family, all while expecting the best from each of them.
“Elois really believed that it was our obligation to return to the taxpayers of the state of Arkansas the gift they had allowed us to have, which is an education,” Carter said. “She argued that the role of the nurse was to be with the patient, regardless of setting and time. And she knew that the better the preparation of the nurse, the more they achieve.”