Frontier Nursing University (FNU) is proud to announce four Post-Master’s DNP students as Jonas Scholars for the 2016-2018 Cohort. FNU first forged a partnership with the Jonas Center for Nursing and Veterans Healthcare in 2015, with the goal to identify and invest in high-potential doctoral nursing Scholars. The Scholars program supports educational development of new nursing faculty and stimulates models for joint faculty appointments between schools of nursing and clinical affiliates. The grants, made through institutional awards, also prepare doctoral candidates to address the needs of future patients—from dealing with co-morbidities and chronic illnesses to providing culturally competent care.
Congratulations to the following Scholars who graduated in 2017:
Jonas Scholars 2016-2018 Cohort
Cassie Belzer, DNP
Class 24, graduated Dec. 2017 – Montana – Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar – $20,000
The Jonas Foundation Nurse Leader Scholarship made it possible for Cassie Belzer to attend Frontier Nursing University for her DNP. For her Jonas project, she focused on a nonprofit in her community dedicated to women and families struggling with perinatal mood disorders. She changed the policies in her clinical setting to increase the rate of perinatal mood disorder screening, establish frequent follow-up plans for women and families that are struggling, and ensure referral systems were in place for those needing a higher level of mental health care. Dr. Belzer and her team increased the recognition of perinatal mood disorders from 8% to 26% and will continue working to make that number higher.
“[I am] forever grateful for the foresight of Mr. and Mrs. Jonas that led them to promoting nurses, so the future of health care can be in the hands of practitioners that strive for the best for their patients.” – Cassie Belzer, Jonas Scholar
Ana Verzone, DNP, FNP-BC, CNM
Class 24 – Alaska – Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar – $20,000
Ana Verzone participated as a Jonas Nurse Leader scholar and based her Jonas project out of the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal. Dr. Verzone helped to improve effectiveness of communication during emergency transports from rural outreach clinics to the emergency departments of tertiary care hospitals with a standardized hand-off communication protocol. Dr. Verzone’s doctoral project resulted in the establishment of a standardized hand-off communication protocol for emergency transports that included advanced notification with a modified SBAR report (which increased from less than 5% to almost 80%) and written documentation to accompany the patient (which increased from less than 15% to 87%). Use of the standardized hand-off protocol will continue, and will also be implemented in training for future ambulance staff and in association with Stanford University’s work with training EMTs for Nepal Ambulance Services.
“I was inspired by the important changes that we – as a group of Jonas scholars – were making in the world, and it should not go without saying that I also felt immense pride in being a nurse. This experience has helped me envision future projects that will continue to have an important impact in my local community in Alaska as well as internationally.” – Ana Verzone, Jonas Scholar
Erica Burkhart, DNP, APRN-FNP
Class 23, graduated Sept. 2017- Maine – Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar – $20,000
Erica Burkhart, a Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar, designed and implemented a quality improvement Jonas project at the University of New England’s Pett’s health center in Biddeford, Maine. Dr. Burkhart’s focus was improving care for students with depression using the screening, brief intervention and referral to treatment (SBIRT) model. Prior to the project, only about 7% of students were being screened for depression at the health center. After implementing the project, screening increased to 80%. The new model allows the health center to identify students struggling with mental health issues and to provide comprehensive treatment, preventing negative consequences of untreated depression including poor academic achievement, social isolation, drug and alcohol use, and suicide. Dr. Burkhart continues her work at a busy primary care clinic, incorporating depression screening into every visit.
“[I am] grateful for the opportunity to pursue [my] doctorate thanks to the support of the Jonas Family.” – Erica Burkhart, Jonas Scholar
Lana Bernat, DNP, CNM, CPHQ
Class 22, graduated Sep. 2017 – Hawaii – DNP Jonas Veterans Scholar – $10,000
Lana Bernat participated as a Jonas Veterans Scholar. For her Jonas project, Lana researched CenteringPregnancy group prenatal care, which brings women due at the same time out of exam rooms and into a comfortable group setting, in conjunction with military families. She also interviewed the founder of CenteringPregnancy about her extensive work with group prenatal care. Based on her extensive research, Dr. Bernat’s doctoral project improved model fidelity of a CenteringPregnancy program in a military facility. Dr. Bernat engaged both patients and the facility’s healthcare professionals, which in turn increased CenteringPregnancy program enrollment, increased group size, and improved teamwork perception.
“Words of thanks seem very inadequate when you reflect on the incredible contributions from the Jonas family to our nursing profession,” Bernat says. “Think about the number of patients and communities touched by the Jonas family. I am one small person, but as members of this amazing Jonas community, we are making a difference everywhere. I am humbled, honored, and grateful to have a place in the family. I feel a sense of responsibility to carry on their commitment for excellence by continuing my work in quality and, in the future, nursing education.”
Congratulations to our 2016-2018 cohort!