Posted on Feb 26, 2022

Black History Month: Dr. Dorothie Durosier Mertilus, student spotlight

Black History Month: Dr. Dorothie Durosier Mertilus, student spotlight

USF Health College of Nursing student Dorothie Durosier Mertilus, DNP, found her inspiration to become a nurse scientist while listening to a lecture. After hearing Dr. Constance Visovsky and Dr. Susan McMillan passionately share their cancer research, Mertilus felt called to pursue her PhD in Nursing Science with a concentration in Oncology.

In 2013, Mertilus, a recent graduate with her bachelor’s degree in nursing, enrolled into the PhD program and started working as a registered nurse.

“While working, I had the opportunity to put evidence-based approaches into practice,” Mertilus explained. “As I did, new objectives and goals became evident to me.”

Mertilus realized she wanted to take research and put it into practice, so she switched to the college’s BS-DNP program. This transition led Mertilus to take the Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice course, where she met Dr. Susan Kennel. At this point, Mertilus recalls her research interests “resurged.”

She revisited McMillion and additional faculty members, like Dr. John Clochesy, in hopes of finding clarity for the next steps in her journey.

“After conversing with him, I decided to reapply to the PhD program ,in order to achieve my goal of becoming a nurse scientist,” she said. “The faculty members I mentioned above played an integral role in my desire to pursue a PhD at USF.”

Mertilus re-enrolled and officially started the PhD program in August 2018 and is currently a PhD candidate, with intent to graduate in December 2022. On top of school, Mertilus works as a nurse practitioner at Moffitt Cancer Center and an adjunct faculty member at USF.

Her message to peers and students pursuing a similar career, “Determination, patience, and perseverance are all essential to achieve your personal and professional goals.”

This February, Mertilus celebrates the strength, bravery and endeavors of many black men and women throughout history. She hopes others will do the same.

Story by Cassidy Delamarter