Posted on Apr 17, 2018

College of Nursing Doctoral Students Awarded Oncology Nursing Society Foundation Scholarships

College of Nursing Doctoral Students Awarded Oncology Nursing Society Foundation Scholarships

A USF College of Nursing doctoral student committed to studying depression in cancer patients recently received a national scholarship designed to help oncology nurse scientists further their research.

The Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Foundation, a national nonprofit charitable organization that distributes scholarships, fellowships, and grants to oncology nurses to help advance their careers, awarded College of Nursing PhD student Jennifer Miller a $5,000 research doctoral scholarship for the 2018-2019 school year.

Fellow College of Nursing PhD student Tina Mason also received a $5,000 ONS Foundation research scholarship award.

Each year, ONS Foundation grants are given to oncology nurse researchers who not only have performed scholarly work in the field, but also have work experience in cancer nursing.

Miller, who works as a radiation oncology nurse at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, said the scholarship will assist with next year’s tuition costs.

“It’s a big help, because I work full-time and I go to school full-time,” Miller said. “I’ve been applying for any funding I can to try and support my education.”

Miller said she wants to focus on research that examines depression among oncology patients. The topic piqued her interest when she learned that depression is widely under diagnosed and under treated among cancer patients, which can lead to negative outcomes in a patient’s treatment and life.

“I see these patients every day, and I know that a lot of them are struggling,” she said. “I know it’s an area that we can improve, and nurses can have a big impact.”

In a letter recommending Miller for the scholarship, USF College of Nursing Associate Professor Carmen Rodriguez, PhD, ARNP-BC, AACN, described Miller as reliable and highly motivated.

“As early as the first semester in the doctoral program, she has demonstrated the ability to refine ideas, collaborate as a team member with other students, and benefit from mentorship support appropriately. All of those characteristics attest to qualities that we search for in doctoral students,” Rodriguez said.

Rodriquez noted that Miller has more than three years of specialized experience working with radiation oncology patients and that clinical expertise resulted in the development of patient education materials addressing the topic of depression and cancer.

College of Nursing Professor Cecile Lengacher, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAPOS, who serves as Miller’s faculty advisor, praised Miller’s commitment to helping cancer patients improve their quality of life through research.

“Her long-term interests involve advancing nursing science in the areas of oncology symptom science while contributing to the advancement and understanding of improving patient outcomes and quality of life among cancer survivors,” Lengacher wrote.

Mason’s research has been on complicated grief associated with caregiving.

“I am excited to be focusing my dissertation on complicated grief and grateful for the support from the ONS Foundation to support my education,” she said. 


Story by Elizabeth L. Brown, USF College of Nursing