The paths that led Carly Eklund and Sheri Webster to the University of South Carolina’s doctoral programs in nursing have been distinctly different, but the two are now tied together as the first two Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars at USC.
Eklund of Greensboro, N.C., and Webster of Spartanburg, S.C., are the first students in the state and at USC to be inducted into the Jonas Scholars program. The 4-year-old program supports educational development of new nursing faculty and stimulates models for joint faculty appointments between schools of nursing and clinical affiliates.
“We are excited and proud to have Sheri and Carly represent the USC College of Nursing in this prestigious leadership development program,” says Peggy Hewlett, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, dean of USC College of Nursing. We know the Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar Program will provide them with valuable resources to launch a successful career in academic nursing.”
As the daughter of a family physician who also is a medical school professor, Eklund was raised with an understanding of both the value of primary care and the importance of lifelong education. She enrolled in the USC’s Darla Moore School of Business with the goal of becoming a hospital administrator.
After an internship at the Moses Cone Healthcare System in Greensboro, Eklund realized that her career goals had shifted from hospital administration to nursing. She decided to complete her bachelor of science in business administration then pursue a higher degree in nursing. She expects to graduate from the DNP program in 2015.
“I wanted to become a nurse who would have a personal investment in every patient and yet maintain the emotional stability needed to cope with life’s tragedies,” Eklund said.
Webster, with the skills and knowledge acquired through 32 years of experience as a nurse, decided to return to school to pursue her doctoral degree so she could educate others.
“My desire to be a role model and a mentor to those entering the nursing profession greatly influenced my decision to begin a new career path in nursing education and to pursue my doctoral degree,” Webster said. “The Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars Program understands the challenges facing nursing education during this time of rapid change in health care. It is truly an honor to have this opportunity to join other colleagues on the leading edge of reform.”
Webster received her bachelor of science in nursing from Clemson University and her master of science in nursing from Georgia Baptist College of Nursing of Mercer University. Webster expects to graduate from USC’s Ph.D. program in 2014.
Webster has worked as a pediatric emergency care nurse at the Grady Health System in Atlanta. She also worked as a certified specialist in poison information and assistant director of the Georgia Poison Center. Webster is a lecturer at Clemson’s School of Nursing and serves as the lead teacher and clinical coordinator for the leadership, management and senior practicum course.
Created in 2008, the Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program prepares doctoral candidates to help their students meet the needs of future patients. The program will more than double in size this year with the addition of 200 new scholars, spreading the program’s reach across all 50 states.