Winner of the Margaret Gould Tyson Memorial Scholarship, completed her bachelor’s degree in linguistics before traveling throughout Latin America, witnessing the devastating effects of untreated illnesses and learning about the importance of language, culture and communication. She utilized these skills in support of national security through her position with the National Security Agency. However, after September 11, 2001, she decided to turn her public service orientation from national defense to nursing and completed an accelerated master’s degree program in clinical nurse leadership at the University of Maryland, Baltimore. Since graduating in 2006, Martha has worked in high-acuity settings, building her skills and expertise to establish herself as a respected clinician and leader.
Ms. Abshire earned the Daisy Award for Extraordinary Nursing after supporting a newly diagnosed cancer patient and her family as they grappled with the diagnosis. Her interest in end-of-life care grew as she worked on a Beacon Award-winning cardiac intensive care unit, specializing in advanced hear failure management. Additionally she developed a passion for teaching, working as adjunct faculty for both the University of Maryland and Johns Hopkins as a clinical nurse instructor for nursing students. Her desire to develop research skills that would enable her to devote her career to investigating advanced heart failure led her to enroll in the doctoral program at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.
For her dissertation, Martha will conduct a descriptive observational study to characterize physiological and psychological stress response and the association of stress response measures with outcomes among Left Ventricular Assist Device (LVAD) patients. She foresees her study providing important data to guide the development and testing of interventions to improve future outcomes among people living with a LVAD. Ms. Abshire plans to utilize her clinical and research experiences, coupled with her education at Johns Hopkins to achieve her objective of becoming a driving force in improving nursing practice in heart failure management.