Carolina M. Gustafson, a current fourth year PhD student in nursing at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University, is the 2021-2022 recipient of the NEF Margaret Gould Tyson Scholarship. Carolina completed her initial undergraduate degree in science, technology, and society studies at Vassar College in 2015. Her senior thesis focused on the gendered history of nursing with a specific focus on the role of nurses in the American hospice movement. Following her graduation from Vassar, Carolina enrolled at the Yale School of Nursing where she completed a Master of Science (MSN) to become an adult/gerontological acute care nurse practitioner in 2018. Throughout her training as a nurse and nurse practitioner Carolina remained passionate about palliative care and increasing involvement of palliative care practices and philosophies in routine care for patients in acute care settings, particularly for patients outside of oncology settings, who often receive less and later palliative care. One population that is particularly unlikely to receive palliative care is solid organ transplant recipients, which is where Carolina has chosen to focus her current research.
While working as an RN with children with severe and life limiting conditions, Carolina became passionate about the needs of children with chronic illness and particularly many of the ethical issues that arise for adolescents and young adults with palliative care needs. For this reason Carolina is also currently pursuing a doctoral certificate in bioethics through the Emory Center for Ethics to further enrich her dissertation research focused on palliative care for young adult solid organ transplant recipients.
While at Emory Carolina has been lucky to have benefited from the fantastic academic and clinical resources offered at Emory University, including the Emory Lung Transplant Center, the only lung transplant center in Georgia, and the Emory Center for Data Science and the Emory Center for Nursing Excellence in Palliative Care. This has allowed her to pursue and explore passions in areas including data science, transplantation science, and palliative care. These opportunities have helped to shape Carolina’s academic focus and enrich her research.
Long term Carolina hopes to continue her research centered on the palliative care needs of young adults living with chronic illness and maintain scholarship in ethics and nursing research. Carolina currently aspires to remain in academia following her PhD, pursuing a post-doc and tenure track position, teaching and doing research.
Throughout her time at Emory, Carolina has been active as a member of the PhD program, within the school of nursing, and on the Emory campus at large. She has been involved with the Emory PhD Nursing Student Association as both president and vice president, Laney Graduate Student Council (through the Laney Graduate School of Emory University) as secretary, and the Graduate Student Government Association of Emory University as the vice president for communication. These opportunities have enriched Carolina’s PhD experience and allowed her to work with graduate and professional students across Emory’s various graduate schools and programs.
NEF’s only purpose is to provide nursing scholarship assistance to make graduate level nursing education possible. NEF is the largest, single, private, professionally endorsed source of funds for advanced nursing study with over one hundred years of service to and for professional nursing.
NEF’s Board of Directors is comprised of leaders from nursing, education, technology, and business communities. Members donate their time and talent to the advancement of the nursing profession. NEF operates with exceptionally low overhead. NEF employs only one individual who serves in several capacities. NEF is a non-profit organization with 501(c) status; thus, your contributions are fully tax-deductible.