PHOTO: Catherine Stephens

Catherine Stephens

Catherine Stephens is the honored recipient of the Charles Hamlin Scholarship. Ms. Stephens obtained her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) in 2008 and her Master of Science in Nursing Administration from Texas Tech University in 2017. She started her career at the Children's Hospital of Alabama in the Special Care Unit (SCU) and continued practicing pediatric nursing at Midland Memorial Hospital and Cook Children's until 2019. Currently, Ms. Stephens is a full-time Ph.D. student at the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, Texas.

Due to the vulnerability of the patient population, she serves as a pediatric nurse, Ms. Stephens has developed a profound dedication to ensuring patient safety. With her management education, she developed an interest in nurse staffing and experienced the challenges of understaffing and floating to unfamiliar patient care areas. Understanding that workplace factors can escalate occupational stress, leading to burnout among nursing professionals, Ms. Stephens' research focuses on enhancing the work environment and promoting patient safety. She aspires to influence nurse staffing policies to foster a better work environment and mitigate nursing burnout. In her research, she examines a range of floating approaches and nurse-sensitive indicators to assess the benefits of optimal nurse staffing levels while also identifying potential patient safety risks and addressing concerns associated with floating practices.

Ms. Stephens was inducted into Sigma Thea Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and Phi Kappa Phi National Honor Society in 2017 and is a National League for Nursing (NLN) member. At UTMB, Ms. Stephens presented a poster at the 2022 Texas Educator's Academies Collaborative for Health Professions-Southeast (TEACH-S) educational symposium. She won the 3rd place award for her poster "Interruptions in Simulation-Based Learning Experiences with Undergraduate Nursing Students: An Integrative Review." In the Summer of 2022, she became a fellow at The Dominican Republic Violence Prevention Unit, contributing to the development of a manuscript titled "A Secondary Analysis of National-Level Data from the Dominican Republic to Identify Associations Between Distinct Forms of Partner Violence and Other Public Health Priorities," which is currently under review for publication. Ms. Stephens was awarded The John P. McGovern Chair in Nursing Award in Fall 2022. In Spring 2023, Ms. Stephens worked with a fellow student on two systemic reviews, one of which will be presented in July 2023 at Sigma Theta Tau International's 34th International Nursing Research Congress in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The poster's title is "The Race-Specific Variations in the Association Between Physical Activity and Telomere Length in Minority Women." She is also a collaborating author on The Wound Healing Society's 2023 Guidelines for Pressure Ulcers.

In addition to research, Ms. Stephens has been a nurse preceptor for undergraduate students and new graduate nurses. With the nursing educator shortage, Ms. Stephens is dedicated to pursuing undergraduate and graduate education positions after graduation. She believes that accessible online programs, such as those provided by Texas Tech and UTMB, are essential to increasing doctorate-prepared nurses. Moreover, Ms. Stephens emphasizes the critical role of scholarships, like those granted by the NEF, in alleviating the financial barriers associated with higher education. She expresses deep gratitude towards the NEF and Dr. Charles Hamlin, recognizing their financial contributions as critical to successfully completing her academic endeavors and attaining her degree.

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