PHOTO: Marlena Fisher

Marlena Fisher

Marlena Fisher, MSN, RN, CNL, CCRN Alumnus is the recipient of the 2021 M. Elizabeth Carnegie Scholarship. She is currently a third year PhD candidate at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, MD. Marlena graduated with her Bachelor’s in Health and Society in 2009 from the University of Rochester. She went on to receive her Bachelor of Science in Nursing in 2010 from the same university.

Marlena began her career in the Pulmonary Step Down Unit at Rochester General Hospital before transitioning to the Medical Intensive Care Unit (MICU) at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C. It is during her tenure in the MICU that she identified that there were few patients who had an advance directive or living will. Furthermore, there appeared to be socioeconomic and racial/ethnic disparities in who completed an advance directive. During this time Marlena also pursued her MSN in clinical nurse leadership at Saint Xavier University that enabled her to be a nursing clinical instructor. This observation and experience as a clinical instructor led to her pursuing a PhD in Nursing to gain foundational knowledge on research and teaching to improve advance care planning for underserved populations and to teach the next generation of nurses. 

Ms. Fisher’s dissertation study entitled “informal Advance Care Planning with Family among Blacks on Dialysis” will gather and integrate quantitative and qualitative data to better understand the communication preferences of their advance care planning wishes with family. This foundational work will help guide culturally appropriate measurement of advance care planning and future intervention development. The proposed dissertation will help improve our understanding of this phenomenon in more depth to provide direction to advance care planning research. Marlena plans on using community-based participatory research methods on future projects so that the interventions and research agenda will be driven by the community’s perspective.

Her long-term career goals are to conduct rigorous research that will impact policy and teach the next generation of nurses. Marlena hopes to do this by becoming nurse faculty at a research-intensive university or by working for a research institute.

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