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Dissertation Defense from a Distance

For the first time since Vanderbilt University established a Graduate School, a PhD candidate held a public dissertation defense from a distance and in real time. Vanderbilt University School of Nursing’s Lt. Col. Linda Fisher, an active duty member of the Army Nurse Corps, was at her post in Washington State using desktop video conferencing technology.

“This milestone demonstrates our school’s continued innovative leadership in its PhD in Nursing Science Program which is offered in a non-traditional format,” said Ann Minnick, PhD, RN, senior associate dean for Research.

In 2007, VUSN began offering its PhD program using a variety of formats such as online, video or teleconferencing coupled with required blocks of time on campus.

“This is one approach to dealing with the nation’s nursing shortage because it allows an opportunity for individuals to pursue an advanced nursing career without relocating to Nashville,” said Linda Norman, DSN, RN, senior associate dean for Academics.

Minnick and Norman, who also serve as co-directors of VUSN’s PhD program, anticipate more students will be interested in doing public dissertations defense from a distance.

“VUSN is a national leader in developing and using new technologies in nursing education and I am very proud of our nursing informatics center which provides a dynamic and stimulating learning environment for our students and faculty,” said Betsy Weiner, PhD, RN-BC, senior associate dean for Informatics.

Fisher, MHA, RN, serves in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps as a Nurse Methods Analyst at the Center for Nursing Science and Clinical Inquiry at the Madigan Army Medical Center.  Her dissertation was entitled, “The influence of organizational and personal factors on U.S. Army Nurse Corps officers’ intent to leave the Army.”



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