Grand Valley professor establishes scholarship to support doctoral nursing candidates

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GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Grand Valley's Kirkhof College of Nursing welcomed its first doctoral students in August, and a caring supporter is helping new students take advantage of the program.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice will produce degree candidates who have a blend of clinical, organizational, finance and leadership skills to enhance care delivery that will impact health outcomes. DNP candidates will likely seek practice leadership roles in a variety of settings, including quality initiatives, health care organizations, clinical programs, primary care and education.

Jean Martin, associate professor of nursing, not only helped get the program off the ground, but also created a scholarship for doctoral candidates who are interested in child and adolescent health issues. Martin will formally sign the scholarship papers on Tuesday, September 22, at a university reception. Media note: Photos will be available on Wednesday, September 23, morning, contact Michele Coffill at coffillm@gvsu.edu.

President Thomas J. Haas said Martin's generosity not only supports students but it supports Grand Valley's position as a leader in nursing education in West Michigan. Grand Valley is the only university in the region to offer a DNP program. Haas added that a scholarship gift is a tremendous return on the investment made.

“Higher education is our community's best lever for a better future,” Haas said. “Through the 5,000 students involved in our programs for health sciences, we are already the state's largest provider of health care professionals. This new investment in the Doctor of Nursing Program supports a key professional role that can have a great impact in transforming health care.”

The Martin scholarship provides support during an especially rigorous course of study that takes two years for post-master's students to complete, and four or five years for post-bachelor's degree students.

Jaclynn Lubbers is the first recipient of the Martin scholarship and a member of the DNP's pioneer class. She said she is grateful for Martin's support, both financially and as a mentor for her nursing career. 

As an undergraduate at Hope College, Lubbers met Martin through a clinical rotation and became inspired to switch her focus to pediatric nursing. Lubbers earned a master's degree in nursing from Grand Valley in 2000 and taught as a clinical faculty member. Returning to Grand Valley for her doctoral degree was the natural choice, she said.

“I chose Grand Valley because of the tremendous faculty,” Lubbers said. “I knew they would put together a top quality program that would help me take the next step professionally.”

Martin, a native of Holland, Michigan, earned a bachelor's degree in nursing from the University of Michigan, master's degree in maternal-child nursing from Boston University, and doctoral degree from Rush University in Chicago. In 2002, the Michigan Chapter of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners named her Pediatric Nurse Practitioner of the Year. She returned to West Michigan in 1977, and began working at Grand Valley in 1995.

“I was impressed not only by how much Grand Valley has grown in size, but also in quality. It's a place I really wanted to invest in, and investing in the future of nursing care is very important to me,” Martin said.

About Grand Valley:
Grand Valley State University attracts more than 24,400 students with high-quality programs and state-of-the-art facilities. Grand Valley is a comprehensive public university serving students from all 83 Michigan counties and dozens of other states and foreign countries. Grand Valley offers 77 undergraduate and 28 graduate degree programs from campuses in Allendale, Grand Rapids and Holland, and from regional centers in Muskegon and Traverse City. The university is dedicated to individual student achievement, going beyond the traditional classroom experience, with research opportunities and business partnerships.