Nursing PhD

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Student Highlights


Travis Chabo

Chabo, TravisChabo has served as director of clinical education for the nurse anesthesia concentration in ECU's Master of Science in nursing program since 2014. Previous positions have included working as a staff nurse anesthetist at Vidant Medical Center and Coshocton Anesthesia Associates. His motivation to add a PhD to his resume comes from a desire to improve the quality of patient outcomes and practice standards, and to gain the ability to educate future nurse anesthetists.

Chabo chose ECU for his PhD because of the abundant resources to perform clinical research. "I am interested in studying patients with co-morbidities and associated changes with anesthesia, specifically obstructive sleep apnea patients and interventions to reduce perioperative risks," he explains. His initial investigations have been aimed at finding effective measuring instruments that monitor changes in ventilation patterns to improve clinical outcomes.

Of ECU's PhD program, Chabo says that experienced faculty who provide support and feedback make all the difference. "The smaller class sizes and face-to-face interaction make the program appealing to the research novice," he says.

The Wyoming native earned his BSN from Marian College and his MSN from ECU. He is the father of five daughters and enjoys outdoor activities such as hunting and fishing.

Kristy Jo Cook

Cook, Kristy JoA terminal degree has been a dream of Cook's for as long as she can remember. Her motivation comes from the desire to inspire her three daughters (all under the age of 10) to reach for their goals in life no matter their starting place. For Cook, that point was as a care partner in a nursing home. Today she is a full-time staff nurse in the Special Care Nursery at Greenville's Vidant Medical Center, where she frequently pulls charge and precepts new graduates. In the past she has served as an adjunct clinical instructor for a local community college, and she currently is a teaching assistant for the CON.

While she's helped collect data in her unit to be used for research, pursuing her PhD represents a new endeavor - Cook is currently in her first year of the program. She is interested in helping women with addiction make educated decisions regarding breastfeeding their infants because of its potential to impact the hospital length of stay for their infant. "I work with infants going through withdrawal on a regular basis and I want to do anything possible to help ease their symptoms, as well as improve bonding with their mothers," she says.

Cook, who is from Fountain, North Carolina, earned her BSN from ECU in 2009. She says ECU felt like a natural choice for her PhD. "It is convenient in location and the only university that offered the BSN to PhD program in the way that would work for me," she says. She describes one early highlight in the program as the class in which students presented potential research questions to a faculty panel. "The sense of relief and accomplishment that I felt when there was dialogue about possibilities with the topic almost as a colleague rather than judgement… really built my confidence in my knowledge and abilities, as well as confirmed my knowledge that this is the right place for me to be," she says.

Sharona Johnson

Johnson, SharonaWhat drew Johnson to ECU's PhD program in nursing was a desire to better understand her patient population. "Persons on hemodialysis fall into a marginalized society. I can better advocate for my patient population by utilizing research to advance and enhance their hemodialysis treatments and influence their quality of life," says, Johnson, who works as a nurse practitioner in ECU's nephrology clinic.

Her research as a PhD student focuses on persons receiving hemodialysis treatments and stress/coping regarding intradialytic events. Opportunities to share her scientific work have included presenting a research poster at the National Kidney Foundation's clinical meetings.

She says she didn't expect to change as much as she has since entering the program, which she chose for its cost-effectiveness and location. "My world view will never be the same and the lens I view the world through is reflective of my PhD experience," she says. "It's a journey to self-discovery."

Johnson, originally from Benton, Louisiana, currently resides in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and works as Director of Advanced Clinical Practice at Vidant Medical Center. She earned a diploma in nursing from Rapid City Regional Hospital in South Dakota, her BSN from South Dakota State University and her MSN from ECU.

Jennifer Jones-Locklear

Jones-Locklear, JenniferJones-Locklear is studying how attitudes of health professional students change toward health policy after participation in an international cultural immersion (study abroad) experience. "This particular area of research interests me because it has a cultural aspect as well as a health policy aspect. I am interested in how experiences change students and their practice areas," she says.

The PhD program has afforded her the opportunity to not only conduct research, but to participate in a national conference and present her work as a poster. "It allowed me to interact with other researchers and professionals interested in diverse research areas," Jones-Locklear says.

The resident of Red Springs, North Carolina, works full-time as a resource manager for Scotland Health Care System in Laurinburg, North Carolina, and serves as an adjunct professor for UNC-Pembroke. In the past she has worked as an instructor at Bladen and Robeson community colleges, where she taught nursing and business classes. Her nursing experience has included a focus on critical care with an emphasis on mental health and emergency nursing. She holds associate, bachelor and master degrees in nursing.