PhD in Nursing Science Program

Spotlight on Our Students

Meet our Class of 2013 - 2014

The PhD in Nursing Science Program at Vanderbilt is committed to academic excellence. We prepare our students for intellectually rewarding academic and research careers. Our students engage in a variety of scholarly activities and collaborate with faculty in nursing and other disciplines. Through mentorship and collaboration, our students learn critical skills and gain the knowledge they need for a successful and productive career in nursing.


Jennifer Barut, MSN, RN-BC

Nashville, Tennessee
Track: Clinical Research
Faculty Adviser: Dr. Sheila Ridner

jennifer barut

I am a Nursing Professional Development Specialist in the VUMC Department of Nursing Education and Professional Development and based in the psychiatric hospital. I have always been interested in research and have long felt a desire to pursue a PhD. I knew the time was now after being involved in VUMC’s Evidence Based Practice Fellowship as a mentor. Working with Dr. Nancy Wells and others in that program really inspired me. I chose Vanderbilt because I heard from several graduates that the program is excellent. My research interest is to study factors affecting treatment adherence (specifically resilience, hope, spiritual connectedness) in individuals diagnosed with Schizophrenia.


Teofanes (John) Natavio, MSN, RN

Detroit, Michigan
Track: Clinical Research
Faculty Adviser: Dr. Nancy Wells

john natavio

My legal first name is Teofanes but I like to be called John. I am currently a clinical instructor for Wayne State University College of Nursing. My interest stems from working with cancer-related fatigue patients and their under-management of cancer pain. I chose Vanderbilt because of the nursing program’s reputation for solid academic rigor and research funding. My research interest is pain with a peripheral focus on objective pain assessment of nonverbal patients.


Jennifer (Jenny) Werthman, MS, MBA, RN

Nashville, Tennessee
Track: Health Services Research
Faculty Adviser: Dr. Ann Minnick

jennifer werthman

My first name is Jennifer but I like to be called Jenny. I am a nurse manager at Vanderbilt Medical Center. I am motivated by hospital operations, care delivery and all of the challenges that surround our current healthcare structure. I have two incredible mentors, one in healthcare finance and the other a long time nurse that have consistently challenged me to rethink “how we have always done it” with regard to healthcare delivery. I chose Vanderbilt because it offers exceptional faculty who were performing research in my designated area of interest. I am interested in health policy, nursing workforce and care delivery models.