PhD in Nursing Science Program

Spotlight on Our Students

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.


Rosaline de Lisser

San Francisco, CA
Track: Health Services Research
Faculty Adviser: Dr. Sheila Ridner

Rosalind de LisserMy name is Rosalind de Lisser and I am a Family and Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner. I graduated with a master’s degree from the University of Virginia in 2002 and am excited to be back in school at Vanderbilt. I am an Associate Clinical Professor at the University of California San Francisco and Director of the Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner program in the School of Nursing. I enjoy teaching and leadership and am active in interprofessional education and clinical practice design. As a clinician I specialize in trauma informed integrated primary and behavioral health care and currently work in the Women’s HIV Clinic. 

I joined the Health Services PhD program at Vanderbilt in Fall 2018 and am interested in the phenomenon of resilience in health care professionals. More specifically I intend to examine the relationship between team based care and provider resilience. My clinical and teaching experience has informed my decision to focus on teams and provider resilience as I see innovations in care delivery and workforce health as vital to the future of health and wellness.


Kathryn Hansen

Nashville, TN
Track: Health Services Research
Faculty Adviser: Dr. Sheila Ridner

Kathryn Hansen

I am a graduate of the Adult Nurse Practitioner program at VUSN. I have worked at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at Vanderbilt since 2010 as a nurse practitioner and director of clinical operations. I provide integrative health consultations for patients with complex pain and trauma. Prior to nursing, I earned my associate’s degree from the Boulder College of Massage Therapy in Colorado and practiced therapeutic massage for eight years. I enjoy working with people who have chronic pain issues including headaches, soft tissue injuries and functional limitations. I am currently studying in the health services research track at VUSN and am interested in integrative health and implementation of mind-body therapies for patients with chronic pain.


Christa Hartch, RN, MSN

Greenwich, CT
Track: Health Services Research
Faculty Adviser: Dr. Deonni Stolldorf

Christa Hartch

A Connecticut native for the past 19 years, I am honored and excited to be a part of the Health Services Research track at the Vanderbilt School of Nursing. For the past seven years, I was a professor at the Norwalk Community College School of Nursing and Allied Health, where I taught in both the classroom and the clinical setting on medicine and surgery units at Greenwich Hospital, one of six hospitals in Connecticut achieving magnet recognition. I received my BSN from the University of Virginia School of Nursing and worked as a Registered Nurse at the University of Virginia Health Sciences Center in Gynecology/Oncology. I also worked at The New York and Presbyterian Hospital, Cornell Campus, in Hematology/Oncology and Bone Marrow Transplant, as well as Greenwich Hospital Home Care and Hospice. I received my MSN from the Yale University School of Nursing and became a Family Nurse Practitioner. I look forward to contributing to the body of nursing knowledge related to safety and quality in healthcare settings with a focus on improving medication reconciliation practices for both nurses and the patients we serve.


Christine Kimpel

Antioch, TN
Track: Health Services Research
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Cathy Maxwell 

Christine Kimpel

My name is Christine Cleary Kimpel and I am a Registered Nurse from Canton, Ohio. I am currently employed by the GI Lab Assessment and Scheduling office at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee where I reside in nearby Antioch. I have maintained an interest in research throughout my nursing career. Recently, I have conducted a QI project, investigating the use of teach-back with the GI endoscopy patient population, and I am currently leading an investigation to identify themes prevalent in patient’s perceptions of experiencing an inadequate bowel preparation for colonoscopy. My previous clinical experience includes Burn and Palliative Care. I was educated at Kent State University for both my BSN and MA in Philosophy, where I had the pleasure to study Medical Ethics. I am interested in the role of the clinical, direct care nurse in providing early palliative care education to patients with chronic illnesses and meeting relevant health literacy needs.


Hannah Nolte

Nashville, TN
Track: Clinical Research
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Melanie Lutenbacher

Hannah Nolte

My name is Hannah Nolte and I am a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner in Nashville, TN. I am originally from Connecticut, but Vanderbilt brought me to Nashville where I have received both my Bachelor's in Psychology and Master's in Nursing. Vanderbilt has given me the opportunity to engage in neuroscience research as an undergraduate student through the Medical Center and then in Nursing School where I had the privilege to design and implement health-related interventions at a substance abuse treatment center for women alongside my other group members and faculty adviser Dr. Cole Powers. This experience allowed me to connect my academic interest in research with my passion for yoga and mindfulness. I decided to pursue a doctoral degree to develop a research program focusing on mind-body interventions for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Before becoming a nurse, I was an Emergency Medical Technician in Connecticut, but found I was most interested in building therapeutic relationships with patients and considering new ways to understand health, illness, and treatment. At every step of my Vanderbilt career I have been encouraged by my professors and peers to learn from my experiences, gain new knowledge, and push my critical thinking abilities to new levels. 


Piera Robson

New York, NY
Track: Clinical Research
Faculty Advisor: Dr. Terrah Akard

Piera Robson

I am a graduate of Lafayette College (BA-Biology), Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing (BSN), and The City University of New York, Hunter-Bellevue School of Nursing (MSN- Adult Nurse Practitioner).  I am employed at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) in New York City since 1996 and currently work as a Clinical Nurse Specialist in Evidence-based Practice, specializing in the clinical care of the radiology patient.  I am also credentialed as an Adult Nurse Practitioner in Interventional Radiology at MSK.  I am certified as an Advanced Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist (AOCNS®), an Oncology Certified Nurse (OCN®), an ANCC certified adult nurse practitioner (ANP-BC), and a Certified Radiology Nurse (CRN®). 

I served on the board of directors for the Association for Radiologic and Imaging Nurses (ARIN) as Director of Leadership between 2014 and 2017.  Currently I co-chair the ARIN Research and Clinical Practice Committee.  I am a member of Oncology Nursing Society and Sigma Theta Tau.

My research interests include the clinical care of the radiology patient and quality of life after interventional radiology procedures.  I have completed two IRB studies as principal investigator exploring quality of life after drainage procedures in radiology.  My most recently funded IRB-approved study, Health-Related Quality of Life in Patients Undergoing Percutaneous Biliary Drainage for Malignant Biliary Obstruction, opened for accrual in September 2018. 

My phenomenon of interest is “Patient Rescue following Iatrogenic Complications in Radiology”.

Bethany Sanders

Hermitage, TN
Track: Clinical Research
Faculty Adviser: Dr. Jeremy Neal 

Bethany SandersMy name is Bethany Domzal Sanders. After graduating with a BA in French from Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, I was accepted into the midwifery program at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. After completing my Master's at VUSN in 2006 I began my career as a Certified Nurse Midwife in rural Georgia. I returned to Nashville in 2013 to join the faculty midwifery practice at Vanderbilt, where my passion for supporting physiologic birth has continued to grow. I feel very fortunate to be pursuing my PhD studies at Vanderbilt with guidance and mentorship from faculty who have provided opportunities for me to grow academically and professionally. My area of interest is disparities in birth outcomes within the African American population, particularly the increased risk of Cesarean birth.