VUSN Scholarly Nurse - 2016


This latest installment of Scholarly Nurse highlights Vanderbilt University School of Nursing’s faculty research and scholarly activities during 2016. In addition to showcasing faculty, this includes publications and presentations by our DNP and PhD students as well as significant appointments and editorships.

Our faculty and doctoral students are active in producing, sharing and contributing to nursing knowledge. These activities emphasize Vanderbilt University School of Nursing’s commitment to scholarly work. We believe that science and evidence are the foundation of everything we do and that they are the engine that keeps the advancement of nursing science running.

One such faculty researcher is Associate Professor Terrah Foster Akard, PhD, RN, FAAN. Her current research is in partnership with the Palliative Care Research Cooperative (PRCC), and supported by a $1.8 million grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) under award number R01NR015353.

Faculty Spotlight

Terrah Akard, PhD, RN, CPNP
Even before she began working directly with children with life-threatening conditions, Terrah Foster Akard was moved by their stories.

In one, a 7-year-old boy stuffed pictures and notes into egg-shaped hosiery containers and hid them around his house like Easter eggs. His family found them after he died. In another, a 3-year-old girl with a terminal illness itemized her belongings, determining who would receive her possessions when she was no longer there.

Something was remarkable about these children facing serious illness, thought Akard, associate professor of Nursing. They had something that healthy children of similar ages didn’t — a unique maturity, an outlook on life. Hearing these stories inspired her to devote her career to help children tell their stories, something called legacy making. She would study the benefits of various storytelling techniques, both on children and their parents, with the goal of quantifying their effects and refining the methods that brought the best results. (From Using the Internet for Good, Vanderbilt Nurse magazine, spring 2015).