PhD student becomes first interdisciplinary student in Caring Science programKatherine Phillips | College of Nursing Nov 19, 2018
When Rachel Johnson began her career as a social worker, she wanted to help others just as a social worker helped her as a young adult. As a LCSW and social work researcher at the VA hospital on the Anschutz Medical Campus and adjunct faculty at Metropolitan State University, Johnson enrolled in the PhD in Caring Science program at the University of Colorado College of Nursing because of her research interest in social work’s benefit on people’s health.
As the first interdisciplinary student in the program, Johnson was inspired by the readings of Jean Watson, former Dean and creator of the program at CU Nursing.
“I chose the caring science track because it allows students to learn about fostering healing and relationships, and connect and communicate with each other,” said Johnson.
With her knowledge in caring science, Johnson is working on a dissertation that focuses on those living with chronic conditions. As a social worker, it is has given her insight into helping others, and working with nurses has helped her better understand how patients with chronic illness are treated.
“Nurses and social workers work on the same teams clinically and in research“, said Johnson. “It’s an inter-professional relationship in the workplace.”
When asked about her experience at CU Nursing, Johnson spoke highly of the program, explaining that there is a feeling of a sense of belonging even as an interdisciplinary student.
“The program allows students to expand their knowledge and understanding and we learn from our classmates,” said Johnson.
Johnson also expressed that being a PhD student has been easier due to having four years of research experience prior to enrolling in the program.
“The PhD program has nurtured me and helped me grow. It’s about supporting everyone together to grow into PhD researchers together, and it’s a powerful environment.”