Doctoral nursing student earns scholarship to advance oncology profession

September 14, 2023

Ford examines a baby in an incubator with a nurse looking on

Alexandra Ford ’19, MSN ’23, DNP ’25, has dedicated the past five years to helping others as a hematology and oncology nurse, and now as a Jonas-Flynn Scholarship recipient, she can advance her impact further.

The Jonas-Flynn Scholarship, created by Jonas Philanthropies and the Flynn Foundation, has granted $380,000 to 14 recipients, including Ford, allowing her to pursue her post-master’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree at Quinnipiac.

“The Jonas-Flynn Scholarship grants full tuition to doctoral students dedicated to advancing the oncology profession,” said Ford. “With this support, I will be able to build fundamental research skills, broaden my clinical expertise and further embark on the journey to make strides toward a better understanding of oncologic diagnoses.”

Back in 2018, Ford was also chosen as the Flynn Fellow through the Susan D. Flynn Fellowship, making this yet another accomplishment for her.

“I have always had a passion for helping others and putting a smile on the people around me and making their lives a little bit easier,” said Ford.

Becoming a nurse has always been personal for Ford, as she watched her great-grandmother go through the healthcare system and was inspired by the nurses who provided for her loved one.

“I have a very close relationship with my family, and I had the opportunity to be raised by my great-grandmother while my parents were at work,” said Ford. “During my junior year of college, she was diagnosed with dementia. As I supported her through several hospital admissions, doctors’ appointments and conflicting care, I saw a very difficult side of healthcare. On a more positive side, I found those nurses that I felt safe leaving her in the hands of when I went home. From that time on, I wanted to be like those nurses. I wanted to be a nurse that others felt safe and comfortable with.”

Ford believes that she can achieve this as Quinnipiac’s nursing program stands out from others due to the countless resources and networking opportunities that the school provides, she said.

“Quinnipiac has great relationships with several local hospitals in terms of clinical placements and internship opportunities,” said Ford. “The simulation suites are also extremely helpful in practicing realistic nursing emergencies and day-to-day encounters.”

With supportive faculty members, professors and administrators, all are invested in their students’ futures, she said, encouraging her to accept a position at Connecticut Children’s after graduating with her Bachelor of Science in nursing in 2019. While still working in the role, Ford strives to give back to the children who have influenced her perspective, she added.

“When I graduated with my bachelor’s, I had the mindset of hoping to change the lives of my patients,” said Ford. “Five years later, I can honestly say my oncology patients have changed my life forever.”

The resilience, determination and strength evident in each one of the children she cares for has inspired her to continue serving in the oncology world by going back to Quinnipiac to get her doctorate, the Jonas-Flynn Scholarship making this all possible.

“The Jonas-Flynn Scholarship has helped me make my dreams and aspirations a reality, hopefully creating a chain reaction of positive, quality patient care,” said Ford. “The numerous opportunities and doors that the Jonas-Flynn Foundation has opened for me have had a major impact on my clinical and academic success.”

Ford hopes to progress her clinical practice and instill skills in other aspiring oncology practitioners, once she finishes her doctorate.

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