A Wilkes University professor is one of five individuals named a Jonas Scholar by the National League for Nursing. Loretta Bilder of West Pittston, Pa., assistant professor of the Nesbitt College of Pharmacy and Nursing, was selected for this program, which honors individual commitment to leadership development and its alignment with research priorities.
The National League for Nursing is an organization charged with a number of issues surrounding nursing education, including reform through technology, advancing the science of nursing education through research and evaluation, and developing diversity and capacity of the nursing workforce.
Bilder was nominated for the honor by her academic advisor and dissertation chair at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, where she is completing her doctorate in nursing. The research Bilder is completing for her doctorate illustrates the challenges in nursing education and the link between empowerment and leadership in the nursing industry. The Jonas Scholars program is designed to ensure quality education programs are developed for the changing health-care industry and contribute to a stronger nursing workforce. This is accomplished in part through the mentorship of previous scholar recipients who discuss their expertise during monthly conferences.
Bilder will develop best practices for assisting nursing faculty to transition to leadership positions. Jonas Scholars also receive a stipend to attend the league’s annual summit, which was held in Washington, D.C . in September and focused on health-care policy issues. Through knowledge gained by attending the conference and educational sessions, Bilder expects to better identify the essential characteristics for effective nursing leaders.
“The depth of knowledge she will gain from the Jonas Scholars program will help develop an already outstanding nursing faculty member as a nationally-known educator and researcher,” said Mary Ann Merrigan, associate dean and chair of the school of nursing. “This helps fill a void in our nursing faculty and identifies Wilkes with other leading academic institutions,” Merrigan says.
As a Jonas Scholar, Bilder also plans to network with nurse educators from all across the country, learning from the shared experiences of other like-minded health care professionals. Her excitement is contagious, she says. “I love what I do clinically, and I want to expose students to this energy.”
Bilder comes from a family of nursing professionals. Her mother, aunt and grandmother were all nurses, which served as an internal motivator while growing up. Bilder received a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Marywood University in 1997 and a master of science degree in nursing from the University of Cincinnati in 2008. She became an obstetric nurse practitioner before joining Wilkes in 2008 as a staff nursing associate. Bilder was named an assistant professor in 2010.