Dean Patricia Davidson, PhD, MEd, RN, FAAN, recently received the Australian Museum’s 2016 Eureka Prize as Outstanding Mentor of Young Researchers. The award is one of Australia’s most prestigious scientific awards, and Davidson is the first nurse to receive this honor.
“But the truth is that this award is really about my mentors and their mentors before, who passed down the uncommon wisdom that shaping the next generation is not just a duty but a privilege.”
— Dean Patricia Davidson, PhD, MEd, RN, FAAN
“I’m absolutely thrilled,” says Davidson of the honor. “But the truth is that this award is really about my mentors and their mentors before, who passed down the uncommon wisdom that shaping the next generation is not just a duty but a privilege. For in nurturing these bright people—especially nurses—you are touching, improving, or even saving lives that might not begin until you are dead 100 years.”
An expert in cardiac health for women and vulnerable populations, Davidson has
mentored more than 35 doctoral and postdoctoral researchers, among others. She is counsel general for the nonprofit International Council on Women’s Health Issues, part-time faculty at the University of Technology Sydney, and was ranked nursing’s most influential dean in 2015 by Mometrix.
“Mentoring has given me the opportunity to see others grow, and it’s a source of immense satisfaction to give back to my profession and help guide the next generation of nurses,” Davidson explains. “Creating nurse leaders is a part of my commitment to global equity in health care. In order to change the trajectory of health across all populations, I want to be able to show nurses what it means to be a leader and then help them discover what it will take to get there.”
Eureka Awards showcase excellence in research and innovation, leadership, school science, and science communication. With roots in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM), nursing is gaining traction as a STEM field and was recognized by the museum for its tie to the scientific community.
As dean of the No. 1 accredited graduate nursing school program in rankings by U.S. News & World Report, Davidson finds mentorship deeply connected with her leadership and vision for JHSON and the nursing profession as a whole. With emphasis on local to global nursing education, research, and practice, she says nurses have a great privilege and responsibility to help students discover the tools, resources, and foothold they need to be able to make a difference.
“There’s no more rewarding profession on earth than nursing,” Davidson says. “But nursing takes a little getting used to. That’s why it’s so essential to begin the mentoring process on campus. And to start it or increase it right now.”