SSON Launches Post-Doctoral Fellowship Program

The Sinclair School of Nursing (SSON) is now accepting applications for a one-year, distance mediated post-doctoral fellowship. The full-time fellowship will begin summer 2018 and will provide mentoring, research training, educational training, interdisciplinary research experiences, and professional and career development.

Applications are due April 1, 2018.


  • Mentorship from faculty with active programs of research
  • Research and educational training
  • Career development
  • Interdisciplinary research training and experience
  • Stipend, tuition support, research conference travel allowance, laptop and pilot project costs

Research productivity outcomes:

  • Mock review of pilot project
  • Presentation at one University of Missouri event
  • Presentation at one research conference
  • At least two first-authored journal manuscripts
  • Al least one grant application
  • Attendance at at least six lectures/seminars relevant to program of research


  • Completed research-intensive PhD or DNS doctoral degree
  • Substantive content or methodological match with SSON PhD research mentor(s)
  • Able to devote 100% effort to fellowship activities
  • Graduate of a nursing program which prepares graduates for professional licensure
  • U.S. citizen or valid Permanent Resident Card USCIS Form I-551 (NIH Requirement)


Contact Vicki Conn, PhD, RN, FAAN, Potter-Brinton Professor & Associate Dean for Research, 573.882.0231,

You can learn more about the program here.

Goals and Growth

An active duty military officer, father of six and doctoral student in MU’s Sinclair School of Nursing, John Rossi is the walking definition of balance. Not only does he serve as a full-time military nurse, but he’s also an incredibly involved parent, sharing homeschooling duties with his wife, Nancy, for five of their six kids. Although some days can feel more chaotic than others, John has been a hard worker and goal setter for his entire adult life. So when he set his sights on finding a highly ranked graduate nursing program that would fit into his busy life, MU’s SSON climbed to the top of his list.

“Since I’ve started, I’ve seen nothing but excellence,” says John, who’s working toward his doctorate in psych mental health and family practice, with a minor in education. “Every experience has been a fulfilling one so far, and everything that I’ve been involved with at the university has allowed me to advance the next step in achieving my ultimate goal.”

Although John’s journey to the DNP program was a practical progression in hindsight, it’s a long way from where he started nearly two decades ago. John joined the military right out of high school in 2001 and spent nine years as an enlisted member of the U.S. Navy as a helicopter search and rescue swimmer. He enjoyed a successful career and a lot of opportunities, but the repeat deployments were becoming more and more difficult with his growing family at home.

“When it all came down to it, I didn’t want to deploy and be away from my family anymore,” says John, whose kids are now 12, 10, 8, 6, 4 and 1. “So I separated from the military and went back to school at Brigham Young University.”

It was at Brigham Young where John earned his nursing degree — a Bachelor of Science in nursing and gerontology.

“I quickly realized that life isn’t as simple as you think,” John says of deciding what was next after graduation. “I had always wanted to be an officer in the military, though, and now I had the ability. So I applied for commission in the Air Force to be a nurse.”

That was three years ago. Today, John is stationed at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, just east of Dayton, Ohio, where he works full time as a nurse at Wright-Patterson Medical Center.

Back to school

It wasn’t long after starting his first full-time nursing position that John realized he wanted to return to school for his doctorate degree, which probably didn’t come as a surprise to those who know him well. John and Nancy, who have been married for 15 years, homeschool their children, with John teaching science and history and Nancy teaching the rest. Nancy also recently went back to school for her bachelor’s degree.

“Besides the military, we’ve been nothing but education and full steam ahead,” John says. “My ultimate goal is to retire in eight years from the military; then I’d like to have a small practice of my own and have my primary job be working as an educator who teaches at the university level.”  

John says the structure of SSON’s program itself has been a big factor in his ability to balance his various responsibilities — both the expected and unexpected.

“The DNP program is set up in such a way that it allows me to accomplish my goals in the time I need to do it in,” John says. “For me as a military member, my life can change at the drop of a hat, and the school as been nothing but supportive in this endeavor, making sure that if I deploy or something happens, we have a plan for what we need to do and, more importantly, a plan for what I can do when I get back to continue seamlessly with the program.”

He also notes a difference in his approach to nursing since beginning at MU.

“It really has focused my abilities and added emphasis to my previous education by giving me more content to work with,” he says. “I can already see what a better nurse I’ve become because of what I’ve learned through the program.”

‘The first step is starting’

John’s balancing of a full-time workload with family life and school means there are no 18-credit-hour semesters in the cards, and the path to the finish line is slow but steady. Taking a course or two at a time, he’s on track to graduate in May 2022. But it’s not a race — it’s about the end goal.

 “A graduate degree doesn’t happen overnight, but you take it one day at a time,” he says. “Commit to it, and then start the progress. You can figure out the ABCs and XYZs later. The first step is starting.”

Click here for more on the Sinclair School of Nursing’s DNP program, including entry pathways and areas of study

2018 PhD Student Fellowship Applications Open Now

The Sinclair School of Nursing is pleased to announce we are now accepting applications for two PhD fellowship programs.

National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) funded T32 Health Behavior Science Pre-Doctoral Fellowship

The T32 Health Behavior Science Pre-Doctoral Fellowship provides financial support (stipend, tuition/fees, health insurance, travel to conferences), mentoring and research skill development opportunities to goal-directed, full-time nursing PhD students dedicated to pursuing a research career in health behavior science.  Applications are due February 15, 2018.  Applications can be found on the here. For questions, please contact T32 Program Director Vicki Conn.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Future of Nursing Scholars Fellowship

The RWJF Future of Nursing Scholars program provides scholarships, mentoring and leadership development activities, as well as postdoctoral research support to build the capacity of this select group of future nursing leaders. 

Financial benefits of being a Future of Nursing Scholar include: tuition and fees waiver for 3 years; medical insurance for 3 years; research, books, travel, and conference support for 3 years; scholar stipend for 3 years. Additional information can be found here. Applications for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholars positions can be found here.   Applications are due March 1, 2018. For questions, please contact RWJF Future of Nursing Scholars Program Director Deidre Wipke-Tevis.

Best of Both Worlds

For Beth Mettes, happiness is found in the country, with fresh air, plenty of acreage and beloved animals surrounding her. A circulating nurse in the operating room of University Hospital’s Level 1 Trauma Center, she lives on a farm in northeast Missouri with her husband, Tyler; two Labrador retrievers; goats; horses; chickens; and a wild bunch of barn cats.

“Until a recent tragedy, we had a wonderful pet bull named Franklin who thought he was a dog and was always on our Christmas card,” she adds. “I love spending time outdoors, riding or grooming horses, hunting, gardening, water skiing or driving around in my Jeep with the top and doors off.”

Although Beth, who earned her BSN from Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing in Quincy, Illinois, commutes to Columbia for work from her home in Macon, Missouri, she was searching for a graduate nursing program she could complete from home on her days off. And thanks to the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at MU’s Sinclair School of Nursing, she’s found that living and serving the community she loves while pursuing graduate education are in no way mutually exclusive.

“I was impressed with the idea of an online program that I could complete from home,” she says. “When I started looking at options, the prestige of the Mizzou name was appealing. I chose the DNP program because MU no longer offers a master’s program for nurse practitioners, and I decided that if I was going to jump in, I better jump in the deep end and just go all the way.”

Balance and goals

There’s serenity to Beth’s life on the farm that helps balance her nursing job at MU, where her 12-hour shifts begin bright and early at 6:30 a.m.

“I am blessed to be involved in a variety of cases within the operating room,” she says. “Each day is a surprise when I get to work. I might be doing an ear/nose/throat case, orthopedic (bone) case, neurology (brain or spine) case, abdominal case, gynecological case or urology case.”

For Beth, it’s the variety of procedures and various surgeons that keep her job interesting.

“On rare occasions, I am honored to be involved in organ donation cases where I have cried while watching the miracle of life unfold before my eyes,” she says. “The life-saving trauma surgeries we do are always fast-paced and challenging. I recently participated in a living donor kidney transplant. That means we were in one OR receiving the kidney of the patient next door who donated their kidney to a family member. I love getting to be part of cases like these.”

In addition to her full-time nursing job in the operating room, last spring Beth took a second job as a mental health clinical instructor for SSON undergraduate nursing students.

“Before the operating room, I was a charge nurse in the psychiatric ER,” she says. “I missed the patients at the psychiatric hospital and wanted to share with nursing students that mental health nursing isn’t like the movies and is not as scary as it sounds. I hope to recruit a few of them to become mental health nurses.”

Because of the flexibility of the DNP program, Beth’s graduate courses have fit seamlessly into an already-full schedule. And although the days can be long with so much to juggle, Beth says the online capabilities of the program have proved invaluable in allowing her not only to achieve her goals but also to connect with a variety of instructors with diverse backgrounds and specialties.

“The way the program is designed, you can access your class anywhere you have internet access,” Beth says. “Additionally, the online program allows SSON to employ the best of the best when it comes to instructors. … We had a well-known pediatric ER CNS teaching our pediatric class from St. Louis, we have an exceptional FNP who works full time in an urgent care in Jefferson City sharing her immeasurable wisdom about assessment and diagnostic skills, our mental health leaders are well-known mental health nurse practitioners from St. Louis and my personal mentor is an FNP who practices in Kansas City. She is three hours away from me, yet I’ve learned more than I could ever imagine from her.”

Return to rural

With her May 2018 graduation date quickly approaching, Beth is preparing to transition to being a nurse practitioner, providing primary care for patients of all ages. Demand for nurses with her qualifications is high, particularly in rural settings.

“As I get closer to graduation, I am discussing opportunities with a private practice within my community,” she says. “I hope to work with that collaborating physician, but we have discussed the idea of a satellite clinic in a neighboring town. This community has so many people who could benefit from a primary health care provider. I have a special spot in my heart for the farmers of my community. I would be honored to provide them with resources to remain healthy through preventative health and routine management.”

For Beth, serving the needs of her small town is about more than just providing health care — it’s about continuing her family’s long line of service and giving back to the community that raised her. Beth’s mother provided for the family and community by selling crop insurance to local farmers, and her father, a rural electric cooperative’s lead lineman, provides electricity to the community.

“I want to be part of continuing to provide much-needed services to our area by returning to the region as a nurse practitioner,” Beth says. “There is a need for providers to fill a service in rural areas, and because I grew up appreciating a rustic life, I am incredibly interesting in the peacefulness of remaining in the rural environment. There is an unexplainable calmness of sitting by a fire and listening to the crickets and coyotes.

“The quietness and fresh air of the country is calming and peaceful,” she continues. “I would never want to give that up.”

Click here for more on the Sinclair School of Nursing’s DNP program, including entry pathways and areas of study.