by Sheryl Marlar

Kelly Dyar, Ed.D, RN,CCN,CN, is a clinical assistant professor in the Tanner Health System School of Nursing (THSSON) at the University of West Georgia. As a student at UWG, she just made her mark by adding Ed.D. to her list of credentials.

Dr. Kelly Dyar, left, and Dr. Susan Welch, right
Dr. Kelly Dyar, left, and Dr. Susan Welch, right

As such, Dyar was chosen to represent UWG’s THSSON in presenting her research and findings for her dissertation at the recent International Sigma Theta Tau Biennial Convention.

Sigma Theta Tau is the honors society for nursing. They invite schools to send their “rising stars of research” to the conference. A large number of nurses from other institutions were in attendance to hear the research.

“As a student, UWG helped me improve my critical thinking to evaluate research and develop a love for learning, specifically related to teaching strategies that I can implement in my daily practice as a nurse educator,” Dyar said. “This has helped me become more confident of my abilities to help students discover their own love for learning.”

Dyar’s research was titled Phenomenological Exploration of Male Combat Veterans in Baccalaureate Nursing Programs.

Currently, only 9 percent of the nursing workforce is male. Dyar’s research looks at recruiting from veterans to increase this number, specifically from veterans who were in combat.

“Veterans are increasing on campuses, but they still make up only a small component of all students,” Dyar explained. “When we look at those in nursing, that number gets smaller. In men, it gets even smaller. In men who were in combat, even smaller, which can have a negative effect on educational success.”

Dyar’s research looks at it from a worst-case scenario.

“If you are a male veteran who’s been in combat, what is it like to be a student in a nursing program?” Dyar added. “And why does this matter?”

As a mother to an active duty military person, Dyar most likely has a better understanding of veterans’ objectives.

“When they go on any mission, they have an objective,” she continued. “Soldiers would see getting into nursing school and making the right grades as objectives, where non-veterans would call those goals.”

Dyar also found that the stress of nursing school isn’t a big deal to many of them.

“Their military training allows them to stay focused and to not be distracted by things like stress and grades,” she said.

Men make up 85 percent of veterans. Therefore, recruiting them could enlarge the number of males in the nursing field.

“And, men who go into nursing tend to get baccalaureates faster and more often,” Dyar said. “It is the goal of the Institute of Medicine [now known as the National Academy of Medicine] that by the year 2020, 80 percent of nurses will have baccalaureate degrees.”

Since Dyar had already completed and defended her dissertation, she was allowed to share her findings in addition to her research.

“As a faculty member, I feel very engaged in using what I have learned as a doctoral student to improve student learning,” Dyar concluded. “My goal has been to become a doctorally prepared nurse educator, so both the Ed.D. program as well as being a faculty member have helped me achieve this quality education. Throughout the program, I was supported by caring faculty members as a student and as their colleague with much encouragement to continue and persevere.”

Posted on November 20, 2017