A Senior Researcher, Maura C. Schlairet, EdD, MA, MSN, RN, CNL

Dr. Schlairet holds a Doctorate of Education (Ed.D.) in curriculum and instruction from

Valdosta State University; a Master of Arts (M.A.) in bioethics and health care policy from Loyola University in Chicago; a Master of Science in Nursing (M.S.N.) with an emphasis in adult health nursing and a major in nursing education and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (B.S.N.), both from Valdosta State University; and a diploma in nursing from Mount Carmel School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio. Dr. Schlairet taught at Valdosta State University for 10 years prior to joining the nursing faculty at Mercer University. Her clinical expertise is in adult health and she teaches across the graduate and undergraduate nursing programs. Dr. Schlairet is an AACN Leadership for Academic Nursing Program Fellow and member of Sigma Theta Tau International. She has received honors for both her community service, teaching, and research, including the Valdosta Area Excellence in Nursing Award, Valdosta State University Excellence Award for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning (SoTL), and the Georgia Educational Research Association award. Dr. Schlairet's pedagogic research line focuses on issues in nursing education, including high-fidelity simulation and the flipped classroom model. The emphasis of her disciplinary line is on issues affecting care of older adults, including cancer survivorship and ethics. She has a robust publication record, having published more than 40 articles in professional publications, and has presented her findings throughout the United States. She has presented regionally, nationally, and internationally, and has received over $175,000 in grant funding.

What influenced you to become a nurse scientist? 

How I view and understand the world around me -- this organic, questioning lens through which everything is filtered certainly influenced my professional role. From a young age, the sciences captured and held my interest. Those irksome "what," "how," and "why" questions are always at the forefront of my mind. I do know I process information in terms of thinking about what is known and unknown.

What advice would you give to aspiring nurse scientists?

First, mentors are essential to success: I would encourage aspiring nurse scientists to think broadly about potential mentors. Models to increase research at the bedside are being tested, and these models may allow aspiring nurse scientists to collaborate with those actively engaged in research. We must not allow lack of a "perfect mentor" to hinder our initial steps or to derail our evolving skill set! Whether in an academic or clinical setting, we might all wish for a senior nurse scientist as our mentor. I did not have this opportunity and in this regard my experience was certainly not unique. We know the training ground for nurse scientists has been shrinking.  Nonetheless, as a junior faculty I found a wonderful peer who possessed unique skills (role modeling behaviors) and a few other colleagues with complimentary research skills (i.e., alternate research paradigm). The other advice, of course, is the necessity for nurse scientists to be continuously and significantly engaged within our lines of inquiry to authentically address the IOM's goal to bridge the research and evidence-based practice chasm by 2020.