Student Spotlight: Karline Wilson-Mitchell RN, RM, CNM, MSN

At the heart of Frontier Nursing University is a talented and diverse community of students, alumni, faculty, staff, Couriers and preceptors. Spotlight blogs feature members of our FNU community that are focused on the mission of educating nurse-midwives and nurse practitioners to deliver quality health care to underserved and rural populations.


FNU student Karline Wilson-Mitchell was selected as the ACNM Foundation's Carrington-Hsia-Nieves Doctoral Scholarship for Midwives of Color. Karline is currently enrolled in FNU’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program.


Q - Why did you decide to pursue your Doctor of Nursing Practice degree?


A - Doctoral education was important for me to strengthen research, health policy, teaching and leadership skills. As a maternity care provider who is very much concerned about social justice issues and advocacy for vulnerable populations, I wanted to be better equipped to provide meaningful, equitable quality improvement interventions and also to be a credible resource for my midwifery students. Doctoral preparation provides all of these and more. I also sought a culturally safe environment where intellectual inquiry and creation of knowledge is inspired by our teachers and the curriculum. Actually, it was our {ACNM} president, Ginger Breedlove, who really challenged me to embrace my fears and consider doctoral education in 2012.


Q - Describe the focus of your doctoral project. Why is this focus important to you or what type of impact would you like to make on healthcare in general with your doctoral studies?


A -  My project is titled: Midwives' and Perinatal Nurses' Perceptions of Barriers to Quality Maternity Care for Jamaican Adolescents. My previous research program over the past 8 years led me in this direction, to look at global health issues. From the new immigrant and refugee clients I cared for, and particularly those who had experienced family violence of some kind, I was led to go to the origins of some of these adolescent newcomer mothers. That led me to the Caribbean and specifically to Jamaica to look at the psychosocial stressors that affected adolescent mothers in low or middle-income countries. Jamaica has made tremendous strides toward decreasing adolescent pregnancy rates. However, Jamaican adolescent mothers continue to be a vulnerable population with tremendous psychosocial and health needs.  


Jamaican midwives must be equipped and empowered to provide evidence-based, respectful care according to the World Health Organization definitions of "Respectful care". My project was part of a larger needs assessment. I examined the midwives' perspectives and experiences.  I wanted to know what helps or hinders them from providing respectful care. I learned that and more. They provided valuable insights into what they believe Jamaican adolescent mothers desire and need to become resilient and healthy. My findings can inform adolescent care both globally and here in North America.


Q - How did you find out/know to apply to the ACNM Foundation's Carrington-Hsia-Nieves Doctoral Scholarship for Midwives of Color?


A - I am so grateful for the ACNM Midwives of Color Committee (MOCC), particularly the past Chairperson, Maria Valentin-Welch CNM, DNP. As an alumnus and faculty member at FNU, she encouraged and inspired me to apply for the scholarship.  


Q - What does it mean to you to be the first recipient of this award?


A - I am humbled and amazed to be the first recipient. I am so grateful to my elder and sister midwives Betty Carrington, Lily Hsia, and Nivia Nieves-Fisch who set the groundwork that made my future in midwifery possible. I gratefully thank them, the ACNM Foundation, MOCC, and our President Ginger Breedlove who continues to inspire me as she advocates for midwifery and health policy on Capitol Hill. I'm also grateful for all of my fellow students and faculty at FNU.  These friendships and partnerships have been golden. My chair Dr. Amy Marowitz, as well as Dr. Susan Yount and Dr. Diane John who have been strategic in my DNP project development.

Dr. Wilson-Mitchell:
Your hard work and devotion did not go unrecognized. You set a high standard that rubbed off on your cohorts! Congratulations - well deserved!
Dr. Schmidt
Congratulations! You are an inspiration to all nurses. It is obvious from the support, encouragement, and mentorship you received that you are more than deserving of the special honor of being the first recipient of the ACMN MOCC award. Kudos!!!