MSN-to-PhD student earns American Cancer Society Scholarship for Cancer Nursing Research

By Laura Elena Lopez Ramos

MSN-to-PhD student earns American Cancer Society Scholarship for Cancer Nursing Research

By Laura Elena Lopez Ramos
Kristin Levoy’s research supports caregivers to prepare for the loss of a loved one

Third-year Nursing Ph.D. candidate, Kristin Levoy, was awarded the Doctoral Degree Scholarship in Cancer Nursing from the American Cancer Society. Kristin’s research explores how preparation for end-of-life decision-making not only affects patients, but also affects caregivers in the bereavement process.   

As a registered nurse dedicated to the field of oncology, Kristin has witnessed first-hand the grief of caregivers of cancer patients.  “During my time in clinical practice, I often heard caregivers express regret following the loss of their loved one. Many of their statements consistently reflected a general lack of preparation for their loved one’s death,” she explained.

After over 10 years of clinical practice working with families affected by cancer, Kristin was inspired to pursue her Ph.D. in Nursing as she recalled, “I realized nursing research would be a profound channel through which I could impact cancer patients and their caregivers, beyond what I was capable of in clinical practice.” Her dissertation examines patient and caregiver preparation for the end-of-life, focusing on the ways health care providers can impact preparation. “This knowledge has the potential to improve cancer patients’ and their caregivers’ experience of the end-of-life and contribute to improved caregiver bereavement,” said Kristin.

Kristin’s dissertation titled, Preparation for the End-of-life: Impact of Advance Care Planning, will include a concept analysis of end-of-life decision-making, a systematic review of advance care planning interventions, as well as a secondary data analysis project that will examine the role of advance care planning engagement on the quality of care received at the end-of-life and the quality of the cancer patient’s death.  

Aside from the generous American Cancer Society Scholarship Kristin was awarded, she is also a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar, a program that develops PhD-prepared nurse scientists and researchers through scholarships, mentoring, and leadership development activities.

Kristin is advised by Dr. Victoria B. Mitrani, Dr. Brian E. McCabe, and Dr. Joseph P. DeSantis at the University of Miami School of Nursing and Health Studies, as well as Dr. Harleah Buck at the University of South Florida College of Nursing.