Tabor’s Tona Leiker honored for work in nursing education

Tona L. Leiker, dean of the School of Adult & Graduate Studies and chair of the Nursing Department at Tabor College Wichita, has been recognized as one of the nation?s top scholars in nursing education.

A doctoral candidate at the University of Kansas School of Nursing, Leiker is one of four doctoral nursing students in the nation to win the inaugural $2,500 Dissertation Scholarship for Nursing Education Scholars from the National League of Nursing.

?It is a great honor to receive this award,? said Leiker, who received her scholarship in September.

Leiker is pursuing a doctorate in nursing with a health professions education certificate and emphasis in organizational leadership.

Her dissertation will focus on the nation?s growing shortage of nurses by examining the defining characteristics of high-performing academic nursing programs.

?This research is especially relevant in light of the growing nursing faculty shortage, lack of nurses with doctorates, low nursing faculty salaries, and lack of federal and state funding to support nursing education research,? Leiker said.

?It?s critical that we are able to articulate the defining characteristics of high performing academic nursing programs as we strive to meet demands of the nursing workforce shortage of the 21st century.?

The nursing program at Tabor College Wichita is for registered nurses wishing to earn a bachelor?s degree in their chosen field.

Leiker became an instructor of nursing in the program in 2001. She was named interim director of nurse education in 2002 and became chair of the nursing department in 2003.

Leiker became dean of the newly formed School for Adult and Graduate Studies June 1 of this year.

Under Leiker?s leadership, the nursing program is receiving national attention related to its unique format, engaging dialogue, and integration of complexity science principles throughout the curriculum.

Tabor?s nursing program also is unique in scope because it addresses the basic elements of Christian faith within the context of modern and professional nursing practices.

Leiker has a bachelor of science degree in nursing and a master of nursing as a psychiatric mental health clinical nurse specialist and in nursing education from Wichita State University.

She plans to complete her doctorate in philosophy of nursing in 2008.

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