Name: Kim Bissett

Field of Study: Nursing

Status: Ph.D. student  

Graduation Year: 2020

Hometown: Baldwin, Md.

Why did you choose Catholic University? The Nursing Ph.D. program at Catholic has a fantastic reputation but it was the online program that convinced me to choose Catholic. As a wife and mother who also works full time, I needed a flexible schedule.

Organizations and activities: Since I am an online student I haven't been involved in many activities. During my first year at Catholic I participated in the Way of Peace Fellowship which brought together students from all over the campus for weekly meetings that included meditation, spiritual texts for discussion, and open conversations. It was a beautiful experience and I was happy to drive two hours down and back every Friday to participate. We didn't get to meet the Dalai Lama as was planned but it was still a memorable experience.

"My Ph.D. cohort built great friendships and bonded over thousands of miles.'
– Kim Bissett

Favorite course: I liked Quantitative Research and Advanced Statistics. I probably would not have said that at the time though. They were challenging but provided me an opportunity to work with big data sets and get comfortable with statistical analysis software. I found I really enjoyed analyzing data.

What are your goals? I would love to build more research into my current role- perhaps looking at outcomes or instrument development. I am also eager to continue to examine self-compassion in nurses and help identify ways to improve nurse well being . I am also not writing off teaching- I would love to share my knowledge and life experience with the next generations of nurses.

Is there a faculty or staff member who has made a significant impact on you? Dr. Joyce Johnson has had the biggest impact on me. As my dissertation chair, she has been extremely supportive and understanding while also nudging me when I needed it. She is a wonderful advocate and a great source of encouragement. I am forever grateful for her expertise and counsel.

What makes Catholic University unique? Even though I am a distance learner I feel a great sense of community at Catholic. My Ph.D. cohort built great friendships and bonded over thousands of miles. I'm not sure you can get that sense of community from other online programs. Additionally, the infusion of the Catholic faith into university life — the call for prayers, the special Masses, the consistent messages of faith and community are unmatched.

Awards/recognition: I presented my dissertation research at the virtual University Research Day this year. My study on Self-Compassion, Health Promotion, Compassion Fatigue and Compassion Satisfaction in ICU nurses won the award for Best Oral Presentation for graduate research. It was an honor to be recognized among so many talented individuals and stellar projects.

Proudest accomplishment: Each milestone I achieve has special meaning to me. My grandmother was also a nurse and was working toward a Ph.D. when she passed away. I like the idea of following in her footsteps and being the first person in my family with a terminal degree. I started the Ph.D. program the same year my son started Kindergarten. I want to set an example for him that learning is a life-long process. I hope he sees that with a little effort and some sacrifice anything is possible. I am proud to have gotten this far but will be even prouder when I can finally defend my dissertation.

What Catholic University means to you: The Way of Peace Fellowship truly informed my view of Catholic. As an online student I had no exposure to campus life or students from other majors or degree programs. I saw such warmth and compassion from those students. It made me sorry that I didn't attend Catholic as an undergrad but proud that I could say I was at least a part of it.