The inspiration for wanting to be a nurse began for Meghan Reading’18, PhD in her New Jersey high school, where she first read about nurses working in underserved regions of the world, and later, when she observed the nursing care that her grandmother received after triple bypass surgery. “I watched the care that the nurses gave her and so many other patients, and I realized this was something I wanted to do with my life.” Passionate about healthcare access and equity, Reading, who is an executive board member of the Doctoral Students Organization (DSO) and has been working as a nurse in New York City for the past six years, hopes to use her research expertise to help reduce health disparities and improve care for individuals living with chronic disease.
Meghan is a NINR Ruth L. Kirschstein Pre-doctoral Fellow and a Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar.
Why did you choose Columbia Nursing?
Columbia Nursing was the place to pursue my PhD because of its unique connection to the Washington Heights community and to patients at NewYork–Presbyterian. I felt like my research questions would be grounded in real problems experienced by real people, and therefore would have the potential to produce tangible, meaningful improvements in health, which is really important to me.
What did you gain from your education at Columbia Nursing?
The most important thing was confidence in my ability to be a leader in nursing. I have benefited from excellent mentorship, as well as colleagues in both the PhD and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs, who are advancing the nursing profession through their leadership. They have supported and inspired me as I find my own career path.
What are you passionate about, and how has being a student at Columbia Nursing allowed you to follow that passion?
I’m passionate about making health and healthcare equally accessible for all patients, regardless of their education level, income, zip code, race, ethnicity, or immigration status. I’m particularly interested in improving the prevention and management of chronic diseases, which disproportionally affect medically underserved individuals. That is what led me to study informatics: to leverage the rapid advances in data science and technology to improve individual and population health.
What’s the next step in your career?
After I defend my dissertation, I am planning to start a postdoctoral associate position in Health Informatics at Weill Cornell Medical College. In my future career I hope to integrate novel informatics approaches into nursing research to reduce health disparities and improve care for individuals living with chronic disease.
Do you have a favorite memory of your time at Columbia Nursing?
I have great memories of participating in the DSO, which I served as co-president. DSO members work as medical volunteers in the finisher’s tent of the NYC Marathon every year. It is so fun and exciting, and a great way to put our nursing skills to good use.