When Laura Porter Kimble helped launch Emory’s emergency
nurse practitioner program last year, she saw it as a natural way
to bring the University’s diverse resources to bear on a
problem facing the country’s increasingly understaffed emergency
“I’m very interested in vulnerable populations: those with low literacy,
minority groups,” said Kimble, research associate professor in the Nell
Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. “A lot of people who are vulnerable
use emergency rooms for their health care needs, so they need different disciplines
to assist them.”
The modest program’s early success (five students are enrolled this first
year, and a sixth will be added in the fall), along with her scholarship in cardiology,
earned Kimble the 2004 University Scholar/Teacher Award, which she received from
President Jim Wagner during the main Commencement ceremony, May 10.
Kimble credits many of her colleagues in nursing and medicine with getting the
collaborative emergency nurse practitioner program off the ground with a grant
of some $564,000 from the federal Health Resources and Services Administration.
The program’s goal is to teach nursing students how they can provide a
rounded health care experience to emergency-room patients—going beyond
clinical care to education and preventive health care. Often the vulnerable populations
to which Kimble referred get very little in the way of health education, she
said, and nurse practitioners can fill a gap other emergency personnel are too
busy to fill themselves.
“Nurses have to know a lot about research and science, but they also have
to know how to care for people: how to make them laugh, how to teach them to
care for a baby. When you’re around people who are sick 24 hours a day,
you have to learn to do that,” Kimble said. “It’s a scholarship
of caring. And this program can help provide a marriage of those two, between
knowledge of science and caring for people.”
Kimble came to Emory in 1993 after a year on the nursing faculty at the University
of Rochester in New York, where she earned her Ph.D.
An adjunct assistant professor of cardiology in the School of Medicine, Kimble’s
scholarship focuses on chronic angina and differences in symptom presentation
between men and women. She has authored or coauthored more than 20 articles and
book chapters, and last year Kimble earned a Research Article of the Year honor
from the American Heart Association’s Council on Cardiovascular Nursing.
In addition to coordinating the emergency nurse practitioner program, Kimble
is associate director of the multidisciplinary Center for Symptoms, Symptom Interactions
and Health Outcomes.
“The whole nursing school was appreciative of the [Scholar/Teacher] award,” Kimble
said, sharing the credit with everyone who contributes to the program. “When
you have such a great health sciences center, such a great school of medicine,
it’s natural to put together programs like this.
“And,” she added, “I think nursing’s coming into its
own at Emory, as well.”