Keiko Iwama came to Adelphi's Ph.D. in Nursing program to experience a more independent nursing environment.

It was the program’s core research curriculum and the student:faculty ratio that attracted Keiko Iwama to Adelphi. Originally from Japan, where she earned degrees in social work and nursing, Iwama came to the United States to experience a more independent nursing environment.

“Being a nurse in the United States is totally different compared to Japan,” said Iwama, currently a registered nurse within a cardiac surgery intensive care unit. Whereas nurses in Japan can only discuss patient care and treatment with a doctor, U.S. nurses can be key decision makers. “It’s more nursing independent work and requires more clinical judgment and reasoning skills,” she said.

“As a practicing critical care R.N., Iwama possesses a wealth of experience regarding the complexities of nursing practice,” said Maryann Forbes, Ph.D. ’99, who plays a crucial role in shaping Iwama’s judgment as her mentor. “An inquisitive mind, high level of motivation, excellent writing skills and good time management will continue to be assets for Iwama as she moves into the next phase of conducting her research.”

Independence in nursing care is central to the mission behind Iwama’s dissertation topic: to improve preceptor work for a nursing graduate’s transition from the academic world to nursing practice. “There is a huge gap between nursing education at school and nursing practice,” Iwama said, noting again the decision-making power U.S. nurses have in hospitals. “Experienced preceptors are the key to facilitating critical thinking, clinical reasoning and good clinical judgment in new graduate nurses. Although expert nurses can become preceptors, they are not necessarily expert preceptors.”

Following graduation, Iwama hopes to use her stateside nursing experience, her Ph.D. in Nursing and her completed dissertation to inspire change in Japan.

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