Jaimee Lee Watts, a doctoral nursing student at UNC Greensboro, was named one of 13 “Students Who Rocked Public Health” in 2019 by the Journal of Public Health Management and Practice.

The peer-reviewed journal recognized Watts for her collaboration with the North Carolina Division of Public Health on an extensive project to address issues involving the retention and recruitment of public health nurses in the state’s local health departments. Watts conducted a statewide survey of frontline nurses to collect data on job satisfaction and retention.

“Public health nurses are at the crux of improving the health and wellbeing of our state on multiple levels,” Watts said. “The clinical services they provide the individual, the programs and policies they develop that affect our communities, and the efforts they make to be informative and influential leaders involved in the nation’s conversation on social determinants of our health are just a few of the things public health nurses do every day. Our goal with this study is to improve and expand the public health nursing workforce in North Carolina, so they may continue to do this great and important work on our behalf.”

Watts is scheduled to complete her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree with a concentration in Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner from the UNCG School of Nursing in 2020. She has garnered statewide and national recognition for her groundbreaking research on public health nurses.

Watts was accepted into the Future Clinician Leaders College for 2020. As part of the leadership training program, offered through the North Carolina Medical Society and Kanof Institute for Physician Leadership, she will work with students from other medical fields to address a major health policy issue in North Carolina. Her leadership project will focus on the state’s increased rates of sexually transmitted diseases and identifying innovative methods for prevention and early detection and treatment in emergency departments, urgent cares, and community health clinics.

Watts was also featured in the “Highlighting Public Health Nursing Researchers Campaign” from the Public Health Nursing Section of the American Public Health Association. 

“Jaimee’s national recognition as a student at the forefront of public health practice is well-deserved,” said Dr. Mollie Aleshire, DNP program director and clinical associate professor in the UNCG School of Nursing. “In her future role as a primary care nurse practitioner, Jaimee’s inquisitive mind, passion, and persistence will no doubt positively influence the care of countless individuals in the healthcare arena via quality improvement, practice, policy change, and leadership.”

 

Story by Alex Abrams, School of Nursing