Meet the Class of 2012 - 2013

Kristin M. Hittle, MSN, RN, CCRN
Fort Worth, TX
Track: Health Services Research Track
Faculty Adviser: Dr. Ann Minnick


My name is Kristin Hittle and I live in Fort Worth, Texas. I am a pediatric nurse practitioner (acute care) and work in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at Children's Medical Center Dallas.


I knew since my undergraduate nursing program that I wanted to earn a PhD degree. I was attending a pediatric nurse practitioner conference when I heard a speaker talk about his role in the implementation, through policy, of a state wide pediatric disaster plan.  He was able to use his clinical expertise and impact the way healthcare was delivered to children he would never personally care for.  Listening to his presentation made me want to learn more, to develop the tools to advance my ability to create knowledge that would benefit children I would never care for and would be credible in a policy area.  To do that, I knew it was time to go back to school for a PhD in nursing science.  


I was very interested in the health services research track available at Vanderbilt.  The faculty are experts in their field and they exhibited not only a passion for their area of interest but for mentoring new researchers.  I knew they would support my learning and growth.  In addition, the synchronous online course format was a good fit for my learning style and allowed me to continue to practice in a clinical environment without needing to change jobs and start school at the same time.


I am interested in policy and pediatrics. One area I think I have a particular interest is in the response to disasters and the care delivered to pediatrics in those situations.


James Scott Johnson, MSN, RN, ACNP
Orlando, FL
Track: Clinical Research Track
Faculty Adviser(s): Drs. Lorraine Mion and Shelagh Mulvaney


My name is Scott Johnson and I am originally from Rogersville, Alabama. I currently reside and practice in the Orlando, Florida, area focusing in pulmonary, critical care and sleep medicine. After graduating from Vanderbilt ten years ago as an acute care nurse practitioner, I began working in both the outpatient and inpatient settings caring for individuals across a wide spectrum of diseases and illnesses.  Through practice, my research interest has grown out of recognizing the progressive decline in functionality of the aging population which is especially rapid in those individuals with chronic lung disease.  I am interested in investigating techniques in pulmonary rehabilitation for symptom management of dyspnea and to promote well-being in the elderly population. I return to Vanderbilt for the opportunity to work with leading nurse researchers who foster an environment of mentorship in a resource rich academic setting.


Micah A. Skeen, MS, RN, PNP
Columbus, OH
Track: Clinical Research Track
Faculty Adviser(s): Drs. Mary Jo Gilmer and Terrah Foster


I currently live in Columbus Ohio and I am a pediatric bone marrow transplant practitioner. I have worked in the field of pediatric oncology and bone marrow transplant for over ten years. Because of this, I have been given the unique opportunity to be involved in research on several levels.  I am the nurse representative on our Institutional Review Board, have been part of many national collaborative research studies, serve as the study nurse on several national studies and have been given the opportunity to conduct my own research and present at the national level.  My extensive involvement in research only led me to the next logical step, my PhD. I hope to continue my career in research and improve the outcomes of pediatric transplant patients.

I chose Vanderbilt for several reasons. It is ranked 15th in the country in nursing and has an excellent reputation for research.  The diverse internationally known faculty to help guide me in my doctoral studies and the opportunity for synchronous distance learning all influenced my decision to select Vanderbilt. I have several areas of interest. My main interest is communication and adherence in the pediatric bone marrow transplant practitioner. In my current role, I am studying the impact of early re-vaccination in the pediatric bone marrow transplant population.