First Graduate Shepherds 100th Defense 

Posted on May 09, 2023

Dr.Doss on graduation day

Meet two milestone students of UNC Greensboro’s School of Nursing (SON) Ph.D. program

Dr. Carrie Doss was the 100th student to successfully defend her dissertation. Serving on her dissertation committee was graduate number one, Dr. Daria Kring. 

How it started

In 2008, Dr. Daria Kring made UNCG history by becoming the first graduate of the School of Nursing’s  Ph.D. program. A three-time alumna of the School of Nursing, Kring was part of an inaugural 10-student cohort pioneering UNCG’s effort to advance the nursing discipline through scholarly inquiry and research. 

A formative experience 

Thanks to widespread commitment to the program’s success, Kring and her classmates received a groundswell of support from administrators and faculty. “People were excited to see how we were progressing, so we got a lot of attention and definitely felt special,” she quips.

“The curriculum was new and innovative, and professors were eager to educate in a new field of study. The class and seminar discussions were great as were the references and readings. It was truly one of the most rewarding and formative experiences of my career.”

In pursuit of research 

Most of Kring’s peers enrolled in the program with aspirations of academia, but Kring focused on the clinical, finding her place in a hospital setting where she could use her research expertise to impact acute care. After completing an internship with Novant Health, she was hired as its first nurse scientist, a role the hospital created for her. 

Since that time, Kring built a team of 30 clinical nurse educators and clinical practice specialists, and now as Vice President of the Center for Professional Practice and Development, she leads her team’s efforts to use evidence-based practice to design nursing care. 

Unique twist of fate 

Dr. Daria Kring, the School of Nursing’s first Ph.D. graduate poses with Carrie Doss, the 100th UNCG Nursing student.

Since its 2005 inception, the School of Nursing Ph.D. program has graduated 99 students. In a serendipitous twist of fate, first program graduate Kring served as a dissertation committee member for Doss, the 100th UNCG student to defend her Ph.D. dissertation.  

“We were both so excited that she was the first to graduate, and I was the 100th to defend,” says Doss. “It was a big milestone–one that was just icing on the cake for the day. Maybe I can sit on the committee for the 200th graduate!”

Doss entered the doctoral program in 2018. She admits that at first, she didn’t fully grasp her direction but was drawn to the program’s  well-established reputation and flexible design, which allows students to continue working. The program also attracted Doss because it had health systems researchers, and she was interested in research. 

Individualized Attention 

At UNCG, Doss discovered excellent resources for graduate students. Her cohort of just five students received individualized attention, one-on-one dissertation help, and reliable support from faculty and advisors. 

With a graduate certificate in economics of health analytics, Doss focused much of her program analyzing healthcare issues from an economic perspective. She has frequently presented her research and successfully defended her dissertation, titled “Economic Analysis of a Nurse Residency Program on New Graduate Nurse Turnover in a Multi-Site Healthcare System.” 

Alumni impacting the industry 

Upon graduation, Doss will join an esteemed group of alumni who have positive and measurable impacts on healthcare systems—nurse scientists, deans, health system and policy experts, and faculty members. 

This group includes Dr. Kring, a distinguished healthcare leader whose commitment to nursing research in clinical settings has affected quality outcomes, increased nursing satisfaction, and improved patient care. 

Upon graduation, Doss will join the Department of Professional Nursing Education at UNCG, and if her current achievements are any indication, it won’t be long before she too makes her mark on the industry and this university.

Curious about a Nursing Career?

Story by Leah Thompson, AMBCopy
Photography provided by UNCG School of Nursing


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