Fulbright selects Heald as Global Wales Visiting Researcher

Melissa Heald

Join us in congratulating Melissa Heald (BSN, RN) for receiving a highly competitive Fulbright study/research award. Heald, a doctoral candidate at Baylor University, will spend six months in the U.K. next year researching and investigating post-COVID resilience in pediatric APRNs. Partnering with Swansea University in Wales, she will also lecture undergraduate nursing students on Texas Children’s pandemic response.

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government, expanding perspectives through academic and professional advancement and cross-cultural dialogue. This includes the Fulbright Study/Research Award, where a candidate designs a proposal for a specific country.

“COVID made it clear nursing is a sustainable profession only when we work as one, banding together through shared research and knowledge across an ocean,” said Heald. She will collect data on factors supporting resilience, retention and overall success of pediatric nurse practitioners (PNP) in the U.K. to help inform global advancement of the profession.

Health systems in the U.S. and U.K. are still feeling the pandemic’s aftershock as both countries are in the grips of a nurse shortage and pediatric mental health crisis. Seeing the effects on staff firsthand, the PICU staff nurse feels inspired. “Seeking out ways to study and support resilience in my peers will continue to be of paramount importance to me throughout my career.”

Fulbright’s Foreign Scholarship Board noted the grant “is a reflection of Melissa’s leadership and contributions to society.” Click here to learn more.