Adesola Adenike Ogunfowokan
FWACN, RN, PhD
How do you describe a nurse? Terms like giving, caring, and passionate traditionally come to mind immediately. Often, terms like scientific exploration, scholarship, and research are secondary descriptors. Not so for Sigma nurses. Sigma nurses and nurse researchers understand that scientific exploration, scholarship, and research continue to drive innovation and discovery within the field of nursing, thus driving the field forward. It is considered a very important aspect of the profession, so those secondary descriptors make sense, especially to Sigma nurses.
Sigma nurse researcher and Chi Omicron at-Large Chapter member Dr. Adesola Adenike Ogunfowokan thought it made sense too. She saw something within her community that she wanted to positively change, and she knew that research and scientific exploration could provide the opportunity for that change to occur. Her journey with Sigma began seven years ago when, impressed by the connections and opportunities afforded to Sigma nurses, she was thrilled to join the Chi Omicron at-Large Chapter. Now, senior lecturer and acting head of the Department of Nursing Science at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile-Ife, Osun State, Nigeria, Adesola can continue to herald the importance of research, scholarship, and Sigma to our next generation of nurses.
Adesola, initially interested in community health nursing, graduated with her bachelor of nursing science degree in 1997 and, like many Sigma nurses, took her first appointment as a clinical nurse. Later, she secured a position at the Obafemi Awolowo Teaching Hospitals Complex in Ile-Ife, Nigeria but was unable to be appointed as a graduate nurse due to the stigma surrounding the need for advanced clinical nursing degrees at the time. Adesola, being called to the research and scholarship side of nursing, however, pushed through this stigma. It wasn’t long until she secured an appointment as a Nurse Clinical Lecturer at her alma mater and enrolled in the Community Health Nursing program, earning her MSc, her PhD, and the title of Senior Lecturer, all by 2012. By 2014, Adesola was selected as a Fellow for the Sigma/IDEN postdoctoral fellowship at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in Baltimore, Maryland, and has since been selected as a Sigma Small Grants recipient to further her research of sexual abuse experiences and the effect educational intervention has on the prevention of sexual abuse among adolescent girls.
Even though her passion and desire to care for others drove her throughout her career, Adesola credits her experience at the 2013 International Nursing Research Congress in Prague, Czech Republic for exposing her to the pioneering research her fellow nurses were producing. And it all started with a Leadership Education Grant from Sigma that allowed Adesola to travel and attend to her first International Nursing Research Congress. “Attending an International Research Congress and the 43rd Biennial Convention in 2015 exposed me to cutting-edge research in my field— (school health, adolescent and reproductive health) as well as the innovative nurse researchers behind it.” She continues “[Nurse researchers] should ensure they associate with achievers who will continually sharpen their vision and assist in moving their careers forward.”
Adesola’s passion for enacting positive change doesn’t stop with research however. She consistently encourages nurse researchers to go after the research grants that Sigma offers. “I am quite aware that there are some researchers, especially from developing countries, that have been struggling to get the research grants necessary to fund their proposals.” She continues, “I have made many efforts previously to fund my research, but the Sigma grant is the first grant I will ever receive. Don’t be discouraged! Sigma makes it easier for nurse researchers to get funding for their proposals.”
Research funding, along with raising awareness about the research and funding opportunities available to nurses, even if they aren’t Sigma members, motivates Adesola to donate to some of the same funds that helped her start her research career. “This is very important to me, as it has enhanced my research productivity and visibility, both as a researcher and a nurse. Sigma has transformed me into an International Scholar.”