Regis University Fulbright Scholar Rita Axford to share nursing experience in Cyprus

Hannah BreeceJune 05, 2013

Rita Axford

(DENVER) – Rita Axford, a professor in the Loretto Heights School of Nursing in the Rueckert-Hartman College for Health Professions at Regis University, was notified in March that she had been selected to receive the Fulbright Award to work in Cyprus.

The award is now entering its 67th year as a U.S. program for international academic exchange that provides grants to exceptional U.S. faculty in order to pursue scholarly research and projects. Axford is one of three Regis University faculty members and one alumnus who have received the award since 2011.

Axford, who has been at Regis University since August 1997, submitted her application to the Fulbright Scholars program in August 2012. She was responding to a post by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars. The University of Nicosia, Department of Life and Health Sciences and their partners were looking for a senior academic to assist in clinical nursing program development and capacity building in post-graduate nursing education.

She will be filling that position and working with a team of Cypriot academics for four-and-a-half to five months. She will also be teaching community/ public health nursing, which is her clinical nursing specialty.
“It is my wish,” she expressed, “to share my perspectives and expertise with nurse educators and other professionals in Cyprus as a representative of the U.S. at a level of scholarship expected of a Fulbright Scholar.”

She believes that her experiences as a senior academic, as director of the Centre for Graduate Studies in Clinical Nursing in Australia, and as the assistant dean in the Loretto Heights School of Nursing at Regis University have not only given her the opportunity to serve her profession, but also provided her with invaluable experiences and expertise that she can share in Cyprus “as a representative of the U.S. at the level of scholarship expected of a Fulbright Scholar.”

The position suits Axford’s experience well. She has been a senior academic in many different countries and cultures, and she has also acted informally as an ambassador, spending time working internationally in Mauritius, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Australia, Hong Kong, Vietnam, and Ethiopia. “These opportunities taught me the absolute necessity of identifying the cultural context of the setting and client/ partner and learner, whether student, faculty or staff,” she reflected.

Axford, drawn to nursing for its potential to make patients’ experiences better, pursued her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and her Master of Science in Physiological Nursing at the University of California in San Francisco, and she did her doctoral work in Educational Policy, Governance, and Administration at the University of Washington.