PHOTO: Lyndsay DeGroot

Lyndsay DeGroot

Lyndsay DeGroot, PhD(c), BSN, RN is the recipient of the Mathy Mezey Scholarship. She is a fourth year PhD Candidate at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing in Baltimore, MD. 

Following the death of a close friend and her aunt from septic shock in a short time span, she became passionate about caring for patients and families facing critical illness. After graduating from Calvin University with a Bachelor’s Degree in the Science of Nursing, Lyndsay worked as an Intensive Care Unit Registered Nurse. In her years as an ICU nurse, she cared for critically ill older adults suffering from acute exacerbations of chronic diseases, often resulting in long term hospitalization, suffering, or death. Many of these patients experienced chronic physical, psychological, social, and existential suffering throughout their disease trajectory. 

As a nurse, Lyndsay was uniquely positioned to identify these palliative care needs and noticed many patients, particularly those who were physically frail, had been experiencing these needs before their hospitalization. Unfortunately, the majority of opportunities to integrate palliative care earlier in the disease trajectory of these patients with chronic diseases were missed due to poor integration of palliative care in the community setting. She found herself deeply moved and distressed by the lack of evidence-based ways to consistently provide early palliative care for people with serious chronic illnesses. Therefore, she decided to pursue a Ph.D. in Nursing to become an independent nurse scientist addressing these gaps. 

Lyndsay’s dissertation research focuses on examining the unmet palliative care needs of community-dwelling patients with advanced heart failure and physical frailty. In the future, she plans to pursue a faculty position at a research-intensive university to conduct research and teach nursing. She plans to use findings from her dissertation study to develop and implement interventions which promote earlier palliative care in outpatient and community settings for older adults living with severe chronic illnesses. 

Lyndsay completed two T32 fellowships funded by the National Institute of Nursing Research and the National Institute on Aging. She serves in several leadership roles including the President of the PhD Student Organization at Johns Hopkins School of Nursing. She has several first-authored publications in high-impact peer-reviewed journals including Journal of Palliative Medicine, Journal of Cardiovascular Nursing, and Annals of Family Medicine. Lyndsay currently works with her advisors, Dr. Martha Abshire and Dr. Sarah Szanton, as a nurse interventionist and research assistant on the Caregiver-Support Program, a randomized wait-list control trial which aims to reduce caregiver burden and improve quality of life for informal caregivers of people with heart failure in Baltimore. 

As a future nurse educator, Lyndsay hopes to use her clinical, personal, and research experiences to engage and inspire nursing students as they begin their nursing careers. Lyndsay is passionate about championing the next generation of nurses and is grateful for the support from the Mathy Mezey NEF scholarship to develop the necessary skills and expertise to be an impactful nurse educator and scientist.

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