UA Nursing PhD Graduate Becomes Veterans Affairs Post-Doctoral Fellow

College of Nursing PhD program prepared Lisa Wayman, PhD, RN, to investigate art as a healing modality in patients with chronic illness.

Lisa Wayman, PhD, RN, who in May received her Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing degree from the University of Arizona College of Nursing, has been awarded a full-time, two-year post-doctoral fellowship for studies at the Phoenix VA Health Care System.

Dr. Wayman’s post-doctoral research will extend her dissertation focus of using art as a healing modality for people with chronic illness.

“Clinicians at the VA are already using art as therapy, but there isn’t a lot of research focused on its therapeutic effects,” said Dr. Wayman. “Thanks to my PhD studies, I feel confident in my skills to conduct quality research. This fellowship is a great match for me because the VA is really looking at whole-person healing and so am I.”

Dr. Wayman says she is grateful for the support she has received from her dissertation chair, Mary S. Koithan, PhD, RN, APRN, BC, associate professor at the UA College of Nursing, as well as Dana R. Epstein, PhD, RN, associate chief, nursing service/research at the Phoenix VA Health Care System. Dr. Epstein, who earned her PhD from the UA College of Nursing in 1994, mentored Dr. Wayman during the preparation of her research proposal and education plan that earned her the fellowship.

A mixed-media artist herself, Dr. Wayman enjoys making acrylic and three-dimensional collage art. She says healing outcomes can occur by engaging with art in many forms, including jewelry, painting, drawing, sculpting, glasswork or leatherwork. The key is in the creative process.

“Chronic illness causes major limitations for millions of Americans, and they’re not really expected to get better,” said Dr. Wayman. “However, their lives can be filled with well-being; healing interventions can really promote resilience and human flourishing. Through art creation, we can show patients an avenue for healing, even when we cannot be an agent for a cure.”

About the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD)
The Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) online program prepares nurse scientists who focus on research in clinical, academic or other scientific environments. The program can be taken either full- or part-time by students holding a nursing bachelor’s, master’s or practice doctorate degree.

Faculty at the University of Arizona College of Nursing envision, engage and innovate in education, research and practice to help people of all ages optimize health in the context of major life transitions, illnesses, injuries, symptoms and disabilities. Established in 1957, the college ranks among the top nursing programs in the United States. For more information about the college, please visit its website,