Student Spotlight | Megan Mayfield

By Karina Antenucci

Megan Mayfield

Laney Student Megan Mayfield

During Megan Mayfield's 8-year tenure as a registered nurse in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Mayfield had the opportunity to train newly hired nurses and undergraduate nursing students, and fell in love with teaching. She decided to attend graduate school at Clemson University to obtain her Master of Science degree, which she completed in 2018. Directly after graduating, Mayfield accepted a full-time faculty position at Clemson that sealed her wish to be in academia for the long-term. In 2020, she joined Emory University's Laney Graduate School and the PhD in Nursing program at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing.

"I have a passion for the clinical side of nursing and also academia. I knew that I needed my PhD to be more involved in research and to have a seat at the table where important decisions are being made in healthcare. As a PhD faculty member, I'll be able to teach and interact with students yet also stay heavily involved in the research side," said Mayfield, whose projected graduation date is May 2024.

Mayfield's PhD research is focused on looking at stress in rural heart failure caregivers. She has been a cardiovascular nurse for her entire career. Fueling her passion for the heart, her grandfather passed with congestive heart failure and her father passed from a heart attack.

"It was really hard for a while to continue in this field, having seen these terrible outcomes for family members. But it became another catalyst for pursuing my PhD in Nursing. That's my purpose for doing what I'm doing, and I feel like Emory has the tools to help me succeed in that area," she said.

The mentorship that Mayfield has received from faculty and staff at LGS has been one of a kind. "I've just received so much support from them."

Mayfield's advisor Dr. Rebecca Gary has been a great inspiration to her in the field of cardiovascular and heart failure research including interventions and chronic disease management. "She is just a visionary in the field and has just shaped my entire career," said Mayfield. "Genuinely, she has been wonderful because she's so accomplished but also still so accessible to me at Emory."

Mayfield has also enjoyed making lifelong friends within her cohort of eight within the School of Nursing, which is known for its cardiovascular research, as well as the opportunities the program has offered. "There have been opportunities to submit abstracts and present at conferences abroad and domestically. I've made connections that I would not have been able to make otherwise. Working with Emory's big-name researchers and experiencing them be so down to earth and approachable has been incredible," she said.

Another wonderful aspect about her LGS experience has been serving as President of the Laney Graduate Student Council. "It has been so rewarding because I've been able to make connections throughout the graduate school and get to know friends from all over the world that are in all sorts of cool programs. Being a nurse, I'm all about human connection," she said.

Upon graduating, Mayfield's goal is crystal clear: to become an assistant professor in a tenure-track position in an R1 institution. Down the road, she has set her sights on a leadership position in academia—possibly a Dean in the School of Nursing.

No matter where she lands, Mayfield will continue research focused on cardiac patients and their caregivers. "Any research that I do, I always want it to be about alleviating stress for that group."