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About Valerie L. McCarthy

After 30 years practicing nursing Dr. McCarthy enrolled in the University of Louisville School of Nursing’s (SON) first BSN-to-PhD cohort, part of a new PhD in Nursing Program. She successfully defended her dissertation, titled “Exploring a New Theory of Successful Aging among Low-income Older Adults in an Independent and Assisted Living Community,” and completed her PhD in August, 2009, joining the UofL SON faculty as an Assistant Professor the same month. Dr. McCarthy teaches Community Health & Public Health Nursing. Dr. McCarthy was promoted to Associate Professor in the School of Nursing in 2015 and will receive tenure in August 2016.
 
Dr. McCarthy’s research is theory-based, focusing first on a holistic view of successful aging predicted by adaptation and transcendence, and later focusing on self-transcendence after three studies of successful aging demonstrated the importance of the concept of self-transcendence. Dr. McCarthy’s current research attempts to answer the question: “Why do some older adults and individuals dealing with chronic conditions experience a palpable sense of fulfillment and meaning in life, regardless of frailty, dependence, pain, poverty, or isolation? Why do others, often with better health and greater advantages, end life in fear and despair?”
She hypothesizes that self-transcendence may help answer this question.
 
Using the process of concept analysis, Dr. McCarthy developed a conceptual model to provide as a theoretical foundation on which to build the Psychoeducational Approach to Transcendence and Health (PATH) Program intervention. The PATH Program has been assessed in two preliminary studies with promising results. Dr. McCarthy is currently pursuing funding to support further testing. Ultimately, given confirmation of the positive effects of the PATH Program, she hopes to package and distribute this affordable and practical intervention in multiple community settings to benefit low-income and minority older adults and individuals dealing with chronic conditions who are least likely to find support for personal development and fulfillment.

Positions

2017 - Present Associate Professor Emerita, University of Louisville School of Nursing
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August 2015 - 2017 Associate Professor, University of Louisville School of Nursing
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2009 - 2015 Assistant Professor, University of Louisville School of Nursing
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2008 - 2009 Graduate Fellow, University of Louisville School of Nursing
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2005 - 2008 Graduate Research Assistant, University of Louisville School of Nursing
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1997 - 1999 Adjunct Faculty, Ivy Tech Community College - South Central ‐ LPN Program
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Curriculum Vitae




Grants

2016 - 2018 21st Century Aging Research Care Consortium (ARCC)
School of Interdisciplinary and Graduate Studies & The Office of Research and Innovation
Role: Co-investigator
Colleague(s): A. C. Faul, J. Naber, P. A. Yankeelov, C. Furman, J. G. D'Ambrosio, R. Gopalrah, H. Y. Moon, W. Nash
$250,000
2015 173-Project PATH Program
National Institute for Nursing Research/National Institutes of Health - 43766
Promoting Self-Management in Older Female Alzheimer's Caregivers
Role: Co-investigator and Project Lead
Colleague(s): B. Polivka, L. Hall, R. Christian, C. Hermann
2014 - 2015 Facilitating Self-transcendence
American Nursing Foundation & Midwest Nursing Research Society
Piloting a Transcendence-based Intervention to Enhance Well-being in Late Life
Role: Principal Investigator
Colleague(s): S. Bowland
$9,966
2013 - 2014 Facilitating Self-Transcendence
Sigma Theta Tau International & National Gerontological Nurses Association
An Intervention to Enhance Well-being in Late Life
Role: Principal Investigator
Colleague(s): S. Bowland
$5,000
2010 Intramural Research Incentive Grant
Intramural Research
A Feasibility Study: Investigating a New Theory of Successful Aging
$4,556
2008 - 2009 University of Louisville Graduate Fellowship
Graduate School, University of Louisville
Dissertation research on the role of adaptation and transcendence in successful aging among older adults in an assisted living and independent community
2008 Ruth Craddock Graduate Student Research Award
School of Nursing, University of Louisville
$600
2007 Dissertation Funding
Iota Zeta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International
Exploring a New Theory of Successful Aging among Low-Income Older Adults in an Independent and Assisted Living Community
Role: Principal Investigator
$500
2007 Ruth Craddock Graduate Student Research Award
School of Nursing, University of Louisville
$500
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Honors and Awards

  • Nominated for Southern Nursing Research Society, Aging/Gerontology Research Interest Group (RIG) Rising Investigator Award (2016)
  • Nominated for Ruth Voignier Excellence in Teaching Award, University of Louisville, School of Nursing (2015)
  • D. Jean Wood Nursing Scholarship Award from Southern Nursing Research Society (2015)
  • Hartford Summer Scholar for the Hartford Institute on Aging Geriatric Nursing Research Summer Scholars Program, New York University College of Nursing (2011)
  • Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing (2008)
  • Ruth Craddock Scholarship Recipient (2007)
  • Outstanding Student, Indiana University Southeast School of Nursing (1999)

Courses

  • Community Leadership Practicum (N471)
  • Capstone Practicum (N474)
  • Community Health Nursing (N361)
  • Adult Health Nursing (N371)
  • Therapeutic Nursing Interventions Clinical Rotation (N364)
  • Community Health Nursing (C341)

Education

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2009 PhD, University of Louisville ‐ School of Nursing
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1999 BSN, Indiana University ‐ School of Nursing
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1972 ASN, Indiana University ‐ School of Nursing
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Contact Information

University of Louisville School of Nursing
Louisville, KY 40292
Phone: (502) 852-8395

Email:


Peer-Reviewed Publications (13)

Student Works (1)