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Early Career Investigator Coaching Program

MAJ Melissa Miller and Lt Col Jill Raps, both active-duty nurse scientists and TriService Nursing Research Program (TSNRP) Fellows, recently led the development of the Early Career Investigator Coaching (ECIC) Program. In 2022, TSNRP turned attention to fostering nurse scholar career development across the lifecycle – beginning with Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) nursing students and extending to retired military doctorate-prepared nurses.


TSNRP was established by Congress in 1992 and has propelled the military scientific nursing community forward as a major source of grant funding for nursing research and Evidence-Based Practice (EBP). Contributions of military nurse scientists and advanced practice nurses include development of healthcare theory and frameworks, translating evidence into practice, clinical practice guidelines, evaluating military healthcare on land, air, and sea, and enhancing beneficiary care. Military nurse scientists and advanced practice nurses propel the implementation of evidence-based solutions, information technology, and innovation. The continuation of this legacy is dependent upon a succession of proficient military nurse scholars.

Carrying this vision in mind, MAJ Miller and Lt Col Raps composed the requirements of the ECIC program from a preliminary whiteboard proposal. After receiving approval and guidance from the TSNRP Executive Director COL Young Yauger, they recruited 10 members to the Succession Planning Working Group. In a four-month period, this team drafted the ECIC policy, contacted 235 ROTC detachments, and built a competitive selection process for the coaching program.


The new ECIC Program is a one-year program providing the opportunity for ROTC Nurse Cadets/Midshipmen (college seniors) and Junior Nurse Officers (O1-O3) representing the Army, Navy, and Air Force to receive coaching from a nurse scholar and develop scholarly skills and abilities. Benefits of the program include:

  • Collaboration and networking with expert nurse scholars (PhDs and DNPs) on the TSNRP research interest group leadership teams

  • Career development

  • Coaching and mentorship

  • Opportunity to present contemporary problems or questions from participant organizations for assessment and evaluation through research and EBP projects which may optimize organizational outcomes

  • Travel for scholarly presentation, education, and training.

The ECIC applicant review board included nursing scholars from each of the military departments, who together selected two junior military nurses and four ROTC cadets as the first cohort of ECIC fellows. The fellowship candidates met with COL Yauger and the ECIC team via video conference on November 30, 2022, attended the TSNRP Joint Research Interest Group Leader Meeting on December 6, 2022, and are currently networking with their coaches and participating actively in nursing scholarship since the inception of this program.

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