Because of her knowledge of the unspoken realities that refugees face throughout the displacement and resettlement process, she was asked to write a position paper, “Equity and Equality of Medical Care for Refugees,” on behalf of the Nurses in the Middle East of the Watson Caring Science Institute.

Her insights also caught the attention of another participant — a nurse educator from New York and mentor with the United Nations, Dr. Holly Shaw, who invited Wofford to New York to present her research as a part of the Nightingale Initiative for Global Health at the UN's Commission on the Status of Women conference the following month.

Wofford spent five days in New York and presented on the last day of a weeks-long UN conference devoted to bringing issues to light that women face around the world. Dr. Jean Watson, the creator of the Theory of Caring Science, and an icon in Wofford’s eyes, was to be honored that afternoon, and was in the audience when Wofford presented her research.

During Watson’s ceremony, Wofford was asked to share what Watson’s theories have meant to her nursing career.

“I spoke about how Dr. Watson’s work impacted me as a nurse and how it will color my work as a future scholar,” she said. “Caring Science is the future of health care and nursing education globally. Love and kindness is the key to health.” 

While she is deep into the second year of her doctoral program, and works part-time as an RN, Wofford looks forward to traveling abroad next month and for the next two summers to continue her research — “sitting and listening” as she would say, to the community, her health care partners and the refugees, this time with funding provided by USAID.

“My ultimate goal is to advance nursing education and research in developing countries by focusing on the health and wellness needs of vulnerable populations,” she said. “I am a nurse at heart.”

Denise Kronsteiner

Director of Strategic Communications, School for the Future of Innovation in Society