Doctoral alumna discusses personal, professional growth

Michelle Camicia, an alumna of the Doctor of Philosophy Class of 2018, talks about the biggest investment in herself.

This fall, Michelle Camicia is inducted as a fellow into the American Academy of Nursing, a formal recognition of her accomplishments in the nursing profession. It’s a distinction that she credits to her passion to improve health care and her doctoral education at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis.

Michelle Camicia
Michelle Camicia, inducted this fall as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, says earning a PhD paved a path toward national recognition.

“I saw the pillars of the program, research, leadership and policy, and immediately felt this connection with the School of Nursing,” said Camicia, a 2018 alumna of the Doctor of Philosophy program. “I felt these values, merged with the curriculum, really does what the school intends: to prepare me to transform health care through nursing leadership.”

Camicia, who serves as director of operations at Kaiser Foundation Rehabilitation Center in Northern California, says the school helps students make connections to advance their work. The result is vast opportunities for their work and to improve health care delivery in ways that are meaningful to them.

“While in school, the Academy of Medicine released the report, Families Caring for an Aging America. I was invited to participate in a round table discussion with one of the key authors of that report. I learned the policy agenda and ultimately contributed to that agenda,” Camicia recalled.

Camicia’s work has garnered national attention. An article highlighting her dissertation research —to develop a measure to assess stroke caregivers’ commitment and capacity to assume the caregiving role prior to patients’ discharge —was recognized by the Journal of the Association of Rehabilitation Nurses. It was also selected as the American Heart Association Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing (CVSN) 2020 Stroke Article of the Year.

“That was written along with my dissertation committee members who helped guide me through that process. I would not have been awarded it if it weren't for the school,” Camicia said. “And certainly, the things that I've done as a result of the PhD, both during the program and after the program, are what qualified me to become a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. My work in the school paved that path.”

With all the accolades and career success, Camicia values the personal investment of her doctoral journey and encourages other nursing leaders to do the same.

“It is the biggest investment I've ever made in myself. And that's something that, as nurses, we don't always put as the priority,” Camicia explained. “When you put yourself as the priority to invest your time and your talent into earning a PhD, it takes that investment in yourself and resonates throughout the world with the things that you can do.”