Dean’s Message

Dear Alumni, Colleagues and Supporters,

Each autumn, I deliver a State-of-the-School presentation to alumni at Reunion. The presentation includes facts and figures — how many students, in which specialties, current NCLEX-RN pass rates — and so on. I discuss research growth, clinical practice and strategic goals. I also share news and achievements.

In some ways, that presentation is not unlike this issue of Vanderbilt Nurse. In this issue, you’ll see great news about VUSN’s rankings in the influential U.S. News & World Report graduate rankings. Our midwifery program was ranked No. 1. The overall MSN program was ranked No. 13 out of more than 500 MSN programs in the country. The DNP program came in at No. 10 out of more than 200 DNP programs in the country. Eight of our specialties were in the top 10. Those rankings are the result of hard work and commitment to excellence by our students, faculty, staff, alumni and colleagues.

I hope you are as proud of them as we are.

This issue includes our annual Making an Impact report. The special section highlights faculty and student professional recognition and scholarly activity. It outlines current research grants awarded to our faculty and features a robust list of professional journals and publications in which our faculty have contributed. The section also introduces new members of our faculty and notes their areas of expertise. This focus on research is designed to give you an overview of the contributions VUSN faculty and students make to advancing clinical nursing practice and improving health care outcomes.

In other school news, we’ve launched a search for a new senior associate dean for research. Our able and brilliant current Senior Associate Dean Ann Minnick, holder of the Julia Eleanor Blair Chenault Chair in Nursing, wishes to return to teaching and research. We’re working with executive search firm Tyler & Company and are confident that we’ll soon identify the right person for this vital role. The new research dean will be key in building on our current strengths, expanding VUSN’s research mission and growing our trans-institutional and externally supported scholarship.

Our cover story explores the growing popularity of nitrous oxide as an analgesic during labor and how associate professor Michelle Collins, director of our Nurse-Midwifery program, championed its reintroduction here at Vanderbilt. And in what I must call a wonderful example of cross-school cooperation, the model for our cover photo is Kanah Lewallen, a member of our Adult-Gerontology Primary Care faculty. We are most grateful to her and are pleased to report that shortly after the photo was taken, Hazel June Lewallen entered the world.



Linda Norman, DSN, RN, FAAN
Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing
Dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing