Dean’s Message

Dear alumni, colleagues and supporters,

Dean Linda Norman

Photo by Daniel Dubois

A few weeks ago, we welcomed a wonderful and excited group of new students to the Vanderbilt School of Nursing and said “welcome back” to an equally wonderful and enthusiastic group of returning MSN, Post-Master’s, DNP and PhD students. Altogether, more than 800 students selected VUSN for their nursing education this year. We’re proud to be the choice of so many talented students and thank you for the role you, our alumni and friends, have played in our reputation and recruitment.

As we began this new year, I talked to our campus community about the School of Nursing’s core culture and our commitment to being a school where inclusion, equity and diversity guide our teaching, discovery, practice and work. As nurses, we are used to working collectively to help patients; those skills transfer in many ways to help shape VUSN’s collaborative and welcoming culture. We know that there is much to be learned from others’ experiences and opinions, and we respect and welcome diverse viewpoints.

In this Vanderbilt Nurse, you’ll find the School of Nursing’s official statement of equity, diversity and inclusion. We adopted it earlier this year and are committed to developing and fostering a culture in our school that includes everyone, treats all with respect, embraces diversity and supports the plurality of humanity.

Elsewhere in this issue, you’ll read about our much-anticipated new building addition, scheduled for completion in just a few weeks. It will be good to have all of VUSN’s specialties and people in a contiguous physical location on campus. Being together will support community and collaboration, two characteristics for which VUSN has long been known.

Another reason I’m looking forward to opening the addition is that it will allow us to expand facilities for our faculty research endeavors. As people move into the new space, we will renovate areas in Mary Ragland Godchaux Hall to support one of our key strategic initiatives: research and discovery that will improve health care, nursing education and the practice of nursing worldwide.

Some of those discoveries are already happening. This issue contains our annual “Making an Impact” report, highlighting some of our faculty and students’ publication in journals such as PLOS One, Obstetrics and Gynecology, the Journal of Nursing Education and the American Journal of Critical Care. It also contains a list of awards, appointments and books published, and introduces new faculty and currently funded grants and contracts.

The issue also focuses on some milestones. This fall, we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the launch of our PhD in Nursing Science program. See “By the Numbers” for accomplishments and a look back. We’re also commemorating the 10th anniversary of the creation of our Emergency Nurse Practitioner program. This feature follows its development by alumna and faculty member Jennifer Wilbeck, who has been instrumental in the growth of the specialty nationwide.

Our cover article, “The DNP Advantage,” spotlights eight accomplished and notable graduates of our Doctor in Nursing Practice program. These alumni — chief nursing officers, vice presidents, directors, an associate dean and a chief nursing informatics officer — share why they chose to pursue a DNP and how having a doctoral degree has helped them grow in knowledge and responsibility. Each of these alumni is a strong leader and advocate for evidence-based solutions. They are transformative change agents in their workplaces and are improving health care on local and national levels.

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