Dean’s Message

Dear alumni, colleagues and supporters:

Dean Linda Norman

Photo by Daniel Dubois

The cover of Vanderbilt Nurse beautifully captures the combination of the Collegiate Gothic style of Godchaux Hall with the contemporary glass expanse of our new four-story atrium. Together they form the entrance to the new School of Nursing building, which opened with great celebration on Jan. 22. It is a beautiful structure with lots of light, learning space, conference/seminar rooms and areas for congregating and learning. As you’ll read in this issue, the building is designed to meet current needs and future possibilities. I can’t say enough about how delighted we are to be occupying it. Students, faculty and staff alike take pride in it and regularly show it off to family, friends and others outside the school. I do that myself. The building’s features are remarkable and will allow the school to advance in key areas of education, research, informatics and clinical practice.

The School of Nursing was fortunate to have talented and knowledgeable partners in the creation of the building. The Vanderbilt Campus Planning and Construction unit was essential in launching and shepherding the project from conception to completion. Architectural firm Hastings Architecture designed a beautiful, functional and imaginative building. Our outstanding construction manager, DF Chase, translated that design into bricks, stone and glass. They directed every step of the construction as our day-to-day partner in erecting our new building. I am most grateful to all of them for their dedication, creativity and hard work.

Opening the building wasn’t the School of Nursing’s only great accomplishment this spring. On March 12 U.S. News & World Report revealed that VUSN had jumped seven spots to be ranked as the No. 5 DNP program and the No. 8 MSN school in its 2020 Best Graduate Schools of Nursing. These are the highest positions VUSN has ever reached and mark the first time we are ranked in the Top 10 by U.S. News & World Report. This is a great achievement and a testimonial to the hard work of our faculty, staff, students and alumni over the past several years. While rankings are but one measure of VUSN’s impact on nursing education and practice, it is rewarding to have our commitment to excellence recognized.

Our celebrations were tinged with sadness, however, as the school lost two greats recently. Dean Emerita Colleen Conway-Welch died in October 2018 after fending off pancreatic cancer for several years. Hundreds attended her memorial Mass at Cathedral of the Incarnation; many of her School of Nursing family shared memories and gratitude during an intimate memorial we held in November. Dean Conway-Welch’s death came only a few months after we met for a memorial to Virginia George, professor emerita and founder of our Family Nurse Practitioner program. Both of these VUSN champions would have been thrilled with our new building and our strong showing in the U.S. News & World Report rankings. We pay tribute to them in the article on p. 10.

This Vanderbilt Nurse is packed with information about our building, school activities and alumni, student and faculty accomplishments. I invite you to read more about them and to come visit us when you’re in Nashville. If you don’t make it to the school over the summer, we look forward to showing the new building to many of you at Reunion this fall.

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