Dean’s Message

Dear alumni, colleagues and supporters,

Dean Linda Norman

Photo by Daniel Dubois

As the nation’s largest group of health care providers, nurses are often the professionals who see a need, gap in knowledge or better way in patient care or safety. Nurse-scientists — scholars who have been educated in rigorous scientific inquiry and focus on health care issues — take those questions and needs and set out to find solutions and better ways.

At Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, our accomplished research faculty are dedicated to discovery, advancing patient health and improving the health care delivery system, as well as seeing their work translated into practice. This issue’s cover article, “Patient-oriented discovery,” introduces four School of Nursing researchers working to improve patient care in cancer-related lymphedema, aging, pediatric cancer and diabetes. It also features the advanced practice nurses who partner with those nurse-scientists in conducting research and implementing their findings in patient care.

Speaking of partners, Vanderbilt Nurse also includes a story on the School of Nursing’s collaboration with Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta and its Undergraduate Health Sciences Academy. The UHSA initiative brings students from historically black colleges and universities to Vanderbilt for a six-week summer externship and introduction to advanced practice nursing. Although many of the program’s participants think they want to go to medical school, we welcome the opportunity to educate them about health care issues and their future colleagues.

Elsewhere in this issue, you’ll meet a Vanderbilt School of Medicine alumnus who escaped Vietnam after the Vietnam War’s end and went on to thrive at VUSM. In gratitude for his Vanderbilt experience, he has established a School of Nursing scholarship in honor of his mother, who was a registered nurse in Vietnam.

This Vanderbilt Nurse includes our annual “Making an Impact” report. It highlights some of our faculty’s and students’ publication in journals that include the New England Journal of Medicine, Birth, Journal of the American College of Cardiology, International Journal of Nursing Studies and Research in Nursing & Health. It also lists books published and awards and appointments received during the last calendar year, and introduces new faculty and currently funded grants and contracts. We truly have an outstanding faculty who are recognized nationally and internationally for their contributions and accomplishments.

This issue also includes news about recent accomplishments. We were delighted earlier this year when we learned that Vanderbilt School of Nursing had been named a National League of Nursing Center of Excellence. The NLN is the nation’s foremost organization for nursing faculty and leaders in nursing education. This honor recognizes VUSN for its high standards of educational excellence. We were also fortunate to have a second year of designation as a Best School for Men in Nursing.

This brings me back to our outstanding nurse-researchers and nurse-clinicians. Three of the nurse-scientists featured are graduates of Vanderbilt’s PhD in Nursing Science program. Now in its 26th year, our PhD program prepares scholars for research or academic careers in major universities and for research positions in health care institutions. Similarly, all four of the nurse-clinicians featured in our cover story are VUSN advanced practice nurse graduates. It’s an honor to spotlight Vanderbilt alumni as they contribute vital knowledge to improve the health of individuals, families and communities.

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