Dean’s Message

Welcome to the Spring issue of Vanderbilt Nurse magazine. We have been able to accomplish many things at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing together, but when it comes down to it, my job is simple.  It’s about doing anything and everything to ensure the ever-increasing value of a Vanderbilt University School of Nursing degree.

Whether it’s a nursing alum who graduated with a bachelor’s degree or someone who is doing post-doctoral work, everything I do as dean – and everything our faculty strive for – is focused on continuously increasing the value of your VUSN education. Let me assure you, we never rest!

In 2011, U.S. News and World Report ranked us as the top 15th graduate nursing school in the country – up four positions from the previous ranking three years earlier. A jump of this size is extraordinary and put us in the top 5 percent of nursing schools.  Each of our individual specialties has a reputation among the finest in the country, thanks to the hard work of our faculty.  We have almost 1,000 students.  Our nursing research is continues to expand and dig deeper to provide answers to advance the science of our profession.  Our faculty practice provides learning opportunities for our students and vital community outreach.

Part of ensuring value is working toward the Institute of Medicine’s “Future of Nursing” recommendations.  I encourage you to visit the Institute of Medicine web site listed below and read the entire report.  One of those recommendations is to “prepare and enable nurses to lead change to advance health.”  That’s really what this issue of Vanderbilt Nurse is all about.

In addition to sharing the latest nursing workforce study results from our own Peter Buerhaus, we take a closer look at what VUSN programs are doing to advance health.  In this issue’s article, “The Art of Aging,” we provide a snapshot of the meaningful work our faculty is doing with the ever-growing senior population.  We show how our Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Intensivist program is preparing our students to assume new levels of leadership when it comes to urgent and complex care.  In her Q&A, Informatics Program Director Trish Trangenstein describes how nursing informaticists are, and will be, transforming data into knowledge that will revolutionize health care delivery.

I always love to hear from you, so please feel free to provide feedback.  Happy reading!


Colleen Conway-Welch, PhD, CNM, FAAN, FACNM
Nancy and Hilliard Travis Professor and Dean of the School of Nursing