Dean’s Message

Welcome to this issue of Vanderbilt Nurse magazine. People often ask me how we educate students in this changing world of health care, especially in light of our nation’s health care reform efforts.   The fact is that health care is always changing.  It’s one of the many things that make it such a challenging and dynamic field.

At VUSN, we prepare our students with a “sophisticated tool kit” to ensure their success.  We educate our students to become critical thinkers, patient advocates and problem solvers who know how to ask the tough questions and utilize evidence and innovation to create solutions.

As the landscape changes, we need the voices of nurses throughout the country to be heard.  That’s why I have been working closely with the deans of several Schools of Nursing to make sure our governmental leaders understand the value of nurses now and going forward.  The Tennessee schools include East Tennessee State University, University of Memphis, UT-Chattanooga and Tennessee State University. I also started the Nursing Dean’s Policy Coalition, a group of private nursing schools including: Duke, Emory, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, University of Rochester, Columbia University and Vanderbilt.

Even with the uncertainty of health care reform, millions may have much-needed coverage to access primary and specialty health care.  Having health care coverage is one thing, but being able to access a quality health care provider for preventive and acute needs is another.   For everyone to have usable, reliable health care, advanced practice nurses must be part of the solution.  These nurse professionals have been shown time and again to provide high quality, cost effective health care.

This issue’s cover story shows how VUSN’s school nurses are an important lifeline to children and parents at a time when few schools have resident school nurses.  At the other end of the spectrum, we delve into the world of methamphetamine, seeing how it impacts so many people, and sharing important protections for health care workers.  Finally, Nurse magazine sits down with Mary Ann Jessee, the new Pre-Specialty director, who helped lead a comprehensive curriculum revision.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