Dean’s Message

Dear Alumni, Colleagues and Supporters,

Photo by John Russell

It is an honor to serve as dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, and I will work every day to live up to the challenge. As you probably know, there is no better learning or proving ground than having worked with Dean Emerita Colleen Conway-Welch for more than 20 years. Yet, I am learning things every day in my new role.

So what have I learned in the first 100 days?

Health care is going through a pivotal time. We know that health care is constantly evolving, but what is happening lately is a fundamental shift. Like so many academic medical centers throughout the country, Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been forced to right-size its workforce and make other difficult decisions to improve operational efficiency. During this time, our leaders and colleagues at the Medical Center have reached out to the School of Nursing as never before, being transparent in strategic decisions and turning to us for problem-solving support.

The School of Nursing is very highly respected not only nationally, but in our own backyard. Vanderbilt views us as being an extremely financially responsible and well-run area. We are seen as an innovator in course delivery, using blended distance learning methods, creative clinical simulations, and interactive classroom processes. I meet with Marilyn Dubree, executive chief nursing officer and VUSN ‘76 alumna, on a regular basis and together we are identifying opportunities where clinical nurses, VUSN students and VUSN faculty can work more closely together to enhance learning for all involved.

We have been on a tremendous growth trajectory these last 10 years, in terms of number of students, programs and specialties. Now is the ideal time to really examine what we do next. There are pockets of partnership in research, practice and educational programs between the School of Nursing and other entities throughout Vanderbilt. It’s time to collaborate and synergize in new and profound ways throughout the campus including all areas from engineering to arts and sciences.

Our campus is touted as being in a park-style setting. The enormous magnolia trees are so tall and plush that they often obstruct the views of School of Nursing buildings. My goal is for the image of VUSN to figuratively emerge above those magnolias through our partnerships with the other schools and areas of the Medical Center. Reaching out is the way for us to grow even stronger.


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