Message from the Dean – First year reflections

Dear alumni, colleagues and supporters,

Just a few weeks ago, I celebrated my one-year anniversary as dean of Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. What a year it has been! In the past 12 months, the School of Nursing has developed and announced a new master of nursing degree, launched a leadership program for emerging nurse leaders and faculty from underrepresented backgrounds, shared its informatics expertise with educators from across the country and received more than $5 million in new funding. It also celebrated 455 new advanced practice nurse practitioners, nurse leaders and nurse scientists during Commencement 2022.

As the new dean—new to Vanderbilt and to Nashville—I have spent some of this first year getting to know alumni, friends and nursing and community leaders. It has been a delight to hear the high esteem in which they hold Vanderbilt School of Nursing. In many meetings, chief nursing officers and leaders have shared their need for more clinical nurses. In response, the School of Nursing has developed the master of nursing program for those without a nursing background who want to become registered nurses. The program is recruiting now, with our first class scheduled to begin in January. You can read more about it on the opposite page.

I also have been traveling and meeting when I can with alumni and friends of the school. I am continually impressed by our alumni and their careers. Whether just starting out or retiring, they are passionate about nursing and care. In this issue of Vanderbilt Nurse, you’ll read of two recent alumni—one a military nurse sent to New York City at the start of the pandemic and another fiercely dedicated to the safety and recovery of children who have been abused. Their stories are on Page 22 and Page 24.

Alumni also feature prominently in our cover story on preceptors. As we nurses all know, preceptors are vital to helping students transition from classroom to practice. Each year, Vanderbilt needs at least 1,000 health care providers to precept our more than 500 students. These remarkable providers precept for a variety of reasons: They like to teach, they want to pay it forward or they know how much new providers are needed. Whatever their reasons, we are most grateful for them and their support. As you’ll read in the article, we continually need preceptors in all specialties and all over the country; if you haven’t considered precepting, I encourage you to do so now. Email VUSN-ClinicalPlacement@vanderbilt.edu for more information.

In this issue, we continue our series on VUSN’s signature research areas. The article on Page 18 focuses on our data science and health technology researchers. You’ll be introduced to four faculty using data science and health technology to increase health care knowledge and improve patient care.

As I said, this has been a whirlwind and wonderful first year as dean. In addition to the new programs and accomplishments I mentioned above, the school’s faculty, staff and leadership continue to strategize and collaborate on forward-moving initiatives that will keep Vanderbilt at the forefront of nursing education and innovation today and in the years to come. I look forward to sharing more about those in the months to come.

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Dean's Letter Fall 2022