School of Nursing and VUMC receive national New Era for Academic Nursing Award

Four women in business dress with two holding big engraved glass awards. The women are Left, AACN President and CEO Deb Trautman, April Kapu, Linda Norman and AACN Board Chair Ann Cary
The active and productive partnership between Vanderbilt University School of Nursing and Vanderbilt University Medical Center has been recognized by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) with its 2019 New Era for Academic Nursing Award.

The competitive honor recognizes schools of nursing and academic medical centers that are committed to positioning academic nursing as an equal partner in health care transformation in the U.S. It is the organization’s highest academic/practice partnership award.

Dean Linda Norman and VUMC's April Kapu stand together holding glass engraved New Era for Academic Nursing awardsEmbracing this equal status for nursing was the top recommendation from the AACN 2016 report, Advancing Healthcare Transformation: A New Era for Academic Nursing, which looked at the role of nursing schools in health care reform and challenged schools to strengthen nursing’s impact.

VUSN and VUMC received the 2019 award for their public and visible commitment to incorporating academic nursing into the mission and practice of the health system, as demonstrated by a variety of joint initiatives.

“The School of Nursing is very fortunate that VUMC supports academic nursing as a valued teammate in health care delivery, education and research,” said VUSN Dean Linda D. Norman, DSN, RN, FAAN, the Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing. “We benefit from each other’s vision and expertise: for example, School of Nursing faculty serve in senior leadership roles at the Medical Center and on VUMC boards. VUMC clinical nursing leaders are in leadership at VUSN, hold faculty positions and advise doctoral students.”

VUMC and VUSN’s long-standing partnership includes clinical practice, advanced practice nursing, research, nurse-led community programs, workforce development and nurse recruitment. The relationship is particularly robust in the area of faculty practice.

“VUMC has a division of nurse-managed faculty practices run by VUSN leaders. The growth of these practices is part of VUMC’s strategic plan of growth and service,” Norman said. “Currently, the Nurse Faculty Practice division has more than 12 practice sites and has been asked by VUMC leadership to add 10 additional sites in the next two years to meet population health needs.”

VUMC Executive Chief Nursing Officer Marilyn Dubree, MSN’76, RN, NE-BC, also serves on the VUSN Dean’s Advisory Council and as associate dean for clinical practice at the school.

“Academic health care systems like VUMC are changing to meet societal and economic needs. They see the value in community-based care, interdisciplinary teams and chronic disease prevention and management—all patient-focused models at which nurses excel. And increasingly, they’re looking to nurses to lead,” Dubree said. “At VUMC, we’re partnering with the School of Nursing and our nurses to explore new approaches of care delivery, achieve improved health outcomes and foster innovation.”

Award recipients were measured against six criteria, including enhancing clinical practice of academic nursing, partnering in preparation of future nurses, advocating in support of nursing initiatives, and investing in nursing research programs as well as integrating research into clinical practice.

Norman and VUMC’s Associate Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Advanced Practice April Kapu accepted the New Era in Academic Nursing Award at AACN’s Academic Nursing Leadership Conference in Washington, D.C. earlier this month.

As the collective voice for academic nursing, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing represents 825 member schools of nursing at public and private universities nationwide. AACN establishes quality standards for nursing education, influences the nursing profession to improve health care, and promotes public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education.

Image top:
Left, AACN President and CEO Deb Trautman, VUMC’s Associate Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Advanced Practice April Kapu, VUSN Dean Linda Norman and AACN Board Chair Ann Cary.

Image right:
Dean Linda Norman and VUMC’s Associate Chief Nursing Officer and Director of Advanced Practice April Kapu with the New Era in Academic Nursing Award.


Nancy Wise, APR
Director, VUSN Communications