School of Nursing graduates celebrated for resilience and accomplishment

By Tatum Lyles Flick
VUSN Communications Specialist

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing celebrated Commencement and Investiture Friday for those graduating in summer and fall 2021 and spring 2022. In total, 385 Master of Science in Nursing and 62 Doctor of Nursing Practice students graduated. An additional eight PhD in Nursing Science students received their degrees from Vanderbilt Graduate School.

The students were hooded by their program specialty directors or academic director, then each was congratulated by VUSN Dean Pamela Jeffries, PhD, FAAN, ANEF, FSSH, the Valere Potter Distinguished Professor of Nursing. Jeffries shared with students and guests that she was excited about her first commencement as dean, and made a point of honoring the students’ diligence and accomplishments despite challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It wasn’t always easy and I applaud your resilience, cheerful mindsets, and can-do-attitudes,” she said. “You studied and learned, and mastered and grew. You succeeded. And today you are here, at the celebration of all you have worked so hard for, surrounded by the family and friends who cheered you on, and the faculty and classmates who are beaming with pride at the nursing professionals you have become.”

The MSN students graduated in a range of specialties including: 53 in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner; 3 in Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Family Nurse Practitioner (Emergency Care Focus); 32 in Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner; 68 in Family Nurse Practitioner; 13 in Family Nurse Practitioner/Emergency Nurse Practitioner; 34 in Neonatal Nurse Practitioner; 14 in Nurse-Midwifery; 9 in Nurse-Midwifery/Family Nurse Practitioner; 9 in Nursing and Health Care Leadership; 11 in Nursing Informatics; 11 in Pediatric Nurse Practitioner/Acute Care; 52 in Pediatric Nurse Practitioner/Primary Care; 49 in Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Lifespan); 21 in Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner; and 6 in Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner/Adult-Gerontology Primary Care.

Tip Tilton, who completed VUSN’s nursing informatics MSN specialty program, was awarded the 2022 Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Founder’s Medal. During her time studying at VUSN, Tilton worked as an RN quality improvement coordinator at the John Muir Medical Center in California, where she used her expertise in nursing informatics to solve electronic health record admission documentation issues. Tilton, a military veteran who served in the California Army National Guard as captain in the Medical Service Corps, said she became interested in informatics after an ICU patient asked her why she was asking him the same questions other members of his health care team had asked him. That started her on the path to her informatics degree and career. Today, she excels in noticing process improvement needs and addressing them to improve nursing workloads and the patient experience. She is employed as a clinical nurse informaticist at the University of California San Francisco.

Nhan Dinh, a Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate who earned her MSN in the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty at Vanderbilt in 2018, served as the school’s banner bearer. Dinh, a published researcher in nephrology and transplant genomics, was part of the VUSN Graduate Council, VUSN Honor Council, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society, Ambulatory Advanced Practice Provider Council, and Clinical Informatics Interoperability Committee. She is a nephrology transplant nurse practitioner at the University of New Mexico Hospital in Albuquerque, NM. On hand to see her receive her doctoral degree was her mother, An Le, who is also a nurse and flew in from Vietnam for the ceremonies.

Photos by Susan Urmy.