Vanderbilt Nurse Magazine


Summer 2023

Meeting the Need

The nursing profession is on the cusp of a transformation. The high demand for nurses directly aligns with all-time highs in the increased demand for health care. A compassionate, qualified and diverse workforce must be at the heart of the U.S. health care system. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that more than 200,000…

Balance of Work and Play

“Vanderbilt chose me,” says Leslie Jeter, BSN’86, DNP, CRNA. In high school, she spent “career week” in the operating room at a local community hospital. A certified registered nurse anesthetist took Jeter under her wing and let her squeeze an ambu bag (a manual resuscitator), and Jeter watched in awe as the patient’s chest rose….

Equipped and Energized

Vanderbilt academy addresses uniqueness and unique needs of diverse leaders The sun was shining as a group of nurses from eight different states stepped out of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing—newly invigorated to take on the challenges they face as diverse nurse leaders. The 18 nurses made up the first cohort in the five-day…

Compassionate care inspires student to pursue pediatric nursing career

Growing up, Anana Upton, BS’21, spent endless hours in hospitals as her younger brother underwent care. That experience spurred a passionate drive in her to elevate the quality of health care available to underserved communities while also educating people about their medical choices and affording them the dignity they deserve. The Chicago native and Peabody…

Opportunity, Development and Growth

Postdoctoral program launches new nurse scientists into research and faculty careers Vanderbilt School of Nursing takes its mission of producing nurse scientists seriously. Every two years or so, promising new PhD nurse scientists are welcomed into the School of Nursing’s postdoctoral research program, where they work with faculty mentors to fine-tune research skills, hone grant-writing abilities,…

The First MNs

Kendra Phillips: Passion for Patient Care “I have a deep love for patient interaction and care,” she says. “My desire is to treat and care for patients, not prioritize the diseases and conditions.” Phillips currently works as a clinical trials associate at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She often meets with patients, but feels she is…

Message from the Dean

Dear alumni, colleagues and supporters, In my first year at Vanderbilt School of Nursing, I made it a priority to meet the leaders of health systems in the area and explore how we could help them in their missions. In every discussion, I was told that Vanderbilt advanced practice nurses were great hires, well-educated, knowledgeable…

Making an Impact

At Vanderbilt University School of Nursing (VUSN), we are committed to the generation and dissemination of knowledge; to using science and evidence in advancing nursing science, improving the health of individuals, families and communities, and finding solutions for effective health care delivery; to making an impact on education, nursing and health care across the U.S. and beyond. The following represent select accomplishments by VUSN nurse scientists, educators and leaders in the academic and scientific arenas from the past year.

Funded Grants and Contracts

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing faculty receive funding from federal, national and local sources. Funding includes research awards, teaching and workforce grants and local clinical-community partnership funds.

Selected Works and Accomplishments 2021

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing faculty are recognized for discovery, scholarship and leadership in the nursing profession and higher education. Here is an abridged list of their work, followed by a sampling of student accomplishments. (This information is reported by most recent full calendar year.)

Welcome New Faculty

Kelly Anne Davis, MSN’10, PhD’21, RN, APRN, CPNP-PC/AC Assistant Professor Davis is a pediatric nurse practitioner with more than 15 years of experience in pediatric critical care, cardiology, cardiothoracic surgery, surgery, trauma, hematology and oncology. She has practiced at Levine Children’s Hospital at Carolinas Medical Center and at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at VUMC….

Outstanding alumni and friends honored for accomplishment, service and impact

The Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Alumni Association recognized 11 alumni and friends during the 2022 alumni awards ceremony in October. Honorees were nominated by fellow alumni and colleagues and selected by the association’s board of directors. The awards recognize alumni at varying stages of their careers and in different areas of impact. 2022 Honorees…

Jeffery receives $2.3 million NIDA award

Assistant Professor Alvin Jeffery PhD’17, MS’21, has received a $2.3 million, five-year grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse to develop technology that will use electronic health records to identify people who are likely to have substance use disorder. The specific application of the technology is to support genetic research across multiple organizations. “Opioid…

Steed chosen to direct Family Nurse Practitioner program

Assistant Professor Julia Steed, PhD’18, MSN’10, will become academic director of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Family Nurse Practitioner Program, effective Aug. 1, 2023. She replaces Professor Courtney Pitts, DNP, FAANP, who led the top-ranked specialty for the past seven years. “We’re pleased to have Julia serve as our next FNP director. Her expertise…

Bryant chosen to direct AGACNP program

Assistant Professor Sharon Bryant, DNP, MSN’99, has been named academic director for the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner specialty at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, effective May 1. The specialty is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation by U.S. News & World Report in its Best Grad Schools rankings “Sharon’s extensive experience in…

Nursing faculty hope to diversify graduate health science programs with Sesquicentennial Grant

Assistant Professors Julia Steed, PhD’18, MSN’10, and LeTizia Smith, DNP, MSN’07, were selected for a Vanderbilt University Sesquicentennial Grant for “Project SHARE: Sharing Strategies for Academic Faculty and Student Recruitment.” The project will evaluate new ways to recruit and retain faculty and students of color in Vanderbilt’s graduate health science programs.

Vanderbilt School of Nursing Approved for a $250,000 Engagement Award for Project on Overcoming Barriers to Patient- and Family-Centered Comparative Effectiveness Research

A team at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing has been approved for a $250,000 funding award through the Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Awards program, an initiative of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI). The funds will support identifying and disseminating strategies for overcoming barriers to patient- and family-centered comparative effectiveness research with patients who are critically ill and hospitalized in an intensive care unit setting.

School of Nursing receives HRSA grant to train community health workers

Vanderbilt School of Nursing has received a $3 million Health Resources and Services Administration grant from the Department of Health and Human Services to create a training program, standardized set of competencies and certification for community health workers in Tennessee. The new initiative is in partnership with the Tennessee Community Health Worker Association and Rural Health Association of Tennessee. The Community Health Worker Training Program of Tennessee, which kicks off with informational sessions in early 2023, will train up to 90 people per year to help their communities.

Courtney Pitts recognized for social justice work

Professor Courtney Pitts, DNP, MPH, FNP-BC, FAANP, was honored with VUSN’s Martin Luther King Jr. Social Justice Award during VUSN’s MLK event on Tuesday. The award recognizes faculty who foster social justice by advocating for equal rights and opportunities for all people. In addition to leading our FNP specialty and teaching, Pitts provides HIV management and primary care…

VUSN wins Best Schools for Men in Nursing award

For the fifth year in a row, the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing has been named one of American Association for Men in Nursing’s Best Schools for Men in Nursing. The award honors schools that offer supportive education experiences to men in the nursing field and those that work to recruit men to their programs.

Chancellor honors two VUSN staff members at fall staff assembly

Two School of Nursing staff members received prestigious university awards at the fall staff assembly September 29.  Manager of FNIC Support Tim Groves received the Student Impact Award, presented by Chancellor Daniel Diermeier, who said, “With care, expertise and innovation, Tim has contributed to the success of more than 800 nursing students each year over…

Jennifer Kim becomes GAPNA president

Professor Jennifer Kim, DNP, MSN’97, GNP-BC, GS-C, FNAP, FAANP, was named president of the Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association (GAPNA) September 17 at the 2022 Annual Conference in Orlando, FL. GAPNA supports gerontological APRNs at all career levels, helps members prepare for leadership roles and supports policies that lead to equitable access to care for older…

Inside the Summer 2023 Issue of Vanderbilt Nurse