Parker leading Rochester nursing school

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Emory Nursing Magazine


Former School of Nursing professor Kathy Parker, 77MN, began her first day as dean of the  University of Rochester School of Nursing this past August.

Parker has more than 20 years of clinical experience and most recently served as co-director of the Emory Sleep Center. She is one of only five nurses in the country certified in clinical sleep disorders by the American Board of Sleep Medicine and was elected as a fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing. She is currently developing an educational program on insomnia for the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners.

Parker has served on the Institute of Medicine’s Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research, is a manuscript reviewer for a number of clinical and research journals, and serves on several NIH study sections.

She came to Emory in 1993, not knowing what tenure meant, she says, but simply wanting to research sleep. She had worked at the Atlanta VA and noticed that her dialysis patients were sleeping all day and awake during the night. Thus was the start of a research career, in which her studies helped bring a sound night’s sleep to dialysis patients based on the finding that reducing the temperature of dialysis fluid helps patients sleep. She is extending her research to include the study of sleep in cancer patients with pain.

While leaving Emory was painful, Parker says, it was time to take on another challenge. "I want to be in a position to tell nurses what they can do, not what they can’t do," she says of the appeal of serving as a dean. "I have worked with so many wonderful scientists across the university. I’ve never been anywhere in Emory where someone said they wouldn’t help me. But I think it’s now more important to me at this point in my career to foster the development of others."

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