New ways of thinking

Linda McCauley, Dean, Nell Hodson Woodruff School of Nursing

Dean Linda McCauley

Jessica Holmes, who is featured on the cover of this issue, is making history.

Next year, she will become the first graduate to complete a program that takes our nursing students directly from a BSN to a PhD. As we mark the 10th year of our doctoral program, Jessica embodies a new and direct path for students to become leaders in nursing research, education, and practice.

Our future rests with young students like Jessica to help fill the national shortage of nurses and nursing faculty. There is no doubt that our graduates are entering nursing to make a difference in care delivery and health care systems. It is critical that we provide the clinical and scientific incubators within and outside of health care settings to continue to nurture leadership among our students.

One example is our new Dedicated Education Unit (DEU), launched this past fall in partnership with Emory Healthcare. Based on a model developed at the University of Portland School of Nursing, the DEU pairs a nursing student with an experienced staff nurse for one-on-one instruction. While the DEU enhances the education of our students, it also introduces them to Emory’s health care system and allows its nurses to grow professionally. With time, the DEU is expected to boost recruitment of new nurses and retention of talented professionals. The DEU is the first of many academic practice partnerships that we will build in the coming years.

Our scholarship and education extend well beyond the walls of the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. Later this year, some of our graduate students will work alongside nursing researcher Lynn Sibley to improve global health. Dr. Sibley recently set a school record as the recipient of our largest single grant ever—$8.16 million—from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support safe motherhood in Ethiopia. The grant is a testament to her success in improving maternal and newborn survival rates in Asia and Africa and opens the door to rich opportunities for students, faculty, and collaborators, here and in Ethiopia.

Our faculty numbers are growing, and new clinical-academic partnerships are being forged. Ursula Kelly holds a joint appointment in the Center for Injury Control in the School of Medicine and the Rollins School of Public Health and works with the Atlanta VA Medical Center. Dian Evans holds a joint appointment in the medical school’s Department of Emergency Medicine. Within our own school, Carolyn Reilly is a nurse scientist specializing in cardiothoracic and vascular disease, while Martha Rogers directs the Lillian Carter Center for International Nursing.

Together, our faculty, students, and alumni are building a bridge from the past, with its more traditional approaches to nursing education and research, to a future where we face new challenges with new ways of thinking and educating the next generation of nurses. We look forward to the journey.

Dean Linda McCauley
Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

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winter 2010