College of Nursing Journey to the Top 25

College of Nursing Journey to the Top 25


We really are on the leading edge of transforming
nursing education, nursing leadership and nursing practice, and I just find it so exciting
to be working on this national stage and having the opportunity to really be engaged in transforming
what nursing is all about. There’s many ways that alumni can give back
to the College of Nursing. I think that if they thought back on their
experience and what helped them to be successful, I really think that that would also key them
into some things that might be meaningful for them to give to. Whether it’s a student scholarship, or endowing
a faculty award, or endowing a professorship so that we can recruit and retain the best
faculty to teach our students. You want to come to a place where people are
doing good work, who want to continue doing good work and who are welcoming and open to
new ways of doing good work. We’ve been able to go out and recruit some
of the most talented faculty in the country to bring them here, to be able to teach the
programs that our dean and her strategic plan is trying to focus on, so you have to have
monies to be able to do that — and also it shows a commitment of past graduates to the
programs. This professorship provides me with the resources
to continue to do good work. Nursing faculty are so caring. They are so invested. They really take time to find out how you
are doing and what you are thinking, and they want to hear your opinion and your advice
on how they can teach better, and they’re super influential. I’ve made so many connections, and it’s
definitely a confidence-builder going forward. The University of Tennessee College of Nursing
has been able to recruit Tennessee’s best and brightest. For the last four years, we’ve had the highest
incoming GPA in our freshman class of any other colleges on this campus, the 11 colleges. And we boast an average of a 28.8 ACT, with
a 4.22 GPA this year. We train wonderful nurses, and we put out
graduates who are really ready for practice. But, besides that, along the way of their
educational journey, these nursing students and
advanced practice nursing students are involved in the community and in the health of the
community. When we provide nursing care to any patient
in the community — any child, any family — we are changing those lives. And when we provide financial support for
faculty, to support students, to be able to do that, our impact can be tremendous. Getting a scholarship has been huge for me,
because I really like to focus on academics and studies, and having a scholarship really
freed me up to be able to devote more time to my school and studies and not have to worry
about everything that I needed to get done outside of class. The scholarship has been a huge blessing for
my life. It’s allowed me to focus on my studies and
focus on school without having the burden of financial issues. Getting nurses prepared to go into underserved
areas is probably one of the best ways to fill those gaps. From Florence Nightingale all the way through,
they’ve been on the front lines and so in the community, in the areas that experience
health disparities. The College of Nursing has made immense progress
in the last several years, but the dean, the faculty, the students, the staff and the alumni
believe that the future is much greater. And they have a tremendous number of plans
in place to move the college significantly as we look toward the future. One of those is a new building and a renovated
old building for the College of Nursing. We’ve just outgrown what we have right now. Our biggest challenge, of course, is physical
space here in the building. We need more classrooms, larger classrooms,
better-equipped classrooms with technology. We need more office space for faculty members. Over the last five years, I’ve been involved
in converting storage closets into offices, which faculty are now sharing. I’ve been giving to the College of Nursing
for 30 years. I think that if we’re going to be a top-25,
or even a top-15, top-10 college of nursing in the country, then we cannot do that on
tuition alone. Everybody needs a nurse — and we need great
nurses. I hope that you will invest in our College
of Nursing.

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