“When I came as Dean in 1984, we were celebrating our 75th year. Little did I realize that I would lead the School into our 101st year! Our Centennial year gave us a wonderful opportunity to look at where we’ve been and where we are headed as a School of Nursing and as nurse professionals, and to collect and organize 100 years of memorabilia. It was exciting to connect and re-connect with many of you during the year’s special activities. This academic year, I celebrate my 26th anniversary as your dean and as the second longest seated dean of School of Nursing in the country!
I first went into nursing because I believed then, as I do now, that there is no other career that offers as many opportunities. I see this played out every day when I hear about the wonderful work of our alums or meet with students to talk about their career paths. Nursing touches and changes the lives of people like no other profession.
During my years as dean, I have been fortunate to play a part in the development of the Prespeciality (bridge), the Ph.D. and the D.N.P. programs, and this fall we launch our first non-nursing degree – a Master of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics with a focus on administration or informatics. The School has continuously reinvented itself and is distinguished among its peers, with innovations in academics, faculty practice, research, informatics and an unparalleled focus on activities in the community.
The way we teach nursing has evolved over time. During the past several years, our school has embraced technology and used tools including many online learning applications, to enhance our teaching methods. Therefore, our learning experiences provide greater access to information for our students.
Vanderbilt University School of Nursing owes our successes to many women and men who challenged the status quo, met problems head-on and set precedents at the school – nationally and internationally.
Our collective history is remarkable. I am honored to have made a contribution for the past 26 years, along with so many talented faculty, staff, students and alums. We are each part of this special community of compassionate, intellectual and resourceful members and together we build, reshape and fortify today’s students and future generations. While we have accomplished so much together, I firmly believe the best is yet to come.
I hope you enjoy this issue of Vanderbilt Nurse, enhanced with input from our alums, that reflects innovative work being done by our faculty and some amazing personal stories.
Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., C.N.M., F.A.A.N., F.A.C.N.M.
Nancy and Hilliard Travis Professor and Dean of the School of Nursing