As most of you know, I will be stepping down as Dean at the end of this academic year, followed by a year of Sabbatical – so you are not rid of me yet! It has been a great honor and privilege to lead this School for the past 29 years.
I have worked every day to increase the value of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing diploma by educating clinicians, researchers and leaders with the skills to impact health care at the individual, community, national and international levels. Together, we have done just that.
We have transformed nursing education at Vanderbilt and across the nation. We have advocated for nurses, advanced practice nurses and doctorally prepared nurses in such a way that it has resonated throughout the world of nursing. We have grown in the areas of research, informatics, teaching and faculty practice, enriching our students and our community. We have prepared our graduates to enter an ever-changing health care system, and we nurtured our students and their critical thinking skills to address the most challenging problems in our industry.
It has not been easy, but then again, nothing worth doing is ever easy.
This has all been possible because of the combined talents and expertise of faculty, students, graduates, community leaders and staff working together toward common goals that have elevated the education and profession of nursing. Each faculty member has been a tireless educator always striving for excellence. Each
student has shown incredible persistence and tenacity in pursuit of his or her education. Since 1908, each graduate has become an ambassador for the School and a role model to others in their careers. Each staff member has worked tirelessly to make the School appear to run effortlessly.
Your School, our School, is larger than any one of us dreamed. We are the largest professional school on campus with about 1,000 students and have a fierce devotion to technology and blended distance learning, a combination of electronic learning via computer as well as in person learning here at Vanderbilt. This is where nursing education is going in the future. We already have at least 10 years of experience, making us the canary in the coal mine.
Ours is a collective strength. While we have accomplished so much together, I still believe the best is yet to come.
Colleen Conway-Welch, PhD, CNM, FAAN, FACNM
Nancy and Hilliard Travis Professor and Dean of the School of Nursing