University of Virginia School of Nursing Receives Record-Breaking $20 Million Gift to Support Increased Enrollment

University of Virginia School of Nursing Receives Record-Breaking $20 Million Gift to Support Increased Enrollment

The University of Virginia (UVA) School of Nursing recently received a $20 million record-breaking gift to support the enrollment of more than 1,000 students to join its nursing programs over the next decade.

The gift came from Joanne and Bill Conway and is the largest single gift in the School of Nursing’s history. Bill Conway is the co-founder of The Carlyle Group, a private equity company. This gift is the third from the Conway’s to the UVA School of Nursing and their previous gifts total $15 million, focused on support and expansion of the Clinical Nurse Leader program and establishment of the Clinical Nurse Leader Conway Scholars program.

UVA stated in a press release that the funding will go toward helping to enroll and support more nursing students across two undergraduate pathways: students who transfer into the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, and practicing registered nurses with two-year degrees seeking the benefits of a bachelor’s degree.

Retention in the School of Nursing is high and the school has traditionally only been able to accept a small percentage of the highly qualified applicants who apply to the BSN program. Thanks to the Conways’ gift, the School of Nursing will be able to accommodate more transfer students and develop and launch an accelerated curriculum allowing these students to complete their BSN in two years instead of three.

UVA will also use the gift to help establish satellite nursing sites in Richmond and Northern Virginia to expand opportunities for nurses throughout the state to pursue a BSN. The school will also expand the Mary Morton Parsons Clinical Simulation Learning Center to nearly double its current size, providing students with access to clinical simulations to learn and practice care skills.

To learn more about the UVA School of Nursing’s $20 million record-breaking gift from the Conway family to support the enrollment of more than 1,000 students over the next decade, visit here.

American Academy of Nursing Names Ken White New President-Elect

American Academy of Nursing Names Ken White New President-Elect

The American Academy of Nursing (AAN) has named Kenneth R. White, associate dean for strategic partnerships and innovation at the University of Virginia’s (UVA) School of Nursing, their new president-elect. White’s new appointment was announced at the group’s annual induction ceremony and policy conference in Washington, DC.

White will serve as the Academy’s president-elect through fall 2021 and assume a two-year presidency from 2021 to 2023. Outside of AAN, White is a palliative care nurse practitioner at UVA Health. He is the first UVA faculty member to lead the American Academy of Nursing.

Prior to becoming president-elect, White was inducted as an academy fellow in 2012 and was elected to its Board of Directors in 2017. As a board member, White helped execute the academy’s strategic plan and guide its diversity and inclusivity statement. He is also an endowed professor at the UVA School of Nursing and Medical Center, and holds joint academic appointments in the School of Medicine, Darden School of Business, and McIntire School of Commerce. 

White tells, “It’s an honor to serve at the helm of the academy and to continue the work of nursing giants who came before me. As the pre-eminent organization of nurse scholars, leaders and educators, I look forward to achieving new heights of impact and outcome to improve health and health care across the globe through innovation, advancement of nursing science and impact of health policy to achieve the best care possible for individuals and communities.”

To learn more about Ken White being named president-elect of the American Academy of Nursing, visit here

University of Virginia Honors Hidden Nurses at Annual NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet

University of Virginia Honors Hidden Nurses at Annual NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet

At the 2019 Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP’s Annual Freedom Fund Banquet, the University of Virginia (UVA) honored its Hidden Nurses, the first African American women to help desegregate the UVA Hospital.

One of the nurses honored was Louella Jackson Walker, part of the Licensed Practical Nurse program class of 1958. The program was a partnership between UVA Hospital and Burley High School, an African American segregated school, to help fill a nursing shortage.

Walker tells, “We took our jobs very seriously and they had a shortage of nurses and this was one way to fill that gap.”

Being an African American nurse at the time was not easy, but Walker says she learned to show kindness to her patients, no matter their behavior toward her. However, despite making history and helping to keep the hospital and its patients afloat, she was unappreciated. She reports that she is not sure where UVA would be today if she and other “hidden nurses” hadn’t served as some of the first African American nurses at the newly desegregated hospital.

Honoring these hidden nurses came about after Walker and another former classmate found old photos from the program at a yard sale. They gave the photos to the UVA School of Nursing, which decided it was time to make things right. Susan Kools, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at the UVA School of Nursing, reports that the hidden nurses received a formal apology from the dean for being excluded from their community, and were inducted into the alumni association.

Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP President, Janette Boyd Martin, said she wanted to recognize the nurses because the black community needs to celebrate leaders like them. She helped recognize the nurses at the freedom fund banquet. Sixteen nurses from the LPN program were present at the banquet.

Martin says, “People need to know about them and what they’ve done. Especially for our children, so they can see role models.”

To learn more about the UVA hidden nurses who were recognized at the 2019 Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP’s Annual Freedom Fund Banquet, visit here.

Home-Based Primary Care Provider Reduces Vets’ Excess Meds

Home-Based Primary Care Provider Reduces Vets’ Excess Meds

Every morning starts the same way for Veteran Kenneth Tutt, age 79. At 8:00am he makes a phone call to Nurse Practitioner Rhonda Weinhold. Weinhold is a VA Home-Based Primary Care (HBPC) provider. She has been working with Tutt for four years. Together they review his weight, blood pressure and sugar levels. “There is no doubt in my mind I would not be here if it was not for this program,” said Tutt.

Home-Based Primary Care is a VA program bringing primary health care into Veterans’ homes. HBPC provides integrated, patient-centered care for Veterans with complex medical needs. Veterans in the program are assigned a primary care provider like Ms. Weinhold, based at the Staunton, Va., community-based outpatient clinic. “The families, the caregivers in the home, they really depend on us,” she says. “A lot of our patients consider us part of the family.”

“So Many Medications!”

Recently, Weinhold began something new for Tutt and several other patients that has helped to reduce their medications and resulted in higher satisfaction with their quality of life. Not long ago, she attended a VA Geriatric Scholars Program class, which inspired her to develop a medication management program to review patient medication prescriptions. The idea came in part from a HBPC routine: setting up monthly medication boxes. “We love doing it, but we noticed our patients were on so many medications. We just thought, are there medications we could potentially get rid of that actually might be doing more harm or that are not needed?”

She teamed up with HBPC team member Jena Willis, Doctor of Pharmacy (PharmD), to develop the idea. The review, it turns out, often results in a reduction of medications. Weinhold says it is good because, “Research shows the more medication patients are on, especially for the elderly population, the greater the risk for falls.” In fact, Tutt admits to having fallen at home a few times in the past. They consolidate the medication de-escalation recommendations, adding them to each patient’s electronic health record. Tutt, like most HBPC patients, takes a lot of medications for a variety of health conditions.

Weinhold asked veterans, “How do you feel about trying to get off some medicine?” Tutt thought, “It was a terrific idea.” The project has helped Tutt feel he’s got a better chance of being the person he’s always been. “I’ve been an outdoor person all my life,” said Tutt, who served in the Navy from 1958 to 1970. “I garden, I raise flowers. I’ve had to cut back, but I’m still mobile.”

HBPC: Keeping Patients Safe in their Homes

“Our goal with Home-Based Primary Care is patient safety,” said Weinhold. “We’re there to keep them safe in the home and to keep them in the home as long as possible.” As they fine-tuned their process, Weinhold brought others onboard. It was a team effort. Three registered nurses met in person with 80 patients over six months. “We were able to reduce the number of medications an average two medicines per patient,” said Weinhold.

After their success in Staunton, they were able to coordinate with Salem VA Medical Center (VAMC) pharmacy residents’ grand rounds presentation on the de-escalation of therapy for the medical department there. The Salem VAMC is Staunton’s Community-Based Outpatient Clinic’s parent facility. The residents added the information to their presentation as an introduction to the rest of the medical facility. “The most rewarding thing is providing improved quality of life for our patients, whether it’s three more days, three more years, or 30 more years,” said Willis.

Maureen Jerrett is a contract writer for VA Geriatric Scholars Program

University of Virginia Nursing Dean Emerita Dorrie K. Fontaine Selected for 2019 Leadership Award

University of Virginia Nursing Dean Emerita Dorrie K. Fontaine Selected for 2019 Leadership Award

University of Virginia (UVA) School of Nursing Dean Emerita Dorrie K. Fontaine was recently selected for the 2019 Elizabeth Zintl Leadership Award. Fontaine will be honored at a reception on October 15. She is known for her focus on creating a healthy work environment, fostering interprofessional education, and furthering efforts of inclusion and diversity in nursing. 

The award was first given in 1998 to honor the memory of Zintl, an accomplished writer and journalist who served as chief of staff to the UVA president until her untimely death in 1997 at age 45. According to, the award recognizes a female employee who has given an “unusually high degree of service to the University, within and beyond the expectations of the position” and “whose excellence in work makes a direct and significant impact on the core academic enterprise.”

Fontaine retired from her position as Dean on July 31. She is taking a sabbatical this year and helping colleagues co-edit a book titled, “Caring for Ourselves, Caring for Others: A Self-Care Handbook for the Student Nurse.”

Fontaine is a former trauma and critical care nurse. She founded UVA’s Compassionate Care Initiative in 2009 with a mission of alleviating human suffering through developing compassionate caregivers and systems. The initiative nurtures students, faculty, staff, and clinicians to become resilient and know that caring for themselves provides a foundation for the safe and exceptional care of others. Fontaine is also a past president of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses, the largest specialty nursing organization in the world, and past president of the Virginia Association of Colleges of Nursing.

To learn more about Dorrie K. Fontaine, Nursing Dean Emerita for the University of Virginia School of Nursing who was recently selected for the 2019 Elizabeth Zintl Leadership Award, visit here

University of Virginia Names Pamela Cipriano Interim School of Nursing Dean

University of Virginia Names Pamela Cipriano Interim School of Nursing Dean

The University of Virginia has named Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, FAAN, the interim dean of the School of Nursing. She is currently a member of the school’s research faculty and has served two terms as the president of the American Nurses Association from 2014 until December 2018. She will assume her new position on August 1 and serve as interim dean until a permanent successor is named.

Cipriano has held a 40-year career in nursing with a focus on improving the quality and safety of services and the work environment for all staff. She has extensive experience as an academic medical center executive and previously served nine years as the chief clinical officer/chief nursing officer in the UVA Health System where she was responsible for inpatient and outpatient clinical services. The Health System was named an American Nurses Credentialing Center “Magnet” designation in 2006 under Cipriano’s leadership. 

Cipriano is well known for being an advocate for quality and growing nursing’s influence on health care policy and efforts to advance the role and visibility of nurses. She served as a public sector adviser in the US delegation to the 69th World Health Assembly in 2016 and currently serves as the first vice president of the International Council of Nurses.

UVA President Jim Ryan tells, “I want to thank Pam Cipriano for her incredible service, and for her willingness to step into this new role. Pam is a nationally recognized leader in nursing, and she’s been a strong advocate for nurses and patients alike for decades. While it will be difficult for anyone to follow Dorrie Fontaine, I know Pam will do a fantastic job, and I look forward to working with her.”

To learn more about Pamela Cipriano who has been named interim dean of the University of Virginia School of Nursing, visit here

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