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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.

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 cbs19news.com, “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.

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 news.virginia.edu, 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 School of Nursing Honored for Diversity

University of Virginia School of Nursing Honored for Diversity

The University of Virginia (UVA) School of Nursing recently received a Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, which covers diversity in higher education. This was the first time UVA’s nursing school has been honored and they were among 35 health professions schools nationwide to receive a  2018 HEED Award.

Lenore Pearlstein, INSIGHT Into Diversity’s publisher, tells News.Virginia.edu, “The Health Professions HEED Award process consists of a comprehensive and rigorous application that includes questions relating to the recruitment and retention of students and employees – and best practices for both; continued leadership support for diversity; and other aspects of campus diversity and inclusion.”

Since establishing an initiative on Diversity, Inclusion, and Excellence Achievement (IDEA) in 2014, UVA’s nursing school has shifted its recruitment, admissions, and retention strategies to welcome more underrepresented and first-generation applicants, established affinity groups for students of color, initiated expansive diversity training for faculty and staff, and urged professors to incorporate diverse perspectives and inclusive content into their courses.

UVA nursing faculty and graduate teaching assistants attend trainings across a variety of diversity-related topics, and all nursing students take part in cultural humility training and a plethora of regular activities to drive the school’s message of inclusivity. In 2018, nearly a third of enrolled students are from groups underrepresented in nursing, and more than 17 percent are male.

To learn more about UVA Nursing’s Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine, visit here.

University of Virginia School of Nursing Prepares Students to Help After Disasters

University of Virginia School of Nursing Prepares Students to Help After Disasters

The University of Virginia (UVA) School of Nursing wants to teach nurses how they can help communities struggling to recover following a disaster thanks to an $87,000 grant from the Jefferson Trust.

A panelist from UVA Nursing and Bluefields, Nicaragua, spoke to nursing students and community members about climate change and how the Nicaragua community bounced back from a hurricane 20 years ago. The presentation was part of a series to share insights and lessons learned in disaster preparedness and recovery.

Beyond being prepared to help on a clinical response level, UVA wants nursing students to understand what community resilience is and how communities can be more prepared for disasters. The nursing school says its role with the grant is to integrate a model of community resilience into nursing education. UVA Nursing hopes that students will learn from global examples like Nicaragua and the resilience seen in their local communities and hometowns where students end up as nurses.

Emma Mitchell, assistant professor and co-director of global initiatives at the UVA School of Nursing, tells NBC29.com, “Because of nurses’ unique role in being able to provide direct one-on-one immediate response, combined with the supports we’re able to put in place by advocating for communities, I think that we’re a critical member of the team who responds when a disaster strikes.”

To learn more about the University of Virginia School of Nursing’s plan to teach nurses how they can help communities struggling to recover following a disaster, visit here.