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Nursing graduates embrace chance to improve health care

May. 15, 2014, 9:15 AM

School of Nursing graduate Kameela Williams-Jackson smiles during the school’s ceremony at Branscomb Quadrangle. (photo by Susan Urmy)

Linda Norman, DSN, R.N., Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing and dean of Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, told graduates during Commencement and Investiture ceremonies last week that “this is the most exciting time to be a new master’s or doctorally prepared nurse because nursing is more appreciated than ever.

“In order for our health care system to deliver accessible, effective and high quality care, nurses are crucial, but we can’t do it alone. We need to work in partnership with all members of the health care team,” she said.

School of Nursing Dean Linda Norman, DSN, R.N., left, congratulates Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate Lauren Robbins. (photo by Susan Urmy)

This year’s ceremony recognized 54 Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) graduates, 348 master’s-prepared graduates and two who earned their Ph.D. degrees in Nursing Science.

During the Investiture ceremony on Branscomb Quadrangle, Jeff Balser, M.D., Ph.D., vice chancellor for Health Affairs and dean of the School of Medicine, recognized the accomplishments of all the graduates and acknowledged the leadership of Norman, who was appointed dean in July 2013.

“This is the first Investiture Ceremony conducted by our new dean, Linda Norman,” said Balser. “I am thrilled to have such an innovator and educator in this important role, and with her at the helm we can rest assured there is a bright future ahead for the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing.”

In addressing the graduates, he issued a challenge.

“You have the responsibility to use your education to its fullest,” said Balser. “Ask the tough questions and look for problems to solve, do the research that can revolutionize health care delivery and discover new depths of compassionate care.”

Nursing School Founder’s Medalist Cecilia Kennedy Page receives her academic hood from Terri Donaldson, DNP, left, and Mavis Schorn, Ph.D., M.S. (photo by Susan Urmy)

Some of the school’s Ph.D. and Doctor of Nursing Practice graduates finished their education according to the traditional academic calendar, ending this spring. However, most of the school’s master’s graduates officially completed their advanced practice nursing education last August and are already working in health care in a variety of different areas.

Even so, nearly 120 returned for the graduation and investiture of the academic hood ceremonies, including Cecilia Kennedy Page, DNP, a graduate from Lexington, Kentucky, who was named the 2014 School of Nursing’s Founder’s Medalist.

Page earned her BSN from VUSN in 1979, her MSN from the Medical College of Georgia in 1984 and came back to Vanderbilt to earn her DNP, with a focus in nursing informatics.

Nursing School students Jon Coomer and Leslie Ann Branick were all smiles as they lined up for Commencement. (photo by Susan Urmy)

Page developed a scholarly DNP project for the University of Kentucky HealthCare system, netting a 45 percent decrease in documentation time and a 24 percent increase in nursing satisfaction. She presented her project at the American Nursing Informatics and American Organization of Nurse Executives conferences. She also completed the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow Program. Page is the interim chief information officer at University of Kentucky HealthCare.

The school’s 402 degrees included: 47 in the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care program; 41 Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner; 59 Family Nurse Practitioner; 10 Family Nurse Practitioner/Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Emergency Focus; 13 Health Systems Management; 16 Neonatal Nurse Practitioner; 13 Nurse-Midwifery; nine Nurse-Midwifery/Family Nurse Practitioner; seven in Nursing Informatics; 19 Pediatric Nurse Practitioner/Acute Care; 44 Pediatric Nurse Practitioner/Primary Care; 35 Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Family); 24 Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner; and nine in Women’s Health/Adult Nurse Practitioner.

School of Nursing students Jessica Burke, left, and Martha Lemons, right, pose with Abby Parish, DNP, MSN, assistant professor of Nursing, at last week’s Commencement. (photo by Susan Urmy)


Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate Taaka Cash with her daughter, Nevaeh King. (photo by Susan Urmy)
School of Nursing students, from left, Amber Peasley, Catie Campbell, Meredith Eades and Sarah Quirk, get ready for the main ceremony to begin in Memorial Gym. (photo by Susan Urmy)

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