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VUSN graduates ready to be positive force in health care

May. 14, 2015, 10:15 AM

Lindsay Ramsey gets a hug from her daughter, Callie, at the School of Nursing ceremony. (photo by Joe Howell)

Linda Norman, DSN, R.N., Valere Potter Menefee Professor of Nursing and dean of Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, told graduates during Vanderbilt’s Commencement and Investiture ceremonies last week that “nursing today is as influential as when Florence Nightingale defined and organized nursing in the United Kingdom in the 1800s. We are one of the most essential elements in health care delivery today and are being recognized for it.”

This year’s ceremony recognized 57 Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) graduates, 378 master’s-prepared graduates and three who earned their Ph.D.s in Nursing Science.

Vania Brown, left, and Maureen Charles pose for a self-portrait before the School of Nursing ceremony. (photo by Susan Urmy)

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, the school’s recent No. 11 ranking in U.S. News and World Report, and the importance of nursing in the health care delivery system. He challenged the graduates to “always be a powerful voice for patients, seek out leadership opportunities and be a positive force for change, ask tough questions and look for problems to solve and be open to new ways of doing things.”

School of Nursing Founder’s Medalist Morgan De Kleine is congratulated by VUSN Dean Linda Norman, DSN, R.N. (photo by Joe Howell)

Some of the school’s graduates finished their education according to the traditional academic calendar, ending this spring. However, most of the school’s master’s and Doctor of Nursing Practice 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 100 returned for the graduation and investiture of the academic hood ceremonies, including Morgan De Kleine, MSN, a graduate of the dual Nurse-Midwifery/Family Nurse Practitioner program, who was the 2015 School of Nursing Founder’s Medalist.

School of Nursing graduates Paula Tucker, left, and Sandra Brown were all smiles at last Friday’s Commencement ceremony. (photo by Susan Urmy)

Morgan’s calling to nursing began as a high school student on a two-month mission trip to Kenya seeing firsthand the demand for high-quality, accessible health care. That experience propelled her to earn her Bachelor of Science in Nursing and minor in international development from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. From there, she went on to work in the emergency room of a nonprofit teaching hospital in Georgia and in the labor and delivery unit at a rural New Mexico hospital.

At Vanderbilt, she was determined to pursue a dual specialty in family practice and nurse-midwifery so that she could serve the widest range of patients.

As a student, her research, practice and volunteer activities focused on improving care for underserved women. She learned about health care challenges in the U.S. through her clinical experiences providing prenatal care to Spanish-speaking immigrants in Nashville and working in rural family practice clinics in western and southern Tennessee.

School of Nursing student Megan Humphreys shares a laugh with a classmate before the main Commencement ceremony on Alumni Lawn. (photo by Susan Urmy)

She developed and implemented a guide for preventive health education to be used during well-woman visits and researched interventions to reduce mother-to-child HIV transmission in Mozambique. She was also the first full-time MSN student to earn a Graduate Certificate in Global Health.

De Kleine credits her family — particularly her husband, a teacher at nearby Christ Presbyterian Academy — with the ongoing encouragement that she needed to succeed in the program. Her immediate plans include working with the underserved, and she eventually hopes to train more nurses and midwives in developing countries.

School of Nursing graduate Joseph Bailey receives his academic hood from Ginny Moore, DNP, WHNP, left, and Leslie Hopkins, DNP, APRN. (photo by Susan Urmy)

The school’s 378 MSN degrees included: 68 in the Adult-Gerontology Acute Care program; 40 Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner; 65 Family Nurse Practitioner; nine Family Nurse Practitioner/Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner/Emergency Focus; four Health Systems Management; 21 Neonatal Nurse Practitioner; 13 Nurse-Midwifery; 10 Nurse-Midwifery/Family Nurse Practitioner; seven Nursing Informatics; 13 Pediatric Nurse Practitioner/Acute Care; 53 Pediatric Nurse Practitioner/Primary Care; 41 Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (Lifespan); 25 Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner; and nine Women’s Health/Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner.

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