August 11, 2000

Gee tours, chats way across VUMC

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Vanderbilt Chancellor E. Gordon Gee speaks to faculty of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing. (photo by Dana Johnson)

Gee tours, chats way across VUMC

Chancellor E. Gordon Gee has not been a stranger to the Medical Center in his brief time at Vanderbilt. Within a week, he visited seven areas of VUMC, talking with faculty and generally getting to know the medical side of the University.

“I’m a visual person,” he said in his appearance at the School of Nursing on Monday, August 7. “If I am to do my work well, I have to see things, and I am very encouraged by what I’ve seen.”

In addition to the School of Nursing, Gee also paid calls on the Vanderbilt Page-Campbell Heart Institute, the Trauma Unit and LifeFlight, the Neonatal Intensive Care, the Kim Dayani Human Performance Center, the School of Medicine, and the Odess Clinic, Voice Center and Bill Wilkerson Center.

“I was very impressed with his interest in the unit,” said Dr. William Walsh, Chief of Nurseries in Neonatology, of Gee’s visit to NICU. “We showed him some very tiny babies. ‘Miraculous’ was the word he used.”

Gee also met other NICU physicians and nurses, including Dr. Mildred Stahlman, who founded the unit in 1962. “He was very interested in the history of the unit,” Walsh said. “He was concerned with burnout. He was very interested that our turnover was only 5 percent.” Gee spent time talking with most of the nurses on the unit, including the nurse manager, Diane DesLauriers.

In Gee’s appearance before the Nursing School Leadership Council, he noted that the professional schools, such as Medicine and Nursing, are “world class” and have contributed greatly to Vanderbilt’s reputation, but also noted that the graduates must use that training for the betterment of others.

“We cannot be isolated,” he said. “We have to reach out to our community — Middle Tennessee and the world. We are not training students, we are training leaders.”

Gee also stressed his devotion to the “horizontal” integration of the University, where departments and schools work with each other and share joy in achievements elsewhere in the University.

“Vanderbilt has as strong a position as any university in the country,” he said. “We are about excellence.”