October 18, 1996

Nursing School names new associate dean for Research

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Gail L. Ingersoll, Ed.D., R.N., was recently named the School of Nursing's associate dean for Research

Nursing School names new associate dean for Research

A new associate dean for Research has joined the Vanderbilt School of Nursing, completing the school's new management structure.

Gail L. Ingersoll, Ed.D., RN., has been named Julia Eleanor Chenault Professor of Nursing and associate dean for Research.

"I am thrilled to be here at the Vanderbilt School of Nursing," said Ingersoll. "I have been more and more impressed each day. I am having a great time, doing all the things I love to do, research, teaching and administrating."

In her new position, Ingersoll will be responsible for overseeing the research mission for the School of Nursing.

"This includes activities with both the faculty and the students and involves teaching, facilitating, grant proposal development and publication outlets for our research projects," Ingersoll said.

Ingersoll has a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Rochester in New York, and says she initially never planned to go into research.

"I kind of stumbled onto it along the way," Ingersoll said. "I had intended to be an administrator and a teacher, but I got hooked on research while doing my doctoral program.

Ingersoll completed a two-year post-doctoral research fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, focusing on clinical issues related to nursing practice questions.

Then she returned to the University of Rochester and continued in research. She later became the department chair of Nursing Administration and Teacher Education at the Indiana University.

Ingersoll worked for seven years as a critical care nurse in an intensive care unit before returning to school for her advanced degrees.

Ingersoll says she has long been an admirer of the Vanderbilt School of Nursing for its innovative initiatives, including the Bridge program, a master's degree in nursing program for non-nurse-degreed students, and the nurse-managed clinics like Vine Hill, the West End Primary Care Clinic and the new Madison Clinic.

"I have been very impressed with the programs at VUSN and the innovative leadership spearheaded by Dean Colleen Conway-Welch."

Ingersoll is joining two associate deans already in place – Linda Norman, M.S.N., R.N., associate dean for Academic Programs and Roxane Spitzer, Ph.D., R.N., associate dean of Practice Management.

Changing VUSN from a departmental chair structure to the three associate deans structure was a major goal for VUSN Dean Colleen Conway-Welch, Ph.D., R.N.

"The challenges that nursing faces in the new health care world requires the skills of advance practice nurses educated in the three areas of teaching, practice and research to be able to make meaningful contributions to be advocates for our patients," said Conway-Welch. "Having a full complement of associate deans now in place is, personally, both rewarding and exciting to me."

Ingersoll said she will work with those already doing research as well as helping those new to research develop their skills and get funding.

"My goal is to make the environment here at Vanderbilt School of Nursing one where research is both valued and undertaken and seen as an integral part of the school."

Ingersoll will be working on increasing the amount of funding coming into the School of Nursing and will work on marketing the research. She believes the new research component will give VUSN national recognition as a "premiere place for study."

Ingersoll also plans to continue her own research, focusing first on the VUSN nurse-managed clinics.

"I intend to look with Roxane Spitzer at what is going on at the nurse-managed clinics, to determine the effect of them on outcomes and how those clinics are meeting an essential need in the community. I would also like to describe what the impact of those clinics is on the health care needs of people in the state of Tennessee."

Ingersoll says she can already see the fruits of her labors, signing up several nursing students for part-time research assistant positions at VUSN.

"Our goal is to get them exposed to the faculty and the research being done and to get them thinking about research and, perhaps, doctoral education and research down the road."

She says she has already seen great support for research and working together.

"There is a tremendous spirit of interdisciplinary collaboration here that is remarkable – collaboration between nurses and doctors, between the hospital and the Veteran's Hospital and Peabody. I have never experienced the openness, willingness, interest and enthusiasm for groups of people to come together to study important issues that I am seeing here at VUSN."