September 16, 2005

VUSN’s Norman lauded by National Black Nurses group

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From left (back row) are Mitzi Smith, Shanita Coleman-Dockery, Shawanda Clay, Mamie Williams, and Rolanda Johnson; (front row) Bettye Davis-Lewis, National Black Nurses Association president, Linda Norman, Marecha Jackson, Shari Shell and Jeanae Jackson.

VUSN’s Norman lauded by National Black Nurses group

Linda Norman, D.S.N., was given a special trailblazer award from National Black Nurses Association President Bettye Davis-Lewis at their Annual Institute and Conference in Chicago recently.

Norman, senior associate dean at the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, was recognized for her work to increase the diversity of the nursing workforce. She was responsible for developing an educational partnership with Fisk University that allows a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree to be awarded by the historically black university, with the nursing courses being provided by Vanderbilt.

This unique cooperative program of study provides Fisk students with five semesters of experience in the liberal arts environment of Fisk and three semesters of clinical educational experience at a research-based university and hospital.

In 1993, Norman initiated a program at Vanderbilt called “Academic Peer Professional Support for At-Risk Students.” It focused on increasing minority recruitment and retention efforts, and was funded by the Health Resources and Services Administration's (HRSA) Division of Nursing. In the first year of the program the School saw a 55 percent increase in African-American students, and the number has improved each year since that time.

During the development of these programs, discussions about beginning a chapter of the Black Nurses Association at Vanderbilt began. Under the direction of Rolanda Johnson, Ph.D., assistant professor of Nursing, the group took shape and began meeting. Members of the newly formed chapter were with Norman in Chicago and celebrated receiving their official charter from the national organization.