Spring is a time for renewal and growth. I’m proud to report that Rush is embarking on a renewal of its own through the Rush System for Health. We are uniting clinical, research and education endeavors in a new way. Leaders from across the enterprise are conducting meetings about the future of health care and education at Rush. Additionally I am meeting with the chief nursing officers from Rush University Medical Center, Rush Oak Park Hospital and Rush Copley Medical Center on a monthly basis.
We also have new leadership in the college that will reinforce our commitment to innovative nursing education.
- After a national search, Gerard Hogan, DNSc, CRNA, APRN, has accepted the position of associate professor and program director for the Nurse Anesthesia program, currently ranked No. 4 in the nation.
- Mary Heitschmidt, PhD, APRN, CCRN, and Beth Staffileno, PhD, FAHA, have been named the new co-directors of the Center for Clinical Research and Scholarship, or CCRS. Janice Phillips, PhD, RN, FAAN, joined the group in January as director of Nursing Research and Health Equity. The CCRS held a retreat in November with representatives from all nursing units across the Rush System for Health for nursing research strategic planning. This new leadership team is currently putting together a structural model/schematic to show the academic health service partnership for research, EBP and QI initiatives. They are also focusing on patient care and national safety priorities as the catalyst for CCRS projects.
In this time of renewal, I would be remiss not to mention the current challenges our society and profession face on a daily basis: Mental illness in children and adults, limited health care access to patients, erroneous criticisms of nurse practitioners, disparities in care and gun violence.
What I’m most proud of this spring is the work of our alumni, students and faculty leaders who are confronting these societal issues where nurses are uniquely qualified to create systemic change. For example:
- The “Black Girls Move” campaign by Monique Reed, PhD, RN, acknowledges the power of black mothers and daughters to create a movement for themselves to live healthier lives. Originally funded as a three-year project through BMO Harris Health Disparities Fellowship, Rush University College of Nursing and Rush University Schweppe Armour, the intervention has been submitted for additional National Institutes of Health funding.
- Shannon Halloway, PhD, RN, postdoctoral research fellow, published an article that shows a link between exercise and more gray matter in brains of older adults. She won Best Abstract Award at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions conference for this work.
- Twenty-two Public Voices Fellows from the College of Nursing, mentored by The OpEd Project, used their voice to disseminate 50 nursing opinion articles to the public through varying media channels, from Scientific American to The Washington Post.
- Three nurses from Rush — Janice Phillips, PhD, RN, FAAN, Monique Reed, PhD, RN, and Jen’nea Sumo, PhD, RN — were honored by the National Black Nurses Association for their outstanding contributions to public health, community health and health care advocacy.
- Two nursing students have implemented community projects in Chicago as part of their Schweitzer Fellowship. Kelly Leffler partnered with Westside Health Authority to empower residents of the Austin community to increase their economic viability through adult education and job preparedness training. Alyssa Stella partnered with Lakeshore Center for Behavioral Health to provide fun and creative opportunities for regular physical activity and health education for children and adolescent inpatients.
So what else can we do now to make a difference? One thing I encourage all of you to do is join me in #NursesAgainstGunViolence on Twitter, created by my colleague Patricia Davidson, dean of nursing at Johns Hopkins University. We have pledged to tweet about gun violence every day until measurable change happens. Uniting with fellow nurse leaders is a powerful tool.
Nursing is consistently named by the public as the most trusted profession, and we believe it is time to voice our expertise and knowledge on a larger scale to create sustainable change.