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Lots of change
As you probably know from the news, 2016 was a year of lots of change at the University of Wyoming. We have a new president and provost and had a substantial cut in the state funding of the university. What has all of this meant for the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing?
Maintaining and enhancing UW's quality programs
To start, despite the state budget cuts, UW is strong and I think the new UW leadership is working hard to maintain UW’s quality programs and even enhance them. However, the state budget cuts were not without impact on the SON. We have in the short-term lost faculty positions, which we hope to get back as the state’s economic situation stabilizes and UW recovers from the budget cuts.
School of Nursing faculty and staff have been outstandingly creative, finding ways to continue our programs with fewer resources. Their commitment to our students and to UW is incredible. Unfortunately, in the short-term we have had to suspend admissions into our Master’s Program, which was slated to be updated with a new Nurse Leader curriculum Fall of 2017. We are exploring collaborative relationships that hopefully will allow us to restart the program in the next few years.
Looking forward to 2017
These challenges not withstanding, we are looking forward to 2017! There are so many good things happening in the SON and here’s a sampling:
Our first Doctor of Nursing Practice graduates had a 100% pass rate on the national family nurse practitioner (FNP) certification exam. Not only that, but all of them also found employment in primary care within 3-4 months of graduating! And in 2017, we will have our first DNP graduates who will be in the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner option.
ReNEW, the statewide BSN curriculum shared with the Wyoming community colleges, was launched in Fall of 2016. At UW, we are getting ready for the first graduates who will complete the first three years of the ReNEW curriculum at one of the community colleges to start the fourth year through UW in Fall of 2018. Being able to help provide BSN education across the state of Wyoming is a win-win for students, hospitals, and our communities.
The Friends of the Fay W. Whitney School of Nursing, the development board for the school, has reorganized. Dr. Gaurdia Banister (BSN '80) and Joyce Lyford (BSN '83, MSN '86) have been selected as co-chairs for the coming year. Read more about these individuals and the Friends group by clicking the Friends title above.
The UW Alumni Association Nursing Chapter also elected a new officer board: Dani Johnson ('13) President, Samantha Baker ('16) Vice- President, and Elinore Simpson ('15) Secretary-Treasurer. These dynamic young nurses hold individual visions for the organization that collectively will have quite an impact. All agree to bring together resources that will empower the current FWWSON students through an alumni mentoring program. In addition, they hope to support their colleagues as well as discover ways to improve the nursing profession, working together with Wyoming community leaders and those who have moved out of state to create ways to make a difference. Click on UW Alumni Assoc. title above for more.
School of Nursing faculty continue to engage with other faculty in the College of Health Sciences to develop interprofessional educational experiences for our nursing students. This spring, our students will get to participate in an evening seminar focused on Error Disclosure and Apologies, sponsored by the College, the Wyoming Center on Aging, and UW Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI) chapter. Staff and physicians from Memorial Hospital of Sweetwater County will be leading the seminar.
As I close, I’m reminded of the quote we’ve used quite a bit over the last few years in our advertising for the School of Nursing. “I’m not telling you it is going to be easy – I’m telling you it’s going to be worth it” (Art Williams). That couldn’t be truer for 2016 and 2017! - Mary E. Burman, Dean and Professor