The Present, 2011-2015 as Authored by Dr. Sharon Radzyminski
As of 2011 the School of Nursing entered into a period of stabilization. Dr. Jean Bartels was named Dean of the College of Health and Human Sciences, and Dr. Sharon Radzyminski accepted the position as the fifth Chair in the School’s history. The following year marked the retirement of two exceptional faculty members and program directors, Dr. June Alberto and Dr. Donna Hodnicki. Dr. Kathy Thornton was named the Program Director for the RN to BSN/MSN program following Dr. Alberto’s retirement. Also in 2012, Dr. Bartels became the first nurse at Georgia Southern University to be named Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs. In July 2015, she was named Interim President following the announcement from the Board of Regents that Georgia Southern University President Dr. Brooks Keel had been named President of Georgia Regents University. Dr. Bartels is the first woman and nurse to hold this position at Georgia Southern University. Also in 2015, Dr. Barry Joyner was named Dean of the College following a two and a half year term as Interim Dean.
Significant changes also occurred at the College level. The College of Health and Human Sciences (CHHS), which houses the School of Nursing, realigned two of its Departments. Previously housing six programs, the Department of Hospitality, Tourism and Family and Consumer Sciences became the School of Human Ecology (SHE). In 2014 the Department of Health and Kinesiology became the School of Health & Kinesiology making the College of Health and Human Sciences the first college on campus to be comprised only of Schools.
During this time of transition, faculty continued to meet the challenges affecting nurses both academically and professionally. In spite of a grave faculty shortage, the School continues to excel in both student accomplishments and faculty achievements. Faculty submit over twenty manuscripts to professional journals, present at state and national meetings and conferences annually, and serve as officers in multiple professional organizations.
The undergraduate and graduate programs continue to strive to meet the challenges of the ever-changing healthcare environment. Graduates from all programs are actively sought by area healthcare agencies. The graduate programs continue to be ranked in the top 25% nationally by U.S. News & World Report. The program also secured top honors among all colleges and universities in Georgia, both public and private.
Significant contributions to program success was made by Professor Elaine Marshall whose book, Transformational Leadership in Nursing, was recognized by the American Journal of Nursing as one of two 2011 Books of the Year in the area of Leadership and Management in nursing. The book stresses the importance of adopting interdisciplinary viewpoints that include physicians and other healthcare providers, business leaders, economists and patients in order to contribute to effective healthcare. The book is dedicated to the first Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) class taught by Marshall at Georgia Southern, and has been added to curricula of nursing programs nationwide.
Faculty continue to be involved in multiple educational grants. During this time period, The RUN-2-Nursing grant provided support to minority students interested in pursuing nursing as a career. The Minority Health International Research Training (MHIRT) program, funded by a grant from the National Institutes of Health and the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NCMHD), provided students with the opportunity to experience the research of various minority healthcare issues in the U.S. and abroad, while also increasing minority representation in the health research profession.
The DNP program enjoys HRSA support and has been able to add an educational cognate to its graduate curriculum which provides opportunities for students to develop skills needed for teaching roles. In 2014 a certificate program, open to all health professionals, was added to advance skills in caring for patients with multiple chronic conditions. That same year the School of Nursing received grant support from the University Systems of Georgia to implement a Center for Nursing Scholarship and Research. The Center achieved its first major success in 2015 by securing funding to develop a Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner track within the BSN-DNP program.
Students continue to excel professionally within the School of Nursing as well. This year The School of Nursing Senior I students were honored with the 2011 Volunteer of the Year Award for the Silver Lining Club. The mission of the Silver Lining Club is to provide a social day program for individuals who suffer from Alzheimer’s or dementia-related illnesses while contributing to an improved quality of life for both the participants and their caregivers. Students at all levels actively support the mission of the School through active participation in community services including health fairs and screenings. Graduates of the graduate programs contribute to the nursing profession through manuscripts in professional journals, poster presentations and appointments as officers or fellows in professional organizations.
The academic years 2011-2015 provided both challenges and opportunities. As always the faculty and students met the challenges and moved forward both academically and professionally. As we move forward, the School of Nursing will continue to provide excellent educational opportunities for students and health services to the community and beyond.
Sharon G. Radzyminski PhD, RN, JD
Last updated: 7/16/2015