New Semester, New Beginnings

Photo of the dean of the UT Austin School of Nursing

Dean Alexa Stuifbergen

It’s true! There is a light at the end of the tunnel.

After more than two years of being shrouded in the dust and mayhem of several major constructions sites, we’re beginning to see the the new health district come to a completion and access to the School of Nursing return to normal. That’s certainly something all of our faculty, students and staff — and visitors — can be excited about.

We even have attractive new landscaping and level sidewalks surrounding us. It’s a pleasure to see these transformations as we come to work or to classes each day.

But that’s not all the news.

Spring Convocation and New Scholars

Just a few months ago, we celebrated as students were handed their bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, and here we are today, starting all over again and welcoming beginning students, including our freshman nursing students who represent the class of 2020, and returning scholars.

Among those new and returning students, we’re happy to welcome two new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing scholars: Carolyn Phillips, MSN, RN; and Davika Reid, MSN, RN. And this year, we were able to select four alumni to be part of the Jonas Nurse Leader Scholar Program: Kimberly Lewis, MSN, RN; Kari McDonald, MSN, RN; Nicole Murry BSN, RN; and Amanda Simonton, BSN, RN. These stellar graduate students are committed to learning how to ensure that health care is delivered in a more equitable and accessible way in the United States.

deans of four health care disciplines

Dean Luis Zayas, School of Social Work, Dean Clay Johnston, Dell Medical School, Dean Alexa Stuifbergen, School of Nursing, and Dean M. Lynn Crismon, College of Pharmacy

IPE Foundations Course

As you know, the School of Nursing has been a leader on the UT Austin campus and across the nation in meeting the demands of providing interprofessional education — including nursing, pharmacy, social work and medicine — by integrating it into our undergraduate curriculum. It’s finally come to fruition as the first Foundations for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice course was held Aug. 26.

I was in attendance along with Dean Luis Zayas, School of Social Work, Dean Clay Johnston, Dell Medical School, and Dean M. Lynn Crismon, College of Pharmacy, to welcome students and encourage these collaborative efforts.

This class has been three years in the planning and will provide students with the opportunity to work in interprofessional teams to master the interprofessional collaborative practice competencies that are needed to deliver high-quality, team-based care. Currently, 260 students have registered for the course from the four disciplines.

students at tables

Students attend first IPE Foundations course

In addition, the new course has four directors and one co-course director (who is a member of the nursing faculty), one coordinator, four teaching assistants and 60 trained faculty team facilitators (five of whom are nursing faculty). An additional 10 faculty members will be invited for specific sessions.

But it isn’t all work and no play at the School of Nursing

We hosted our annual Back to School ice cream social the first week of term and, as usual, it was a great hit. It’s good to see students and faculty reacquaint and catch up with each other before committing themselves to the challenging course work and projects ahead.

student nurses with ice cream cups

Third annual Ice Cream Social

So, welcome back. We hope you are returning refreshed and ready to bring your own renewed sense of enthusiasm and curiosity to your nursing courses.

It’s a new day, a new semester. Let’s explore the possibilities together.

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