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School of Nursing

Duquesne University's School of Nursing has a long history of innovation. It was the first in Pennsylvania to grant the Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree (1937) and the first in the nation to offer an online Ph.D. program in nursing (1997). It is designated as a "Center of Excellence in Nursing Education" by the National League for Nursing.

The School prepares students to become professionals who meet the dynamic health care needs of individuals, families, groups, and communities. Faculty facilitate education in the art and science of nursing, promoting ethical, holistic, culturally competent, and population-based care in collaboration with a variety of health care systems.

Over more than 75 years, the School has transformed the lives of its 4,800 students and their countless patients. A naming endowment, in turn, will transform the School by providing perpetual funding for a variety of new initiatives that will exponentially expand its regional, national and global impact.

With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010, more than 32 million Americans will soon gain access to health care services, including those provided by registered nurses and advance practice registered nurses.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the number of employed nurses will grow by 712,000, or 26 percent, by the year 2020. Add replacements for current nurses who retire, and the total number of job openings swells to 1.2 million.

More nurses are needed-and they need to be better educated. Only 50 percent of RNs nationwide hold bachelor's or master's degrees-only 32 percent locally-challenging Duquesne and other schools not only to educate growing numbers of new professionals but also to promote RN to BSN advancement.

What is taught-and how it is taught-is also in rapid transition. Experts-including the influential Carnegie Foundation-call for sweeping curricular reforms encompassing knowledge acquisition, critical thinking and technological utilization.

Under the leadership of new Dean Mary Ellen Glasgow, Duquesne's School of Nursing seeks to create a distinctive academic experience through market-driven innovations. Investments in faculty, programs and facilities are the key to realizing this ambitious vision. You can make it possible by supporting one of the following funding priorities.

Duquesne's founding Spiritans believed that the benefits of education should be available to all, regardless of the ability to pay. Providing educational access is especially important in nursing, as the profession faces a shortage of skilled practitioners.

Increasing funds for academic scholarships and need-based aid will allow the School to extend its commitment while recruiting the most talented and competitive students. Of special importance is the need to increase diversity within the School and the profession. Scholarship funds to increase the number of ethnic minorities and men are an urgent need.

Laboratory simulation technology plays a pivotal role in the integration of classroom and clinical education, better preparing students for experience with real clients in real practice settings. The School has acquired several advanced simulated mannequins in recent years, but more equipment is needed to enhance the learning experience while accommodating rapidly growing enrollment.

Simulation exercises involving nursing students alone are also insufficient in preparing students for work with their colleagues in other health professions. The Nursing School is exploring opportunities with Duquesne's schools of Health Sciences and Pharmacy to construct and equip an interprofessional simulation laboratory, in which students would learn clinical skills as teams, as they will practice them in the real world. Experiences would be conducted both with a larger array of increasingly sophisticated mannequins and with standardized patients. This ambitious initiative will require a significant investment of resources and presents a wide variety of naming opportunities.

Remarkably, the School serves its rapidly-growing enrollment-now nearly 1,100 students-in quarters primarily located on a single floor of a single building. While marginally functional for current needs, the space is certainly inadequate to accommodate future growth in quantity and quality of students and programs.

Ideally, a new building could be designed and built specifically to house the School of Nursing. At the very least, more space in existing University structures needs to be acquired and fitted for nursing studies. Either alternative will require major new philanthropic support from individuals and organizations.

Prominent senior faculty are essential to develop innovative academic programs and raise the School's international profile. The Nursing School currently has only one endowed chair of its own; another faculty member holds a position that rotates among the University's schools. More chairs permanently attached to the School are needed to enhance our teaching, research and service.

Despite-and sometimes because of-the rapid changes in health care policy and technology, medical errors occur too frequently. Duquesne's close ties to the region's world-class providers and its interdisciplinary strengths ideally situate our School of Nursing for leadership in combating medical errors, but significant operational and endowed investments are needed to build and sustain a comprehensive research and education program.

Consistent with Duquesne's innovative emphasis on point-of-care technology for patient safety, the School has adopted an eBook textbook format for all nursing courses.

The books are inter-connected so students can easily search and retrieve specific information from multiple sources, highlight passages, and add notes to specific content areas. Highlighted passages and notes can be exported to mobile devices for focused studying or shared with other students. Faculty can share highlights and notes with students to guide their reading and preparation for examinations. All of these resources are fully accessible from any computer or mobile device.

In the immediate term, students will be required to purchase their own mobile devices. Dedicated funding for the program can help to defray this expense and support further technological advances.

Unrestricted gifts to the Dean's Discretionary Fund allow the School to allocate resources to its most critical needs and to respond more rapidly to unanticipated opportunities.