Message from the College of Nursing Acting Dean: Summer 2020

The summer is off to a busy start at Rush University as we continue to navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic. While this has been a challenging time for everyone, we have much to be proud of at Rush. Our students, faculty and staff have risen to the occasion and are adapting to our new normal, while also being mission-driven in their education, work and practice.

One particularly impressive effort led by the College of Nursing’s Office of Faculty Practice has been the creation of the isolation facility at A Safe Haven for individuals who test positive for COVID-19 and are experiencing homelessness. Additionally, a number of faculty and students have been featured in local and national media for their important work and research related to COVID-19:

On April 30, 2020, we welcomed 364 students into our College of Nursing alumni family at Rush University’s 48th commencement ceremony. While we couldn’t be together in-person to celebrate, the class of 2020 was honored with a digital flipbook that featured videos of our commencement speakers, personalized microsites for graduates and messages of celebration, admiration and joy from Rush administration. This year’s ceremony included Susan Swider, PhD, professor in the Department of Community, Systems and Mental Health Nursing, as University Marshal and Katherine Buaron, MSN, a 2019 GEM graduate, as the first ever student speaker in Rush’s history. I extend sincere congratulations to the class of 2020. I wish you all the best as you take the next step in your careers and know you will continue to serve as wonderful ambassadors for Rush.

Earlier this year, the College of Nursing was pleased to once again be a strong performer in U.S. News and World Report’s rankings. In January, we were ranked No. 1 among 183 schools eligible for the graduate nursing programs category in U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Best Online Programs list and were ranked in the top three in four new online specialty rankings. In March, the College improved in four categories and had three programs ranked second in the nation in the 2021 Best Graduate Schools edition. We could not be prouder to be ranked so highly among a list of so many esteemed nursing schools. These rankings speak volumes about the quality of the faculty and staff at Rush who are so committed to preparing superb practitioners and leaders in nursing.

Our faculty continue to stand out as leaders in nursing and there are some notable achievements to celebrate. Shannon Halloway, PhD, RN, received a $2.3M R01 grant from the National Institute of Nursing Research (NINR) that will support a clinical trial of lifestyle physical activity and cognitive training interventions to prevent memory loss in older women with cardiovascular disease. Heide Cygan, DNP, RN, received the first Shauna Laatz Seed Grant, which is given to support projects that address clinical nursing practice problems. Sarah Ailey, PhD, APHN, and Molly Bathje, PhD, released a documentary “None of Us Want to Stand Still.” The video highlights efforts at Rush and at Georgetown University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities to improve acute and transitional health services for persons with intellectual disabilities. Additionally, Susan Buchholz, PhD, RN, was named the new president-elect of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF). All of these accomplishments demonstrate that our College is strong and leads the country in innovative nursing education directly impacting the quality of care that our graduates provide to patients.

I hope you enjoy the news and announcements in this edition of News & Views. Please stay safe, take care of yourself and know that Rush University is here to support you. Have a wonderful summer and I look forward to interacting with our alumni virtually throughout the rest of the year.

Barbara Swanson, PhD, RN, FAAN
John L. and Helen Kellogg Acting Dean of Nursing

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