Message from the Dean

This issue of CONtact magazine highlights progress and accomplishments in the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh’s College of Nursing (CON). Additionally, we chose to feature the professional work of alumni who are living examples of the vision and values of the College. Their “caring and scholarly practice” is enhanced by the integration of evidence-based practice (EBP).

Our highlighted alumni are role models through their use of EBP, which is not new to nursing. The origins go back to Florence Nightingale (1860) who wrote:

For it may safely be said, not that the habit of ready and correct observation will by itself make us useful nurses, but that without it we shall be useless with all our devotion.*

Historically, translating best evidence into clinical practice was a challenge for most nurses. However, today’s technology provides the latest information at their fingertips. Just as clinical practice is rapidly changing, teaching professional nursing is, too. EBP is infused into all nursing classes as the foundation in planning for high-quality patient, family and population-based care.

New milestones in CON history: In 2011, initial accreditation for the maximum five years of the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program was granted from the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. And, the first class of DNP graduates earned their doctoral degrees at commencement in May. Two more classes of MSN-to-DNP cohorts currently are progressing through the 28-credit, post-master’s curriculum. The first class of BSN-to-DNP students begins in fall 2012. For eight quarters in a row, the undergraduate student performance on NCLEX RN has been at 95 percent or above. This is among the best in the state of Wisconsin.

In spring 2011, the CON faculty piloted the first community health clinical course in Peru. The experience was an enthusiastic success and plans are inplace for yearly spring offerings. Community health experiences in India continue each fall interim (December–January). In December 2012, another pilot is planned for Chennai, India: adult health in two different hospital systems (private and public). Preparing culturally competent nurses with an understanding of the global world becomes easier via hands-on international learning experiences. Students frequently comment about how an international clinical course enhances their thinking and communication skills in ways not possible via a local clinical learning experience.

As you read in this issue of CONtact, the College continues to grow and flourish despite the many changes and uncertainties in healthcare today. We are proud of our high-quality outcomes and appreciate the support that comes from our alumni and healthcare partners. Your contributions provide much-needed support to students and bolster our confidence during these challenging times.

Rosemary Smith, Dean

* Notes on Nursing: What it is and what it is not (1860), 160.

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