Message from the Director
We have come to the end of the Spring 2021 Semester. Students throughout the program have finished clinical hours for both Fall and Spring without a hitch. This is vastly different from a year ago. Our students, faculty and staff have been testing routinely for COVID using a rapid antigen screening process since they are all at higher risk for exposure. All in the School have all been offered the vaccine – either Pfizer or Moderna. Many have volunteered through the Hamilton County Health Department, local community organizations and our own UTC Routine Testing and Vaccine Centers. It has been an excellent experience for us all. I do, however, hope the end is in sight.
We have been able to teach our courses as they have been offered in the past with the vast majority returning to face to face instruction. The RN-BSN/Gateway and DNP programs which were already fully online have not noticed any changes. We plan for the Summer courses to be offered as they were in 2019 – on campus and in the classroom. The Chancellor is planning for a fully opened campus in the Fall. With all of that being said, we are still holding our ace in our back pockets. As we did in the Spring of 2020, we will be able to change on a moment’s notice to either a partially or fully online offering if COVID resurges.
We are excited that we will have a new home in Davenport Hall for the Nurse Practitioner Simulation Program. They should be ready to move into their spaces before the return to school in August. This will relieve some of the scheduling problems the NP program has faced. Their increased use of standardized patient actors has been a great addition to the students’ experience. Dr. Amber Roache, our Nurse Practitioner Program Coordinator, is working with Laure Allen, Executive Director, Professor of Practice, Lyndhurst Chair of Excellence in Arts Education, to develop these experiences and are presenting nationally on their work. This type of simulation has been around for a long time. We now have the space and talent to offer this exciting form of experiential learning to our students.
In May, we are looking forward to welcoming our new MSN students in the Nurse Practitioner and Nurse Anesthesia concentrations as they will be our last. Starting in January 2022, we will be transitioning the Nurse Anesthesia program to the DNP. In Fall 2022, the Nurse Practitioner students will enter their doctoral studies and BSN students will enter a newly revised program. Following shortly afterward in January 2023 we will adding another tract in DNP: Academic Nursing Education for those who wish to teach in Schools and Colleges of Nursing. As we move through all these changes, we will be incorporating the newly adopted Essentials In Nursing Education adopted by the deans and directors at our annual meeting in March which will be a competency based curriculum. Lots of change but all to better prepare our students for practice, no matter what area in which they find themselves after graduation.
Christine Benz Smith, PhD, FNP-BC
Director, School of Nursing
Chief Health Affairs Officer