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VCU School of Nursing celebrates 125th anniversary
VCU School of Nursing celebrates 125th anniversary

VCU School of Nursing will mark its 125th anniversary this year with a variety of activities to celebrate its tradition of being a leader in nursing education and research. Founded in 1893 as the Virginia Hospital Training School for Nurses, the school has evolved from initially offering a diploma in nursing to currently offering bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. VCU School of Nursing has graduated more than 11,000 nurses and currently enrolls approximately 800 students annually.

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Theresa Swift-Scanlan explores individualized patient care
Theresa Swift-Scanlan explores individualized patient care

When women are diagnosed with breast cancer, their treatment is usually based on characteristics of the general population of women fighting this disease. “They’re making life-changing decisions based on probabilities, and those probabilities are based on population predictors,” said Theresa Swift-Scanlan, Ph.D., RN, associate professor at the School of Nursing. Swift-Scanlan intends to change that. “I want to explore how those decisions could be based on their individual risk factors; the context of their environment,” she said.

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Angie Smith strives to empower patients to self-manage their health
Angie Smith strives to empower patients to self-manage their health

Angie Smith, AGACNP-BC (B.S.‘13/N; M.S.‘15/N), made frequent visits to the hospital as a little girl because her mother was very ill. At a young age she realized she wanted to be a nurse. Smith told her Mom, “I will take care of you.” Originally from New York, Smith moved to Puerto Rico with her family when she was three years old. Later she joined the military, which led her to move to Virginia. Her time in the Marine Corps taking care of injured Marines inspired Smith to seek a degree in biomedical engineering from VCU. Back then she wanted to help improve prosthetics for injured veterans. But her goals soon changed. “I realized that instead of working in a lab, I wanted to be with patients and provide compassionate medical care,” said Smith, a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) student at the VCU School of Nursing.

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Online programs provide opportunities for working nurses
Online programs provide opportunities for working nurses

After working three back-to-back night shifts from Saturday evening until Tuesday morning every week, Carrie Walker usually sets her alarm for 1 p.m. on Tuesdays. “I treat myself to a manicure to make myself get out of bed,” the 28-year-old said. As the night-shift nursing administrative coordinator at Chippenham Hospital, Walker is on her feet from 7 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. rounding on all of the hospital’s units, troubleshooting hospitalwide issues and providing bed assignments for patients who arrive at night. She is often exhausted by Tuesday morning, but after a few hours of sleep and a manicure, she shifts roles from full-time nurse to part-time student. In September, Walker enrolled in the Virginia Commonwealth University Master of Science Program with a Concentration in Nursing and Administration and Leadership. This fall, the graduate degree switched to an online format, joining a growing body of programs that VCU School of Nursing offers online.

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Debra Barksdale strives to improve health care
Debra Barksdale strives to improve health care

Debra J. Barksdale, Ph.D., FNP-BC, ANP-BC, CNE, FAANP, FAAN, associate dean of academic affairs, describes herself as an introvert. One would never imagine that based on the impact she is making nationally in nursing education. A renowned educator, researcher, practitioner and advocate for improving health care, Barksdale is a highly requested keynote speaker at major nursing conferences and other health care gatherings nationwide. She has been the voice of the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF), having served as its president for two years, president-elect for two years and two terms on the Board of Directors. She has also served on the Veteran’s Choice Act Blue Ribbon Panel and is the only nurse on the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) Board of Governors appointed by the U.S. Government Accountability Office under the Obama Administration. In all of these roles she has been a passionate, vocal leader. But there’s another side to her.

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Lindsay Kunik provides hope to seriously ill pediatric patients with Butterfly Kisses Care Baskets
Lindsay Kunik provides hope to seriously ill pediatric patients with Butterfly Kisses Care Baskets

Lindsay Kunik was inspired to start the nonprofit Butterfly Kisses Care Baskets after meeting an 8-year-old pediatric patient named Ellie. The nonprofit, based in Charlotte, North Carolina, aims to support children with cancer and other serious illnesses by providing care baskets, packages and other supportive measures to families. The organization also aims to raise awareness of childhood cancer and other underfunded pediatric diseases.

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VCU School of Nursing
Virginia Commonwealth University
VCU School of Nursing | Sadie Heath Cabaniss Hall
Box 980567 | 1100 East Leigh Street | Richmond, Virginia 23298-0567
Phone: (804) 828-0724 | Fax: (804) 828-7743 | Email: vcu_nurse@vcu.edu

Updated: Edit Created by VCU University Relations

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