Letter from Dean Linda McCauley

Hello everyone

Cover of the print edition
I’m often asked about the overarching mission of our School of Nursing. Easy, right? Educate future nurses. Teach the skills necessary to provide excellent patient care in a variety of settings. Well, that answer is a lot like today’s nursing licensure exam—it’s correct, but not the best answer. 

The health care industry is evolving rapidly. That means nurse researchers and educators must work in a constant state of innovation to best care for the populations we serve. I’m proud to say the School of Nursing remains at the forefront of teaching and research in data science, care models, population health, and more.  We pride ourselves on preparing visionary leaders with a thirst for discovery and a heart for patients, communities, themselves, and their families. 

But to be Pollyanna on the topic would not reflect the real world that we are experiencing today. 

The COVID-19 pandemic expanded and complicated many of the challenges already in place. Blind spots were exposed. Old wounds opened. 

This issue of Emory Nursing explores the future of nursing from a different perspective.  We provide a viewpoint to empower nurses to play a more strategic role in affecting change and guiding our other health colleagues on addressing the crisis in front of nursing and health care in general.  In March, the School of Nursing partnered with the Goizueta Business School and other leaders in the university and Emory Healthcare to bring together some of the nation’s leading experts in health care operations, business, and nursing to shed light on—and offer solutions to—what keeps health care industry leaders up at night including: 

- A critical shortage in the supply chain of professional nurses  

- Gaps in the availability of nurses in specific areas such as mental health services, rural health, and care of an aging population 

- Levels of clinician burnout that we have never experienced, and

- Fierce competition for a limited supply of well-prepared nurses. 

We also welcomed Peter Buerhaus, a thought leader in nursing and health economics, to discuss where and how the world should invest in a 21st-century health workforce. I invite you to learn more about the Business Case for Nursing Summit in this issue. We believe the bedside and the bottom line don’t have to be at odds. With interests in teaching, clinical partnerships, and research, nursing education plays a key role. 

Schools of nursing help ensure the workforce is trained to address changing health priorities. We identify and close gaps in training. We can be advocates for our students, graduates, and the industry when it comes to resiliency, safety, and expanding scopes
of practice. 

As the role of nursing changes, so does the role of nursing education. 

Many nursing schools have seen a rise in applications since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is not surprising. The world is full of people who “run into the fire,” to charge forward to someone’s aid. That’s a great attitude for a nurse—and a teacher. 

So, what’s the role of nursing education? Whatever it needs to be to answer the call. 

Enjoy the issue.

Portrait of Dean Linda McCauley

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