Press Release for Friday, September 5, 2008

School of Nursing Gets Award for Innovative Nursing Education

Contact: Joanna Norris, Assistant Director
Department of Media Relations and Events
(904) 620-2102

The School of Nursing at the University of North Florida has been selected as a recipient of the Innovations in Professional Nursing Education Award by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN).

UNF’s School of Nursing was selected to receive the 2008 award in the “Public School without a Health Center” category and will also receive a $1,000 monetary award. The awards program recognizes the outstanding work of AACN member schools, such as UNF, to re-envision traditional models for nursing education and lead programmatic change.

“I am very excited that the School of Nursing has been honored with this award,” said Dr. Pam Chally, dean of the Brooks College of Health at UNF. “This recognition is evidence that the Community Nursing Flagship Program has gained national prominence.”

In 2005, the School of Nursing was selected as the University’s first flagship program. UNF is designating several key academic flagship programs that are destined to achieve national stature and has committed a total of $1.25 million dollars annually for flagship programs like the School of Nursing and other flagship programs.

The feature setting UNF’s nursing program apart from other programs is its distinctive curriculum. The nursing program refined its curriculum in 2002 to correspond to changes in health care delivery trends. Understanding community environments, as well as how individuals and families with health challenges reintegrate into their home communities, is important for today’s health care providers.

UNF’s nursing program is distinguished by its community-campus partnerships with 50 local agencies, where students work with faculty, community partners and residents to plan and implement activities that meet community-identified priorities. Partnerships within areas and neighborhoods include the Beaches, Pine Forest, Northwest Jacksonville, the urban core, as well as with agencies like the American Red Cross and Jacksonville Children’s Commission.

Nursing students at UNF engage children, adults and the elderly in places such as clinics, schools/after-school programs, homeless shelters, housing projects, substance abuse recovery centers, senior/assisted living centers, summer campus, homes and workplaces to promote health.

Each nursing student at the University is assigned to a neighborhood or agency for their entire time in the nursing program, contributing 145 hours of service while learning about the health needs of communities and partnering with local leaders to implement strategies to improve those health needs.

Working in the community gives nursing students a broader perspective about what affects health, provides opportunities to interact with diverse populations as well as allows them to learn about community resources, practice teaching and how to form and maintain partnering relationships.