Nursing outlines five-year strategic plan
February 23, 2010, 6:04 am · Updated February 23, 2010, 12:00 am·
Penn Nursing Dean Afaf Meleis and the entire nursing faculty is working on its strategic plan — a set of goals that it hopes to address over the next five years.
One of their major goals is increasing diversity. The Nursing School wants to graduate nurses not only of different ethnicities and religious affiliations, but also of different genders, Meleis said.
Nursing has already made strides in this area.
The freshman class is 41 percent “diverse,” a percentage that includes Native American, Latino, African American and Asian students, Associate Dean for Academic Programs Kathleen McCauley said.
The goal for 2015 is for all of the Nursing School to be at least 40 percent diverse, McCauley said. She added that out of the current freshman class of 110 students, there were 18 men admitted, which is twice the national average for nursing schools.
“We want to be a global school. We want our science to represent the world. We want people to learn from us and we want to learn from them,” Meleis said.
Two new efforts are emerging in the research mission of the strategic plan, Acting Associate Dean for Research Deborah Bruner said.
The Nursing School plans to improve its databases and integrate them across the University and globally so that data can be shared on a large scale. The school also plans to improve its translational research.
The “niche focus” of the Nursing School will be in areas of global public health, including obesity and chronic disease, Bruner added.
“It is a good time to be discussing a strategic plan because at the same time, there is a national commission looking at the future of nursing,” Associate Dean for Community Affairs and Practice Eileen Sullivan-Marx said.
Everyone employed in the school has an input in this plan, including employees other than faculty and administrative staff, Sullivan-Marx added.
Nursing’s goal is to integrate the thoughts of everyone involved, according to Meleis.
The Nursing School needs to get ready for the next generation of nurses and faculty, Sullivan-Marx said.
Regarding the changes that this new generation will bring, Meleis talked about a dramatic shift in communication and a change in the nature of learning and thinking.
Beyond that, there will be more of a struggle to keep people healthy with so many environmental risks, she said. “The challenge is how to graduate people being taught by today’s methods for tomorrow’s world.”