State of the School
Nursing State of School Looks Back, Eyes Future
When Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Bill and Joanne Conway Dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing, first arrived at the institution, she knew she wanted her legacy to be that she left the School “a better place to work and learn, grounded in civility, respect, and inclusion.”
More than a decade later, Kirschling, who will retire this year, said the work the institution has accomplished since 2013 “goes beyond what I could have imagined.”
To a standing ovation and with tears in her eyes, Kirschling thanked the School community.
“There is much more that I could say about our work together. But also, most of all, I'm proud of our decade-long place on the long arc of the 134-year history of the School of Nursing,” she said. “It is truly a decade to celebrate together, remembering our history, stretching back to 1889, and understanding that each decade is a building block for the next. Our shared work comes back to my opening theme that over its long history, the School of Nursing has continually gone the distance in the past, in the present, and in the future.”
At the School of Nursing’s annual State of the School address on May 1, the dean reflected on her tenure, which spanned a national racial reckoning, a pandemic, and a country-wide nursing workforce shortage.
Since Kirschling assumed the role of dean in 2013, the School has made significant strides in changing the face of nursing. In 2013, 37% of students identified as racially or ethnically diverse. By fall 2022, that representation had increased to 53%.
“An important component of educating a diverse student population is having a diverse faculty that enables all students to see themselves as future nurses and future nurse leaders,” she said.
Over the past five years, faculty who identified as racially and ethnically diverse increased from 28% to 42%. During the same five-year period, staff diversity increased from 34% to 47%.
And in 2016, the School hired its inaugural associate dean for diversity and inclusion, the first such dean on the University of Maryland, Baltimore campus.
“We grew individually and collectively in our understanding of topics such as implicit bias, difficult conversations, restorative justice, and the history of racism in our city and within the health care system. Through this, we came to better understand the impact of our actions and attitudes toward others and to better appreciate the historical underpinning of issues that many in our community face on a daily basis,” Kirschling added.
Community and public health has also remained a primary focus for the School, through multiple partnerships throughout Baltimore City.
Nursing students have worked with Paul’s Place in West Baltimore for over three decades. Each week, they participate in a nurse-led clinic for the community where nursing students along with students from across UMB participate in faculty-supervised street outreach to individuals experiencing homelessness.
And more recently, the School launched , a partnership with the Enoch Pratt Free Library System that embeds student nurses in branches throughout Baltimore to provide basic health screenings and health education at no cost to patrons.
Kirschling has been a “terrific partner” during this last decade, said UMB President Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, FACS, at the close of the event.
“Many times during COVID, I believe she gave us a an ounce of common sense when we needed it badly,” he said, referencing Kirschling’s leadership in standing up and running the UMB COVID-19 vaccine clinic and the School’s “early-exit” initiative, which, in response to then-Gov. Larry Hogan’s request, allowed nursing students who had met the requirements for graduation to work as nursing graduates prior to their formal graduation. Over the course of four semesters, 614 nursing students began service under this initiative.
And while UMSON has always been an excellent School, it has advanced even farther with Kirschling’s leadership, Jarrell said.
“Jane, thank you for your energy,” he added. “Thank you for being there for us.”
Past State of the School Addresses
Moving Beyond the Pandemic to Innovation and Discovery
Breaking ground for a new way forward.
That was the theme of the 2021 State of the University of Maryland School of Nursing, encapsulating “our exceptional efforts as a school and as a team during this pandemic,” said Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, the Bill and Joanne Conway Dean of the University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON), during the pre-recorded address.
“This is the first time we have held a virtual State of the School, but given the past 13 months, this is not the first virtual event for any of us,” Kirschling said.
During the address, she focused on all that the school has accomplished and what its faculty, staff, and students have learned during the past year, then commented on how the school can harness this to shape its path forward. The 2020 State of the School address was canceled in spring 2020 at the height of the pandemic.
“Ceremonies for breaking ground, or turning the first sod, are centuries old and span cultures,” Kirschling explained. “The symbolism of a groundbreaking is especially apt this spring, as we cautiously emerge from more than a year defined by the pandemic of COVID-19. It has been a time that we could not have imagined.”
Throughout the pandemic, “we have continually broken new ground,” she said.
Overcoming challenges related to responding to the pandemic, both in clinical and virtual classroom settings, was the result of the hard work and resilience of UMSON’s faculty, staff, and students. Looking ahead, she noted five key areas on which the school will focus to forge new pathways to excellence:
- Diversity, equity, and inclusion
- Living in, and contributing to, the global world
- Discovering and applying new knowledge
- Accelerating adoption of new ways of teaching and learning
- Future leadership of nursing
Reflecting on the many ways the School is meeting nursing needs in the state, nationally, and even globally, University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, delivered her 2019 State of the School address on April 11 in Baltimore, with a repeat performance at the Universities at Shady Grove on April 23.
"I wrote recently in my column for the spring 2019 issue of our Nursing For/um magazine, that we often think of ourselves as the quintessential Maryland institution, given our role within the University of Maryland System, UMB, and the State of Maryland. But, we are also part of a vibrant national and international nursing community and that brings its own set of responsibilities," Kirschling said, addressing an audience of University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) leadership, UMSON faculty, staff, students, and other invited guests gathered in the UMSON auditorium.
Kirschling welcomed UMB President Jay A. Perman, MD; Bruce Jarrell, MD, FACS, executive vice president, provost, and dean of the University of Maryland Graduate School; and her other fellow deans: Richard P. Barth, PhD, MSW, dean of the University of Maryland School of Social Work; Natalie Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, FCP, dean of the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy; E. Albert Reece, MD, PhD, MBA, dean of the University of Maryland School of Medicine; Mark A. Reynolds, DDS, PhD, MA, dean of the University of Maryland School of Dentistry; and Donald B. Tobin, JD, dean of the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law.
The event started off with a "virtual tour" video created to attract the 440 entry-level students the school admits each academic year. This year's address also featured a series of short videos highlighting various research projects, academic programs, student support and success, and initiatives that are addressing the often-cited 2010 Institute of Medicine report, "The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health," which, Kirschling said, has substantially reshaped the landscape of nursing education and all aspects of the profession, in Maryland, regionally, and nationally.
"The School of Nursing not only responds to Maryland’s needs, but as a program ranked in the top tier of all schools with master’s and doctoral programs, we have a special obligation to help lead the way in responding to national needs," she said.
Kirschling said UMSON is responding to the needs:
- to increase the percentage of nurses with baccalaureate degrees or higher to 80% of nurses by 2020, to ensure a workforce equipped to deal with the growing complexity of care;
- to double the number of nurses with doctoral degrees, so that nurses are prepared for advanced practice, teaching, research, and scholarship;
- to increase the diversity of the nursing workforce to make it more reflective of the population it serves and better equipped to provide culturally competent care; and
- to increase interprofessional education.
Among other highlights of the annual review of the School’s accomplishments, 742 new degrees and certificates will have been conferred this academic year. UMSON’s increasing presence at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) is a reminder of the importance of USG in providing access to nursing education for students from the capital region and Western Maryland, Kirschling said.
The State of the School also highlighted:
- the Debra L. Spunt Clinical Simulation Laboratories, which celebrated their 20th anniversary in December 2018
- the Doctor of Nursing Practice Neonatal Nurse Practitioner specialty
- Dual-admission partnership programs with 13 community colleges to transition students earning an Associate Degree in Nursing to a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree
- the Maryland Nursing Workforce Center led by Rebecca Wiseman, PhD, RN, chair of UMSON at USG and an associate professor
- the increasing number of diverse students changing the face of nursing;
- the 2020 S. News and World Report rankings of graduate nursing programs, which ranks UMSON’s Nursing Informatics master’s specialty No. 1, as it has since U.S. News first ranked nursing informatics programs five years ago.
Reflecting on the past year’s accomplishments and on challenges ahead, University of Maryland School of Nursing (UMSON) Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, delivered her 2018 State of the School address in Baltimore on April 11 and at the Universities at Shady Grove on April 17.
Speaking to an audience that included University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) leadership; UMSON faculty, staff, students, and alumni; and invited guests, Kirschling focused on education, faculty research and scholarship, diversity and inclusion, collaboration, and community engagement.
“It is an important time in nursing as we respond to the evolving needs of our patients, our communities, and the health care system,” Kirschling said. “Addressing this has implications for all aspects of our work as a school — education, research, practice, and service — and for our vision and strategies for the future.”
“As I talk about the accomplishments of the past year and the challenges ahead, I want to frame this in the context of two forces that are driving changes in what we do,” Kirschling continued. First, she cited the landmark 2010 Institute of Medicine report The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which calls on colleges of nursing to increase the percentage of nurses with baccalaureate degrees from 50 percent to 80 percent by 2020; double the number of nurses with doctoral degrees; implement early and continuous interprofessional collaboration; and provide opportunities for continuous learning across the spectrum of a nurse’s career.
Second, she said, Maryland needs to ensure it has the nursing and health care workforce to provide effective and compassionate care to individuals, families, and communities.
“We take seriously our responsibility as an institution within the University of Maryland, Baltimore, and the University System of Maryland to serve as a leader for excellence in nursing throughout the state,” she said. “As we respond to these forces, our actions are informed by the 2017-2021 Strategic Plan for the School of Nursing and the foundation provided by the University plan. We are now about one year into implementation of the plan, and it has guided our priorities.”
Additionally, Kirschling highlighted accomplishments of UMSON and its faculty and staff.
“My hope is that today’s State of School leaves each of you with a better understanding of our work over the past year and our vision for the future,” Kirschling said. “But more importantly, I hope that it reminds you that what we do is only a very small piece of what we truly accomplish — every action is indeed a statement. We are fortunate to have students, faculty, staff, and alumni who want to make a difference.”
Top photo: Dean Kirschling (center) with leaders from University of Maryland, Baltimore.
Bottom photo: Guests commemorate the first in-person address at the Universities at Shady Grove.
Dean Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, delivered her 2017 State of the School address on April 19, 2017, to University of Maryland, Baltimore leadership, School of Nursing faculty and staff, and other special guests.
During her address, Dean Kirschling emphasized the importance of preparing nursing students to adapt to the evolving needs of patients, communities, and the health care system. One of the central challenges the School’s educators face is how to develop and prepare students for a nursing workforce environment characterized by increasing complexity of care, an increasingly diverse and aging population, and multiple sites of care delivery. Addressing these needs has implications for each of the School’s key components—education, research, practice, and service—and ties directly into the School’s vision and future strategies for the next five years.
In response to the ongoing challenges facing nurse educators, the dean outlined the School’s strategy to uphold the recommendations found in the Institute of Medicine’s 2010 landmark report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which called on colleges of nursing to increase the percentage of nurses with baccalaureate degrees from 50 to 80 percent by 2020; double the number of nurses with doctoral degrees; implement early and continuous interprofessional collaboration; and provide opportunities for continuous learning across the spectrum of a nurse’s career. Additionally, Kirschling highlighted accomplishments of the School and its faculty and staff.
Watch the 2017 State of the School address:
Dean Jane M. Kirschling , PhD, RN, FAAN, recently delivered her 2016 State of the School address to University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB) leadership, School of Nursing faculty and staff, and other special guests. During her address, Transforming Nursing: Living Our Core Values, Dean Kirschling informed attendees about how the School is responding to some of the significant challenges facing nursing, while maintaining the core values of UMB and the School of Nursing.
In her address, the Dean outlined the School’s response to the Institute of Medicine’s (IOM) 2010 landmark report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, which called on colleges of nursing to increase the percentage of nurses with baccalaureate degrees from 50 to 80 percent by 2020; double the number of nurses with doctoral degrees; implement early and continuous interprofessional collaboration; and provide opportunities for continuous learning across the spectrum of a nurse’s career. Additionally, Kirschling highlighted the accomplishments of the School, faculty and staff.
Faculty, staff, students, alumni, and special guests assembled at the School of Nursing on April 8 for Dean Jane Kirschling's first annual State of the School Address. The presentation, "Academic Nursing: Maryland and Beyond," highlighted 2014 faculty, staff, and departmental successes, as well as new traditions, culminating with a look ahead to the future.
Dean Kirschling began with some recent highlights, which included the School's new No. 6 ranking by U.S. News & World Report. Eight of the School's master's specialties/options are ranked in the top 10 and two — Clinical Nurse Leader and Nursing Informatics – are ranked No. 1
Speaking to new traditions, Dean Kirschling noted the creation of the School of Nursing ceremonial mace; the White Coat Ceremonies that started last fall; the Dean's List for BSN students; and December graduation ceremonies, held for the first time in School history.
Enrollment numbers, which remained consistent through 2014, included a 10 percent increase in the entry level and RN-to-BSN admissions figures. Dean Kirschling was also pleased to announce that the School's student body is comprised of 36 percent minorities, 10 percent higher than the national average of minorities in nursing programs.
"Diversity is one of the University's core values and remains a point of pride for the School of Nursing," Kirschling said. "The diversity of our student body differentiates us from many schools of nursing across the country."
Other triumphs for the School were the revision of the curricula across four programs; reopening of the Neonatal Nurse Practitioner specialty (the only one offered in Maryland); and eight pre-doctoral students being named Jonas Scholars. The School also met all standards during its accreditation audit by the Commission of Collegiate Nursing Education; a formal report is expected in late spring.
A first-rate faculty continues to be a hallmark of the School, as five faculty members are serving in leadership roles at the state and national levels, and 12 recently received faculty awards. In addition, faculty members published 15 books, 275 refereed works, 46 non-refereed works, and made 293 presentations.
"An important facet of academic nursing is seeking and developing opportunities for nursing leadership," Kirschling said. "The School of Nursing has a legacy of producing nurse leaders and I'm pleased that we have so many on our faculty."
The School also continues to excel in faculty research and scholarship, as it received $4 million in National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants in 2014. It is ranked 11th nationally in NIH funding and sixth among state institutions.
Staff contributions have also played a significant role in the growth of the School. The Office of Development and Alumni Relations had a banner year. As of March 31, $2.65 million was raised toward a $3.2 million goal—83 percent of the annual fundraising total. Several of the School's staff members received achievement awards; the Student Success Center had its initial Who Will Caregrant renewed; and the Office of Communications redesigned the School's website, magazine, and e-newsletter.
Dean Kirschling closed her address with her vision for the future. She'd like to see continued opportunities for nursing academic leadership, grant funding, and student success; recruitment and retention of high-quality faculty; and exploration of new models of care in response to the needs of the community. In addition, she wants the School to take advantage of partnerships with the University System of Maryland; within the University of Maryland, Baltimore; and any technological opportunities that may be possible.
"As we move forward, we must ensure that our goals are in alignment with the core values of the University – accountability, civility, collaboration, diversity, excellence, knowledge, and leadership," she said.
(right) Dean Jane Kirschling with colleagues at her first annual State of the School address.
Back Row: Michael B. “Mickey” Dowdy, MBA, chief development officer and vice president, UMB; Richard P. Barth, PhD, dean and professor, School of Social Work; Mark A. Reynolds, PhD, DDS, dean, School of Dentistry; Roger Ward, EdD, JD, MPA, chief accountability officer, vice president of academic affairs, and vice dean of the Graduate School, UMB; Bruce E. Jarrell, MD, senior vice president and dean of the Graduate School, UMB; James B. Kaper, PhD, senior associate dean for academic affairs, School of Medicine; Front Row: Natalie D. Eddington, PhD, FAAPS, FCP, dean and professor, School of Pharmacy; Donald Tobin, JD, dean and professor, School of Law; Jane M. Kirschling, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean and professor, School of Nursing; Jay A. Perman, MD, president, UMB; Lisa Rowen, DNSc, MS ’86, RN, FAAN, senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer, University of Maryland Medical Center; and Jeffrey A. Rivest, FACHE, president and chief executive officer, University of Maryland Medical Center.
Watch the address: