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The College of Nursing has been recognized as a Center of Excellence for the fourth consecutive time since its establishment in 1953. The College was selected as one of the inaugural institutions to receive this designation in 2004. This puts it in the company of other well-known nursing programs, such as the John Hopkins University.

The University’s nursing college consistently advances the science of nursing education through numerous unique programs and courses, and remains a pioneering force in utilizing pedagogical research.

The college emphasizes student involvement in community health programs and encourages participation in its global health initiative. Likewise, students and faculty are provided with a state-of-the-art clinical simulation lab which enables scenario-based learning and research.

Mary-Claire Rocha ’13 BSN has been selected as the winner of the National League for Nursing Student Excellence Paper Competition.

This competition offers students the opportunity to reflect on the meaning of excellence through their metanoia in nursing education.

Rocha defined excellence in nursing as the embodiment of three qualities: innovation, empowerment and compassion.

“Innovation, because now, more than ever, nurses are being called upon to adapt to the changing demands of health care, which often requires the creation of new methods for providing care,” Rocha said. “Empowerment, because no matter how much health care changes, one of the most important duties of the nurse will always be to advocate for our patients. Lastly, compassion, because this quality is at the forefront of excellent nursing and is inherent in every action we, as nurses, perform. Without it, our ability to meet excellent standards is impaired.”

The core Augustinian values of Unitas, Veritas, Caritas are employed in a Villanova Nursing education and personify the three qualities of innovation, empowerment, and compassion.

Both Rocha and the College of Nursing will be honored at a formal ceremony tomorrow as part of the 2013 Educational Summit in Washington D.C. The nursing faculty has created an educational tool kit to address the national gap in educational content for teaching care for patients with disabilities.

This major project is the end result of a three-year grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, disability affects one in every five people in the United States.

However, there is strong evidence that indicates that people with disabilities receive primary health care less often and care of poorer quality than that given to people without disabilities.

As opposed to the “nationwide standard” of textbook teaching, the school of nursing sought to initiate a program based on real-life interaction.

Nevertheless, the University had to establish standardized competencies in caring for people with disabilities for nurse practitioners and for RNs because they were previously nonexistent.

A focal point of the College of Nursing’s work was the integration of standardized simulated patients with disabilities into the nurse practiocioner curricula.

Rocha originally interacted with student actors on “simulation days,” but through the implementation of the new Educational Tool Kit she “gained real-life experience interacting with patients, which served to enhance [her] communication skills and comfort level in nursing practice.”

“Furthermore, the new toolkit addressed the complexities of caring for individuals with disabilities, which has allowed me to become more competent in my ability to provide care for patients with disabilities,” Rocha added.

The College of Nursing recently completed its educational tool kit, the only disability nursing curricula tool of its kind, which includes a set of competencies, case studies and video content. This tool kit has been adopted in nearly 400 NP programs nationwide.

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