From the Dean's Desk

From the Dean’s Desk

Azita Emami, dean

Azita Emami, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN, FAAN

Reprinted from the 2016 Connections, our annual report

It is my great pleasure to say the UW School of Nursing is healthy and optimistic. Thanks to you, we accomplished significant achievements in training, research and advocacy while maintaining the highest standard of education. We embark on the initiatives ahead with a renewed vision, a commitment to aligning and leveraging our common strengths, and a shared voice.

You are part of the Husky Nurse community that will change the world of nursing. Here’s how you can help make our community even stronger:

Ask your elected officials to support nursing

In 2015, Senate bill S.297 progressed with bi-partisan support to the U.S. Senate Committee on Veteran Affairs. This bill would allow expanded practice authority to Veterans Affairs Departments nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners and potentially certified nurse anesthetists. We wrote our elected officials asking them to support this crucial bill, and we hope you will, too.

The UW School of Nursing and the state of Washington have long promoted the full scope of practice for nurses. A key recommendation of the Institute of Medicine’s “The Future of Nursing” report called for nurses to practice to the full extent of their education, achieve higher levels of education and training, and partner with other health care professionals to change healthcare in the United States.

That means removing scope-of practice barriers and implementing nurse residency programs. Let’s work together to advocate for funding of residency programs across all practice settings.

Advocate for nurses in positions of leadership

“When nurses are at the table, everyone wins,” said Assistant Professor Sarah Gimbel, co-director of the Center for Global Health Nursing.

But nurses still lack their place at the table. Today, few nurses sit on either national or international boards, or are in leadership positions at non-governmental organizations or global health agencies, despite comprising 80 percent of the global healthcare workforce. Indeed, the American Nurses Association recently launched an effort to place 10,000 nurses on governing boards in the United States by 2020.

Nurses provide care and manage healthcare delivery, interfacing with patients and communities in implementing evidence-based and culturally relevant practice. We need to ensure that nurses are effectively engaged as leaders in design, implementation, evaluation and policy development. Our perspective is invaluable to overall sustainable improvements in health, locally and globally.

Support healthcare research

We must strive to preserve and increase research funding for nursing science. Like all healthcare research, the majority of nursing research funding comes from the federal government, from organizations like the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Through AHRQ funds, nurse-led research enacts change in a fragmented American healthcare system to help reach reform goals. In 2015, Congress threatened to defund AHRQ, and in the last five years NIH funding has declined by 22 percent. Over the next year, we will work to educate our lawmakers of the impact such funding has on nursing research.

Invest in nursing

Research from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing finds a continued shortage of nurses in the workforce; by 2022, the need for new nurses will reach 1.05 million. Nursing school enrollment is not growing fast enough to meet the project need thanks to budget restraints from both schools and potential students.

Your support can help bridge this shortfall and improve health care for future generations. Many more students need support. Annually, our school has more than $7 million in unmet scholarship need. For the 2015-2016 academic year, 129 students who applied for scholarship support from the School of Nursing did not receive it.

Demand a more diverse and inclusive nursing workforce

RNs, advanced practice registered nurses, and nursing faculty are all critically necessary to sustain an adequate supply of nurses who can deliver quality, culturally congruent health care. There is an immediate and critical need for our nation to develop additional strategies to recruit and retain people from diverse and under served backgrounds to pursue nursing and teach nursing as a profession.

Through programs like UW Nurse Camp, we are making nursing school – and ultimately the nursing field – more accessible to high school sophomores and juniors from low-income or underrepresented backgrounds. The nursing workforce must reflect the diversity of our general population.

We are committed to raising awareness among elected leaders about the importance of policies that increase diversity in nursing, address institutionalized oppression and allow nurses to access and achieve higher levels of education and workforce equity. We hope you will contact your elected leaders to do the same.

We are implementing a strategic plan to continually improve diversity, equity and inclusion for our faculty, staff and student body. We continue to strive for a culture in which all members of our school feel welcome, valued, heard and supported and protected from bias and discrimination.

Even modest gifts support our urgent needs and represent an investment in nursing.

Thank you for supporting nurse-led health care; for sharing the value of nursing research and expertise in the workplace and the boardroom; for investing in the dedicated staff, faculty and students at the UW School of Nursing.

Thank you for proving that Together, We Are Boundless.


Azita Emami, PhD, MSN, BSN, RN, FAAN
Robert G. and Jean A. Reid Executive Dean
UW School of Nursing