The past, present and future of nursing


From: Associate Professor and Chair of the WSU Nursing Department Jane Foote

Has your life been touched by a nurse? If you are like most people, the answer is yes. Perhaps a nurse helped answer important health questions for you or worked closely with you during the care of a loved one. Maybe you even have a nurse in your family to whom you regularly turn. Every day nurses provide hands-on, patient-centered care that supports life-long wellness.

This year, the Winona State University (WSU) nursing program celebrates 50 years of graduating caring, ethical, competent, and progressive nursing professionals. On top of that, we’re also celebrating 50 years of responding to the needs of the community by increasing nursing education to meet community needs. Forty years ago, we established our RN to BSN program, 30 years ago our graduate programs in nursing, 20 years ago our nurse practitioner program, and 10 years ago our doctor of nursing practice degree. And it’s been almost one year since we announced our newest program, the psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner program, developed to be responsive to the need for providers in mental health in the region.

To recognize these considerable milestones, the nursing program is coming together to celebrate the past, present and future of nursing. A Scholarship Poster Fair will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, at the Heinz Center in Rochester to showcase the research and scholarship of graduate students, faculty and community members. From 5 to 7 p.m., the Kappa Mu International Nursing Honor Society Chapter — also celebrating 30 years in 2018 — will induct new members and host a panel of speakers from each milestone area to share how their WSU experience prepared them for their nursing practice. These events are free and open to the public.

On April 20, the celebrations move to Winona. I will be presenting a free class on leadership with Dean of WSU’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences William McBreen beginning at 10 a.m. in Stark 105. At 11:30 a.m., WSU nursing alumni are invited for a luncheon in the Jack Kane Dining Hall in Kryzsko Commons, followed by a Winona Trolley ride. If you haven’t registered yet, visit to let us know you’re coming!

The 2018 anniversary celebrations will conclude with the unveiling of an 18-foot mural, “Visioning WSU Nursing: Past, Present and Future,” on the third floor of Stark Hall. This piece of art, hand-painted by regional artist Greg Wimmer, will serve as a lasting tribute to the history of the WSU nursing program as well as present a compelling vision for the future of nursing at WSU. Additional displays will include nursing alumni class pictures, memorabilia from each decade, and free tours to the public of the current nursing simulation spaces, including plans for simulation going forward.

I hope you will consider joining us to celebrate the past, present and future of this remarkable program. Nurses touch our lives in many ways, and I am proud to be part of a program that has been preparing high quality nurses since 1968 and will continue to rise up to meet the health care challenges of the future.


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