A strong voice for the nursing profession

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At no other point in Kathy Rideout’s life has the role of nursing received so much attention. Still, the dean of the University of Rochester School of Nursing is concerned that the effort to recognize, respect and uplift these frontline workers has waned as the pandemic rages amid the crisis. reluctance to vaccinate.

“We need to continue to spread positive messages and write stories about nurses and continue to focus on the critical importance of nursing,” said Rideout. “And not just in the day-to-day care of patients, but in training the future workforce, in nursing-led research and contributing to the science of healthcare. We have to keep focusing and getting that positive attention to be the message, and not paying attention to all the other noises, the negative noises, that are happening. “

Rideout, who still works as a nurse practitioner, recently announced her decision to step down as dean. She will resume her role within the faculty as Professor of Clinical Nursing and Pediatrics after June 30. A committee led by Eli Eliav, director of the Eastman Institute for Oral Health, will conduct a nationwide search for a new dean.

Rideout was appointed to this position ten years ago and has been credited with many accomplishments during her tenure. The fifth dean of the school and a member of its faculty for over 35 years, she has overseen a new approach to nursing education using technology and experiential learning techniques.

Kathy Rideout will return to her faculty position at the UR School of Nursing after June 30. (Photo: UR)

Under his tutelage, the UR School of Nursing has consistently ranked among the top 25 for research funding from the National Institutes of Health. Rideout also created and expanded the UR Medicine Center for Employee Welfare, run by nurses. The program, which began in 2013, now serves more than 55 employers in the region.

School enrollment has reached an all-time high. Over the past five years, the number of students has grown by more than half to almost 800 students, hence the need to expand facilities. Last year, UR announced a $ 15 million expansion of Helen Wood Hall to meet the expected growth of undergraduate and graduate students.

For Rideout, it is the focus on diversity, equity and inclusion that is its most important achievement and a personal mission. When she accepted the position of dean, she spoke to the school’s first dean, Lee Ford, who advised her to never lose sight of the patients and the community. Rideout took this to heart, noting that a community is best served with attention to diversity, equity and inclusion.

“We’ve really made a lot of changes in our programming, in our student recruitment, in our faculty and staff recruitment to really focus on increasing the diversity of our workforce,” she says. . “And for me, that was really essential because I know patients are better when they’re supported by a diverse workforce. “

Today, the UR School of Nursing is a rarity in the country. He has received the Higher Education Excellence Award for Diversity four times.

“The award doesn’t mean we’re perfect, but it does mean we keep moving forward on our initiatives,” says Rideout.

Over the past five years, the number of students from under-represented nursing groups has increased by 74 percent and the number of male students has increased by 39 percent. The number of teachers from under-represented groups has increased by 45%. Male faculty during this period grew 36 percent.

“Last year I actually sat down and wrote a history of our diversity in the School of Nursing because it obviously became the focal point of what people had to do,” said Rideout. “But it’s something we’ve been doing for 20 years here at the School of Nursing.

“It was important for me to really tell this story because it’s not just now because it’s the right thing to do, or the thing that gets attention. It’s something at the heart of who we are, ”she adds. “And that’s something I think I’m most proud of, as it represents my commitment to serving our community and the patients we care for, and it’s providing them with a workforce taught by representative faculty.” of our community to truly guarantee the best results.

Nursing schools today face several challenges. There aren’t enough educators to begin with. In 2019, US nursing schools turned down 80,407 qualified applications for baccalaureate and graduate programs in nursing in 2019 due to an insufficient number of faculty, clinical sites, classroom space, clinical preceptors and budget constraints, found the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

At UR, Rideout worked with the nursing practice at UR Medical Center to provide incentives for nurses to enroll in leadership and education programs. Rideout believes community partnerships play a role as well. UR has a Psychological Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program in response to community needs.

“For the 18 counties (in our area) we are actually offering a 50 percent scholarship now, for students who live in work in those areas… where they then have their clinical right in the area they live in and then they are hired in the region where they live, ”she says. “We need to develop more partnerships within our community to really increase this workforce. I think this is a message to our region, as well as to our students, that we are with them on this journey.

As enrollments in nursing programs continue to increase, the pandemic has traumatized nurses. Some leave the profession, exhausted and exhausted. Over the past year, hospital revenue has grown 1.7 percentage points and currently stands at 19.5%, according to a 2021 NSI Nursing Solutions report. The average cost of turnover of a RN at the bedside is $ 40,038 (it can range from $ 28,400 to $ 51,700), so the average hospital loses between 3.6 and 6, $ 5 million per year, according to the INS survey. It takes about three months to recruit an experienced nurse.

Rideout advises practicing nurses and new recruits to stay the course and seek support. As professionals, she says, it’s important that nurses take the time to listen to each other and mentor each other. To make changes, Rideout encourages nurses to meet with elected officials to help them better understand the issues and different aspects of the nursing profession. Be part of the solution, she says.

“It’s a stressful season. We’ve had other seasons before and we’ve always been able to pull through, ”says Rideout. “But we can’t do it individually by individual. We need to come together as a community of people committed to serving others. “

Smriti jacob is the editor of Rochester Beacon.


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