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Message from the Dean


“The only thing that is constant is change.” ~Heraclitus

These words from the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus, reflecting his belief in change as a fundamental underpinning of the universe, are as true today as they were in his time. Change is a constant in today’s world: in technology, in health care, and in nursing education. The University of Portland School of Nursing embarked on a journey of significant change three years ago. Recognizing the health care system of the future requires revolutionary changes in education today, our faculty spent countless hours with endless dedication developing a state-of-the-art nursing curriculum.

 The result is a remarkable new BSN program of study that educates students to work in acute care while also meeting the emerging needs for nurses to work in primary and ambulatory care, population health, and a variety of out-patient settings to promote health and wellness. Reflection on workforce trends, including the Oregon Center for Nursing’s recent report that only 55% of nurses in Oregon work in acute care settings, sparked a drive to embrace the opportunities for innovation and we are excited to launch the entirely new program this fall.

While the curriculum revision change was planned, we also faced many changes that were not planned: the most impactful being the unplanned retirement of Dean Joane Moceri. During her time as dean, Dr. Moceri launched the School of Nursing into a new era of innovation with her “BIG Ideas” strategic plan to 1) Build new programs; 2) Increase diversity; and 3) Grow leaders. Facing a serious health challenge, she made the very personal decision to retire from the University of Portland in June.

 "I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples."
~ Mother Teresa

Dean Emeritus Moceri has most definitely cast a stone across the waters of the University of Portland School of Nursing. Our work now is to capture the energy of those many ripples and continue with our momentum in transforming nursing education. The long-standing history of excellence in leadership and practice from our nursing alumni sets the foundation for a positive future ahead.

"Some changes look negative on the surface but you will soon realize that space is being created in your life for something new to emerge."
Eckhart Tolle

This is definitely the case for our experience in the past 6 months. While the changes in leadership transitions initially felt sad and uncertain, we in the School of Nursing recognize this new and exciting space created by unexpected change will bring about opportunities for continued growth in excellence and innovation. We are inspiring nurse leaders of the future!

Casey R. Shillam, PhD, RN