School of Nursing to celebrate 40 years of serving


When Radford University nursing students graduate, that doesn’t mean they have left the campus behind. Quite the contrary. School of Nursing (SON) alumni and their employers would say they take a part of campus with them.

Felicia Murphy ‘08 wrote recently, “All the information and skills I learned in nursing school that I never thought I would use, I have used and then some. I have helped doctors put in orders correctly.” Now employed by the University of Virginia Health System, Murphy wrote to RU School of Nursing Director Kim Carter, “It’s just amazing when you apply and use everything. It makes me feel so empowered and effective in the care I provide my patients.”

More than 2,000 students have earned their nursing pins through the RU School of Nursing (SON), which is preparing to celebrate its 40th anniversary. Some have gone home to serve their local communities, while others have traveled overseas to meet global health care challenges. A great many, like Murphy, have stayed in touch with their classmates and faculty.

4 Decades of Milestones for RU School of Nursing  1966 State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and Virginia Board of Nursing approve creation of nursing program  1969 First nursing students admitted  1973 11 charter students graduate  1976 Accreditation by National League of Nursing  1986 Track for registered nursing students initiated  1988 Graduate program in home health nursing added. Roanoke site established.  1991 Advanced adult concentration added  1995 Family nurse practitioner concentration added  1997 Institutional reorganization—School of Nursing becomes part of Waldron College of Health and Human Services  2006 Funding allocated to create clinical simulation centers at Radford, Roanoke sites  2010 Charter class of Doctor of Nursing Practice (D.N.P.) students begins  2011 First D.N.P. students graduate  2012 Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education accredits D.N.P. Program. U.S. News & World Report lists D.N.P. program in its inaugural Top Online Education Programs.

“Our alumni are doing impressive things throughout the world,” Carter said, reflecting on the regular updates alumni send regarding their career accomplishments.

Stephen Holman ’12 wrote to Carter, “I became an officially licensed R.N. in the state of Virginia on June 7, 2012. I wanted to send you and all of the faculty at RU SON a huge thanks for everything you have done, all the opportunities that you offered and for the exceptional education I received.”

With an increasing national emphasis on the health care needs of rural residents, Carter said, SON faculty and students are poised to make a significant impact. “They are sensitive to working with local populations,” she said. “Most of our faculty are engaged in clinical practice, which allows them to translate the current reality of health care for students in the classroom and clinical learning experiences.”

SON undergraduate and graduate enrollment averages about 600 students who are served by 28 full-time faculty members, 10 part-time faculty members and six simulation center faculty. The school has a second campus at the Roanoke Higher Education Center and has offered a Bachelor of Science in Nursing in Roanoke for 25 years.

Carter said the SON prides itself on preparing professionals who can immediately step from the classroom into their fields of service. “Our mission is to educate professional nurses who can serve in a variety of settings and especially in rural areas,” Carter said. “They are well prepared to provide exceptional, competent, skillful and sensitive nursing care.”

To learn more about the RU SON’s vision, mission, philosophy and history, visit the School of Nursing website.