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From the Desk of Dean White

 

We Welcome a New Beginning

May 2022

Dear colleagues,

As we enjoy the beautiful spring season here in Boston, National Nurses Week and Month have begun and Commencement is this Friday. I look back on my first eleven months on the job with immense pride and gratitude – and embrace the new beginning that this time of year presents.

I would like to share my appreciation for all those who have supported, and continue to support, our mission in the School of Nursing. We wouldn’t be able to provide the high-quality knowledge and mentoring for the next generation of nurses, advanced practice providers, nurse educators, and leaders without our diverse community. From our faculty and staff here at the IHP, to our alumni and nurses in the Mass General Brigham system and beyond who provide learning experiences to our students in clinical settings, all of whom are critical to our continued strength. We especially thank those faculty who not only oversee student placements and facilitate the overall student experience, but do so while savings lives.

As we prepare for Friday’s graduation, it’s a time to reflect on new beginnings. The word “commencement” means beginning – a welcome reminder of the new opportunities this chapter represents for us all. While this week marks the end of an academic career for our graduating nurses, it also offers them a chance to reset and refresh before starting their exciting new careers. New experiences and adventures are ahead for us all, and I couldn’t be happier to send them forth into careers of great impact and healing. Their commitment to increasing health equity for all is truly inspiring.

Yet another success this year has been our ability to evolve and transform in the face on the ongoing pandemic. We’ve all had to adapt to ever-changing models of instruction and pivot frequently to meet the needs of our community. I am immensely grateful not only to our exceptional nursing faculty and staff, but all the staff at the IHP who have rallied together to help modify our approach and reconceptualized teaching, learning, and clinical experiences through telehealth. 

Despite everything, we have thrived thanks to the wonderful people who comprise the SON. This culminated in our impressive rankings from the U.S. News & World Report. In March, our Doctor of Nursing Practice program ranked as the top program in Boston and our Master of Science in Nursing ranked third in Massachusetts. And last fall, the Bachelor of Science in Nursing was ranked as the third highest program in New England in the first year the publication ranked that degree. These accolades highlight our growth and sustained excellence. 

All in all, I am grateful for all we’ve accomplished this year, from our ability to redefine learning in an unpredictable world to our national rankings and collaborative environment. Through it all, our faculty, staff, and students have truly shined, rallying together to support one another in creating a supportive learning environment. What’s more, we’ve deepened our relationships, expanded our horizons, and even launched new programs. 

I cannot wait to see what this next year will offer us here at the School of Nursing and beyond. I welcome this new beginning and challenge you all to do the same.

Always your biggest fan,

a photo of the name ken written like a signature

Dr. Ken White
Dean and Professor
School of Nursing

Dean’s Message About the Situation in Ukraine

March 2022

Dear friends and colleagues,
 
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has committed unconscionable actions and its incalculable costs. You have undoubtedly seen the horrifying images of a nation under attack, its people in crisis; look hard, just for example, at one terrified mother evacuated with her three year-old son, who is undergoing treatment for cancer—and the one of many dedicated nurses caring for newborn babies who should have been in a neonatal ICU, but were relocated to a makeshift bomb shelter in a hospital basement. So, We have many emotions—including anger, deep sadness, and great concern for the safety, well-being, and lives of our brothers and sisters, the Ukrainians—and with gratitude for the sacrifices and service of nurses across that embattled nation. Nurses lead and serve no matter the circumstance, placing the patient—whether a person or a whole people--at the center of their care. We stand in solidarity with our nursing colleagues in Ukraine. Their current experience reminds us that crisis and conflict affect health in perilous ways. 
 
My thoughts are with any of you who have family or loved ones in Ukraine or its neighbors. These times demand kindness, humanity, and unity. They also demand that we, as nurses out loud, rise up, raise our voices, and demand an end to this hateful war.
 
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the people of Ukraine, and for the courageous nurses—our colleagues there—who are giving everything they have to protect their people and their nation.  
 
I am including details below from MGB News today with further resources to support our colleagues. 
 
In solidarity for peace,

a photo of the name ken written like a signature

Dr. Ken White
Dean and Professor
School of Nursing
 

Employee Assistance Program resources
Contact the Mass General Brigham Employee Assistance Program if you or a member of your family needs support. To access free, confidential support, call 1-866-724-4327. The EAP also shares these resources you may find helpful:
 
•    Mass General Brigham EAP Personal Coping Tips
•    Talking to your Kids about Tragedies and other Events
 

U.S. News and World Report Release Rankings

March 2022

Dear colleagues, 
    
I write to you with exciting news – the U.S. News & World Report Best Grad Schools rankings have confirmed what our community has known all along – the MGH Institute’s School of Nursing is continuing its upward trajectory both nationally and regionally.

Our Doctor of Nursing Practice is the top program in Boston and moved up two spots nationally to #67. And our Master of Science in Nursing is ranked third in Boston and has jumped eight spots nationally, to #61.

The news gets even better when you compare these two nursing programs with our peer private institutions: our Doctor of Nursing Practice is ranked 19th nationally, while our Master of Science is ranked 25th.

Regionally among private schools and colleges of nursing, our Doctor of Nursing Practice Program is ranked number 1 in New England while the Master of Science program holds the number 2 spot in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and is 3rd in New England.

As I near the completion of my first year here at the Institute, I couldn’t be more thrilled with the pieces we have in place to make even more gains in the future. Our outstanding faculty, students, and alumni, along with the academic and practice partnerships we enjoy with Mass General Brigham, provide a powerful combination that is helping raise the bar when it comes to nursing program excellence.

Our graduates go on to work at some of the best hospitals in the country and they are thriving, despite challenging conditions – workforce shortages and COVID among them. The compassion, advocacy, leadership, and excellence that are synonymous with our School of Nursing alumni are a huge source of pride for me, as I’m sure it is for you, too. And the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings reflect the good work we're doing, and are a harbinger of more significant accomplishments and growth that is to come. 

In celebration and with gratitude,

a photo of the name ken written like a signature

Dr. Ken White
Dean and Professor
School of Nursing
 

Dean’s Welcome for Spring Semester 2022

January 2022

Dear students and colleagues,

As you close your first week of the spring semester, I am writing to you with great enthusiasm and hope that your semester is off to a good start.  I wish you all the best as you traverse uncertainty with flexibility, learn new things that will inspire and motivate you to be great and good, and deepen relationships with your classmates, faculty, staff, and others in our IHP community. 

For me, the beginning of a semester has always been a fresh start and a time to reset. And also, a time to look forward to the many exciting learning opportunities and events that will take place over the coming months. You are one step closer to your goal of knowledge for that degree!

Some of you are just beginning your time as a nursing student at the IHP, others are in the middle of your program and some of you are beginning the last semester of your program. I hope that you take full advantage of all of the resources that are available to you at the School of Nursing from academic support coaches, JEDI fellows, our Sigma Chapter, other student groups and our experienced and esteemed faculty.

I also want to acknowledge the unique challenges that you are facing as a student. As we begin a new year and a new semester, please take time to care for yourselves--to build resilience, relieve exhaustion, and replenish your emotional bank account—in order to be your best selves. Please prioritize scheduling time each day to do what centers and grounds you. Sometimes it is only minutes that you can be conscious of your breath, be centered with the ground or floor beneath your feet, and to remind yourselves of your purpose and passion in life.

I look forward to learning more about all of your achievements this semester and hope to see you in person soon. 

Sincerely,

a photo of the name ken written like a signature

Dr. Ken White
Dean and Professor
School of Nursing
 
 

    
What a Time This Is.

September 2021

It’s a statement we hear people mutter these days, sometimes in sorrow or disbelief. And in some respects, it’s no wonder amid a recent resurgence of COVID-19, heartbreaking instability in Afghanistan and Haiti, the continued and unjust assault of racism and murder in our communities of color, the ongoing threats to the health of women, the disparities in our LGBTQ and other communities, and the fearsome brutality that is our warming planet.

These are difficult times to begin a new school year, with so much unsettled and unknown. But this is also familiar terrain for nurses, and those who support and champion them, as each of us do here at MGH Institute of Health Professions School of Nursing and at other nursing programs across the country. The moment, it strikes me, is not unlike a clinician’s initial walk into a patient room: mask on, hands gloved, senses alert, heart open, back strong.

Our core values and mission at the MGH Institute tell a story of the path we’ll take together: that we’ll lead with vigor and compassion, care for people with respect and across difference, and build equitable and supportive environments for all nursing faculty, staff, and students (through the exemplary work of our JEDI program and its leader, Dr. Kimberly Truong). We’ll collaborate across the professional aisle, catalyze change and compel discovery through nursing science, and build understanding of and solutions for the forces of climate change (thanks to leadership from our school’s Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice, and Health).

We will create spaces where belonging and acceptance are the rule. Where good intentions are transformed into meaningful action. We will, as I like to say, be nurses OUT LOUD.

Students with us for the first time and those who’ve returned after a year of virtual learning are committed, present, and eager: we are thrilled to see you. Our talented alumni on the front lines of care remain compassionate and steadfast. And our extraordinary and passionate faculty and staff continue their work to inform, inspire, challenge, and lead.

What we do on this day and each day that follows has everything to do with who we are as a community and as human beings. We are showing up together doing work that matters so incredibly – perhaps more than it ever has.

I look back on my own life as a boy growing up in rural Oklahoma and am awed to find myself at the helm of a storied institution such as ours – the only academic affiliate of the Mass General Brigham system. From the time I was a 16-year-old hospital orderly until now, I know that every place a nurse stands – at a patient’s bedside, in a classroom, to the news media, in the lab, and at the boardroom table – becomes a place of strength.

I have great optimism as we begin a new year. What a time this is.  

Your fan,

a photo of the name ken written like a signature

Dr. Ken White
Dean and Professor
School of Nursing

Introductory Letter

July 2021

Dear colleagues and friends,

When I was a child growing up in Oklahoma, I always looked forward to July 4th to watch the televised Arthur Fiedler and the Boston Pops concert in Boston, along with amazing fireworks.  I never thought that someday I would live and work in Boston!
I hope you have a nice holiday weekend.  The Boston Pops with fireworks is back – this year in Tanglewood.

Today, I join you as your dean and I am excited about the opportunity to work with and get to know all of you -- such an amazing School of Nursing family!  We have purpose, vision, and values and something no other school has – YOU. Together we will grow, face challenges and celebrate joys.   Our patients, students, communities, and colleagues are counting on us.

Thank you, Dean Tagliareni, and the entire leadership team for your gracious introduction to the School and IHP.  Thank you also to the members of the search committee and Provost Johnson and Sarah Welch for leading the search.
Thank you, Lisa and Carla, for helping me with the transition from Virginia.  I will be working remotely for most of July and August, with a Charlestown move-in date of 9/1.

In time, I would like to meet with each one of you to learn more about your jobs, interests, aspirations, and goals.  For now, we can look forward to our retreat on 8/19, which will be a day to step back and celebrate all that you have accomplished in a very difficult 16 months.  Ever forward looking, we will also consider possibilities for personal and professional growth.  

We are all part of something bigger than we are.  Together, the possibilities are limitless.

Your fan,

a photo of the name ken written like a signature

Dr. Ken White
Dean and Professor
School of Nursing