MGH Institute one of just ten academic institutions named in 2023 National League for Nursing list

There aren’t many, if any, nursing schools that don’t boast about excellent faculty and top-flight educational offerings for their future students. MGH Institute of Health Professions is no exception. But how many schools can say they’ve had their claims verified by a national third party whose mission is all about nursing education?

Not many, but the MGH Institute can.

The MGH Institute is one of just ten nursing education programs in the country to have been named a 2023 Center of Excellence in Nursing Education by the National League for Nursing. The IHP was cited for creating environments that promote the teaching excellence of faculty. Also receiving the same designation: the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Vanderbilt University, and Galen College. 

“This designation captures exactly who we are as a teaching institution,” said Dr. Ken White, Dean of the School of Nursing. “We have a faculty that have been nationally recognized for teaching excellence. This is our seal of approval – we've had an external body actually take a look to verify that what we say is evidence-based.”

The designation by the NLN is based on a school’s ability to demonstrate, in concrete terms, sustained excellence in faculty development, student learning, and faculty scholarship leading to innovative teaching practices.

“NLN Centers of Excellence help raise the bar for all nursing programs,” said NLN President and CEO Dr. Beverly Malone, “by role modeling visionary leadership and inclusive excellence that are nurturing the next generation of a strong and diverse nursing workforce to advance the health of the nation and the global community.”

It took a village to compile the 81-page submission. Led by Elaine Tagliareni, Director of Faculty Development, the submission task force included Rebecca Hill, Associate Dean, Prelicensure Programs; Karen Hunt, Instructor; Janet Monagle, Term Lecturer; Kathy Sabo, Director, Ruth Sleeper Nursing Center for Clinical Education and Wellness; and Carla Donati, Assistant Dean, Administration. 

“We kept using the term ‘preferred future for nursing education’ as the sum of everything we are about in our curriculum,” said Tagliareni. “’Preferred future’ means our faculty understand diversity, equity and inclusion, interprofessional education, and that they incorporate the health consequences of climate change throughout the curriculum. These are some of the most prominent issues facing the future of nursing.” 

White and Tagliareni point to four key areas of work: 

•    Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) 
The integration of JEDI tenets along with continuing collaboration with the JEDI office were critical factors. 

“Our peer reviewers were very impressed with the JEDI Collaborative, the JEDI Fellows, our integration of JEDI values wasn’t just focused on the curriculum but is embedded,” said Tagliareni. “The fact that we changed our mission statement to really focus on that - where we say we cultivate a community grounded in social justice, diversity, equity, and inclusion, and that it was really important to us - that it's a comprehensive approach to JEDI.”

•    Climate 
In 2017, the SON launched a first-of-its-kind nursing school-led Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice, and Health with a vision of a “world where nurses and other health professionals lead in efforts to reduce climate change-related health consequences.” Since inception, it’s estimated the Center has educated about 10,000 people through a combination of annual symposia, monthly webinars, and presentations to various hospitals, community centers, colleges, and even art galleries. 

“Look at all the workshops we could attest to, the data we were able to accumulate, and the national leadership,” points out Tagliareni. “The fact that [Climate Center Director] Patrice [Nicholas] was asked to be one of the eight initial scholars for NIH climate scholars. The fact that Patrice and [Associate Director] Suellen [Breakey] were the leads on the NLN Position Statement on climate. They developed it, and it was published last year. All those things are significant.” 

•    Interprofessional Education
Interprofessional education is an integral part of the IHP, which prides itself on being an early mover nationally in this space, which the daily activity at the Sanders IMPACT Practice Center exemplifies. As the entry submission points out, “Faculty have led initiatives in interprofessional curricular development and course design, implemented educational activities to meet the core competencies for entry to practice, expanded interprofessional clinical experiences for prelicensure and advanced practice nursing programs in hospital, rural, and medically underserved settings.”

Additionally, for more than a decade, the IHP has maintained an academic-practice partnership with Massachusetts General Hospital with three nationally recognized interprofessional dedicated education units (IPDEU) for prelicensure students.
“Interprofessional activities are the hallmark here,” stated Tagliareni. 

•    Teaching Excellence
SON faculty are committed to student success and are strong advocates of curriculum integrity and developing curricular designs that support innovation. Nine full-time faculty are NLN Certified Nurse Educators (CNE), and one is a Certified Academic Clinical Nurse Educator (CNEcl). One of the proof points were test scores and graduation rates over the last three years that exceeded the national average.  
Additionally, the School of Nursing changed its case studies to reflect different genders, LGBTQIA+, and social determinants of health – all of which are embedded across the curriculum. 

“One of the things that we do really well is teach,” said White. “The teaching methods have to be innovative, and they have to be current. I think the old way of teaching – the sage on the stage - is no more. Our faculty had to develop some really great ways of teaching and learning that are student-centered.”

The formal recognition of the Center of Excellence designation will take place during the NLN Education Summit’s Honors Convocation in September. 

“This is a faculty and staff award,” said White. “We are a team that’s making a significant impact in the careers of our future nurses.”

Do you have a story the Office of Strategic Communications should know about? If so, email us at ihposc [at] (ihposc[at]mghihp[dot]edu).