Saint Louis University

Teri Murray, Ph.D., has been named Dean of the School of Nursing, which formally was restored to stand-alone status in May.

The School of Nursing was joined with the School of Allied Health Professions in 2005 to create the Doisy College of Health Sciences. At its May 2008 meeting, the Saint Louis University Board of Trustees decided that separating the nursing and allied health programs would better allow both to flourish on a national level by reinforcing their distinct identities.

Subsequent to that meeting, Murray, who had been director of the School of Nursing, was affirmed as dean.

Collaboration continues

"The School of Nursing will continue to work collaboratively with Doisy College, particularly on the interprofessional initiative. The progressive curriculum, which began in 2006, teaches students from various health care programs the strategies they need to work together on patient care issues.

"The School of Nursing is the only undergraduate nursing program in the nation with a core curriculum of interprofessional education, which differentiates what we can offer our students," Murray said.

Murray arrived in 2005 as associate director of the School of Nursing and, after a national search, was named director in 2006. She received her bachelor's, master's and Ph.D. from Saint Louis University. She will complete the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Institute for Management and Leadership in Education, later this month.

Murray has a gubernatorial appointment to the Missouri State Board of Nursing and currently is president of the Missouri State Board of Nursing. She is a delegate at the National Council of State Boards of Nursing and a Fellow in the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellows Program. She was recently appointed to the Robert Wood Johnson National Advisory Council for Careers in Nursing Program.

Jesuit roots

Murray sees the School of Nursing building on its rich legacy of teaching, service and research to make a substantial impact on the profession of nursing. The Jesuit roots of the program, Murray said, set Saint Louis University's School of Nursing apart from other nursing schools.

"The curricula in all of our nursing programs (baccalaureate, master's, Ph.D. and D.N.P.) will continue to be innovative and are infused with the Jesuit ideal of 'cura personalis' -- that is, 'care of the whole person' -- and 'magis' or 'more' as we strive for excellence," Murray said.

"This Jesuit foundation enables our graduates to integrate core values into clinical practice. In addition to benefiting from top-notch academic programs, our graduates learn to act with purpose and meaning when providing service to others, which is living the Jesuit mission. Nursing is more than high-tech equipment. It's compassion and caring, and we best offer that through our Jesuit mission."

String of 'firsts'

For 80 years, SLU students have benefited from the School of Nursing's innovative programs and outstanding teaching practices. Going forward the school will build on its string of "firsts," Murray added.

It was the first in Missouri to offer a Ph.D. in nursing.

Recently the School of Nursing became the first in the area that will offer a clinical doctoral degree program for advanced-practice nurses. The program attracted 78 qualified applicants in its inaugural year and therefore nearly doubled the number of students it had planned to accept. The program will begin fall of 2008 with 28 students.

The school established the first accelerated baccalaureate nursing degree program in 1971, which allows students with a previous bachelor's degree to complete their BSN in 12 months. In 1990, there were 30 similar programs nationally and now there are more than 200.

In 2003, the school became the first to launch an on-line program to prepare nurses to assume a leadership role in dealing with the aftermath of a natural disaster or terrorist attack.

Innovation with excellence

"We want to continue that tradition of innovating with excellence. For instance, we're re-envisioning our master's program in light of our new doctorate of nursing practice program," Murray said.

"We're looking at how to better bridge education and practice so students are more prepared to enter the clinical practice environment. We're planning to raise the bar of research and make sure every faculty member has a basic program of scholarship and/or an active program of research."

Future plans, Murray added, include garnering the necessary resources for endowed professorships and chairs to continue to attract top-tier faculty and students and to recruit seasoned nurse researchers as faculty to enhance the already prominent research activity within the School of Nursing.

Read about the new clinical doctorate for advanced-practice nurses.