Katherine Nugent

Disruptive Innovation

I have been reading with interest in past Chronicles of Higher Education articles pertaining to changes that are occurring in institutions of higher education, such as changes in student financial aid, decreased instructional budgets, perceptions of value of a college degree, student’s non-linear progress through the degree plan, and a plethora of technology being used in educational instruction.  Authors have labeled these changes as disruptive innovation.

Disruptive innovation in nursing education is not new as the College of Nursing and nursing programs throughout the nation have been continually updating curricula and changing pedagogy to address changes in the standards of nursing practice that require the need for graduates to be better skilled in clinical decision-making.  The introduction of clinical simulation is a great example of innovation in teaching.

But the pace of change has accelerated in the last few years as a result of several significant reports and events.  In January 2010, the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching released a report calling for a “radical transformation” in nursing education.  In March of that same year, President Obama signed into law unprecedented reforms to the U.S. health care system.  In October of 2010, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released a groundbreaking report about the future of nursing that discusses innovation in nursing education.  In November 2010, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in collaboration with the Institute of Medicine launched an initiative to advance comprehensive change in the nation’s health care system and in nursing practice and education.

As the College of Nursing contemplates our response to innovative disruption, we can reflect on the words of T.S. Eliot, “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice. And to make an end is to make a beginning”.

Katherine Nugent
Dr. Nugent, who has served as the director of the School of Nursing and associate dean of the College of Health since 2004, was named dean in July 2012, when the School of Nursing was returned to its status as a College of Nursing. Dr. Nugent came to the University of Southern Mississippi from the Medical College of Nursing , now called Georgia Health Sciences University, where she was the executive associate dDean. Dr. Nugent has extensive experience in nursing education and in administration of nursing programs, having served in a variety of leadership positions at the University of Texas at Galveston, Clemson University and Georgia Health Sciences University. She has been active in state, regional, and national nursing organizations and will serve as the president of the Collegiate Nursing Education Council of the Southern Regional Education Board beginning in November 2012.

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