Notes from the Dean's Desk


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Name: Marie Ann Marino, EdD, RN, FAAN
Position: Dean and Professor, Jefferson College of Nursing

Looking Ahead as a New Year Dawns

How the College of Nursing will face 2020's challenges

The start of a new year – indeed, of a new decade – is an opportunity to examine where we stand and where we need to go in the months and years ahead. For Jefferson College of Nursing, this is a chance to renew our commitment to exemplary and transformative academics, and to focus on meeting the challenges of today’s healthcare environment with innovation and engagement throughout our community. 

New models of healthcare are emerging and the roles of nurses, both at the entry-to-practice and advanced practice levels, are expanding. The college is a full partner in care delivery, education and research – redefining what is humanly possible in academics, research, clinical practice and community engagement. 

At Jefferson, we are establishing new leadership roles and making sure nurses are at the table as decisions are made that will determine the future of healthcare and the people who provide and receive that care. Our graduates will move from the classroom into their jobs fully prepared to meet today’s challenges and to adapt as professional opportunities and challenges evolve in the years ahead.

During my first 19 months as Dean of the College, I have seen how our faculty, staff, and students are making a difference in Philadelphia and beyond. For instance, in partnership with the Broad Street Ministry, Jefferson College of Nursing faculty and students operate a wellness center providing health screens and counseling to vulnerable individuals in Center City – a transformative collaboration providing a unique opportunity for students. Other evidence of how the Jefferson family brings its assets and talents to bear in addressing community needs include:  

  • Best Foot Forward Philly (BFFP) – a free podiatric clinic that serves Philadelphia’s homeless population. Our students participate in bi-weekly foot clinics to promote dignity and access to healthcare for a marginalized population in our city, and several alumni continue their leadership by serving on the BFFP board.
  • A community-based participatory research partnership with Sisters R Us Circle of Survivors – through which our faculty gains greater understanding of facilitators and barriers to clinical trial participation among African Americans. This study was funded through the Jefferson College of Nursing Community Driven Research Day mechanism.

The College of Nursing is a full partner in healthcare delivery, education and research across Jefferson’s clinical enterprise, Jefferson Health. Comprised of 14 acute-care hospitals, seven of which are recognized by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as Magnet® hospitals, and a National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, Jefferson Health is among the nation’s top-ranked health systems. For 2019-2020, Thomas Jefferson University Hospitals is ranked among the nation’s best hospitals in eight specialties by U.S. News & World Report. A central goal for me as Dean is to forge deep partnerships across the clinical enterprise and blur the lines between academic nursing and clinical nursing so that Jefferson nurses stand out wherever anyone encounters them. 

We can only achieve this through a model of nursing that spans the continuum, from the academic environment to the clinical practice environment. 

Of course, technology drives innovation in academics, research and patient engagement and Jefferson Nursing is a driver of that progress. For instance, we are working with Apple to expand opportunities for faculty to engage learners, infuse the curriculum with academic technologies, and simulate the technology demands of real-world settings. And we are constantly seeking other opportunities to partner with others in the public and private sectors to better assess healthcare needs and find new ways to address them. 

Whether you are a long-time friend and supporter of the College’s work, or just becoming familiar with us, I welcome your thoughts on the role we can play in meeting the healthcare challenges of our region and nation. Please feel free to contact me. Happy New Year!