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RIC receives Nursing Innovation Award

Rhode Island College’s School of Nursing has been given the Innovations in Professional Nursing Education Award, for its ability to re-envision traditional models of nursing education and leading programmatic change, by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

Jane Williams, right, dean of RIC's School of Nursing, and Mary Byrd,
center, professor of nursing and coordinator of community health nursing,
receive the 2009 Innovations in Professional Nursing Education Award
from Fay Raines, left, president of the American Association of Colleges
of Nursing.
The award includes a $1,000 prize and was presented to Jane Williams, dean of RIC’s School of Nursing and Mary Byrd, nursing professor and community health nursing coordinator, on Nov. 2 during the Association’s semi-annual fall meeting in Washington, D.C. Awards are given out in four categories: Academic Health Center, Small School, Private School Without an Academic Health Center, and Public School Without an Academic Health Center.

RIC’s School of Nursing was recognized in the category of Public School Without an Academic Health Center.

“The selection process was very competitive so you and your faculty are to be highly commended,” wrote Association President Fay Raines in a letter to Williams informing her of the award.

The award-winning innovation is a series of active learning experiences implemented into the public health nursing curriculum to provide senior nursing students with political perspective in addition to the knowledge and tools to influence public health policy.

“This provides them with opportunities to engage in dialogue with public health leaders and advocates from professional organizations and community groups,” Williams said.


The students then identify legislators in their community and write a narrative that describes the legislator’s interest and commitment to health related legislation, Byrd added.

Lastly, the students work in clinical groups to analyze a public health problem that can be addressed through public policy interventions.

“This has led to the students testifying at legislative hearings and working with community groups involved with the issue,” Williams said. “Through these experiences, the students gain understanding of the political process that leads to important policy change.”

Winners in the other categories were the University of Kentucky (Academic Health Center), York College of Pennsylvania (Small School) and Pace University (Private School Without an Academic Health Center.