Norman, Jeffries Transition Leadership Role
Last fall, Linda Norman, DSN, RN, FAAN, announced her decision to step down as dean of Vanderbilt University School of Nursing effective June 30, 2021. She has served in the role since July 2013 and spent nearly 30 years in various academic and administrative roles within the school.
In late March, Vanderbilt announced Pamela R. Jeffries, PhD, RN, FAAN, ANEF, FSSH, has been named the next dean for the School of Nursing effective July 1.
This leadership transition represents a passing of the torch between two internationally recognized nursing leaders and healthcare education innovators.
Norman has more than four decades of transformational experience in nursing education, spearheading curricular innovations in blended learning, interprofessional education, quality improvement and distance learning.
As dean of the Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, Norman has set the school's strategic direction, leading its academic, clinical practice, research, fiduciary, and administrative initiatives. She oversaw completion of a $23.6 million building expansion in 2019, which added a state-of-the-art stimulation lab and innovative classrooms with technology ideal for remote learning (before anyone in the country knew just how critical that capability would become).
During her tenure, VUSN has risen in the U.S. News & World Report rankings with the school's Doctor of Nursing Practice program ranked No. 5 and its Master of Science in Nursing program ranked No. 9. VUSN's psychiatric-mental health and nurse-midwifery specialty programs ranked No. 1 in the U.S. News survey. The school also has been named as the "Best School/College of Nursing for Men" for the past two years by the American Association of Men in Nursing and has been designated a Center of Excellence by the National League of Nursing. Additionally, VUSN was the recipient of the New Era for Academic Nursing Award from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
"Under Linda's leadership, Vanderbilt's nursing programs have set the national standard for training world-class, research-focused and practice-focused nurse scholars who are making a difference for their patients and the communities they serve," Vanderbilt Chancellor Daniel Diermeier said. "We are honored by her service to our university and by the tremendous impact she has had as scholar, teacher, mentor and leader throughout her remarkable career."
Norman is national and internationally recognized as a leader in nursing education, evaluation and research. She serves on various nonprofit, professional and corporate boards and frequently consults on curriculum and evaluation. She has twice won the Excellence in Education Author Award from the scholarly journal Nursing Outlook.
Norman was inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 2004. She earned both her undergraduate and master's degrees from the University of Virginia and earned her doctorate from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Norman began her nursing career on a neurosurgical unit in Virginia before focusing on nursing education.
Jeffries comes to Vanderbilt University School of Nursing from George Washington University School of Nursing in Washington, DC, where she serves as professor and dean.
"Pamela Jeffries has transformed lives with her visionary leadership and expertise in nursing education. We could not be more delighted to welcome her to Vanderbilt, at a time when the expertise of our nursing faculty, students and alumni is needed more than ever," Diermeier said of continuing VUSN's legacy.
Jeffries was appointed the second dean of the George Washington School of Nursing in 2015, five years after its establishment as a stand-alone school within the university. A proponent of strengths-based leadership, Jeffries' priority was to expand the infrastructure and build upon the processes and standards for the young, emerging school, which experienced a significant period of growth during her tenure. As dean, Jeffries also charged a task force with examining issues related to diversity and inclusion, which resulted in the formation of a diversity council and other initiatives to build an inclusive and diverse community.
Prior to being named dean of George Washington University School of Nursing, Jeffries served as the inaugural vice provost for digital initiatives at Johns Hopkins University. She also held faculty leadership roles at Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and Indiana University School of Nursing earlier in her career.
"I am honored for this opportunity at a world-renowned university and the Vanderbilt School of Nursing -- with its rich history of excellence in nursing education, practice and research," Jeffries said. "I'm excited to build on the strong foundation provided by Linda Norman and help set the school's 'next chapter' with broad engagement of community partners who champion its mission and vision."
With support from the National League of Nursing, Jeffries developed the major contribution to simulation scholarship -- the framework and monograph now known as the NLN Jeffries Simulation Theory. A strong collaborator, she is the editor of three books, Simulations in Nursing Education: From Conceptualization to Evaluation (2nd edition), Developing Simulation Centers Using the Consortium Model, and Clinical Simulations in Nursing Education: Advanced Concepts, Trends, and Opportunities.
Jeffries is a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, the NLN's Academy of Nursing Education, the Society of Simulation in Healthcare and an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellows program. Other honors include the Sigma Theta Tau International Edith Moore Copeland Award for Excellence in Creativity, the NLN's Mary Adelaide Nutting Award for Outstanding Leadership in Nursing Education, the Virginia Nurses Association Foundation Leadership Excellence Award for Nursing School Dean and induction into the Sigma Theta Tau International Researchers Hall of Fame.
After receiving her BSN from Ball State University, Jeffries earned her master's and doctorate in nursing from Indiana University.