The School of Nursing at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UT Health San Antonio) has been named the recipient of the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing’s 2023 Healthy Work Environment Award.
Two Sigma’s awards recognize and honor an academic setting and clinical facility that demonstrates a commitment to promoting a healthy work environment and excellence in health care outcomes. The School of Nursing, Academic Award Winner, and Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Unit 2E, Clinical Honoree, will be recognized during Sigma’s Creating Healthy Work Environments event February 10-12 in Austin.
“The 2023 academic and clinical honorees have taken bold action to ensure that their respective work environments are healthy, welcoming,” said Sigma President Kenneth Dion, PhD, MSN, MBA, RN, RCSI, FAAN. These are places that value representation, compassion, and collaboration. I congratulate Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Unit 2E and the School of Nursing at UT Health San Antonio for their achievements and leadership in this important area.
Sonya Hardin, PhD, MBA/MHA, APRN, FAAN, professor and dean of the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing, will accept the school’s award. UT Health San Antonio faculty members Megan Pfitzinger Lippe, PhD, MSN, RN, and Jacqueline McGraw, PhD, RN, FNAP, FAAN, will give a plenary presentation at the meeting titled “Faculty, Staff and Students Matter.”
Karlene T. Richards, DNP, RN, NE-BE, CCRN, and Rachel Landau, BSN, RN, BC, representing Long Island Jewish Valley Stream Unit 2E, “One Unit’s Journey Toward Building a Culture of Compassion and Collaboration #Presentation will do.” Healthy work environment.
path to a healthy workplace
Hardin praised the efforts the School of Nursing has made over the past six years to create a healthy work and school environment. “While many people at our school worked to create this supportive environment, I want to especially acknowledge three leaders who were involved in this effort: Dr. Megan Lippe, who recognized our excellence and suggested that We submit applications for this award, Dr. Jacqueline McGrath and Dr. Vanessa Melling.
Lippe, who joined the faculty in 2021, is an associate professor of nursing, president-elect of the School of Nursing’s Faculty Assembly and chair of the PhD Committee on Graduate Studies. “The School of Nursing has an organizational structure that facilitates the participation of faculty, staff and students in the decision-making process,” she said. “Faculty Assembly; staff assembly; Nursing Student Council; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Council; And the Faculty, Staff, and Student Affairs Committee provides opportunities to voice opinions, concerns, and solutions, and to facilitate shared governance.
“The Faculty, Staff and Student Affairs Committee is a truly unique collaboration that fosters communication and interaction between faculty, staff and students; student achievement; and collaboration with the Student Success Center and Office of Faculty Excellence to provide campus-wide and School of Nursing accreditation for all concerned.
McGrath joined the School of Nursing in 2018. As a professor and Vice Dean of Faculty Excellence, she led the reorganization of the School of Nursing Office of Faculty Excellence. Realizing the professional goals of individual faculty members was a key element in keeping with the mission of the School of Nursing. Through this effort, he said, “OFE offers a one-year mentoring program for newly hired full-time faculty that features activities designed to support both mentors and mentors. Each new faculty member is assigned a mentorship program based on their professional goals. but is paired with two advisors [teaching, research and patient care], giving new faculty a greater voice and support in their chosen career path. A faculty mentoring handbook prepared by a School of Nursing work group in 2017, along with workshops and companion books, helps support this effort.
Melling, who has a doctorate in education and a master’s degree in business administration, is assistant professor and associate dean of the School of Nursing’s Student Success Center. The center provides a full spectrum of academic support to students with mentoring their first semester and continuing academic preparation until their licensure examination after graduation. “Support services target the holistic needs of students. We provide academic coaching, peer-assisted learning sessions, tutoring, career preparation resources, and student leader development. We provide student support services including recreation, financial aid, counseling services, and experiential support.” work closely with the Office of Student Life to ensure physical and psychosocial needs are met. In addition, the Student Success Center is one of the largest employers of students on campus,” Melling said, giving students a sense of their identity as a student. Others get the stipend to give advice while helping them focus on success.
evidence based results
Evidence suggests that these efforts are working:
- Evaluation surveys of faculty mentoring programs reveal positive results for both mentees and mentors.
- In 2021, 80% of faculty completed the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Standpoint Faculty Engagement Survey. Results showed improvement since 2016 in every category, including school culture, faculty governance, faculty experience, growth opportunities and promotion equity.
- Annual School of Nursing staff surveys show similar satisfaction and improvement.
- In 2020-2021, Student Success Center scholarship awards totaled $710,334, peer-assisted learning helped 729 students, tutors provided 717 one-on-one sessions, and leadership development helped 167 students.
- License pass rates have improved from below 80% to over 90% between 2014 and 2021.
“All of these successes can easily be attributed to our highly supportive environment for faculty, staff, and students at a time when COVID changed the world,” Lippe said.