KANSAS CITY, KAN. — It's obvious that Eleanor Sullivan has a bias when it comes to nursing.
Nurses, she believes, are the backbone of health care in the United States. And as dean of the School of Nursing at the Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City, Kan., Sullivan believes her main job is promoting her field.
Sullivan, who earned her master's degree from Southern Illinois University and her doctorate from St. Louis University, has been dean of KU's nursing school for three years, and she says she's seen a renewed interest in the field of nursing.
"In the past few years, we had had a serious dip in interest in nursing," Sullivan said. "But in the last two years, we've had a more than 50 percent increase in applications. Our waiting list for the fall is 75. It's the first time in five years we've had a waiting list."
That increased interest in the school didn't come about without hard work, Sullivan said.
THE SCHOOL launched a "massive recruitment plan," she said, adding that recruitment is a continuing challenge. The most recent enrollment figures show 300 students in the undergraduate program, 150 in the master's program, which has a clinical focus, and 30 students in the doctoral program, which has a research focus.
Although a national nursing shortage seem to be abating, opportunities for those students are tremendous, Sullivan said. Nursing graduates, she said, can go in "any direction they want to."
Sullivan also is enthusiastic about the strategic plan for the school. Among the programs that are keeping her busy:
The development of a nurse practitioner track in the master's program in conjunction with Wichita State University and Fort Hays State University. Sullivan said those students would provide "primary, front-line care." She said mid-level nurse practitioners are used throughout the state, particularly in rural or urban underserved areas.
INCREASING the nursing school's minority student enrollment, particularly its black and Hispanic enrollment. Sullivan said minority students come from "different communities and have different needs." She said that underserved areas often have large minority populations so it's important to get minority students in the health care field.
The school's "Nursing The Heart of Health Care" awards, which Sullivan said are "not to award nurses but to educate people about the contributions nurses make to society.''
Expansion of a master's specialty track in nursing administration in cooperation with KU's School of Business on the Lawrence campus.