The William Carey University Fail School of Nursing was named the School of Nursing of the Year and Dr. Janet Williams, Carey’s dean of nursing, was named School of Nursing Administrator of the Year by the Mississippi Nurses’ Association during the annual Nightingale Awards Gala in Jackson on March 2.
The Nightingale Awards are sponsored by the association and the Mississippi Nurses’ Foundation to honor outstanding nurses and health care professionals. The awards are known as the “Academy Awards” of quality service in the nursing and health care industry.
The awards recognize the Fail School of Nursing’s dedication to providing relevant educational programs which meet needs in the state and also recognize the school’s strong admission growth. The nursing school, first approved to offer classes in 1969, has expanded significantly in recent years and operates on both the main campus in Hattiesburg, the Tradition campus in Biloxi and at a Slidell, La., off campus site.
In addition to offering the nursing bachelor’s degree, the nursing master’s degree with multiple specialty areas and post-master’s degree program options in nursing education, the School of Nursing added in 2012 a doctorate in nursing education and administration and a bachelor’s degree in health information management. A dual master’s degree in nursing and business administration was added in 2014.
The new programs are just one part of the nursing school’s continued growth. Dr. Williams and the nursing school faculty have also worked to improve existing programs and keep the school at the cutting edge of trends in health care education. School leaders also continually assess needs in the state and work to provide for those needs.
An example of providing for needs is found in the establishment of the nursing doctorate, created following a 2010 Institute of Medicine report recommending universities double the number of nurses with a doctorate by 2020.
In the 2012-2013 academic year, only six Mississippi nurses earned doctorates. The Carey nursing school graduated an inaugural class of 21 students from its nursing doctorate program in 2014. Twenty-eight more doctoral students are projected to receive their degrees in August 2015 followed by 35 students in 2016.
The Nightingale Awards also recognize the vision of Dr. Williams and her ability to implement and manage strong programs. Dr. Williams has been with the Fail School of Nursing for 25 years and has served for four years as dean. She was appointed in 2014 by Gov. Phil Bryant to serve on the Mississippi State Board of Nursing.