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Hartford Institute and AACN Honor Nursing Schools for Innovations in Geriatric Education

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Press Release
For Immediate Release

Hartford Institute and American Association of Colleges of Nursing
Honor Nursing Schools for Innovations in Geriatric Education

2002 Awards Recognize Three Nursing Programs as Models of Excellence


WASHINGTON, D.C., November 14, 2002 -- The John A. Hartford Foundation Institute for Geriatric Nursing, in collaboration with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), is pleased to announce the winners of the 2002 Awards for Exceptional Baccalaureate Curriculum in Gerontologic Nursing. Presented at AACN's fall meeting, awards were given to three schools of nursing: first place to Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center; second place to The University of Iowa; and honorable mention to Southeastern Louisiana University.

"We are proud to honor three universities this year for their innovative approaches to preparing nurses with the education needed to provide quality geriatric care," said Terry Fulmer, PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor and Head, New York University Division of Nursing, and Co-director of the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing. "I encourage nursing schools across the country to look to the 2002 winners as strong examples of what can be done to improve nursing care for older adults."

Now in its fifth year, this national awards program was created to recognize model baccalaureate programs in nursing with a strong focus on gerontological nursing. Awards are presented to nursing programs that exhibit exceptional, substantive, and innovative baccalaureate curriculum in this subject area. Beyond innovation, programs must also demonstrate relevance in the clinical environment and have the ability to be replicated at schools of nursing across the country.

"In the interest of better serving our aging population, U.S. nursing schools are moving to adapt curriculum and add coursework to better prepare the nursing workforce to care for older adults," explained AACN President Kathleen Ann Long, PhD, RNCS, FAAN. "We are delighted to join with the Hartford Institute in honoring curriculum leaders and sharing these winning models with the world."

Curricula and geriatric care models advanced by the 2002 winners have been summarized and distributed to nursing programs nationwide.

Profile of the 2002 Award Winners

First Place: Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing, Lubbock, TX
The School of Nursing completed an in-depth analysis of their undergraduate curriculum to ascertain if and where care of the elderly was being addressed. The document, Older Adults: Recommended Baccalaureate Competencies and Curricular Guidelines for Geriatric Nursing Care, published by AACN and The John A. Hartford Foundation Institute for Geriatric Nursing in 2000, was the blueprint used by the task force to determine the geriatric content that was needed in the curriculum. The outcomes resulting from the analysis include: 1) A new three-hour didactic and clinical course on Healthy Aging is now required for all beginning students; 2) A module addressing medication therapy for the elder patient/client was developed; 3) A 30-hour practicum in long-term care was added to the senior level; and 4) Geriatric content previously integrated throughout the curriculum was reevaluated and strengthened where needed. College representatives recognized for this award submission include Alexia Green, PhD, RN, Dean; Ana M. Valadez, EdD, RN, CNAA, FAAN; and Tracey Woodward, MSN, RN.

Second Place: University of Iowa College of Nursing, Iowa City, IA
All curricula in the College of Nursing are based on holistic healthcare, developmental aging, and the needs of individuals and aggregates within the context of an increasing proportion of older persons in the population. Although age-related content and applications are integrated throughout the undergraduate curriculum, two courses (Gerontologic Nursing and Gerontological Nursing Practicum) are dedicated entirely to the nursing care of older persons. The courses are based on The John A. Hartford Geriatric Nursing Institute recommended content and expose students to exciting challenges and opportunities throughout the breadth, depth, and complexity of gerontologic nursing. The four-credit required Gerontologic Nursing didactic course emphasizes normal aging, wellness and prevention of illness/disability, management of acute and chronic illness, and end of life care. Learning is enriched by evidence-based content, lectures by expert gerontologic faculty and clinicians, and a variety of multi-media. The Gerontologic Nursing Practicum is three-credit hours and includes experiences with a range of well and frail elders in traditional and alternative settings. By choosing electives in other aging courses, a number of students also receive an interdisciplinary Aging Studies Certificate at graduation. The curriculum responds to the immediate need for nurses with geriatric training and to the need for more nurses with advanced training for academic, research, and practice careers. College representatives recognized for this award submission include
Paula Mobily, PhD, RN, Associate Professor; Janet Specht, PhD, RN, FAAN, Associate Professor;
Deborah Schoenfelder, PhD, RN, Clinical Associate Professor; Sheryl Miller, MSN, RN, Assistant Clinical Professor; Meridean Maas, PhD, RN, FAAN, Sally Mathis Hartwig Professor of
Gerontologic Nursing Research and Director, The John A. Hartford Center of Geriatric Nursing Excellence; and Melanie Dreher, PhD, RN, FAAN; Dean and Professor.

Honorable Mention: Southeastern Louisiana University School of Nursing, Hammond, LA
The care of older adults is threaded throughout the content of the School of Nursing's community-based curriculum. Curricular penetration is seen at all levels. Courses address areas identified as priorities in Healthy People 2010; competencies are derived from the AACN document The Essentials of Baccalaureate Education for Professional Nursing. Content learned in cognate courses (developmental psychology, nutrition, pharmacology) is expanded in nursing courses throughout the curriculum. Elective courses (e.g. Death and Dying) also expand knowledge. The free-standing Gerontological Nursing theory course is offered concurrently with the Adult Health Nursing course, and addresses the normal aging process and variables that contribute to deviations in health in older adult clients. In this course, as well as in the required Gerontological Nursing Lab course, there is a strong emphasis on healthy aging as well as health promotion and prevention for well and frail older adults. In the clinical lab course, students utilize community activities (e.g. National Senior Games, Louisiana Senior Olympics) that enable students to work with well older people. At the synthesis level students address the needs of older adult clients in their capstone project. A grant, Healthy Farm Families Initiative Prevention/Intervention, has enabled faculty to plan screening activities and teaching projects with adults of all ages in rural farm areas. Faculty use diverse and innovative teaching strategies to facilitate achievement of course objectives. Many creative ideas from Web sites are utilized, and experts in the community are often asked to teach specific content. College representatives recognized for this award submission include Donnie Booth, PhD, RN, Dean, College of Nursing and Health Sciences; Barbara Moffett, PhD, RN, Director, School of Nursing; and Joyce Maynor, MSN, RN, C.

For an application for the 2003 awards competition, contact the Hartford Institute at (212) 998-5568 or via their Web site at


The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, proudly housed at the Division of Nursing, The Steinhardt School of Education of New York University, seeks to shape the quality of health care older Americans receive by promoting the highest level of geriatric competence in all nurses. By raising the standards of nursing care, the Hartford Institute aims to ensure that people age with optimal function, comfort, and dignity. The Hartford Institute identifies and develops best practices in nursing care of older adults and infuses these practices into the education of every nursing student and the work environment of every practicing professional nurse. The Hartford Institute encourages national leadership to establish best practice as the standard for geriatric nursing care.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) is the national voice for university and four-year college education programs in nursing. Representing more than 580 member schools of nursing at public and private institutions nationwide, AACN's educational, research, governmental advocacy, data collection, publications, and other programs work to establish quality standards for bachelor's- and graduate-degree nursing education, assist deans and directors to implement those standards, influence the nursing profession to improve health care, and promote public support of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education, research, and practice.


Robert Rosseter, 202-463-6930, ext. 231