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AACN, the Hartford Foundation and NYU Honor Nursing Schools for Innovative Gerontology Curricula

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Press Release
For Immediate Release 

AACN, the Hartford Foundation and NYU Honor Nursing Schools
for Innovative Gerontology Curricula

WASHINGTON, D.C., November 17, 2006 - The John A. Hartford Foundation Institute for Geriatric Nursing and New York University, in collaboration with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), are pleased to announce the winners of the 2006 Awards for Baccalaureate Education in Geriatric Nursing. Presented at AACN's fall meeting, awards were given to one faculty member at the University of Minnesota and three schools of nursing: Old Dominion University (VA), Johns Hopkins University (MD), and the University of Missouri-Columbia.

Now in its ninth 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.

"Given the rapid aging of our population, we need to insure that nurses in the educational pipeline are well prepared to provide the highest quality geriatric care possible," said AACN President Jeanette Lancaster, PhD, RN, FAAN. "AACN is proud to join with the Hartford Institute in recognizing four schools of nursing whose work to strengthen the geriatric nursing curriculum will enhance the quality of care available to older adults."

Awards were presented in four separate categories to the following:

  • Outstanding Geriatric Faculty Member Award: Christine Mueller, PhD, RN, C, CNAA, University of Minnesota
  • Infusing Geriatrics into the Curriculum Award: Old Dominion University (VA)
  • Clinical Settings in Geriatric Nursing Award: University of Missouri - Columbia
  • Stand-Alone Baccalaureate Geriatric Course Award: Johns Hopkins University (MD)

Reviewers sought small, innovative, and promising programs, as well as larger, well-established curricula, that could be showcased as proven models of excellence. Among other elements, such programs have separate, free-standing courses that focus on gerontology; use multiple clinical sites creatively; form partnerships with community resources; have faculty knowledgeable in and committed to geriatric nursing care; and integrate gerontological experiences into the overall curriculum.

To read the abstracts from the winning schools, click here.


Abstracts and Profiles

Outstanding Geriatric Faculty Member Award

Christine Mueller, PhD, RN, C, CNAA, University of Minnesota
Submitted by: Dean Connie Delaney, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI

Profile: Dr. Christine A. Mueller, associate professor in the University of Minnesota School of Nursing, is nationally and internationally recognized for leadership in gerontological nursing education and research to improve the quality of care in long-term care facilities. She has devoted her entire 32-year career to gerontological nursing, serving as clinician, administrator, researcher, consultant, and educator. ANCC-certified in gerontological nursing and nursing administration, Dr. Mueller was recently designated as one of the few mentor appraisers in the ANCC Magnet Recognition Program. She has published extensively and given numerous presentations extending scientific knowledge in her specialty areas. She serves on the editorial board of the Journal of Gerontological Nursing and is a reviewer for The Gerontologist, Geriatric Nursing, and the Journal of the American Geriatric Society. At the University of Minnesota, Dr. Mueller is chair for the newly created Adult and Gerontological Health Cooperative, coordinator of Gerontological Nursing Education, and interim coordinator of the GNP/GCNS (Geriatric Nurse Practitioner/Geriatric Clinical Nurse Specialist) areas. She also serves on the Center for Gerontological Nursing's executive committee. Dr. Mueller has promoted the innovative expansion and integration of gerontological nursing in undergraduate and graduate nursing curricula. She directs the GNP/GCNS scholarship program funded by The John A. Hartford Foundation (JAHF), securing community co-sponsors and serving as an advisor for 20 students. Her Faculty Teaching Resources website provides links to information on 38 topics of relevance to nursing care of older adults and her website on Long-term Care Nursing Leadership/Management provides extensive resources to promote best practices for nurse leaders in nursing homes. She is leading the development of a nursing clinic in senior housing for diverse older adults that will offer an innovative wellness program and serve as a site for faculty practice and student practica.

Infusing Geriatrics into the Curriculum Award

Old Dominion University (VA)
F aculty: Karen Karlowicz, EdD, RN
Dean: Richardean Benjamin, PhD, MPH, RN

Abstract: The infusion of geriatrics into the baccalaureate nursing curriculum at Old Dominion University utilizes a model that anchors geriatric content in two 'anchor' courses at the beginning and end of the curriculum. Information emphasizes healthy aging and health promotion across the continuum of older adulthood. The primary objective is for students to acknowledge older adults as a unique, and often vulnerable, segment of our population for whom nursing intervention can make a significant impact in promoting health care practices that support long-term functional independence. A variety of innovative experiential learning activities is used to facilitate the acquisition of knowledge and exposure to behaviors and attitudes regarding older adults and aging. Students interact with older adult clients not just in the acute-care or long-term care environments, but also in wellness-focused environments such as rehabilitation, home, and community settings. Upon completion of the program, students are able to demonstrate the competencies necessary to compassionately provide quality care to older adults and their families while serving as resources for other health providers and seniors in the community.

Clinical Settings in Geriatric Nursing Award

University of Missouri - Columbia (MUSSON)
Faculty: Myra A. Aud, PhD, RN
Dean: Rosemary T. Porter, PhD, RN

Abstract: The gerontological nursing care course at MUSSON utilizes six clinical settings spanning the continuum of care. Expanding clinical experiences beyond nursing home acknowledges the 95% of older adults who are not in residential long-term care facilities. The majority of older adults live in the community in homes or apartments, with family members, or in retirement communities. A growing number reside in assisted living facilities. Students in the stand-along gerontological nursing course have clinical experiences in a 132-bed skills nursing facility, the distinct dementia-care unit at that facility, a home health agency, an adult day care center, and a retirement community. The design of the gerontological course, as supposed by AACN and The John A. Hartford Foundation, includes evaluation based on six semesters of pretest and posttest scores for two variables: geriatric nursing knowledge and attitudes on aging. Students who took the course showed a modest improvement in geriatric nursing knowledge, and end-of-semester evaluation forms reflected changes in attitude toward greater comfort working with older adults.

Stand-Alone Baccalaureate Geriatric Course Award

Johns Hopkins University (MD)
Faculty: Linda Rose, PhD, RN
Dean: Martha N. Hill, PhD, RN, FAAN

Abstract: Issues in Aging is a required stand-along class designed to introduce the beginning nursing student to the healthy aging process and to facilitate positive attitudes toward aging. It was developed in response to society's growing need to address the health care needs of an aging population and was predicated on the belief of the faculty that the normal aging process was poorly understood by students who were then reluctant to work with older patients. The beginning nursing student learns about aging demographics, views of aging, myths and stereotypes, theories of aging, common age-related changes, and promotion of the health of older adults across the continuum. Observational experiences in community settings are provided. The course uses several innovative approaches. Most notably, the guided interview with an older adult gives the students a real-world perspective on the experiences of older adults and affords the students the opportunity to engage a healthy adult in meaningful dialogue, shattering preconceived myths of aging. In addition, a geriatric course positioned at the beginning of a student's education rather than at the end allows for growth and commitment to the field of geriatrics.

Congratulation to the 2006 Recipients of the Hartford Foundation's
Award for Baccalaureate Education in Geriatric Nursing

Pictured: (standing) Amy Berman, The John A. Hartford Foundation; Karen Karlowicz and Dean Richardean Benjamin from Old Dominion University;
Christine Mueller and Dean Connie Delaney from the University of Minnesota; Dean Martha Hill from Johns Hopkins University;
and Rachael Watman, The John A. Hartford Foundation; (seated) Jeanette Lancaster, AACN President;
Terry Fulmer, Co-Director of the Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing; Myra A. Aud and
Dean Rosemary T. Porter from the University of Missouri-Columbia.



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 670 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.

The Hartford Institute for Geriatric Nursing, proudly housed at the New York University College of Nursing, 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.


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