School of nursing

School Notes: School of Nursing
September/October 2007

YSN mourns loss of nursing trailblazer

Rhetaugh Dumas '61MSN, the first woman, first African American, and first nurse to be formally appointed deputy director of the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), passed away on July 22 at the Houston Hospice. Dumas was director of nursing at Yale–New Haven Hospital from 1967 to 1972. She also was among the earliest researchers to use randomized experimental design to study clinical problems in patient care. In 1996, Dumas was appointed by President Clinton to the National Bioethics Advisory Commission.

A native of Natchez, Mississippi, Dumas also served as chief of psychiatric nursing education at the NIMH in Rockville, Maryland. She held the posts of professor, dean, and vice provost at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, achieving emerita status in 1997. She was a member of the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences, and was a charter fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, serving as president from 1987 to 1989. In addition, Dumas served as president of the National League of Nursing, which is the standard-setting and accrediting body for nursing education.

Nurse leader returns to Yale to lead YSN board

Yale University School of Nursing has named Angela McBride '64MSN to head its three-year old External Advisory Board, which provides counsel to the dean in matters relating to YSN's strategic plan. McBride is dean emerita of the University of Indiana School of Nursing. “Angela brings an exceptional combination of leadership, understanding, and sense of mission to this board,” commented Margaret Grey, dean and Annie Goodrich Professor at YSN. “I know that the school will benefit greatly from her wisdom and energy.”

During her tenure as dean, McBride served as senior vice president for academic affairs-nursing within Clarian Health Partners, the largest hospital network in Indiana and the third largest in the United States. Currently, she is a member of the Clarian board, and chairs the board’s Committee on Quality and Patient Care. She is known for her contributions to women’s health, particularly the psychology of parenthood, and to psychiatric-mental health nursing. In keeping with her multidisciplinary interests, she is an adjunct professor in the departments of psychology, psychiatry, women’s studies, and philanthropic studies on nursing's core campus of Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI).

She has received honorary doctorates from several universities, and awards for professional distinction from a number of academic institutions, including the Distinguished Alumna Award from YSN in 1978. In 1995, she received the “Outstanding Contributions to Nursing and Health Psychology” award from the American Psychological Association’s Division 38 on Health Psychology. That same year, she was elected to membership in the Institute of Medicine.

YSN professor researching “home” benefits for elderly

YSN assistant professor Sheila Molony was recently awarded the John A. Hartford Foundation Claire M. Fagin Fellowship to conduct research in gerontological mental-health nursing. Interviews with nursing-facility residents reveal a wide range of residential satisfaction and social engagement, but a universal theme expressed by residents is, “It isn’t home. “ Indeed, at least two studies have characterized the experience of nursing-home dwelling as becoming homeless. Residents have reported experiences of constraint, dehumanization, boredom, helplessness, loneliness, and intrusive beneficence. Nursing scholarship has contributed to improved quality of care in nursing homes by addressing issues such as fall-risk reduction, restraint reduction, individualized dining, individualized bathing, and interventions to address behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. Nursing and interdisciplinary interventions may increase the capacity for residents to thrive in these settings—but first we need better understanding of the intimate relationship between person and environment.

As part of Molony's fellowship, she will be conducting a longitudinal mixed-methods study exploring “at-homeness” for residents of a traditional skilled nursing facility and for residents of innovative new “Small Houses,” which are modeled after the Green Houses in Tupelo, Mississippi. Molony will be exploring the relationship between “at-homeness” and physical, mental, psychological, and social health variables. In a separate study, she will be testing the feasibility of a care-planning intervention based upon individualized assessments of memories, meanings, and experiences of home.

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