Faculty reflect on 40 years of Growth

Faculty reflect on 40 years of Growth

by Ruth Wooten, BSN student

In light of the University of Louisville School of Nursing’s 40th anniversary, it is only fitting to hear from a few faculty who have been integral in the initiation and growth of the school. Karen M. Robinson, PhD, PMHCNS, BC, FAAN; Marianne Hutti, PhD, WHNP-BC; Paulette Adams, EdD, RN; and Linda H. Freeman, PhD, RN, have been and continue to be a part of the school and the field of nursing. They offered insight regarding the growth and impact of the school.

In the early years of the school of nursing, things were very different. Classes were first held in a wing of the old general hospital, and then the Carmichael building, an elementary school. Each class had approximately 35-40 students who were taught in classrooms divided into sections.

Robinson joined the School of Nursing in 1976 with the beginning of the BSN “Upper Division,” she later initiated the masters in mental health nursing and was a proponent of the doctoral program in health policy. The UofL SON received accreditation simultaneously for the traditional baccalaureate program and the master’s program while in the Carmichael building.

Adams was one of the six original faculty members of the SON. She taught in various programs and served in administrative roles, including acting dean.

“In spite of less than optimal conditions, we continued to move forward and have a good program. It never stopped us from trying to excel and be the best,” Adams said. “We always looked ahead to what was next.”

This attitude and positive spirit helped shaped UofL SON into what it is now, and what it will be in the future.

In contrast to its early facilities, the current SON home in the ‘K’ Building provides space for cohorts of 60 and 80 students. The surrounding environment of the health care community creates an enriching experience for faculty and students.

“It has been fascinating to watch the school grow through all of those years when we became accredited, added the master’s program, and then the doctoral program,” Freeman said.

Development of nursing research has been another important component. Robinson said she has seen significant growth in this area, and believes the school has a greater value in the local and global community because of it.

Hutti has taught in every program at the SON including the associate degree program, the RN to BSN program, the traditional BSN program and the PhD program.

Simulation Lab“The school has gone from a small associate degree program to a top notch School of Nursing… look at the caliber of incoming students, it’s wonderful! The nurses  graduating from our program are going to do great things in the future and make us really proud. They already make us really proud,” Hutti said.

A common theme among the four educators is the importance of relationships with students.

“It is always fun to come across my former students in the professional arena and see all they are doing,” Adams said.

As the U of L School of Nursing celebrates its 40th anniversary, each offered students a few words of advice and insight:

  • “Go after it, follow your dream… it is important that people love what they’re doing. Nursing is so versatile; if you’re in an area and you’re burned out, go find another area of nursing that will really stimulate you. Do what you love and make people know that this is what you love to do.” - Paulette Adams, EdD, RN
  •  “Be aware of the opportunities in nursing. There are endless possibilities. I can’t imagine that anyone can be bored in nursing.” -Linda H. Freeman, PhD, RN

  • “Keep an open mind and keep learning, because there is so much more to learn. You are the best nurse you can be when you keep on learning and keep current. Be prepared to experience pushback in your life and stay strong in your beliefs.” - Marianne Hutti, PhD, WHNP-BC
  •  “Choosing nursing as a career is going to create a rewarding life. Everyday you will make a difference. You will see yourself grow and your peers grow as they reach out and help others to make an impact in the world both in practice and academia.” - Karen M. Robinson, PhD, PMHCNS, BC, FAAN