Deans Who Dared

They came from big cities and small towns. They served during wars, economic collapse, sweeping cultural and political change, and a global pandemic. They fought against oppression and the belief that nurses were second-class health care professionals who didn’t need higher education.

Bittersweet Gratitude

Most phone calls made around 3:14 a.m. hold unexpected news, often delivering heartbreaking information. I received one of those phone calls the morning of May 3, 2023. My dear aunt was undergoing multiple organ failure as a result of health complications that had compounded throughout the previous weeks. I quickly got myself together and made my way to University Hospital.

Dean’s Letter | Fall 2023

It has been gratifying to spend the past year reflecting on the School’s legacy of excellence as we prepare to celebrate our centennial throughout 2024. In doing so, I have noted many times that our history is filled with individuals who innovated, broke barriers, advocated, and led change to meet the health needs of their time.

Zahner Awarded Prestigious Carol Graham Lifetime Achievement Award by WPHA

Susan Zahner, DrPH, RN, FAAN, associate dean for faculty affairs, professor, and Vilas Distinguished Achievement professor at the UW–Madison School of Nursing, has been recognized by the Wisconsin Public Health Association (WPHA) as the 2023 Carol Graham Lifetime Achievement award winner.

Nursing Trailblazer Barbara L. Nichols Selected as Inaugural Recipient of the UW–Madison School of Nursing Canary Savage Girardeau Award for Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

The School of Nursing is pleased to announce the recipient of the Canary Savage Girardeau Award for Health Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion. Barbara L. Nichols, MS, DL(h), SDc(h), PedD(h), RN, FAAN, has been selected as the inaugural recipient of the new award.

Serving the Needs of a Growing and Diversifying Wisconsin

When the UW–Madison School of Nursing first opened its doors to students in 1924, it made history as the first collegiate nursing program in the state. Now, almost 100 years later, the School of Nursing is positioned, once again, to be at the forefront of nursing in Wisconsin as it tackles racial disparities in the profession. In the last few years, faced with dual pandemics of COVID-19 and racial inequality, the School of Nursing made several determinations about necessary steps for the future. Chief of which was addressing a long-established and immediate need to make greater strides in diversifying the nursing profession. 

Building a Legacy

Becky Berkan ’03, RN, CEN, is no stranger to expanding her comfortable limits. After stepping away from participating in athletic activities for a decade, she decided to get back into a sport that she had always enjoyed – running. She set out to train for the Madison Marathon in 2012, which would eventually get canceled due to extreme heat conditions. Rather than shrug her shoulders and call it a day, Berkan persisted with her training and eventually ran the Marine Corps Marathon in 2013.

A Legacy of Excellence

In 2024, a celebration of innovation, excellence, and care is on the horizon for the School of Nursing. 100 years ago, it would have been hard to imagine this impressive growth when the Board of Regents successfully established the collegiate program in 1924. Fast forward 100 years, and the School of Nursing consistently ranks among the best public nursing schools in the country, known for its innovative programming and partnerships, the career readiness of its graduates, and a commitment to a diverse workforce that reflects the populations it serves.