School of Nursing Wellness Advisory-Action Committee Strives to Foster a Culture of Support and Well-being

Katie Pavek

The University of Wisconsin–Madison is committed to ensuring all students have access to various forms of mental health and wellness resources. In January 2022, the School of Nursing formed the Wellness Advisory-Action Committee, a group that advises and assists in the development and enhancement of a culture of wellness to improve the health and well-being of all members of our School of Nursing community through wellness initiatives. Comprised of students, faculty, and staff, it has grown to over 20 dedicated members in its first year. “We are so fortunate to have a diverse committee that brings varied knowledge, experiences, and ideas,” says Katie Pavek ’08, PhD’21, RN, School of Nursing Wellness Officer and assistant clinical professor. “Their excitement and commitment to this work has resulted in some great outcomes in the first year.”

Tell us about your role as the School of Nursing’s Wellness Officer – what are some of your responsibilities and objectives? 

Pavek: I was fortunate to begin serving as the School of Nursing’s Wellness Officer at the beginning of this academic year (Fall of 2022). It is my goal to deeply ingrain a culture of wellness throughout the School of Nursing that positively impacts the health and wellness of students, faculty, and staff. I hope to serve our School of Nursing community as a leader, as a trusted resource, and as a collaborator as we collectively work to improve the many dimensions of wellness that impact our well-being.

With what does the Wellness Advisory-Action Committee assist? 

Pavek: A few highlights of wellness initiatives that the committee has implemented over the past year include: a fall and spring wellness series including yoga, mindfulness, and a community walk to Picnic Point; the creation of a School of Nursing wellness website; monthly wellness activities; and a wellness survey that was used to assess the strengths and needs of our School of Nursing community.

What are some initiatives that the School of Nursing is committed to when it comes to improving wellness for our students, faculty, and staff? 

Pavek: We strive to foster a culture of wellness through positive culture change and wellness initiatives. Such initiatives may include implementing wellness activities, fostering belonging and inclusivity, integrating evidence-based preventative strategies, reviewing and revising policies and procedures, advising and collaborating with committees and leaders on system-based initiatives, and collaborating with students, faculty, and staff in the support of individual and collective well-being.

Why is wellness so important to the School of Nursing? 

Pavek: The School of Nursing largely relies on the people that work and learn here. It is essential that students, faculty, and staff are supported in their wellness, and that we are intentionally creating an environment in which people can thrive. If we work or learn in an environment that puts our well-being at risk, we are unable to reach our full potential, both personally and professionally.