Gerontology Title Photo of couple walking outdoors

UT Chattanooga School of Nursing Chosen as a Member of National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence

In light of their extensive focus in gerontology, the UTC School of Nursing has been asked to join the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence (NHCGNE). The mission of the Center is enhance and sustain “the capacity and competency of nurses to provide quality care to older adults through faculty development, advancing gerontological nursing science, facilitating adoption of best practices, fostering leadership, and designing and shaping policy.” Upon receiving this prestigious invitation, the first state university in Tennessee to be named, Dr. Christine Smith, Director of the School of Nursing, says she looks forward to the wonderful opportunities this designation affords the school. “We have had a significant focus on gerontology for the last three years through the grant work of Dr. Joanie Jackson and Dr. Carolyn Schreeder. Their HRSA grants focused on educating interprofessional team members in the care of the elderly. When I was called to ask us to participate, I knew immediately it was because of the work of those associated with these two projects.  As Dr. Jackson and Dr. Schreeder were in the process of submitting their HRSA grants, we were also developing a proposal to have an endowed Chair in Gerontology. The Vicky B. Gregg Chair in Gerontology was funded through the Tennessee Health Foundation. The inaugural holder of this chair, Brittany Cusack, DNP, ANP, came to the School of Nursing in April 2015. Since that time she has led the efforts to start an Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program in the School of Nursing, and has worked with the Dean of the College of Health Education and Professional Studies, Dr. Valerie Rutledge, to create a minor in Gerontology for the campus.

photo of couple stretchingThe Hartford Center’s focus is to ensure a strong gerontological workforce in nursing in the United States and internationally through faculty development, advancing gerontological nursing science, facilitating the adoption of best practices, fostering leadership and designing and shaping policy. Dr. Smith stated, “As the population ages, it is important for nursing to remain at the forefront in educating nurses. Through our association with The Hartford Center, we will have access to the best and the brightest that nursing has to offer as we look at programming and research for this specific population. I plan on getting older, so I look forward to what we learn, what the research tells us and adding to the best practices in nursing as it relates to gerontology. Our goal is to have a nationally recognized program in gerontological nursing.”