An anniversary prompts one to reflect on the past and envision the preferred future. As we celebrate 75 years of baccalaureate nursing education at Marquette, we take the opportunity to explore themes of those years and to answer the question: What has Marquette’s College of Nursing contributed the nursing and society?
One theme has been educational innovation. College leaders were among the first to launch new programs, such as preparation in public health nursing in 1937, graduate programs in 1939 and doctorate in nursing practice in 2008. The curricular innovation of the role-oriented master’s program was described in a 1980 book by Dr. Lorraine Machan, The Practitioner-Teacher Role: Practice What You Teach. The college pioneered the use of technology in nursing education with a 1966 federal grant for closed circuit television. All nurse-midwifery theory courses were offered online in 1998. As early adopters in the area of simulated clinical learning, the faculty are recognized as innovators in this area. Technology and innovative methods are included in the teacher preparation component of the nursing Ph.D. program.
Another theme is commitment to clinical excellence. Nursing faculty members have worked to advance practice in acute care, long-term care and community settings. In the Catholic tradition of social justice, Marquette faculty and students demonstrated a preferential option for the poor. They have chosen to teach and learn where they could also serve, for example in homeless shelters and low-income housing units. Faculty operate two nurse-managed clinics, the Marquette Clinic for Women and Children and the Marquette Neighborhood Health Center. Parish nursing as a specialty practice area was developed at Marquette.
Another theme is the focused development of nursing knowledge. Marquette nursing faculty members were leaders in nursing classification through efforts on nursing diagnosis and the International Classification for Nursing Practice. They were recognized for research on chronic illness, dementia, health promotion and health services, as well as developing the scientific basis for natural family planning.
The most powerful evidence of the college’s contributions is in the impact of its more than 7,000 alumni on nursing and society.