Joanne Disch, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Faculty ad Honorem at the University of Minnesota and VCU School of Nursing Yingling Scholar, visited the School of Nursing this week to discuss leadership capacity with faculty, staff and students. Disch has been working with the School since the fall to help guide organizational change.

In a session with NURS 471 students, Disch shared how having the “nursing lens” has helped her to understand people.

“The skills you learn as a nurse go beyond anatomy and physiology,” she said.” As a nurse, you learn how to relate and understand people and you can use this skill in everything you do.”

Disch also encouraged the students to become leaders in the field and try to make a difference with their work. She asked students to share experiences at the School of Nursing where they realized they could make a difference in someone’s life. Students shared examples where they gave support or offered tough love to distressed patients or took some weight off another nurse on their floor. Disch praised their actions and reminded them that a nurse never knows the positive impact he or she may have on patients and their families.

During a “Reflections on the Journey” session with faculty and staff,  Disch discussed how the School is already showing progress since the fall and is on its way to becoming a destination school of nursing.  She believes that addressing an organization’s strategy, structure and culture is the key to its success and she commended the School for making strides in these areas. Additionally, Disch said she has seen the investment in people at the VCU School of Nursing and the opportunities for them to be engaged.

“Every faculty and staff member, whether they’re tenured, high ranking or new to the school, can contribute to the organization,” Disch said. “You’re  in the middle of a journey and by working together you can accomplishment great things.”

Disch was originally scheduled for an open presentation on Mar. 3 to discuss “Knowing When to Lead, Follow or Get Out of the Way With Health Care Reform.” The session was canceled due to inclement weather but may be rescheduled to a later date. Stay tuned for more details.

Joanne Disch

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