Cammermeyer to highlight Nursing Program's 20th anniversary on May 17
Dr. Grethe Cammermeyer, well-known for excellence in nursing practice, will be the keynote speaker as UW Tacoma's Nursing Program celebrates 20 years of education, leadership and service to the community.
Nursing will celebrate its 20th anniversary on Thursday, May 17, in William W. Philip Hall with a reception starting at 5 p.m. The lecture begins at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but advance registration is required.
Selected because of her leadership and expertise in nursing practice, Dr. Cammermeyer had a decorated career in the military and within the VA healthcare system, as her numerous awards demonstrated.
Cammermeyer also has ties to the UW as she received a master's degree from the University of Washington in 1976 and in 1995 she was selected Distinguished Alumna from the UW School of Nursing. Speaking on “The Leadership Imperative” to an audience that will include some of the 1,400 alums of the Nursing Program, Dr. Cammermeyer’s topic is timely, given today’s healthcare challenges and needs for leadership.
"Our 1,400 graduates have made so many wonderful contributions in the local community and beyond," says Sharon Gavin Fought, director of the program. "We're incredibly proud of all of them."
UW Tacoma Nursing Program graduates generally remain in the South Puget Sound, serving their communities and providing leadership in many healthcare settings. Graduates work in community healthcare, earn Ph.D.s, teach other nurses, and even create new nonprofits dedicated to helping under-served communities.
Just one example is Janet Runbeck. After a long hiatus from nursing to run a family business, Runbeck returned to school at UW Tacoma where she earned her Master of Nursing in 2006.
Runbeck helped create a valuable new service for the community when she organized a partnership between community agencies, the Southeast FISH Food Bank and UW Tacoma graduate students and faculty, who conducted a community health needs assessment.
Based on that assessment — and with the help of the Rotary Club — Runbeck established the RotaCare Clinic, a free chronic care clinic and part of the Washington Free Clinic Association, which serves to relieve the pain and suffering of those in most need with the least access to healthcare.
College-educated nurses fill a critical need in the region, according to The Future of Nursing: Focus on Education, a report by the Institute of Medicine released in 2011, outlining the growing need for more nurses with BSN, MN and doctoral degrees.
“A more educated nursing workforce would be better equipped to meet the demands of an evolving health care system. In addition to increased numbers of BSN-educated nurses, schools of nursing must build their capacities to prepare more students at the graduate level who can assume roles in advanced practice, leadership, teaching, and research,” the report notes.
Nursing Program graduates are employed in a range of settings from community colleges to hospice agencies and the area’s largest healthcare providers — including MultiCare, Franciscan Health Systems and Madigan Army Medical Center. Partnerships with experts within healthcare organizations lead to planned learning to meet individual student and regional needs.
“These organizations support our students' learning and serve on our advisory panels,” says Fought. “Working closely helps us see how the program should evolve to meet changing needs.”
Dr. Anthony Chen, director of health for the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department agrees. “On issues as diverse as asthma, outdoor air quality, maternal and child health, health equity, and lead exposure, the Nursing faculty and students have contributed with needs assessments, outreach, education, oversight, and evaluation. It’s a wonderful resource in our backyard.”