Portrait of Dean Hurn School of Nursing - We Dare

Patricia D. Hurn, PhD, RN, FAAN

Dean and Professor of Nursing
School of Nursing

You have rallied around nurses and shown how deeply you care about the future of health care. Thank you! Today, I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to a special nurse who also cares about the future of nursing.

Rebecca Cherney is an alumna of the University of Michigan School of Nursing Class of 2012 and current PhD student. Rebecca’s story echoes the goals and drive we see from her talented cohort of classmates at the School of Nursing.

As a 16-year-old juggling the demands of high school, Rebecca watched as her father was treated for cancer. In anticipation of losing her biggest cheerleader, she saw a hopeful light that pointed the way to her future. Caring for her dad deepened her empathy, resilience, and curiosity. Rebecca leaned into those traits as a School of Nursing student. Later, as she became an experienced critical care nurse, she noticed patterns emerging in her most vulnerable patients and asked, “Why?”

Rebecca saw caregivers overwhelmed by tracheostomy care and knew there had to be a better way. Driven by her desire to improve outcomes for these fragile patients, she developed the award-winning Trach Trail™, the first comprehensive, standardized adult tracheostomy-care education program of its kind to dramatically reduce the length of hospital stays. A nurse spotted patterns, asked why, leaned into her resourcefulness, and created a better way.

Her novel idea gained support and guidance from the School of Nursing’s Healthcare Innovation Impact Program and its director, Dr. Olga Yakusheva. Rebecca’s exploration of an innovative nursing path unlocked a new door, and she now looks to Dr. Yakusheva as one of her PhD mentors. She shared that, with her doctoral degree, she will “inspire more nurses to follow their dreams, to help them recognize and pursue their potential while discovering their love for innovation.”

Rebecca’s path to a doctoral degree in nursing will allow her to research new models of care and mentor future nurses—and that is all made possible thanks to gifts from alumni and friends, just like you, who believe in the power of nursing. Visionary donors created scholarships for our highest-level degrees because they, along with those who study nursing workforce trends, see the tremendous need for doctorally prepared nurses to become the faculty and leaders we must have to meet our ever-soaring demand for nursing education. To create the nurses of tomorrow, we need the nursing educators of today. You can help students like Rebecca by giving to the Society for Nursing Scholars fund, an endowed source of support for doctoral education.

Our nation is facing a critical era as an estimated one-third of nursing school faculty will retire in the next three years. Yes, one-third of nursing faculty will retire by 2025. Yet, demand for nursing education grows from coast to coast. You can help us meet this critical need with a gift to support doctoral-level scholarships or to our Funds for the School of Nursing, which last year awarded scholarships to 15 doctoral students.

We know nursing education matters to you. It is because of that commitment and your generosity that our school has not just survived, but thrived. You firmly believe the University of Michigan School of Nursing must remain a beacon of excellence and integrity. Your gift today will maintain our excellence in nursing education and help launch the educators of the future, just like Rebecca.

Thank you for helping us help the world by creating the next generation of nurses. We need them, and we need you.

With warm gratitude,

Patricia Hurn Signature

Patricia D. Hurn, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean and Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing

P.S. Your support in other areas of need is also valued. Make a gift that is important to you!

Rebecca Cherney is an alumna of the University of Michigan School of Nursing Class of 2012 and current PhD student. Rebecca’s story echoes the goals and drive we see from her talented cohort of classmates at the School of Nursing.

As a 16-year-old juggling the demands of high school, Rebecca watched as her father was treated for cancer. In anticipation of losing her biggest cheerleader, she saw a hopeful light that pointed the way to her future. Caring for her dad deepened her empathy, resilience, and curiosity. Rebecca leaned into those traits as a School of Nursing student. Later, as she became an experienced critical care nurse, she noticed patterns emerging in her most vulnerable patients and asked, “Why?”

Rebecca saw caregivers overwhelmed by tracheostomy care and knew there had to be a better way. Driven by her desire to improve outcomes for these fragile patients, she developed the award-winning Trach Trail™, the first comprehensive, standardized adult tracheostomy-care education program of its kind to dramatically reduce the length of hospital stays. A nurse spotted patterns, asked why, leaned into her resourcefulness, and created a better way.

Her novel idea gained support and guidance from the School of Nursing’s Healthcare Innovation Impact Program and its director, Dr. Olga Yakusheva. Rebecca’s exploration of an innovative nursing path unlocked a new door, and she now looks to Dr. Yakusheva as one of her PhD mentors. She shared that, with her doctoral degree, she will “inspire more nurses to follow their dreams, to help them recognize and pursue their potential while discovering their love for innovation.”

Rebecca’s path to a doctoral degree in nursing will allow her to research new models of care and mentor future nurses—and that is all made possible thanks to gifts from alumni and friends, just like you, who believe in the power of nursing. Visionary donors created scholarships for our highest-level degrees because they, along with those who study nursing workforce trends, see the tremendous need for doctorally prepared nurses to become the faculty and leaders we must have to meet our ever-soaring demand for nursing education. To create the nurses of tomorrow, we need the nursing educators of today. You can help students like Rebecca by giving to the Society for Nursing Scholars fund, an endowed source of support for doctoral education.

Our nation is facing a critical era as an estimated one-third of nursing school faculty will retire in the next three years. Yes, one-third of nursing faculty will retire by 2025. Yet, demand for nursing education grows from coast to coast. You can help us meet this critical need with a gift to support doctoral-level scholarships or to our Funds for the School of Nursing, which last year awarded scholarships to 15 doctoral students.

We know nursing education matters to you. It is because of that commitment and your generosity that our school has not just survived, but thrived. You firmly believe the University of Michigan School of Nursing must remain a beacon of excellence and integrity. Your gift today will maintain our excellence in nursing education and help launch the educators of the future, just like Rebecca.

Thank you for helping us help the world by creating the next generation of nurses. We need them, and we need you.

With warm gratitude,

Patricia Hurn Signature

Patricia D. Hurn, PhD, RN, FAAN
Dean and Professor of Nursing, School of Nursing

P.S. Your support in other areas of need is also valued. Make a gift that is important to you!

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