Group photo of faculty and staff at the WSU College of Nursing, which has been named a Center of Excellence.
Faculty and staff at the WSU College of Nursing.

The WSU College of Nursing has been named a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing, an honor given to only 15 schools and health care facilities nationwide in 2017.

The award recognizes the College of Nursing’s statewide programs, innovation, research, community outreach, and its commitment to diversity.

The National League for Nursing is a professional organization with 40,000 individual members and 1,200 institutional members. It provides professional development, testing services, research grants and public policy initiatives on nursing education and research.

Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel
Dean and Professor Joyce Griffin-Sobel

“Expert faculty create expert nurses. The WSU College of Nursing has been producing the finest nurses in Washington for close to 50 years,” said Dean and Professor Joyce Griffin-Sobel, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN. “Being named a Center of Excellence, the only college in the Northwest to be honored in this manner, recognizes our innovative, learner-centered teaching, enhanced by a sophisticated simulation program for hands-on, experiential learning.”

The WSU College of Nursing graduates more nurses with bachelor’s degrees than any other university in the state, is a leader in education using simulation, and had research and grant funding of more than $7 million last year. By bringing a diverse student body into health care and serving disadvantaged communities, the College of Nursing helps WSU continue to fulfill its land-grant mission in a modern world.

Anne R. Bavier, PhD, RN, FAAN, and president of the National League for Nursing, notes that Centers of Excellence “help raise the bar for all nursing programs.”

The WSU College of Nursing was named a Center of Excellence for “Enhancing Student Learning and Professional Development,” one of four categories for which honors are awarded. Other nursing schools recognized in the same category include Rush University, Purdue University, Ball State University, and the University of Kansas.

Among the achievements highlighted in the College’s Center of Excellence application were:

  • The College has statewide reach, offering degrees on WSU campuses in Spokane, the Tri-Cities and Vancouver, Washington, and at sites in Yakima and Walla Walla.
  • Since 2005, the College has increased its research capacity by 400 percent.
  • The student body is both ethnically and demographically diverse. From 2013-2016, the WSU College of Nursing’s undergraduate enrollment included 43 percent first-generation college students, and 30 percent non-white. Over the past decade, the College tripled the number of under-represented minority students, rural, and first-generation students who received bachelor’s degrees in nursing.
  • The Program of Excellence in Clinical Performance and Simulation operates a state-of-the-art Simulation Lab that serves students from many WSU health-sciences programs. The College also trains community partners there, including the 141st Air National Guard, students from Spokane Community College, the Washington Association of Nurse Anesthetists, and the University of Washington’s MEDEX Physician Assistant program.
  • Students, under the guidance of College of Nursing faculty, have staffed first aid stations at sporting events, conducted children’s health and sports physical screenings, and offered free clinics for uninsured and undocumented people.

Dean Griffin-Sobel said of the honor of being named a Center of Excellence, “Our faculty ensure that our graduates, at the entry and advanced levels, are prepared to meet the health care needs of our citizens, to reduce the significant access problems that exist in our state, and to increase primary care practice. As a land grant institution, there is no higher calling.”