News updates from the JMU School of Nursing

James Madison University

School of Nursing

Nursing Newsletter for Alumni and Friends

Spring 2017

May 2017 Convocation: 91 BSN, 38 RN-BSN, 24 MSN, 1 DNP

For more photos follow our JMU School of Nursing Facebook

Letter From The Director

Dr. Julie Sanford

As we finish up this school year I look back with a feeling of pride thinking about all the accomplishments of our students, faculty, staff and alumni. We started off the year at the Virginia Nurses Foundation Awards Gala with five finalists, having two of them win in their categories. A month later we had eight finalists attend the March of Dimes Nurse of the Year Awards with seven of them bringing home a win. The Innovations in Professional Nursing Education Award from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing was a great recognition for the School of Nursing’s work in health policy. Faculty and students have hands on experience navigating the health policy process and advocating for patients (see article below). Our first cohort of DNP students graduated in December and presented final projects that have had a real impact on healthcare organizations by saving time, money and improving outcomes. The NCLEX first time pass rate for our December grads was an impressive 96.15% and out of the 91 spring BSN grads the vast majority not only have jobs but jobs in areas of their first choice. Students, faculty and alumni attended and presented at national events and we have highlighted a few in this newsletter.

Our new Health and Behavioral Studies Building has such a positive effect on our programs. Neighboring with other disciplines has allowed the interprofessional aspect of nursing education to flourish. Nursing students are able to partner with others from Communication Sciences and Disorders, Social Work, Health Sciences and Graduate Psychology to work collaboratively on group projects. The labs they have available for team challenges are state of the art and mimic reality. Our beautiful space was also used to host the very successful 65th annual Virginia Student Nurses Association State Convention where close to 500 students from across the Commonwealth attended. The building provided ample space for presentations, meetings and social gathering. The 5th floor conference room was perfect for our first Nursing Recruitment Fair held this past March. Nursing students were able to network and learn about externships, internships, residencies and job opportunities. The feedback from both students and recruiters was so positive that it will become an annual event.

Even though the pace slows a bit in the summer we remain busy with the freshman class coming in and getting oriented and settled. We also have our three study abroad groups (Costa Rica, Malta, Tanzania) heading out this month. To see updates and stay engaged follow us on our Nursing Facebook and Twitter

As always we would love to hear from you and share your stories with fellow alums. Our current students always enjoy seeing the diverse paths that a nursing career can lead to. Email Michele @ with your updates!

Best Wishes,
Julie Sanford, DNS, RN
Director and Professor of Nursing

Convocation Awards and Recognitions May 2017

ROTC GradsBSN ROTC Graduates Michelle Martinez and Madeline Freeman have made a commitment to the armed forces and to serve our country. The additional rigors of the ROTC experience promote excellence in leadership for these graduates. They will be commissioned as nurses in the United States Army.


Honors Program Graduates

Honors program graduates

The honors college at JMU is an academic community that engages highly motivated and intellectually gifted students in exceptional experiences that develop excellence in leadership, scholarship, and service. This year's graduates are; Hayley Guess, who will be working at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, VA. and Kaylyn Brooks who will be working  in Augusta Health's Labor and Delivery Unit in Fishersville, VA.


 The Merck Scholar Award

Emily FriedmanThis Award is given to the undergraduate nursing student who has achieved the highest cumulative GPA. This year's recipient is Emily Friedman. Emily will be working a Labor and Delivery Unit after graduation.



Outstanding Undergraduate Senior Peer Award

Elizabeth SymallaThis award is given to a student who is nominated by the senior class and then chosen by a vote of the class. This year's award went to Elizabeth Symalla



Victoria Alcantara Outstanding Undergraduate Student Award

Bethelle SmithThis award is the highest undergraduate student honor. The faculty members select a student who demonstrates excellence in promoting the profession of nursing, actively pursues knowledge, is involved in the university and the community, and exemplifies caring in their nursing practice. This award went to Bethelle Smith. Bethelle was also the recipient of the Marcia Dake Rockingham Memorial Hospital Award for Excellence in Clinical Practice. This award is determined by faculty in recognition of the graduate who is the most outstanding in clinical practice. Bethelle will be working at VCU Health on the Pediatric Intensive Care unit.

RN-BSN Awards

Patricia KimRN-BSN Scholar Award went to Patricia Kim. This award is given to the graduate with the highest GPA and outstanding academic performance.





Outstanding RN-BSN Peer Award which is nominated by the class and then chosen by a vote went to Jyl Carter.

Outstanding Graduate Student Leadership Award

Erin MorrisVoted on by faculty this award is presented to a student who excels in academic and clinical performance, service, leadership and innovation. This year's recipient was Erin Morris


Excellence in Nursing Practice Award

This award, voted on by faculty is presented to a graduate who demonstrates clinical excellence and is compassionate, caring, and respects human dignity. MSN gradaute Zachary Motyka was the recipient of this award. 

Student and Faculty Highlights

DNP Students

DNP Students Participate in Policymaking

JMU's Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program created the Health Policy Institute (HPI), an initiative where students spend a week working directly with policymakers on Capital Hill. More


Alexandra McCoyMcCoy Attends Shot@Life Summit

Senior nursing student Alexandra McCoy (right) was chosen as a Shot@Life Champion allowing her to promote the importance of vaccines at the Shot@Life Champion Summit on Capitol Hill from February 27 to March 1. More


Michael JohnsonROTC Nursing Student Michael Johnson Attends George C. Marshall Seminar

Nursing and ROTC student Michael Johnson attended George C. Marshall National Awards and Leadership Seminar in February at Ft. Leavenworth, Kansas. More


Dr. Sanford and Dr. EatonSchool of Nursing Receives Prestigious Innovations Award from AACN

Efforts of advocacy have earned JMU's School of Nursing the Innovations in Professional Nursing Award from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. More


Jamie RobisonProfessor Receives Teaching with Technology Award

Professor Jamie Robinson (right) was the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching & Learning with Technology Award this past school year. The award recognizes teachers who have proven to be leaders in teaching with technologies at JMU. Professor Robinson fully integrates technology into her NSG 353 course. She uses iPads, Apple TV, and embeds student interaction to create an interactive, team-based learning environment. Jamie has guided the School of Nursing in its use of ExamSoft online testing. She reviews and improves testing policies and teaches faculty how to use the program. Jamie also teaches online courses in the BSN and RN to BSN programs. In the words of a colleague, "I can't think of anyone who deserves this award more than she does." Congratulations to Jamie Lee for her creative use of technology in the classroom and in her department. 

Dr. Patra ReedDNP Graduate Receives Civic Engagement Award

Patra Reed (BSN '93, DNP '16) was the recipient of The Graduate School's Civic Engagement Award this past April. The award honors a graduate student’s academic, co-curricular, or service activities that exemplify JMU’s vision of civic engagement. Nominees should demonstrate sustained commitment to academic projects or co-curricular programs that showcase their participation in civic life or the creation of programs that encourage others’ participation. Dr. Reed has always been passionate about the care of vulnerable populations in her community. As a student in the DNP program she participated in the first Health Policy Institute for DNP students in Washington DC. She was placed as an intern in the office of Senator Tim Kaine and participated in high levels of health policy analyses for his office. For her DNP final project entitled “Using Community Health Workers through Interprofessional Collaboration in Effecting Change in Quality of Life for Heart Failure Patients”, she was awarded a $199,847 grant to pilot the addition of Community Health Workers to maximize the services of the Continuum Case Managers in managing chronic complex patients. As a result of the project the total hospital charges for the 41 patients in the study were reduced by 79% ($846,000) over a 6 month period.

Unfortunately Dr. Reed was unable to attend the awards ceremony because she was busy on Capitol Hill doing what she does best. She spent the day advocating for nursing and case management and then presenting her doctoral project at the American Case Management Association's National Conference in DC.

Employed by Sentara, Dr. Reed is the Blue Ridge Regional Director of Integrated Case Management (ICM) and the Director of SRMH Community Health.

To update and share your information email Michele:

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