Text title treatment: Dialogue with the Deans

Louise Herrington School of Nursing

Shelley Conroy, Dean & Professor

Shelley Conroy

What is the greatest challenge or opportunity that students in Baylor's Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) will face, and how is Baylor preparing them to face/address it?

Through our commitment to nursing excellence, we believe that everyone at some point in his or her life needs a competent and caring nurse. At the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing we emphasize the nurse's calling to 'Learn.Lead.Serve.' for those who are hurting and in need of comfort. This special calling and opportunity to serve others reveals the distinguished qualities in our graduates that are recognized and appreciated by patients, employers, healthcare partners and the global community.

The American Association of Colleges of Nursing reports that nursing is the nation's largest healthcare profession and here at LHSON we know that each new Baylor nurse is prepared to make the world a better place. That's why we are committed to prepare aspiring baccalaureate and graduate-level nurses within a Christian community for professional practice, healthcare leadership and service to society.

Nursing is a rigorous and demanding major. Students need a strong foundation in science, math and other courses. Achievement in the science courses is one of the most correlated factors for predicting success in the program. The other predictor is the student's GPA.

What do you hope students in the LHSON gain during their time at Baylor?

Few academic disciplines give students the opportunity to so thoroughly integrate faith with excellent academics, leadership and service. Our school's faith-based approach prepares students for a committed life of caring. From the adventure of the mission field to an exciting student life and innovative classroom experience, we want our students to find their lives positively changed in ways they never expected here at LHSON.

What is the most significant thing Baylor graduates from the LHSON offer to the world?

Our Christian faith is at the heart of nursing theory and practice because, as the saying goes, one nurse will do good a thousand times over in their career. Together we support Baylor's strategic vision, Pro Futuris, that reminds us that our past is inextricably linked to our future and that our responsibility to God and to the world continues to lead us.

We are proud to acknowledge that LHSON students score significantly higher than the national average on standardized nursing licensure and certification exams. Additionally, many graduates have served with distinction around the world in all areas of the medical field, mission field and branches of the United States Armed Forces.

What is the most exciting/meaningful thing about being dean of Baylor’s LHSON?

Our unique mission shines through everyday in our classrooms, in hospitals where we serve, clinics, community settings and mission trips. It permeates throughout the nursing school and in each of the ways our devoted faculty, staff and students live out their lives in service to a higher calling. I feel blessed to have the privilege to work with such a gifted and devoted group of men and women. Plus, I am enriched by all the stories over the years about how the Baylor difference is so important to them. It is uplifting validation of our calling to make an impact and bring the light of Christ to others through our service.

Do you have a mentor/memory or experience from your time at Baylor (or elsewhere) that deeply influenced who/where you are today?

I was in high school during the time my father was stationed in Germany, and I had the opportunity to volunteer one summer in the Army hospital there. I was instantly connected to the work that I saw nurses doing with people who were hurting and vulnerable in so many ways. From that point on, I knew that nursing was my calling.

Is there anything you want alumni or parents to know about you or your plans for the LHSON? Please explain.

Looking ahead, it is an inspiring time in the history of LHSON with so many exciting things happening to promote our future growth and development. Continuing our ministry of Baylor's nursing program, outreach through study and missions abroad is an important pillar of our mission at LHSON. Plus, emphasizing servant leadership to influence global healthcare outcomes through evidence-based practice, we now offer an online Master of Science in Nursing Leadership and Innovation.

We are also proud of our DNP program in three advanced practice fields: nurse midwifery, family nurse practitioner and neonatal nurse practitioner. This is one of the only programs in Texas that is available for BSN graduates to enter and pursue their DNP while other statewide programs are only available for nurses post-masters. It is part of our strategic plan to build our faculty and research program in order to offer the PhD in nursing in the future. We see a great potential for nurse researchers and faculty who are uniquely prepared in accordance with the Baylor mission and vision.

In addition, we look forward to hosting our fifth annual Going for the Gold Gala on Feb. 26, 2016, at the Renaissance Hotel in Dallas to support scholarships as well as gifts for the new building.

Speaking of the new building, a new home is on the horizon for LHSON with plans in Dallas to renovate and eventually transition into a contemporary facility at 333 North Washington Ave. We are well underway gaining sustaining support to fund this new state-of-the-art facility that will deliver a higher-quality and competitively robust nursing education.