Nursing Professor wins Book of the Year!

The second edition of “Nurses Making Policy: From Bedside to Boardroom,” edited by Margarete Lieb Zalon, Ph.D., R.N., A.C.N.S.-B.C., F.A.A.N., professor of nursing and director of the University’s online master of science in health informatics program, Rebecca M. Patton, D.N.P., R.N., C.N.O.R., F.A.A.N., and Ruth Ludwick, Ph.D., R.N.-B.C., A.P.R.N.-C.N.S., F.A.A.N., won second place in the History and Public Policy category of the 2019 American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Awards.

The American Journal of Nursing Book of the Year Awards is an esteemed and prestigious competition in which the best in nursing publishing are chosen by a panel of judges who are experienced and well-established in the healthcare community. Awards are given for first, second, and third places across 20 categories. 2019 marked the 50th year of the awards.

The second edition of “Nurses Making Policy” explores the nurse’s integral role in facilitating health policy change and advocating for the patient, both in the hospital and in the larger political system. The editors have donated all their royalties from both editions of the book to the Washington Fellowship Fund at the American Nurses Foundation, which is the philanthropic entity of American Nurses Association. The Washington Fellowships Fund is focused on getting nurses a seat at the highest-policy making tables and maximizing nurses’ participation on Capitol Hill committees.

Dr. Zalon, who has been a member of Scranton’s faculty since 1988, was inducted as an American Academy of Nursing Fellow in 2010 in part for her positive influence on health care policy and delivery. Her leadership legacy includes grassroots advocacy, progressive program design, execution and outcomes in state and national nursing organizations focused on establishing practice and education policy, and building research funding capacity.

Dr. Zalon has authored book chapters, as well as articles published in numerous scholarly journals and other professional publications. She has also made research and health policy presentations at the local, state, national and international levels. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Dr. Zalon serves on the American Academy of Nursing’s Acute and Critical Care Expert Panel, and is the president of the Nursing Foundation of Pennsylvania. She is a past chair of the American Nurses Foundation, a former board member of the American Nurses Association, past vice-president of the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and a past president of the Pennsylvania State Nurses Association.

Dr. Zalon is a recipient of the Duke University School of Nursing Distinguished Alumna Award, the PSNA Distinguished Nurse Award and a Leahy Fellowship at The University of Scranton. She also received the University’s Excellence in Graduate Teaching Faculty Senate Award in 2017.

Dr. Zalon received her bachelor’s degree from Duke University and her master’s and Ph.D. in nursing from New York University.

Nursing: The Year of the Midwife

PCPS Dean Debra Pellegrino filled us in on the bright futures for nurses!

Nurses and midwives play a vital role in providing health services. These are the people who devote their lives to caring for mothers and children; giving lifesaving immunizations and health advice; looking after older people and generally meeting everyday essential health needs. They are often, the first and only point of care in their communities. The world needs 9 million more nurses and midwives if it is to achieve universal health coverage by 2030. –World Health Organization

Check out this podcast from NPR:
NPR: Calling the Shots in the Year of the Nurse and Midwife


Check out our graduate nursing programs: Nursing Practice (DNP), Nurse Anesthesia (DNP), Family Nurse Practitioner (MSN), Executive Nurse Leadership (MSN) and Adult Gerontology- Clinical Nurse Specialist (MSN).

Why Belong to a Professional Association?

This article originally appeared in Challenges, the newsletter from the Panuska College of Professional Studies.

PCPS faculty are leaders in a number of arenas. The faculty are not only members of their professional associations but have taken on leadership roles within those organizations. Being an active member and a leader provides opportunities for networking, enhances your professional growth, and enables you to work with colleagues in advancing the profession and serving others.

Networking is one of the most valuable aspects of association membership. It provides the opportunity to connect with colleagues in your community, regionally, nationally and globally. Association colleagues are a source of new friends, provide mentorship and often guide members in seeking new opportunities. These lifelong professional relationships not only provide opportunities for personal growth, but opportunities to contribute to society.

One benefit of association membership is keeping you in touch with the latest developments in your discipline through continuing education, publications and conferences. Opportunities are provided to influence policy to not only strengthen your profession but to improve society. The early development of the professions is replete with stories of leaders who single-handedly influenced the development of their disciplines. However, in an increasingly interdependent society, working together to achieve professional goals is now the norm and a necessity. Changes in legislation and policy occur as a collaborative effort. While we might not always agree with an organization’s stance, being a member provides a powerful means of influencing its direction, positions, policies, and spheres of influence. Connecting with others who have chosen the same career path allows you to gain new perspectives, share common experiences and collaborate in addressing issues within the profession and beyond. You can easily become a well-informed member of the profession.

In my career, I have not only accrued these personal benefits, but when I have been privileged to serve in an organization by volunteering, or holding appointed and/or elected office, I have brought back what I have learned to my workplace — in this instance, the classroom. Likewise, each of us brings a unique set of experiences to an organization that helps achieve its mission. Being an active member and leader helped me to pave the way for my students by working to improve the practice environment and the communities we serve. Connecting with colleagues across the country has enabled me to gain new insights on contemporary solutions to practice challenges. Active participation is a means of not only enhancing one’s credibility as a leader but also providing visibility for your organization beyond the local community. Having a ringside seat to the deliberations of association leaders as they address complex issues has allowed me to articulate the rationale for the decisions made and collaborate more effectively in developing solutions for the future.

Joining a professional association provides you with a built-in opportunity for professional growth. Associations are always looking for new members. While opportunities for leadership and advancement may be limited in some workplaces, setting your sights on leadership opportunities in an association can provide you with valuable experiences as you seek to advance your own career and prepare for new roles within your workplace. It can boost your confidence in taking risks as you assume more responsibility. Professional growth also means taking others.

Read more in Challenges, here.

Dr. Margarete Zalon is a professor in the Nursing Department.

Involved Faculty Help Our Programs Thrive

Mary Jane Hanson, Ph.D., professor of nursing and director of the Department of Nursing’s graduate and doctor of nursing practice (DNP) programs at The University of Scranton, was re-elected as chair of the board for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for 2020. This will be her second term.

CCNE is an autonomous accrediting agency that ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate and graduate nursing education programs and nurse residency and fellowship programs. The University’s nursing programs hold CCNE accreditation.

Dr. Hanson holds certifications as an Adult Clinical Nurse Specialist, Adult Nurse Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner and maintains a current part-time family nurse practitioner practice. She also maintains numerous professional memberships.

Dr. Hanson has published more than 30 papers in national and international peer-reviewed journals including Nursing Research, Western Journal of Nursing Research, The Journal for Nurse Practitioners, Nursing Education Perspectives, Journal of Health Management and Public Health, The Journal of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Journal of Critical Care, The American Journal for Nurse Practitioners, American Journal of Nursing, and Nursing Management. Her research interests include cigarette smoking, women’s health, cross-cultural study, adolescents’ risk behaviors and primary health care.

In addition, Dr. Hanson has been very successful at securing grant funding and has successfully authored federal grants for the graduate nursing program totaling more than three million dollars.

Dr. Hanson earned her bachelor’s degree from Cedar Crest College and her master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Pennsylvania. She joined the faculty at University in 1996.


Learn more about the DNP program at The University of Scranton.

What is “The Scranton Domino Effect”? Alumni Unite for a Common Mission.

Marie Yezzo ’01 calls it “the Scranton domino effect.”

As the vice president for professional support services at WMC-Health, a health care network in the Hudson Valley in New York that serves more than 3.5 million patients, she started hosting graduate students in Scranton’s Master of Health Administration program for their residency training five years ago. And she witnessed one Scranton graduate after another impress the hospital staff and go on to earn a full-time job in departments across the health system.

A few have moved on to other hospitals, but five of those Royals remain: Jack Burtis ’15, G’18, Brittany Drake-Koo G’11, Sahar Malek ’10, G’12, Robert Patella G’17 and Connor Shanahan ’15, G’16, all working alongside Yezzo and Elissa Chessari ’02, who is the vice president of operations for Westchester Medical Center, the network’s flagship hospital. These are just seven of the Scranton alumni at WMCHealth using their Jesuit education to make an impact in health care.

The Mission

For Chessari, the mission of WMCHealth resonates with her values and harks back to her years at Scranton.

“Our mission statement at Westchester Medical Center is to provide the highest quality of care, regardless of ability to pay, and that is what initially drew me (here),” she said. “I suspect that this mission is what attracts and retains so many other Scranton alums.”

Yezzo credits the strong network among Scranton health care administration alumni for bringing each of these graduates to WMCHealth. A biology major with a minor in business while she was an undergraduate at Scranton, Yezzo sees similarities in how both she and her colleagues from Scranton’s MHA program approach their day-to-day work.

“We didn’t all go to school (at Scranton) at the same time or even cross paths until we started working at Westchester Medical Center. I’m not sure if it was coincidence or divine intervention,” she said.

“We use our Scranton educations to treat others, both co-workers and patients, as we would want to be treated. Seeing our impact is the best part. Some of us have been with the organization for more than 10 years. We have been part of major construction projects, programmatic development and various initiatives from design to completion.”

Essential Indirect Care

Although, as administrators, the alumni are not providing direct patient care, each is impacting the lives of patients.

“While most on my team are not involved in direct patient care, we support the bedside care providers,” Chessari said. “We work hard to find enhancements to operational efficiency and improvements in processes and business initiatives, which translates into better patient care and better outcomes.”

Patella works as a financial analyst at Bon Secours Charity Health System, a group of three hospitals that are part of WMCHealth.

“I am helping the organization to reduce labor expenses, manage valuable resources and improve departmental performance,” said Patella, a 2017 MHA graduate. “At Scranton, I learned a lot about time management, personal brand management and managing conflict within a team, which I use in my day-to-day work.”

Burtis helps make decisions that lead to better patient outcomes in his role as a revenue integrity analyst. He earned his MHA from Scranton in 2018, after completing his undergraduate degree in 2015.

“I work alongside our revenue cycle team to improve processes and develop tools to help ensure accurate billing for services provided by our network’s physician group,” he said. “I love the challenge and the novelty of my work. No two days are the same in health care. There are always new challenges that really require you to think and problem-solve on your own.”

Similarly, Shanahan relishes the fast-paced environment in his job as the manager of the outpatient department clinics and AIDS care center.

“Health care is a growing industry, and the connections I made at Scranton allowed me to not only understand the potential opportunity in the field, but also allowed me to capitalize on starting a career in such a fast-paced industry at a great place like Westchester Medical Center,” he said. “Working with the many groups and departments within Westchester Medical Center on a daily basis can be challenging, because everyone has different desires and needs. But remembering that we are all working toward the same goal — providing the best possible patient experience — helps us work together to get the job done.”

The WMCHealth network also employs numerous Scranton graduates from the nursing programs, in addition to these health administration alumni. And their colleagues say the Scranton graduates stand out in their contributions to the health system.

“There is a learning curve for anyone who joins a network of the size and complexity of the WMCHealth,” said Anthony Costello, the senior vice president of professional and support services and the supervisor of many of the Scranton MHA alumni. “We’ve often found degree holders from The University of Scranton well prepared to handle the ever-evolving dynamics of a regional health care provider.”

The Network

As Yezzo pointed out, these Scranton alumni are ready to tackle the challenges in the health care field not only because of their rigorous Jesuit education in health administration but also because of the strength and support of the Scranton network. The Health Administration Alumni Council is a major part of that network.

Active since 2014, the Health Administration Alumni Council has built a thriving mentorship program between alumni and current students while celebrating the professional achievements of its alumni, both informally and with the annual Daniel J. West Award for early career success.

Alumni engage in a LinkedIn group and meet annually at the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) Congress on Health Care Leadership in Chicago. The council is also involved in planning the Annual Healthcare Symposium on campus in Scranton.

Jonathan Forte ’07, G’09, the vice president of the Health Administration Alumni Council, emphasized how much the alumni council wants to support current students. “Every job that I’ve ever received is a result of some connection that I’ve made as a result of networking or mentorship, and all of that started for me as a student at The University of Scranton — relying on the professional network of my professors and guest speakers and people who felt it important enough to come in and speak and spend their time with current students,” said Forte, who will start a new job in September as senior vice president and chief operating officer of the Choptank Community Health System on the Eastern Shore of Maryland.

Forte said it’s important to share the knowledge these practitioners gain from being in the real world with students, both in Scranton’s undergraduate and graduate programs.

“We want students to have a sense of what being a hospital administrator looks like in today’s health care environment and of applying our Ignatian values learned on campus in health care management,” he said. “This is our opportunity to pay it forward and give back.”


Learn more about the MHA program.

This story was originally published in The Scranton Journal.