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NLN's Nursing Education Perspectives Offers Glimpse into Nursing Education in a Post-Katrina World

NLNs Nursing Education Perspectives Offers Glimpse into <br>Nursing Education in a Post-Katrina World  

The Remarkable Story of How the Louisiana State University Health Science Centers School of Nursing in New Orleans Fought to Regain Its Footing


July 25, 2007 — New York, NY — In the latest issue of Nursing Education Perspectives, the respected peer-reviewed bi-monthly journal of the National League for Nursing, Dr. Jane Sumner, a member of the NLN Board of Governors and associate professor and acting associate dean for undergraduate programs at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center School of Nursing, recounts the dramatic story of how students, faculty, and administration struggled to function off-site for a full year before returning to their home in New Orleans, following the devastating destruction wrought by Hurricane Katrina.

From the time the levees were first breached in August 2005, recalled Dr. Sumner, the commitment to educating the next generation of nurses and nurse educators remained unwavering, even if that meant operating for a time in makeshift facilities and relying on the kindness of colleagues in other academic and clinical settings for a variety of critical needs.

Of the year spent in Baton Rouge, Dr. Sumner writes:

It was an odd experience to teach in a movie theater. We felt dwarfed by our PowerPoints, which loomed overhead on a huge screen, while with no place to put material we did an odd sort of juggling dance to follow our own notes, manage the PowerPoint, and ensure that our students remained engaged.

But, even as we functioned during that first year, we discovered the loneliness of not having a formal organization and a building to go to on a regular basis. We had not appreciated the function of the ordinary socialization that happens when colleagues gather.

While now back in New Orleans, a city far from restored to normalcy, the LSUHSC School of Nursing continues to provide a first-rate education. As Dr. Sumner observed, programundergraduates are returning to take masters and doctoral level courses, in tribute to their remarkable teachers who have modeled professional dedication. She noted:

Once again we are using evening and night shifts with clinical part-time faculty. But we are managing, and the students are gaining excellent experience. They are learning, in a very direct way, the flexibility, adaptability, and agility needed for practice in nursing today.

Dr. Sumners full account of how, in those early days after the hurricane, nursing education kept on course within the LSUHSC system and how, surprisingly, the catastrophe provided a unique opportunity to plan a refashioned school of nursing, is available at:

Reporters/Editors: For interview opportunities, please call Karen R. Klestzick, chief communications officer at the NLN, at 212-812-0376 or email

More information about the Nursing Education Perspectives