Lisa Norsen to Direct Sovie Institute for Advanced Practice, Scholarship and Innovation

August 06, 2012

“The key advancement of the institute is the introduction of scholarship,” says Norsen. “Although we have always been doing this to an extent, we now have a structure in place where practice and education will truly inform one another."

Strong Memorial Hospital chief nursing officer and Medical Center associate vice president Patricia Anne Witzel, R.N., M.S., M.B.A., F.N.A.P., and School of Nursing interim dean Kathy H. Rideout, Ed.D., P.N.P.-B.C., F.N.A.P., recently announced the appointment of Lisa Norsen, Ph.D., R.N., A.C.N.P.-B.C., School of Nursing associate dean for innovation and community outreach, as director of the Sovie Institute for Advanced Practice, Scholarship and Innovation.

Norsen will devote her time equally between the School and Nursing Practice at Strong, where she will work to lead the Sovie Institute into a new era of collaboration. 

“With this transformation, the Sovie Institute fulfills a long-standing vision of nursing practice and education working together to fully capitalize on all of our strengths and resources, and move advanced practice nursing forward in education, practice, and research,” said Witzel. “Lisa’s leadership is a pivotal piece of this effort, because she brings years of experience as a nurse practitioner, scholar, educator, and administrator. The institute represents a true collaborative effort on all fronts, and Lisa's unique level of understanding and unparalleled skill set will strengthen the bridge between education and practice.”

Medical Center chief executive officer Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., and interim dean Rideout echo Witzel's endorsement of Norsen for the role, adding that Norsen's leadership will "help position the  institute as a preeminent center for advanced practice nursing."

Norsen—who began her career in 1980 as one of the first nurse practitioners to work in acute care at Strong before progressing to administrative roles in nursing practice and to teaching and leadership positions within the School of Nursing—has worked closely over the last several months with Sovie Institute assistant director Anne Swantz, R.N., M.S., P.N.P., and others across the Medical Center to develop an entirely new blueprint for the institute.

Swantz, who has worked as a pediatric nurse practitioner at Strong for more than two decades, will continue as assistant director and lead the day-to-day operations of the institute.

Under its new organizational structure, the institute is a joint entity of Nursing Practice and the School of Nursing, with a single executive board and linkages between all clinical, academic, and research programs and centers, as well as educational resources and entrepreneurial initiatives. Under the umbrella of the institute are a Center for Clinical Practice and Operations (which oversees credentialing, compliance, orientation, billing, continuing education, and central functions), and a Center for Scholarship and Innovation (which oversees research, publications, presentations, education, and the development of nurse practitioner models of care).

“The key advancement of the institute is the introduction of scholarship,” said Norsen. “Although we have always been doing this to an extent, we now have a structure in place where practice and education will truly inform one another. It’s such an important step because we can now harness our energies to more effectively support nurse practitioners in practicing to the full extent of their education, continually publishing, studying, and evaluating—and then translating—that evidence to the delivery of improved, cost-efficient, patient and family-centered care within the hospital and our communities.”

Norsen earned her bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees from the School of Nursing and worked as a nurse practitioner on Strong’s cardiothoracic unit from 1980 to 1994; she then served 12 years as associate director of nursing at Strong. In 2006, pursuing her interest in nurse practitioner education, she joined the School of Nursing faculty to direct and lead the growth of the School’s master’s programs. In 2011, she was named to her current position of associate dean, where she oversees the development of the School’s numerous business lines and educational opportunities within the community.

“Moving advanced practice nursing forward is in my blood, and is something I’m very passionate about,” Norsen said. “I believe that the direction of the Sovie Institute represents a return to our pioneering roots of nursing education and practice working in seamless partnership, and we have a real opportunity now to be a national leader in this area.”

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Christine Roth
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