Pediatric nurse practitioner Kathy H. Rideout, Ed.D., P.N.P.-B.C., F.N.A.P., was officially installed as the fifth dean of the University of Rochester School of Nursing today during an investiture ceremony that marked the beginning of a vibrant new era for the School.
Led by University of Rochester President Joel Seligman and University of Rochester Medical Center CEO Bradford C. Berk, M.D., Ph.D., the investiture was attended by nearly 200 faculty and staff members from across the Medical Center, as well as long-time School of Nursing friends and advocates. Several School of Nursing emeritus faculty members were also present to celebrate the beginning of Rideout’s tenure.
“I have never been more proud, more honored or more humbled to be the dean of a School of Nursing that I love so much,” Rideout told the audience. “You can expect that I will be passionate about building the diversity of our nursing workforce, faculty and staff, that I will work to enhance our ability to attract the brightest students and most talented faculty, be committed to fostering synergistic relationships, and expand our state and national presence.”
“But most of all, you can expect that we will be known for the way we, as nurses, care for and about each other,” she said.
Rideout was named dean in August 2012 after a year of serving as interim dean of the School, and serving as associate dean for Academic Affairs since 2005. She joined the School of Nursing faculty as a lecturer in 1986.
“With nearly thirty years of experience as a nurse practitioner, teacher, scholar and leader of the School, Dean Rideout holds a deep appreciation for the School of Nursing’s heritage and a respect for the legacy created by those before her,” said Seligman. “To this rich past, she brings her unique personality full of fresh energy, ideas and vitality to propel the School’s mission forward and ensure that it successfully meets the needs of our complex and rapidly changing health care system.”
Rideout is one of only a few deans across the country who continues to see patients. She has been passionate about maintaining her part-time role caring for children with ostomies on the floors of Golisano Children’s Hospital, and her work there informs every aspect of her leadership.
“As a pediatric nurse practitioner, Kathy brings a patient- and family-centered focus and true collaborative vision to her role as dean,” said Berk. “This focus will remain ever-important to aligning nursing education with the demands of our health care system, and to educating the nurses of tomorrow so that they are capable of impacting system-wide change.”
In her remarks, Rideout took time to thank and recognize all faculty and staff of the School as well as individuals who inspired and assisted her along her path, including her doctoral advisor Jerome Lysaught, Ed.D., her mentor Harriet Kitzman, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., School of Medicine and Dentistry Dean Mark Taubman, M.D., and Medical Center Associate Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer at Strong Patricia Witzel, R.N., M.S..
She also acknowledged the foundation created at the School by its four previous deans – Loretta Ford, Sheila Ryan, Patricia Chiverton and Kathy Parker. The School’s founding dean Loretta Ford, who established the School’s unification model of practice, education and research, hired Rideout to the faculty in 1986.
“Even at the age of 92, Lee (Ford) continues to email me weekly about issues I need to attend to,” said Rideout. “We are known as a pioneering School today because of contributions like hers and I intend to honor and build on that legacy.”
During Rideout’s leadership, the School’s enrollment has increased by 45 percent across all programs. In particular, the School’s accelerated bachelor’s and master’s programs for non-nurses (APNN) have grown from 22 students in 2002 to full capacity enrollment today of 192 students across three cohorts. The 12-month program attracts students of diverse backgrounds from across the country and receives between 250 and 350 applications each semester.
“This gives the School the opportunity to select the best and brightest students and infuse the workforce with an exceptional pool of nursing talent,” Seligman said.
The School’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program has also grown considerably since its formation in 2007. The program, which prepares nurses at the highest level for advanced clinical practice in specialty areas, has experienced rapid growth to meet high demand.
Rideout is known for developing highly successful student support initiatives that have translated to high retention and graduation rates – above 80% across all programs – and near-perfect pass rates on licensing exams. Additionally, these efforts have fostered positive student-faculty connections that encourage students to become advanced practice nurses, researchers, professors and leaders. Her direction was also critical the School earning five consecutive rounds and more than $650,000 in funding from the Robert Wood Johnson New Careers in Nursing Program, one of only three schools in the country to earn this distinction.
Over the past year, she has led the development of the School’s five-year strategic plan, which charts a course for how the School will grow and innovate to meet the complex needs of health care reform and be continually well-positioned to attract top students and faculty.
“I have seen first-hand how Kathy’s leadership is moving the School forward with innovative approaches to educate the next generation of nurse leaders,” said Roger Friedlander, co-chair of the School of Nursing National Council and member of the University of Rochester Board of Trustees. “Her unwavering commitment to enhance the research mission is evident in her vision to develop research areas of excellence to address the nation’s most pressing issues: symptom management, health promotion, health care delivery systems, and the management of chronic illness and palliative care.”
Seligman also noted Rideout’s efforts to support the thoughtful development of innovative learning strategies tailored to the needs of nursing students seeking flexibility while striving to advance their careers. Today more than 40% of the School’s courses are offered as online or hybrid online courses, including nursing electives and core course at undergraduate and graduate levels.
“The School has served as a model in the way it has developed interactive and engaging courses that enable students to learn effectively and flexibly,” he said.
Rideout is also a true partner with the Medical Center and its affiliates, said Lissa McAnarney, M.D., professor and chair emerita of Pediatrics for the University of Rochester Medical Center, who worked alongside Rideout for many years in the hospital’s Pediatrics Unit.
“Kathy is a master of interdisciplinary processes,” said McAnarney. “We need leaders who can work effectively with others and she is the right person. I’m confident that the many skills we have observed in Pediatrics for many years will now be shared by so many others through her leadership of the School.”
Patricia Chiverton, Ed.D., R.N., F.N.A.P., who served as the School of Nursing’s third dean from 2000 to 2008, said Rideout keenly understands the need for research, education and clinical faculty at the School.
“She is creative and supportive of faculty, and always finds a way to be successful,” said Chiverton. “She is thoughtful and fair, but also likes to have fun. She has the qualities of someone who was born to lead.”