Jane Kirschling, dean of the University of Kentucky College of Nursing, has been elected to serve a two-year term as president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN), effective immediately.
“The Institute of Medicine, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and other authorities are all calling for transformation in how registered nurses are prepared to practice and lead across care settings,” said Kirschling. “As AACN’s president, I am looking forward to answering this call for decisive action by working closely with member schools and all stakeholders to shape future AACN initiatives that advance innovation and leadership in nursing education, research, and practice.”
Kirschling has served as dean and professor at the UK College of Nursing since 2006 and is an alumnus of the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program. Previously she held administrative and faculty positions at the University of Southern Maine (dean and professor, College of Nursing and Health Professions), University of Rochester (associate dean for academic affairs and professor, School of Nursing), and Oregon Health & Science University (associate dean for graduate studies and professor). She received her Bachelor of Science in nursing (BSN) from Viterbo College in LaCrosse, Wis., and her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Science (DNS) from the Indiana University School of Nursing.
Kirschling’s clinical expertise is in mental health nursing with a focus on end-of-life care. Earlier in her career her scholarship focused on family caregivers for persons with a terminal illness and grief following the loss of a family member. For more than a decade Kirschling’s scholarship has focused on workforce development with a special emphasis on rural states. She founded the Kentucky Nursing Capacity Consortium and co-convenes Kentucky’s Action Coalition, which is working to implement the Institute of Medicine’s 2010 recommendations on the Future of Nursing.
At UK, Kirschling serves on the Center for Interprofessional HealthCare Education, Research and Practice board of directors. Along with AACN past president Kathleen Long from the University of Florida, she represented AACN on the expert panel that developed the Core Competencies for Interprofessional Collaborative Practice, sponsored by the Interprofessional Education Collaborative. In addition to serving on the AACN Board of Directors since 2003, Kirschling has been active in the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association, serving as president of the board of directors in 2002 and 2003.
She also has been an active member of Sigma Theta Tau International – The Honor Society of Nursing. Most recently she co-chaired the International Advisory Council of Chief Nursing Officers and Deans (2007-2009).
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