UW News

May 10, 2007

Group Health endows nursing professorship in chronic illness

Group Health Cooperative has endowed a new professorship at the UW School of Nursing, Dean Nancy Woods announced this week.

The new professorship, called the Group Health Endowed Nursing Professorship in Chronic Illness Care, allows the school to recruit, retain, reward and recognize distinguished faculty who conduct research and teaching in the area of chronic illness care. Established with a $250,000 gift, the professorship also provides the UW much-needed support at a time when nursing schools across the country are facing a significant faculty shortage.

“We are extremely pleased to partner with Group Health in advancing nursing education and preparing future nurses,” Woods said. “This endowed professorship also recognizes Group Health’s remarkable commitment to nursing excellence.”

Today’s nurse must blend the art of service with the rigor of science, a delicate balancing act that demands critical thinking and continuous learning throughout a career, said Barbara Trehearne, executive director of nursing at Group Health Cooperative.

“The endowed professorship in nursing will create a tremendous opportunity to promote a nationwide agenda related to how nursing interventions affect outcomes in ambulatory care,” Trehearne said. “This effort also supports our continued work and understanding of how nurses support and improve care for our patients.”

Group Health chose to support a faculty member in the area of chronic illness, explained Dr. Hugh Straley, Group Health medical director, because “the Cooperative was a pioneer in the study of chronic disease management. The care provided by nurses in this field has been associated with greater adherence by patients to medical care plans, the appropriate use of medication and an improved quality of life. As the population ages, so do the numbers of people who must thrive despite the presence of one or more chronic illnesses. The influence of the nurse upon this burgeoning group figures profoundly, both in the education and treatment of individual patients, and in complex population management generally.”

The endowed professorship not only promotes the research vital to advancements in the field of nursing, it develops future caregivers, Trehearne said. “Strategic partnerships such as the one Group Health enjoys with the UW School of Nursing become crucial as we face a rising number of elderly patients with complex needs.”

An endowed professorship is a permanent fund established to support a faculty position. Gifts to endowments are invested to create a powerful resource that grows in perpetuity.