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School of Nursing commences inauguration week

By October 14, 2013President, School of Nursing

Faculty, staff and students from the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing at Delta State University are honored to kick off inauguration week on Oct. 28 with a variety of activities.

Monday begins a weeklong series of university affairs honoring Delta State’s eighth president, William N. LaForge, who will be officially inaugurated on Nov. 1. The theme for the week is “Celebrating Excellence.”

Dean Lizabeth Carlson said she was looking forward to the series of events as an opportunity showcase the unique distinction of the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing.

“Delta State University was the first nursing program in Mississippi to be accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education,” said Carlson. “The CCNE helps to ensure the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate and residency nursing programs and identifies programs offering the most engaging and effective educational practices.”

The school also began offering a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree program this fall.

“The DNP is an online degree program that allows registered nurses to advance their education to the highest level,” she said. “The RN to DNP online degree is the only one of its kind in the U.S. and is unique to Delta State University.”

Nursing events will start at noon with a lecture series and luncheon in rooms 141-143 of the nursing building.

Featured speakers include: Teresa Malone, executive director of the Mississippi Nurses Association and a Delta State alumnus; Rosalyn Howard, executive director of the Mississippi Nurses Foundation and one of Mississippi Business Journal’s 50 Leading Businesswomen for 2013; Nora Davis, nurse practitioner and owner of the Shaw Medical Clinic; and Kimberly Fava, nursing supervisor and women’s health and family nurse practitioner at the Women’s Clinic in Clarksdale.

Both Davis and Fava are alumni of the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing.

“We are excited to have the opportunity to bring these esteemed speakers to Delta State for inauguration week, and to show everyone our building and high tech facility, especially the simulation lab,” added Carlson.

The state-of-the-art simulation lab uses advanced wireless mannequins to provide students a virtual world of client care solutions. The lab prepares students with hands-on training and presents real world situations that occur in healthcare facilities.

At 2 p.m., the school will host an open house with tours of the building and student-led demonstrations within the lab.

A reception for the keynote Colloquia series speaker, Dr. Marcella McKay, Chief Operating Officer of the Mississippi Hospital Association, will start at 4 p.m. At 5 p.m. McKay will speak on “Nurses of the Future: Improving Health Care & Promoting Health.”

McKay also serves as president and CEO for the MHA Health, Research & Educational Foundation. Her areas of expertise include health policy, regulatory compliance, patient safety, quality of care and healthcare administration.

She has been an active member of the Advisory Committee for the Mississippi Office of Nursing Workforce since its inception in 1996. McKay currently is a co-lead for the leadership development track of work within the Mississippi Action Coalition.

She has bachelor’s degrees in biology and nursing; a master’s in special education; a Master of Science degree in nursing; and Ph. D. in Clinical Health Science. She completed the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellowship, a world-class leadership program to enhance the effectiveness of nurse leaders to impact the U.S. health system.

To learn more about the Robert E. Smith School of Nursing at Delta State, visit

All inauguration events are funded through support provided to the Delta Stat University Foundation. No university funds are being used during the week of activities.