What is a Nurse?

Nursing on the Cover

The inspiration for this issue’s cover story on nursing originally came from UT Chattanooga, and some information provided a while back about the nursing program there. Since each UT campus has a nursing program, it seemed natural to include every program. The story evolved from thoughts about the future of nursing to the definition of a nurse. The nursing profession has changed so much over the last few decades, and it is poised for more change as health care changes and there are more demands put on the system. Many times, those demands are met by nurses.

Dr. Ann Cashion, an alumna of UT Health Science Center, was chosen for the cover because she represents the past, present and future of nursing. She was a critical care nurse for nearly 20 years, which is perhaps what many people might consider a traditional nursing career. After earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees, Cashion wanted to do more with her career, so she got into research in a Ph.D. program at UTHSC.

Ann Cashion
Ann Cashion

She is now the scientific director of the Division of Intramural Research at the National Institute of Nursing Research, and in that capacity, she is a nurse scientist, a term that may not be well known outside of medical circles. The concept of a nurse scientist is interesting. Basically, it’s a nurse who conducts research, and why would a nurse want to do research? Because they want to learn more about the impact on patients, which is the purpose of nursing – to care for patients.

This issue features a profile of a student and alumnus from each campus. All were wonderful to interview.

As a side note, kudos to photographer Adam Brimer for shooting all the photos in this section, including the cover of Cashion during the snow storm in February. Instead of being shot at UTHSC as planned, it was shot in Cashion’s living room.