“Our vision was to be first in nursing for the public, and, lo and behold, in this year’s ranking, we got there,” Peragallo Montano said. “It was a wonderful surprise, but now comes the hard part: to stay up there.”
The nursing school is currently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as first among public schools of nursing, fifth among U.S. graduate nursing programs and fourth in nursing administration.
Peragallo Montano emphasized the importance of the school and its 700 nursing students to the state, now and in the future. “There is a predicted shortage of nurses in 2025; 30,000 nurses will be needed in this state,” she said. In addition, the school provides direct service to the public through a mobile clinic in Wake County and trains sexual assault nurse examiners and rural nurses dealing with the opioid crisis.
The dean introduced two nontraditional nursing students to speak to the trustees, both professional scientists who switched careers after becoming mothers. Rebecca Fitzula, who received her bachelor’s degree in nursing this year, will continue her studies as a Hillman Scholar, a program that provides nursing students a seamless progression through completion of a doctorate. Karen Sheffield was a chemist and nurse midwife before deciding to pursue a doctorate in nursing.
Both are interested in women’s health issues. For Fitzula, it’s human papillomavirus
and the cervical cancer vaccine. For Sheffield, it’s stress and psychological distress in perinatal African-American women.
“Meeting and hearing from your two students, I’m just so optimistic that you will stay as you are at No. 1,” trustee Julia Sprunt Grumbles told Peragallo Montano.
At the meeting, the trustees also:
- Approved the Campus Master Plan;
- Welcomed new Student Body President Ashton Martin, sworn in as a trustee by former Chapel Hill Mayor and current Orange County Clerk of Court Mark Kleinschmidt;
- Passed resolutions of appreciation for departing trustees Grumbles, Lowry Caudill, William A. Keyes IV, Edwin McMahan and Hari H. Nath and made them honorary trustees;
- Passed a resolution honoring Felicia A. Washington, the former vice chancellor for workforce strategy, equity and engagement;
- Welcomed new head coaches Courtney Banghart (women’s basketball), Mark Gangloff (swimming and diving) and Matt Jednak (fencing); and
- Gave the name Stone Center Drive to the road between the Sonja Haynes Stone Center and Kenan Stadium.