The University of Central Missouri’s School of Nursing is inviting alumni and friends of the university to join faculty, staff and students in celebrating its 60th anniversary this week.

“Our goal is just to celebrate the success of the program and just to show the program and all the growth that we have experienced over the 60 years that we’ve been here,” said School of Nursing Chair Dr. Nicole Webb. 

The festivities will kick off from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 11 in Lee’s Summit at the Missouri Innovation Campus and will feature a short program. It is the perfect time for alumni to “connect with classmates, share stories about their professional careers and memories of their experience at UCM,” according to a press release. Hors d'oeuvres will be served, memorabilia from each decade of UCM nursing innovation will be on display, and there will be a short presentation at 6 p.m. 

“We also have students Friday night who will be giving tours of the Lee’s Summit campus,” Webb said. “This would be absolutely wonderful for prospective students to attend because they will be showing off the building and they'll also be answering questions and talking to prospective students about their perspective as a nursing student.”

On Saturday, the nursing school will have a float in the Homecoming parade in downtown Warrensburg and many former program chairs, faculty and students will be participating. 

An open house will follow from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. on the second floor of the Dockery Building at UCM. The student nursing organization will also be present at all activities and working to recruit students. 

While the event is geared toward alumni, the event is also for anyone involved in or interested in the program. 

“We are certainly gearing it towards alumni… but we’ve also involved people associated with our program such as adjunct facility, preceptors, we’ve pretty much opened that to anyone affiliated with our program,” Webb added. 

The nursing school was founded in 1959 and received its national accreditation in 1978, according to Adjunct Professor of Nursing and former School of Nursing Chair Dr. Julie Clawson. The school added a master’s in nursing program in 2000 where students can have an emphasis as a family nurse practitioner or as a nurse educator. 

Clawson graduated from the UCM Nursing School in the ‘70s and said the program is continuously changing as the demographic and profession changes.

“It’s phenomenally changed. It has to keep up with changes in health care and all those technical changes…” she said. “You kind of have to be pretty progressive. I think that’s the great thing about our program is it’s stayed that way. We’ve educated ourselves and stayed informed on what’s going on in practice so that we’re able to bring that to the classroom … We firmly believe in continuous process improvement. We can always get better we can always improve and we want to do that, have our students prepared.”

Clawson said this is what has helped UCM Nursing School graduates stand out in the professional world. 

“What we get back from our employers when we send out graduates is they always tell us, at least the feedback we get, is that they’re really prepared…” she explained. “Our graduates go out there and they feel like they've been well prepared and they can do what they need to do. They're good decision-makers. They can think critically, those kinds of things that are important.”

Another thing that sets UCM nursing students apart is the school’s focus on giving students experience in rural and urban environments. 

“We still go to rural hospitals and agencies so that when our students graduate they had a great diversity of experiences from the small rural hospital to the large specialty hospitals in the Kansas City area,” Clawson said. 

Clawson has taught at the school for more than 34 years and said she felt like the schooling and training she received prepared her for a successful career, one she hopes for all of the graduates. 

“I spent a lot of my life there (UCM Nursing School) and have given a lot of my life there,” Clawson said. “I just felt like it was the best program, I was well prepared. I was able to go on and get a Ph.D. in nursing and be very successful. That’s what I hope for all graduates is they be as successful in whatever they want to do.”

Attendees should register for the reception at The cost is $25 per person and a small gift bag is included.

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