Jean Giddens, Ph.D., R.N., a professor and executive dean at the University of New Mexico College of Nursing, has been named one of just 21 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) Executive Nurse Fellows for 2011. Giddens joins a select group of nurse leaders from across the country chosen to participate in this world-class, three-year leadership development program designed to enhance nurse leaders’ effectiveness in improving the United States health care system.

Giddens has more than 25 years of experience in nursing education and is a consultant to nursing programs and projects across the country.She is the author and creator of The Neighborhood, a web-based virtual community used to enhance integrative learning approaches in nursing education.

Currently, Giddens is working with the New Mexico Nursing Education Consortium as a member of the steering committee to develop a statewide nursing curriculum geared towards increasing the number of bachelor’s degree-prepared nurses in New Mexico. She is also the principal investigator for an Evaluating Innovations in Nursing grant funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is evaluating the impact of using virtual communities as a teaching tool on nurse faculty work life.

Started by RWJF in 1998, the RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows (ENF) program strengthens the leadership capacity of nurses who aspire to shape health care locally and nationally. The program will provide Giddens and her colleagues with coaching, education and other support to strengthen their abilities to lead teams and organizations in improving health and health care.

The ENF program is located at the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL), and co-directed by: Linda Cronenwett, Ph.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., the Beerstecher Blackwell Term Professor and former dean of the School of Nursing at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; and David Altman, executive vice president of Research, Innovation and Product Development at CCL.

“The Institute of Medicine report on the Future of Nursing, issued last fall, underscores the importance of nurse leadership as we work to improve the health and health care of all Americans,” said Cronenwett. “The RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program is building and enhancing the leadership skills of extraordinary nurses around the country. Our alumni are a virtual ‘who’s who’ of accomplished nurses, and we know that Jean Giddens and the other members of this new cohort will join them in doing great things. The RWJF Executive Nurse Fellows program supports nurse leaders with potential to develop innovative ways to improve health care delivery.”

“I thrive on challenges, and I recognized that I was at a point in my career where I was ready for a new challenge,” said Giddens. “My current mentor was also an RWJF fellow and she strongly recommended the program. She said this would be one of the most important things I could do for my career. After a little research I was genuinely in awe of the number of national leaders that have come out of the Executive Nurse Fellows program. The program is incredibly successful and I look forward to joining those ranks.”

Executive Nurse Fellows hold senior leadership positions in health services, scientific and academic organizations, public health and community-based organizations or systems, and national professional, governmental and policy organizations. They continue in their current positions during their fellowships, and during the fellowship each develops, plans and implements a new initiative to improve health care delivery in her or his community.

The fellowship is supported through a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.


Contact: Lauren Cruse, 272-3322