School of Nursing
The School of Nursing is a national leader with a commitment to clinical excellence, robust research and evidence-based practice, and to cultivating leadership in students and faculty. Contemplative practices, such as mindfulness-based interventions, deep listening, compassion meditation, reflective writing, and yoga are improving the health and wellbeing of our students and the patients and others they serve, while in school and beyond in their professional roles. Specifically in the realm of health care, Nursing’s Compassionate Care Initiative promotes resilience and high quality, compassionate care and preventing burnout among nurses, doctors, and other healthcare workers; ultimately this will have a downstream impact on improving patient satisfaction and clinical outcomes and minimizing errors, sick time, and attrition, thereby reducing costs to the health care system. Nursing recently hired a leading contemplative clinical researcher from Emory University, Professor Susan Bauer-Wu, to head the initiative.
The Compassionate Care Initiative creates dialogue around and preparedness for nurses and other clinicians to better deal with people in life-changing situations and the highly-charged, complex issues surrounding them. Through clinical, educational, and research activities, it focuses on systems to optimize patient quality of life, clinical outcomes, and work environment through clinician (and student) reflection, contemplation, and the cultivation of mindfulness, compassion, and empathy to enhance self-care, interprofessional interactions, and patient and family encounters. Our ultimate vision is to reduce human suffering and promote health and well-being by fostering compassionate people and systems.
The Center for the Study of Complementary and Alternative Therapies (CSCAT) at the University of Virginia, administratively based in the School of Nursing, was established in 1993 as one of the original NIH-funded interdisciplinary centers in the country to design, validate, and implement research in complementary and alternative medicine (CAM). The Center's research is focused on investigating mind-body and body-based practices that (a) show potential for symptom management in persons diagnosed with chronic diseases, (b) have basic physiological mechanisms that underpin the potential for beneficial effects of the practice, and (c) are supportive of health promotion among non-ill individuals, including students, staff, and nurses.
The School's strong interdisciplinary commitments is also indicated in the faculty appointments it has made for Religious Studies professors Kurtis Schaeffer and David Germano, who work very closely with Nursing school initiatives.