University News

Monahan Named Director of WIU School of Nursing

May 14, 2007

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MACOMB, IL -- P. Lea Monahan has been named the first director of Western Illinois University's School of Nursing, effective July 1, according to WIU Provost and Academic Vice President Joe Rallo.

"Our proposed nursing program is a response to a critical shortage of trained professionals regionally and nationally. Western Illinois University and its partners have worked for more than two years on the initiative, which will be presented to the Board of Trustees for approval at the board's June 2007 meeting," Rallo explained. "Our commitment to the success of the initiative is further emphasized by the recent hiring of Dr. Monahan."

Monahan is currently an associate professor and nursing program director at Marian College in Fond du Lac, WI. Prior to that, she held positions at Cardinal Stritch University (Milwaukee), Excelsior College (Albany, NY), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and University of Nebraska (Lincoln). Monahan also held the rank of major in the United States Army in stateside posts, as well as in West Germany.

Monahan is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and is certified as a nurse educator by the National League for Nursing. She is also a member of the American Nurses Association.

"We are excited about the addition of Lea to our team," said College of Arts and Sciences Dean Inessa Levi. "She brings with her vast experience in establishing nursing degree programs and is an outstanding nurse educator in her own right.

"We will have a strong program in which current registered nurses can complete their bachelor of science degree in nursing," Levi added. "This program fulfills the institution's goal to positively impact our region."

Levi noted that several organizations were involved with the program proposal, including officials from McDonough District Hospital, Carl Sandburg College, Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing, Spoon River College, Graham Hospital School of Nursing and John Wood Community College. In addition to the proposed WIU School of Nursing, planning for undergraduate and graduate degrees in nursing as stand-alone programs is underway, which would allow students to get both bachelor's and master's degrees in nursing from Western without prior nursing credentials.

"I am excited about starting a baccalaureate nursing program with an RN (Registered Nurse) to BSN (Bachelor of Science in Nursing) component at Western. There are several good associate degree and diploma programs in the area but there are few schools that offer the RN to BSN for graduates of those schools to complete their degree," said Monahan. "The need for baccalaureate prepared nurses in Illinois and the country in general is growing; health care is becoming more complex and is provided more and more in the community and the patient's home. Nurses are needed to help provide that care. Adding nursing to the wonderful programs already offered at Western will help address the nursing shortage."

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