USF dean aims to promote, improve nursing education

Judy Karshmer, dean of USF’s School of Nursing, was recently elected president of the California Association of Colleges of Nursing to grow nursing and health care-policy advocacy efforts and develop strategies for improving four-year and advanced-degree education in nursing.

What are your objectives as president of the association?

Well, I think we are in this economic prime time. We’re very concerned about keeping new graduates in California because we anticipate within 18 months maybe that the nursing shortage will come back with a vengeance.

Why did you choose to be a nurse instead of a doctor?

Being a nurse is sort of the difference between wanting to be an astronaut or a submariner. They’re both explorers, but completely different. I love the opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. Nurses have the time and luxury to get to know people and be there through the most important life experiences — joy, sorrow, pain. You get to take care of not only patients but their families, too.

Do your friends always ask for informal medical advice?

I’m a psych nurse. I’d be afraid of that. They mostly just tell me about their problems.

Is it true that nurses are predominately women?

Yes, it’s very true. Nationwide, about 4 to 5 percent are male. At USF, about 10 percent are men. There’s a national initiative to facilitate more men.

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