During National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month in September, the administration, faculty and staff of the Spalding University School of Nursing unanimously took a meaningful step toward equipping themselves to address the most serious of mental health crises.

All 20 employees within the School of Nursing became certified in the suicide prevention method known as QPR, or Question, Persuade, and Refer.

Spalding Associate Professor Dr. Erica Lemberger, who helped organize the initiative among her colleagues, said she thinks Spalding is likely the first school of nursing in the state to have 100 percent of faculty, staff, administration and students trained in QPR. Spalding nursing students have for years already been receiving training to become QPR gatekeepers as part of their mental health curriculum.

Lemberger is the Co-Chair of the Behavioral Health Committee of the Louisville Health Advisory Board, which has a goal of increasing education in the public about suicide prevention, particularly during this time of stress, trauma and anxiety caused by the pandemic. Nurses working on the front lines have been especially vulnerable.

Lemberger decided the first step she should personally take would be to spread the word within her own professional community at Spalding. She proposed to her colleagues a goal of 100 percent QPR training among themselves in the School of Nursing.

“I gave this proposal so that we could be that light to recognize those individuals who are at risk for suicide,” Lemberger said. “It could be your parent, your sibling, your coworker, your student, you neighbor. It could be anyone. As nurses, because we have increased clinical demands and a difficult work environment and workforce stress, nursing and nurses’ mental health are all related. I thought, ‘Let’s do this. Let’s get 100 percent. Let’s be all in.'”

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Every School of Nursing employee took part in the free virtual QPR training offered by the Louisville chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), which is a partner of the Louisville Health Advisory Board.

“Spalding University faculty members are dedicated to the mental health improvement of the community, and one of the steps in the process is being prepared to support and address mental health issues,” said Dr. Lana Watson, Chair of the School of Nursing. “Completing this training provides faculty the tools needed to save a life of someone considering suicide. The training is open to those interested, and we encourage anyone who would like to complete the training to contact NAMI to complete this free training!”

Lemberger, who is a certified QPR instructor, said she hopes other academic and support departments and student organizations on campus will follow the School of Nursing’s example and work to get all their members trained in QPR. She encourages any department to contact her or visit the NAMI Louisville website. Counseling and Psychology Services Director Dr. Allison From-Tapp has also offered training to the campus community.

“You can be the person to save a life; that’s a really big deal,” Lemberger said. “You don’t have to have a nursing degree to know how to save a life; anyone can save a life. You just have to be able to identify the risk factors, know how to ask the questions, know how to persuade someone to get help and know who to refer someone to get help.”

Spalding University, which will begin Fall 2021 classes on Monday, has new faculty chairs leading two of its largest academic schools.

Dr. Svjetlana “Lana” Watson, previously a member of the nursing faculty of Indiana University-Purdue University Columbus, is the new Chair of the Spalding University School of Nursing, and Dr. Sara Story has been promoted to the position of Chair of Spalding’s Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy, where she is a longtime faculty member.

Both Watson and Story officially started their new positions on July 1. They also both hold the title of Associate Professor at Spalding.

Dr. Watson, who will oversee all of Spalding’s undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, spent the past five years as director of the traditional and accelerated tracks of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at IUPUC. There, she developed innovative models for clinical placements and enhancing preceptor training.

Lana Watson, Spalding School of Nursing Chair
Dr. Lana Watson, Spalding School of Nursing Chair

“I am excited to join the long tradition of nursing education at Spalding University,” Dr. Watson said. “I feel I was called to accept this position because of Spalding’s dedication to service and its strong relationship with the community it serves. My previous work included growing healthcare access in underserved rural areas through retention efforts of new nurse graduates. Spalding’s strong service focus closely aligns with my personal beliefs and education philosophy. As an educator, I am student-centered and believe with appropriate student support, success is within reach for every student. Growing and improving the program will be my first priority.”

Dr. Watson earned the degrees of BSN, Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice from Indiana Wesleyan University. She also taught on the nursing faculty of Spencerian College

Dr. Story has been a full-time member of the Spalding occupational therapy faculty since 2013. She is a Spalding alumna who earned the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Health Science, Master of Science in Occupational Therapy, and Doctor of Education (EdD) in Leadership from the university. She also holds an Occupational Therapy Doctorate (OTD) from the University of St. Augustine.

Dr. Story will oversee Spalding’s Occupational Therapy Doctorate programs, which are among the largest graduate programs on campus, as well as its certificate program in Upper Extremity Rehabilitation. In addition, the Kosair Charities Enabling Technologies of Kentuckiana assistive technology resource center, also known as enTECH, is a division of ASOT that is under Story’s leadership.

Sara Story
Dr. Sara Story, Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy Chair

Dr. Story enjoys using 3D printing to develop inexpensive assistive technology devices that aid clients of all ages in carrying out everyday tasks. Dr. Story is board-certified in gerontology through the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) through the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

Like Watson, Dr. Story is also an accomplished scholar and researcher who frequently presents at professional conferences and publishes scholarly articles.

“I am excited and honored to serve as Chair of the Auerbach School of Occupational Therapy at Spalding and to take on this leadership role with such a dynamic faculty,” Dr. Story said. “Spalding is my alma mater, and ASOT has been a leader in occupational therapy education and research for years in this region, preparing hundreds of skilled, compassionate therapists. I am proud to work with devoted faculty who inspire students to grow and continue Spalding’s mission to meet the needs of the times.”

Dillon named Communication Interim Chair: Spalding also announces that Dr. Pattie Dillon, who is the Chair of the School of Liberal Studies, will also serve as Interim Chair of the School of Communication for the 2021-22 academic year. Dillon is a professor of history who has served as Faculty Senate President and Faculty Trustee.


In addition to the new Chairs, Spalding has had three faculty members step into new leadership roles as academic program directors for the 2021-22 academic year.

They are: Dr. Leslie Cairo, who will direct the Master of Social Work program; Dr. Nikki Jones, Doctor of Social Work program; and Professor Charles Maynard, Bachelor of Fine Arts in Creative Writing program.


Spalding safely returned to in-person Commencement activities Thursday-Saturday, June 3-5, 2021 in celebration of the classes of 2021 and 2020. For 2021, Spalding celebrated a total of 585 graduates who have earned or will earn bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degrees. The number of graduates in 2020 was 486.

Spalding also honored five individuals for 2021 with the university’s highest awards for faculty, undergraduate students, and alumni. Two retiring faculty members were also honored with the designation of professor emeritus. Here is a rundown of those awards and honors:

BOARD OF TRUSTEES’ OUTSTANDING FACULTY AWARD – Dr. Donna Elkins, Professor, School of Communication

In addition to teaching a range of undergraduate communication courses at Spalding and being an outstanding instructor, Dr. Elkins has been an invaluable resource to her colleagues on the faculty, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning and as an expert in online and hybrid teaching, Dr. Elkins was instrumental in helping faculty who needed guidance in suddenly shifting their courses online at the onset of the pandemic. She conducted or arranged for multiple trainings for faculty and has been a constant, available resource over the past year.

Dr. Elkins’ helpfulness, compassion and positivity have earned her the admiration of her colleagues on the faculty, and she has helped build their confidence in learning new ways to teach.

In addition, Dr. Elkins teaches in the Master of Science in Business Communication program, chairs or serves on multiple important faculty committees on campus, and is a dedicated researcher and scholar who frequently presents at conferences and publishes journal articles.

*Home page for info and links to ceremony replays and programs
*Read President McClure’s Commencement address and top 10 list
*Tons of photos on Spalding’s Commencement Facebook album
*Graduate features and Q&As

Jaz'Myne Ware with Tori Murden McClure
Jaz’Myne Ware (blue), with President Tori Murden McClure, received the Mother Catherine Spalding Service Learning Award.

MOTHER CATHERINE SPALDING SERVICE LEARNING AWARD – Jaz’Myne Ware, Bachelor of Science in Social Work

This award is presented to a graduating senior who embodies the spiritual values of faith, hope and charity, which emulate the university’s founder, Mother Catherine Spalding.  Ware was chosen for having made a mark on the Spalding community as well as the greater community of Louisville through her service, intellect, and passion for social justice.

Ware completed her senior practicum at Family Scholar House, contributing more than 460 hours of unpaid service in support of single parents and their children as the parents pursue their educational and career goals.

In addition, she has been a work-study in the Spalding Library and is heavily involved in campus organizations and activities.

Ware has been praised by faculty for her deep critical thinking and desire to make connections and integrate her classroom experiences. She made the Dean’s List seven times while maintaining an excellent GPA.

An advocate for equity and social justice, Ware participated in demonstrations last year in support of racial justice, and she is a leader in Spalding’s Sexuality and Gender Acceptance student organization.

Ware has been described as, “cheerfully involved in everything, deeply giving of herself, and a strong advocate for those who have been underrepresented and historically oppressed.”

Ware’s long-term goal is to work in low-income communities of color. She also aspires to raise awareness about the need for social workers and improve young people’s understanding of social work, in order to grow the profession and foster systemic change.

Kristen Garren
Kristen Garren, recipient of the Mother Rose Meagher Senior Award

MOTHER ROSE MEAGHER SENIOR AWARD – Kristen Garren, Bachelor of Science in Social Work

The Mother Rose Meagher Senior Award is presented annually to a member of the senior class who has performed well academically and has a proven record as a mature leader and member of the campus community.

Garren was an exemplary student who earned high praise for the meaningful, diligent work she did during her senior practicum at Frazier Rehabilitation Institute. During 475 hours of unpaid service, she supported patients with spinal cord injuries and illnesses with their cases, helping them attain durable medical equipment and receive appropriate care.

Garren’s practicum supervisor described her as a joy to work with and someone who is kind, respectful and empathetic.

In having developed an understanding of trauma-informed care, Garren would like to pursue a career in social work in a medical setting, advocating for patients and families who are navigating the complex health care system. Her effectiveness in social work and understanding of others’ needs is deepened by her background teaching and working in public schools.

Ware, who also earned a minor in addiction studies, is a nine-time Dean’s List selection who has achieved a near-perfect GPA. She has been praised by faculty for her valuable contributions to class discourse.

Her professionalism, helpfulness and proactive approach as a work-study in the Spalding Library and at the enTECH assistive technology resource center have also been praised.

Spalding Alumna of the Year Vicki Hines Martin with Tori Murden McClure at Spalding Commencement
Caritas medalist Vicki Hines-Martin

CARITAS MEDAL (Alumna of the year No. 1) – Vicki Hines-Martin

At a time when the nation and world continue to celebrate the contributions of nurses during the pandemic, School of Nursing graduate Dr. Vicki Hines-Martin, who received the degrees of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (1975) and Master of Arts in Education (1983) from Spalding, was one of two School of Nursing graduates this year to be presented with the Caritas Medal. It is considered the university’s highest honor.

An educator and researcher who is acclaimed for her work focused on health disparities, access to care and healthcare needs of minority populations, Hines-Martin serves as Associate Dean for the University of Louisville School of Nursing’s Office of Community Engagement and Diversity Inclusion, as well as Director of Community Outreach for the U of L Health Sciences Center’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion.

Hines-Martin has been on the full-time faculty at U of L since 1998. She has also taught at the University of Kentucky, Indiana University Southeast and Jefferson Community and Technical College and served on a range of national journal editorial boards, advisory panels and peer review boards.

In addition, from 2019-20, she was President of the International Society of Psychiatric Mental Health Nurses, and she has served in a variety of roles since 1980 with the Kentucky Nurses Association, including Co-Director of the Kentucky Nurses Helping Nurses Project in 2020.

In addition to her Spalding degrees, Hines-Martin earned a PhD in Nursing from the University of Kentucky (1994) and a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Cincinnati.

Spalding Alumna of the Year Mary Romelfanger with Tori Murden McClure
Caritas medalist Mary Romelfanger 

CARITAS MEDAL (Alumna of the year No. 2) – Mary Romelfanger

The other School of Nursing graduate to be honored with the Caritas Medal was Mary Romelfanger (BSN, 1976), who has been a longtime leader, administrator and consultant in geriatric and senior care who recently became the Director of Operations for Hildegard House.

Romelfanger, who received the degree of Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Spalding in 1976, has been a longtime leader, administrator and consultant in geriatric and senior care who recently became the Director of Operations for Hildegard House, Kentucky’s first and only comfort care home. Hildegard House provides a home and compassionate care for individuals at the end of life who have no home or loved ones to care for them so that they may die with dignity.

Romelfanger previously served as Associate Director for the University of Louisville School of Medicine’s Institute for Sustainable Health and Optimal Aging (2013-16), and she was Vice President for Clinical Services for Presbyterian Homes and Services of Kentucky (2008-09). From 1994 to 2005, Romelfanger was Director of the U.S. Office of Health Services for the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, and before that she spent 14 years as Deputy Executive Director of the Kentucky Board of Nursing.

Romelfanger’s civic service includes membership on the Board of Directors of ElderServe since 2016. She also served on the Kentucky Legislative Research Commission Alzheimer’s and Dementia Workforce Assessment Task Force, the Kentucky Council on the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the U of L Department of Family and Geriatrics Advisory Board and the Spalding School of Nursing Advisory Board.

She has recently served as a COVID-19 testing and vaccination volunteer.

DESIGNATION OF FACULTY EMERITUS – Dr. Joseph Maloney, Professor, School of Nursing

Maloney was one two retiring faculty members from the School of Nursing to be honored by the trustees, who deemed that they have left a lasting mark on the university by displaying an intense love of learning and teaching, a powerful dedication to their students and a strong loyalty to Spalding that will be remembered and appreciated for years to come.

Maloney served and taught for 18 years in the School of Nursing. In recent years he has taught in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in the areas of medical/surgical nursing and pharmacology. His tenure at Spalding followed a 27-year career in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps. In addition to teaching, Dr. Maloney has published more than 30 scholarly articles.

Spalding Faculty Emeritus Brother Ignatius Perkins and Tori Murden McClure
Faculty Emeritus Brother Ignatius Perkins

DESIGNATION OF FACULTY EMERITUS – Brother Ignatius Perkins, PhD, Chair and Professor, School of Nursing

Brother Perkins has been a key figure in nursing education at Spalding during its century-long history in downtown Louisville, having served two separate stints as Nursing Chair during more than a decade of total service on the faculty. In addition, Brother Perkins is one of the country’s leading scholars on bioethics and medical ethics, as well a leader in Catholic health care who has held numerous leadership roles within the Dominican Friars. Brother Perkins was Chair of the School of Nursing from 2003 to 2005 while dually serving as Dean of the College of Health and Natural Sciences. He returned to the role of Nursing Chair in 2019. Brother Perkins, who is a graduate of the nursing school and the College of Education, is a past recipient of the Caritas Medal as Alumnus of the Year.

At Commencement, it was also announced that the conference room in the Republic Bank Academic Center will be renamed in honor of Perkins.


In 2020, the Caritas Medal was awarded posthumously to the late Dr. Perry Sangalli (Doctor of Education, ’98), who was the longtime President at St. Xavier High School and a longtime Spalding trustee. Last year’s Outstanding Faculty Award recipient was Dr. Brenda Nash of the School of Professional Psychology. Psychology Professor Dr. Kenneth Linfield, who retired last year, received the designation as Faculty Emeritus. The undergraduate student award winners were Sally Rother, BFA in Creative Writing, Mother Catherine Spalding Service Learning Award; and Kasim Alsalman, BS in Business Administration, Mother Rose Meagher Senior Award.

MORE | Learn about 2020 honorees

Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. This week’s featured faculty member is Dr. Nicky Wright, Associate Professor in the School of Nursing. Dr. Wright, who earned a Doctorate in Nursing Practice from Chamberlain College of Nursing, a master’s (MSN) and bachelor’s (BSN) in nursing from Indiana Wesleyan University, and an associate’s from Galen College, teaches nursing courses at Spalding and serves as the School of Nursing’s Academic Success Coordinator.

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?

I just love the learning. The students want to be nurses, and they want to learn and I get to help them critically think. I love seeing them light up at that moment when it clicks and they truly get a new concept.

What is your academic specialty, areas of expertise or research?

Aside from being a nurse I specialize in orthopedics, medical surgery, and education and leadership.

Why is nursing a good option for students to consider for their major?

Nursing is a good option because nurses can help people and they have great flexibility with their career. That flexibility and range of opportunities may include traveling and seeing the world, teaching, serving in leadership, working in clinics, working from home, and working with insurance. The list is endless.

Research is also a great option, especially during COVID-19 times, as the world tries to find treatments and cures. It really is a top-notch option.

* PROGRAM OVERVIEWS | BSN | Accel. BSN (2nd Degree) | Online RN-to-BSN | MSN | Online DNP
* FACULTY BIOS | Meet all our nursing professors

What is an example of a discussion topic, lecture, assignment, project, etc. in your class that you enjoy presenting or working with students on and that they have found engaging?

If we are working on case studies, I like to have students find resources in their community. This may look like having students look at their zip codes and see what resources are there. Then I like students to compare different parts of Louisville and how the resources vary from zip code to zip code. This gives them an idea of what resources are available to our patients and within our community.

What is an interesting thing you have in your office?

Probably a bucket of licorice. I buy candy that I don’t like and give it to my students so that I don’t eat it.

Spalding’s mission is to meet the needs of the times, to emphasize service and to promote peace and justice. What is an example of how your teaching style, your research, your class or your curriculum is supporting the mission of Spalding?

I am very vocal, and I am very passionate. So I tell people all the time that you can’t look on the outside. My younger brother was murdered around the corner from Spalding. So when I took the job down there I wondered how difficult it was going to be for me to work there every day. When he was murdered, I was getting my associate’s degree, and I had to attend clinicals the next day or else I would fail out and have to start the program over. So I put my big-girl panties on, and I went to my clinical and I went to class. I share this with my students all the time. If I can get up the day after my brother passed away, then you can do the same thing. I am so passionate about my students being successful.

FACULTY FOCUS FRIDAY ARCHIVE | Read all our professor Q&A’s


Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. This week’s featured faculty member is Taryn Ray, who is in her first year as Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing after previously serving on the adjunct faculty. Professor Ray teaches in Spalding’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, serving as course instructor for Introduction to Nursing and Maternity Nursing. She is a registered nurse (RN) who earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing (BSN) from the University of Louisville and a master’s in nursing (MSN) from Ball State University. She also holds the credential of Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE).

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?

I love the intimacy that Spalding has to offer. When I reflect on my own college experiences, there were not opportunities where I felt comfortable speaking with my professors or really interacting with classmates beyond my study partners. The larger environment did not foster a sense of connectedness, but I love that with Spalding, there are more opportunities to truly make an impact in more intimate ways.

What is your academic specialty, areas of expertise or research? 

My academic specialty/area of expertise is with Maternal and Newborn Care. I have been a Labor and Delivery RN for the past 6.5 years and currently teach the Maternity course in the School of Nursing. My passions and research align with Women’s Health with an emphasis on perinatal care.

Why is nursing a good option for students to consider for their major? 

The Nursing Program is a great option for students to consider because the program strives to set the foundation for exactly what the nursing profession entails. Nursing is genuinely a service of care and compassion and from the professors, to the small cohorts of students and curriculum base, the foundation is set to foster the next generation of knowledgeable and compassionate caregivers.


What is an example of a discussion topic, lecture, assignment, project, etc. in your class that you enjoy presenting or working with students on and that they have found engaging? 

I have thoroughly enjoyed working with the students in the simulation lab, where high-fidelity mannequins simulate real patients. We have a mannequin named SimMom that is capable of demonstrating the labor process, birth of an infant and complications that women can experience during labor. Being able to stage scenarios and assist students as they critically think through care they should provide is what it’s all about. Helping them make those connections between what they see, what it means and how they should intervene is what will project them in the long run.

What is an interesting thing you have in your office? 

With being fairly new and having limited time on campus this year, I am still trying to get my office space established. However, I was sure to hang some inspirational pictures and make sure that I have Ivy present. Along with being significant to my sorority, Ivy just serves as a reminder of perseverance and fidelity to why I am teaching. I am committed to make an impact in the world around me and one way that I am choosing to do that is by being committed to my students and their journeys.

Spalding’s mission is to meet the needs of the times, to emphasize service and to promote peace and justice. What is an example of how your teaching style, your research, your class or your curriculum is supporting the mission of Spalding?

My teaching style supports Spalding’s missions by truly meeting students where they are. Of course there is curriculum that I want them to understand while they are with me, but ultimately, I want them to understand that they have someone who’s truly in their corner and rooting for their success, both inside and outside of the classroom. I hope that my service to them reflects the type of service they will exude to others, especially as they develop into future nurses.

FACULTY FOCUS FRIDAY ARCHIVE | Read all our professor Q&As

With tape to mark their desks and plenty of space between them, masked-up students returned to face-to-face classes at Spalding University on Monday and Tuesday for the first time since March.

Students said it was great to see their friends’ faces again – even if it was only the top half of those faces – and resume the in-person courses that they’d missed.

“I love being in in-person classes,” sophomore nursing student Samantha Roberson said. “I hope it continues, and I think it will continue if people keep wearing their masks like they should be and have been.”

When Roberson and fellow nursing students Erica McMann and Claire Houck arrived at their anatomy and physiology lecture class at the Egan Leadership Center’s Troutman Lectorium on Monday, at least every other chair was removed from the rows of long tables, with tape marking the spaces where they could sit.

“It was a little bit weird to get used to it at first,” Houck said, “but we’re supposed to be in class, not gathered and talking anyway, so it was nice.”

Fully in-person classes make up about 20 percent of the course sections at Spalding this session. The University is providing both in-person options and an array of fully or partially remote classes. The result is to accommodate students who want or need a traditional on-campus learning experience – especially in lab and hands-on courses – while keeping the overall density of people on campus low during the pandemic. Spalding has also expanded and enhanced its remote learning programs and technology in recent months and years.

The three nursing students said some of their classmates joined the class home, watching on an web stream that is available for every in-person course at Spalding this session.

“I thought that was cool,” Houck said.


Houck, McCann and Roberson said the lab portion of their anatomy and physiology course has been divided into two groups. Half of the students meet in person one day,  while the other half meets online. The next day, the groups swap.

Houck, McMann and Roberson all also live in the Spalding Suites. They said they preferred the expanded move-in period from last weekend. Returning students moved into the Suites by appointment over two days instead of one day in years past.

MOVE-IN 2020 | Residential students bring ‘renewed energy’ to campus

They said they had not encountered anyone on campus who was not wearing a mask or keeping a safe six-foot distance from other people.

“If everyone continues to do what they need to do to keep themselves and their community safe and healthy, we’ll all be just fine,” Houck said.

Another group of nursing students – those in Spalding’s accelerated BSN (second degree) program – had their first-ever day of on-campus classes on Monday at the Republic Bank Academic Center.

“I do feel safe, and I love the fact that Spalding (has) the flexibility but also the standards that they are enforcing like this is a real thing,” student Melissa Davis said. “‘Everybody follow the precautions. Everybody does their own part.’ And then I also feel like I won’t be penalized if I get sick.”

“It’s chilled out having your own table in a big space. Anxiety is definitely down.”

All the students interviewed on Monday said they had completed the #CampusClear health assessment before arriving on campus. That, along with wearing masks and staying socially distant and agreeing to the Spalding Promise pledge, is a key tenet of Spalding’s Return to Campus plan.

The app “is really easy to navigate,” second-degree BSN student Brittanie Glasser said.

Second-degree BSN student Craig Blasi, who previously attended a large public university, said he is already enjoying the small class sizes at Spalding.

“It’s a good family atmosphere,” he said. “I just met all my classmates today, and we’re all really close already. (At the larger university), it wasn’t bad; it was just big. I didn’t feel as included as I do here.”

Spalding University School of Nursing Associate Professor Dr. Erica Lemberger was recently selected to two prominent leadership roles – one to serve on the Kentucky Board of Nursing and the other as a member of the next cohort of the prestigious Leadership Louisville program.

Lemberger,  who teaches in Spalding’s online RN-to-BSN program,  was appointed by Gov. Andy Beshear to a four-year term on the 16-member Kentucky Board of Nursing, which is responsible for the development and enforcement of state laws governing the safe practice of nursing, nursing education and credentialing.

RELATED | Faculty Focus Friday Q&A with Dr. Lemberger
RELATED | Lemberger named a Louisville Business First Health Care Hero

Lemberger said she was honored to receive the governor’s appointment.

“I am deeply committed to ensuring all Kentuckians receive the safest, highest-quality healthcare,” she said. “I look around the room at KBN and see a wealth of experience; Kentucky is in good hands. I am filling the seat of a former Kentucky Nurses Association president and look forward to bringing my 20-plus years of experience to the table.”

Lemberger is a nurse practitioner with an array of nursing experience that includes cancer nursing, lung transplant nursing, medical-surgical nursing, emergency room care and Hospice care. The many settings in which she has practiced span from public health in homeless shelters to private health in affluent communities. A 2018 Louisville Business First Health Care Hero for excellence in patient experience, Lemberger has worked in military health, school health for pregnant and parenting teens, and nursing care for adults and children who survived physical and sexual abuse.

She has also taught in private and public universities. Since coming to Spalding in 2017, she has taken large groups of School of Nursing students to Frankfort each year to meet lawmakers as part of Kentucky Nurses Legislative Action Day.

“I am thrilled to bring what I’ve learned during my career to the Kentucky Board of Nursing,” Lemberger said, “and I also look forward to bringing my real-world experience at KBN to my RN-to-BSN classrooms at Spalding.”

Lemberger said working with Spalding’s School of Nursing faculty has been valuable in her career. She said. Dr. Patty Spurr, Director of Spalding’s RN-to-BSN program, a former Chair of the School of Nursing and a former KBN board member, has been a mentor.

“Our RN-to-BSN students have the unique benefit of learning from esteemed nurses who have firsthand experiences in leadership, governance and education,” Lemberger said.

LEARN MORE | View all programs offer by Spalding’s historic School of Nursing
RN-TO-BSN | Overview of Spalding’s convenient online program
FACULTY | Bios of all Spalding nursing professors 

This past week, it was also announced that Lemberger is among 54 outstanding Louisville professionals from a range of career fields chosen for the 2021 class of Leadership Louisville, which is now in its 42nd year as a preeminent community leadership program in the city.

“I look forward to learning more about the assets and needs of our community, building strong relationships with a network of professionals, and adding some tools to my toolbox as a leader,” Lemberger said of the 10-month program. “I’m proud to represent Spalding University and hope to bring what I learn back to the classroom. We need strong, compassionate and well-informed leaders in healthcare. I am grateful to be offered the opportunity to dive deeper into leadership and to learn more about our community.”

In our woundedness, we can become a source of life for others, (Nouwen, 1972 i)

We are wounded healers:  we enter into the lives of our patients often, alone with them, as they die from the coronavirus;

We are wounded healers: we accompany our colleagues in their care of the dying as well as their own deaths;

We are wounded healers: we bear the stigma of immeasurable pain of human suffering and dying as we stand before our patients, their families and our colleagues, filled with compassion, weeping, but with hands empty;

We are wounded healers: we experience a deep sense of abandonment, loneliness and failure because we are unable to rescue our patients and our colleagues from a disease not of their own making;

We are wounded healers: we find ourselves morally wounded because we are unable to stop the terrible decisions that must be made for patient care in the midst of this terrible disease;

We are wounded healers: each day we say good bye to our patients and colleagues, terrified to return home to our families knowing that we may carry illness and death to them –  fearful about returning to our centers of care – guilt of abandoning the sick when caring moments are desperately needed;

We are wounded healers with hope. We are calling for urgent help to be relieved of these terrible burdens so that our ineradicable covenant to care for the sick and one another with compassion, the very soul of our call to be healers, will be re-affirmed and reclaim human dignity and bring peace, healing, and hope to one another and to our world, especially the abandoned, unloved and the unwanted in our midst.

  • In the midst of these convulsive experiences and in solidarity with one another and our colleagues, we call on schools of the health professions, organizations, associations and Church groups to collaborate to:
  • Form listening sessions in order to share the wounds, the pain, multiples losses and anger we are experiencing and to reaffirm and implement the power of the trilogy of health care (human dignity, freedom and flourishing) among individuals and communities;
  • Provide comprehensive professional resources (psychological, emotional, physical, pastoral, ethical, social work) for our colleagues to help them journey through their experiences of grieving, anxiety, depression, those who have lost hope and self-confidence, death and reclaim confidence as instruments of healing and hope;
  • Implement strategies that will reach out especially to those have become isolated, withdrawn, feel abandoned, and have little reason to hope;
  • Establish local and regional interdisciplinary networks that provide long-term counseling, other services, and resources as we reclaim human dignity, freedom and promote human flourishing among all persons;
  • Collaborate with local and regional health care systems, our colleagues in the health professions, and civic leaders to construct a long term plan for continuing care and rehabilitation;

As wounded healers with hope, we bring to our world an elaborate and exhaustive array of experiences, competencies, and a legion of unparalleled experiences and expertise in education, administration, research across all domains of service to humanity. The profound virtuous act of the nurse as healer, the act that unites each of us as Fellows is embedded in the “promise of nursing,” the proclamation we all voiced when we dared to enter the world of nursing. This promise says:

Regardless of who you are, your gender, race, ethnicity, or religious persuasion, regardless of your illness or your life experiences; I am promising you my commitment that I will care with you; I will try to heal your pain, to ameliorate your suffering, to help you accept the limitations posed by the ravages of your illness.  I promise that I will accept your invitation to be with you when you are afraid, alone or dying; and to never abandon you along this journey. 

As wounded healers with hope, the largest segment of our nation’s health care workforce, amid the threats of the coronavirus, we must never allow our promise be compromised.  This is our vowed commitment to one another, to our colleagues, to the sick entrusted to our care, and to our nation and beyond.  Let us reclaim the power of the promise of nursing; let us help one another to be healed of this terrible threat to human dignity, freedom and human flourishing. In this journey together we will be freed to bring the promise of nursing to each other and to every person entrusted to our care.

Finally, we ask our Creator to protect us in our journey of healing and hope:

To bring strength, confidence and an enduring hope to each of us and to our colleagues;

  • To take time to care for ourselves and to listen to the voices in our own hearts;
  • To endow us with courage to remain faithful to the promise of nursing;
  • To care for our patients, their families, and our colleagues with compassion;
  • To bring healing to the sick, peace and comfort to the dying and their families;
  • To bring wisdom, compassion and confidence to our leaders;
  • To grant eternal rest to the dead; and
  • To comfort the mourners. Amen.

As ambassadors of hope, how successful we are in bringing healing to each of us as wounded healers, will determine how successful we are in living the promise of nursing in bringing healing and hope to all persons entrusted to our care, and to a suffering nation.

– (Nouwen, H.J.M. (1972).  The Wounded Healer.  New York: Image Books, Doubleday.)
– Photo by Ani Kolleshi on Unsplash

Faculty Focus Friday is a Q&A series that highlights individual faculty members in various academic programs around Spalding University. Today’s featured faculty member is Dr. Erica Lemberger, Associate Professor in the School of Nursing. Dr. Lemberger, who joined the nursing faculty in 2017, teaches in Spalding’s RN-to-BSN program and has also taught undergraduate population health courses. This past week, she took a large group of School of Nursing students to the the state Capitol in Frankfort to meet with legislators as part of Kentucky Nurses Legislative Action Day. Lemberger, a family nurse practitioner, was named a 2018 Louisville Business First Health Care Hero for excellence in patient experience during a career in which she’s worked with child abuse victims, cancer patients, homeless populations and pregnant teens. 

What do you like about working and teaching at Spalding?

Spalding’s mission statement says, “We are a diverse community of learners dedicated to meeting the needs of the times in the tradition of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth.” The Sisters are prayerful women who in the 1800s went out into our community to provide care for individuals who were struck by cholera. I love that here at Spalding, we have the foundation of these courageous and caring women who see beyond themselves to do great things for our community. I also really appreciate that we are a diverse community of learners. It means that each student brings their own unique story to the classroom, which enriches the learning experience.

What is your academic specialty or areas of expertise or research? 

I’m celebrating my 21st year in nursing. I graduated with my BSN in 1998, with my MSN/FNP in 2001 and my DNP in 2014. I’m board-certified as a family nurse practitioner, an advanced forensic nurse, a sexual assault nurse examiner (SANE) of adults, adolescents and children, and as a faith community nurse. I’ve worked in a variety of areas, including in-patient oncology, domestic violence and homeless shelters, hospice, retail health, public high schools for pregnant and parenting teens, and the military.

LEARN MORE | Spalding’s online RN-to-BSN program
SCHOOL OF NURSING | Check out all the programs offered at Spalding
NURSING FACULTY | Read bios of all Spalding professors

LEADERSHIP | Educator, scholar Bro. Ignatius Perkins returns as nursing chair

Why is nursing a good option for students to consider as their major?

Nursing offers the opportunity to blend a love of science with care for individuals and communities. Our students also learn about leadership, research, health equity and how to make this world a better place for all.  At Spalding, we really get to know our students, and it feels like a family. I often tell people that there are so many opportunities in nursing from the bedside to the community to health care management and everything in between. You will always have a job, many opportunities for career growth, and the blessing of helping to make a difference in people’s lives.

What is an interesting thing that you keep in your office? 

I have a calligraphy print of the Serenity prayer. It says “God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” My grandmother helped to raise me, and this frame hung in her dining room growing up. She was an incredible person, and she really inspired me to do good in the world.

What is the most rewarding part of your job? 

It’s really wonderful when our students have “aha” moments. There are times when students are able to connect the dots, relate what they are learning to their own personal experiences, and it’s as if light bulbs illuminate and things begin to click. We often have former students return to visit after graduation – and online students who send emails. It brings me great joy to hear that what former students learned in class is actually seen in practice. It’s very rewarding to know that we are helping to plant the seeds for nurses to do good in this world.

At Spalding, we like to say, “Today is a great day to change the world.” How do you think your role at Spalding is helping you change the world or the world of your students? 

Nurses can most definitely change the world.  Nursing is our nation’s largest healthcare profession, with more than 3.8 million registered nurses nationwide. We are the largest component of the healthcare workforce and are the main providers of care at the bedside. For the past 18 years, Americans have rated nurses as the No. 1 most ethical and honest profession. Nursing is both a profession (it’s something you are) and an occupation (it’s something you do). As faculty, it’s an honor to provide Spalding students with information, resources and opportunities to change the world for the better.

Spalding University is pleased to announce the return of Brother Ignatius Perkins, OP, PhD, RN, an experienced nursing and health care leader and a scholar on bioethics, as the Chair of Spalding’s School of Nursing – a position he also held from 2003-05.

Bro. Perkins, who currently serves as Director of Provincial Administration for the Dominican Friars-Province of St. Joseph in New York, is a Spalding alumnus and former faculty member. During Perkins’ previous stint as Spalding’s School of Nursing Chair, he dually served as Dean of the university’s College of Health and Natural Sciences.

From 2010-15, he was the Dean of the School of Nursing at Aquinas College in Nashville, Tennessee, and his career of more than four decades includes numerous other administrative, teaching and research positions in health care and nonprofit settings. He has presented and been published dozens of times, often on issues related to bioethics and medical ethics, and he has served on countless boards and committees.

Perkins holds two degrees from Spalding – a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (1972) and a Master of Arts in Education (1981) – and is a past recipient of the university’s Caritas Medal, the highest award that a Spalding graduate can receive. He also earned a master’s degree in nursing and a doctorate from the Catholic University of America in Washington. Perkins also completed a postdoctoral research fellowship in primary care and clinical bioethics at Georgetown University in Washington, and he earned the National Catholic Certification in Health Care Ethics from the National Catholic Bioethics Center in Philadelphia.

“Brother Perkins is truly a rare find—he blends both an impressive background as a nursing leader, educator and bioethics scholar with a deep and intrinsic understanding of Spalding’s unique identity as a place where students come to learn to make a difference in their world,” Spalding President Tori Murden McClure said. “We are incredibly fortunate to have him and are thrilled to welcome him back to our campus.”

Learn more | Spalding’s School of Nursing programs

Throughout a venerable career, Perkins has received numerous awards and recognitions, including the Pillar Award at the Religious Brothers Conference in 2019, Faculty of the Year Award at Aquinas College in Nashville in 2015, and Lifetime Achievement in Nursing Leadership Award from College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati. He is a Fellow with the NLN Academy of Nursing Education, the American Academy of Nursing, the New York Academy of Medicine, the Royal Society of Medicine and the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and he is an active member of multiple professional organizations, including the National Association of Catholic Nurses, the International Association of Catholic Bioethicists and the Catholic Medical Association. Perkins was also recently appointed as an Affiliated Scholar in the Pellegrino Center for Clinical Bioethics at Georgetown University in Washington.

As Chair of the School of Nursing, Perkins will oversee all of Spalding’s undergraduate and graduate nursing programs. He will begin work this month.

“It is a genuine privilege for me to once again to serve the faculty, staff, students and alumni of the School of Nursing at Spalding University,” Perkins said. “The School of Nursing has an enduring history; its prophetic role in reshaping our world by promoting human dignity, freedom and human flourishing though caring and compassion is the seminal gift the graduates of the School bring to a world in need of healing and hope.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Nancy Kern, a longtime Spalding faculty member who currently serves as the Interim Chair of the School of Nursing, has been named Spalding’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program Director.

Kern, who holds master’s and doctoral degrees from Spalding, has been a member of the university’s faculty for nearly 11 years. In recent years, during the state’s hepatitis A outbreak, Kern was a leader in volunteer efforts to provide vaccines to homeless citizens of Louisville. She has been an American Red Cross volunteer for nearly five decades.

“We are excited that Nancy Kern will become the director of our BSN program,” McClure said. “During her time at Spalding, Dr. Kern has helped train countless students to become compassionate nursing professionals.  We thank her for the months she served as Interim Chair and look forward to the great work she’ll do in the future at Spalding.”