What advice would Susan S. Morrison give to the next generation of nurses?
“Get out of their zone a little bit and meet the patients where they are – you will learn so much from them,” she says.
That’s the answer you would expect from someone who says patient contact was her favorite part of the field to which she has dedicated so much of her life, both as a professional nurse and as a volunteer. That’s also precisely the type of spirit the University of St. Thomas’ new School of Nursing is hoping to instill in students when it opens its doors this fall.
And it’s the very reason why naming the school after Morrison is so fitting.
On Wednesday, April 27, St. Thomas announced the naming of the Susan S. Morrison School of Nursing at a special ceremony in the James B. Woulfe Alumni Hall on the St. Paul campus. At the event, Morrison received the inaugural nursing pin that all graduating St. Thomas nursing students will receive.
“The strength of nurses is celebrated at nursing pinning ceremonies, with the nursing pin representing the induction into the wonderful profession of nursing just before graduates begin their career,” said Dr. Martha Scheckel, founding director of the School of Nursing. “We are honored that our new school bears the name of someone so caring and so steadfastly committed to bringing whole-person care to every person, family and community.”
John and Susan Morrison are the lead benefactors of the Morrison Family College of Health, which includes the School of Nursing, and the couple’s legacy at St. Thomas continues to grow with the naming of the school.
As a nurse, Susan Morrison worked in obstetrics, in a teen clinic, in chemical dependency and more. She cited her passion for increasing access to health care and the opportunity to teach students to provide whole-person care to help individuals and communities thrive physically, mentally and spiritually.
“Nursing to me, if you have that skill and that interest, you really can use it in so many ways that you don’t even know,” she said. “I hope [St. Thomas nursing students] find the area that fulfills their soul.”
The school is preparing to welcome its first-ever class this coming fall, offering both a Bachelor of Science in Nursing and a pre-licensure Master of Science in Nursing to prepare students to become registered nurses. The school’s mission is to prepare “highly skilled professional nurses who are culturally responsive, practice clinical excellence with ingenuity, and proactively improve whole-person healing to advance health equity and social justice.”
Susan and John Morrison have played integral roles in the formation and development of the Morrison Family College of Health and the School of Nursing. John co-chairs the College of Health Advisory Board, and Susan is an inaugural member of the School of Nursing Advisory Board.
“John and Sue are true servant leaders who have given so generously of their time and energy,” said President Julie Sullivan. “They have helped whole generations of Tommies reach ever higher levels of excellence. Through the Susan S. Morrison School of Nursing, they are helping meet a critical nursing shortage. They are positioning St. Thomas at the forefront of modern health care curriculum and innovation. And they are helping students live out their dreams."