Mary Jo Goolsby (1)a

Goolsby appointed Nursing Assistant Dean for Community Partnership

Dr. Mary Jo Goolsby, the new Nursing Assistant Dean for Community Partnerships, is all about forming partnerships, and she’s looking forward to building on those that have already been created.

“I’m really excited that the organization does have a history of successful partnerships,” she said. “So what this role does is give me an opportunity to maintain and grow those partnerships as well as look for new opportunities.”

Currently, formal partnerships exist with places like the East Central Regional Hospital, she said, and other examples have included agreements to provide wellness programs for employees at companies in the CSRA. Other long-term partnerships include the Healthy Grandparents Program and Greater Augusta Healthcare Network. While not all are currently active, she said she believes there are a lot of opportunities to revive and to grow partnerships for academic programs.

“I’m not sure what percentages of colleges of nursing have partnerships to the degree that GRU has been able to build up over the past several years,” she said. “I think the college has been very successful in that regard.”

Goolsby earned a BSN from Emory, a post-baccalaureate NP certificate from the U.S. Army Academy of Health Sciences, an MSN from the University of Alabama in Huntsville, and an EdD from Florida State University. She earned a strong national reputation as an NP leader, culminating with the 2013 Loretta C. Ford Award for Advancement of the Nurse Practitioner Role in Health Care, the nation’s top honor for nurse practitioners.

For Goolsby, who was Vice President of Research, Education, and Professional Practice for the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and was the research specialist at University Hospital for several years, the new position seems tailor made.

“I love creating new and innovative programs, and that’s exactly what we’ll be doing here,” she said. “We often partner with clinical settings like local hospitals and that type of thing to deliver academic clinical experiences, but this is really looking at what’s out there in the community and beyond as far as organizations and populations that need services.”

As the nursing profession changes, Goolsby said, nursing colleges are working hard to adapt. According to a publication about the future of nursing by the Institute of Medicine, by the year 2020, 80 percent of all practicing nurses should have a baccalaureate degree, which opens up opportunities for colleges to bring in students who are practicing registered nurses who want to move up to a baccalaureate degree.

“Our dean is known as a visionary in the nursing community,” she said. “She’s built a really good group of faculty here, and they’re looking for opportunities such as these partnerships to improve the profession of nursing.”