UW-Eau Claire Dean Linda Young recognized for outstanding contributions to professional nursing

UW-Eau Claire Dean Linda Young awarded for making strides in professional nursing through innovative programs and work


Photo by Hillary Smith

Linda Young, professor and Dean of the College of Nursing and Health Science at UW-Eau Claire, was selected by the Wisconsin Nurses Association to receive the 2016 Signe Cooper Image of Nursing Award for her progressive work geared towards strengthening and improving the nursing field.

Signe Skott Cooper died in 2013, but her legacy in the nursing field, particularly nursing education, lives on in this honor. The award is intended to recognize a nurse for exceptional work in professional nursing.

Young has made and continues to make impressive strides for health care, advocating for improvements and programs to continue enhancing the field, setting her apart from other nominees.

Jan Adams, MLIS and Learning Resource Center Coordinator for the College of Nursing and Health Sciences at Eau Claire, referred to several of these accomplishments in a recommendation letter she wrote for Young’s nomination.

“Dean Young has made innovative contributions to the landscape of nursing education and possesses the skills and principles that inspire students, faculty, and staff,” Adams wrote.

One of Young’s most significant contributions includes the 3.2 million dollar grant she recently obtained, she said. The grant is intended to work against the nationwide nurse shortage by implementing initiatives that will encourage and assist nurses to become educators.

Young said there are 37 awardees committed to teach at a UW nursing program after receiving their terminal degree thanks to the grant. The grant also provides loan forgiveness for new faculty, which Young said will further bolster the number of nursing educators hired and retained at Eau Claire.

Young also called for action from state legislators, gathering 22 individuals involved in the nursing field in order to address issues and potential solutions for nursing nationwide.

“Her impact on the lives of students and the future of nursing education in Wisconsin is profound,” Adams said.

Young’s positive impacts on health care do not stop in Wisconsin or even in the United States; she created a partnership with a community in El Salvador. The partnership has a dual purpose of helping improve the community’s health care and serving as a learning opportunity for nursing students. The teaching aspect is a two-way street.

“I’m always able to learn more than I’m able to give back,” Young said.

The El Salvador project has been put on hold due to the threat of the Zika virus. However, Young said she looks forward to returning once it is safe so the five-year plan can continue moving forward.

Young has also developed relationships in China and hopes to expand students’ international opportunities. With proper funding, they would be able to launch a program so students could see the complementary nature of Eastern and Western medicine, Young said.

Other goals Young is working toward include continuing the satellite program in Marshfield, Wis. to continue developing baccalaureate nurses, expanding the nursing facilities at Eau Claire, and continuing to work on expanding and developing the growth of professional nursing nationally.

Young expressed deep appreciation to her colleagues for nominating her for the award.

“That to me is the most beautiful piece of this,” Young said. “That it came from those that I work with and have high respect for.”

The award will be presented on Oct. 22 in Middleton, Wis.