By Stefanie Dell’Aringa
As dean of Seton Hall University’s College of Nursing, Marie C. Foley, PhD, RN, CNL, is focusing on changes in healthcare to prepare nursing students for the future.
“What we teach today becomes outdated tomorrow,” said Foley, who was appointed in February. “We really need to teach our students to think, and where to access the most up-to-date information so that they can make critical judgments and clinical decisions.”
Foley began her career at the South Orange, N.J., school as an instructor and adjunct faculty member in 1986. She was later hired as assistant professor and left temporarily in the late 1990s for a research fellowship at New York University to study child temperament and ADHD.
“I am a pediatric nurse by specialty,” Foley said. “When I was a school nurse, ADHD was a diagnosis we saw all of the time.”
Foley also spent time penning numerous articles on the role of the school nurse. “A lot of people think school nurses just hand out Band-Aids,” she said. “They’re a lot more involved than that. They manage children with multiple chronic illnesses. If it wasn’t for the school nurse, a lot of children wouldn’t be able to remain in school.”
Her experience led her to return to Seton Hall in 2005, where she became associate professor and director of the school nurse program.
Foley said she never imagined becoming dean, but she has served as chair of the graduate department and had been serving as acting dean since August 2014 when she was asked to take on the lead role.
“I had some difficult decisions and I had to think about whether or not this was something I enjoyed and would like to do,” she said. “I decided to apply for the full-time position.”
She relied on words of wisdom from Robert Greenleaf’s essay, “The Servant as Leader,” to inspire that decision.
“What Greenleaf said is that you serve first and then make a conscious choice to aspire to lead,” Foley said. “That is, in essence, how I progressed to where I am now.”
Foley said Seton Hall’s Catholic mission is what sets it apart.
“I think that we’re a home for the heart, the mind and the spirit,” she said.
Her vision includes establishing a dual degree program in Catholic studies and nursing; increasing the use of technology; examining practice environments more closely; and fostering community health experiences for students.
“Certainly, I’d like to make sure we maintain rigor in our courses, elevate the quality of our programs both at the undergraduate and graduate level, and help our students to have successful outcomes,” she said.
Foley is a forward-thinking, visionary leader who is open to new ideas and empowers others to work as a team, said Mary Ellen E. Roberts, DNP, RN, APN-C, FAANP, FAAN, Seton Hall’s director, DNP program and assistant professor, graduate department.
“It takes a special person that can walk that fine line between supporting the faculty but supporting the student at the same time,” Roberts said. “Not everybody can do that, but she’s able to do that. She’s a breath of fresh air.”
Stefanie Dell’Aringa is a freelance writer.
New Seton Hall dean champions school nurses
By Stefanie Dell’Aringa