Dominican University appoints Debra Gurney as executive director of new bachelor's degree in nursing program

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By Community Editor


River Forest, IL – Dominican University has appointed Dr. Debra Gurney as executive director of its new bachelor's degree in nursing program. Prior to her appointment, Gurney served as executive director of nursing programs for the City Colleges of Chicago, where she oversaw the nursing admission process, curriculum planning, and evaluation and assessment of student outcomes. The university's new nursing program will begin enrolling students in the fall 2014 semester.

The nursing program takes advantage of Dominican's strength in the sciences, including neuroscience, nutrition sciences and medical science, and state-of-the-art science laboratories in Parmer Hall, its newest academic building. In the past decade, the university has experienced a 147 percent growth in science majors and a 200 percent increase in total enrollment in science courses.

Coursework, as well as challenging clinical experiences with partnering hospitals, will prepare students for one of the country's fastest growing careers, with a projected job growth of than 26 percent over the next 10 years.

"Nurses are expected to play an increasingly critical role in national healthcare delivery, especially with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act," said Dr. Cheryl Johnson-Odim, Dominican provost. "The standards for nurses entering the field reflect the need for rigorous training in medical science, excellent interpersonal skills and strong administrative abilities. We are confident that Debra Gurney is the right person to lead this important new endeavor."

Gurney provided leadership for the City Colleges of Chicago's nursing accreditation process and participated in the recruitment of full-time and adjunct nursing faculty for the system. She has held past positions as nursing director at Rush Oak Park Hospital, visiting professor at Northern Illinois University, chairperson and assistant professor in the department of nursing at Rockford College, and manager of maternal/child health development at OSF Saint Anthony Medical Center in Rockford, IL.

Gurney holds a doctorate in education and a master of science degree with a concentration in clinical specialist medical-surgical nursing, both from Northern Illinois University, and a bachelor of science degree in nursing from Rockford College.

In addition to the new bachelor's degree in nursing, Dominican will continue offering its existing cooperative master of science degree in nursing with Rush University College of Nursing, in which students earn a bachelor's degree that covers prerequisite courses for admission to Rush's generalist entry master's degree in clinical nursing program.    

For more information on Dominican's bachelor's degree in nursing, contact Debra Gurney at (708) 524-6695 or

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