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UPIKE names founding dean of new School of Nursing

Helped establish nursing program in 1983 at Pikeville College

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (Sept. 16, 2015) — The University of Pikeville has named Mary Rado Simpson, Ph.D., RN, as the founding dean of the Elizabeth Akers Elliott School of Nursing. Transitioning into the role of dean after serving as both division chair and interim dean for the nursing programs at UPIKE, Simpson has had an exemplary career in nursing education, practice, research and service.

Mary Rado Simpson
Mary Rado Simpson

“I truly see nursing education as an area of specialty within nursing practice,” said Simpson. “You must advocate for students and co-workers as you would for any patient. Ethics and quality underlie all areas of nursing regardless of the setting.”

In her role, Simpson will focus on the development of new nursing programs in the expansion of health affairs.

“When I think back to 1983 and the first nursing program at UPIKE, I am amazed at how far we have come and the potential of how far we can go,” said Simpson. “I will draw upon our strong relationships with nursing alumni, healthcare agencies and the good people of the community to move forward what is best for nursing in Pike County and beyond.”

Simpson earned her doctoral degree in nursing and a master of science in nursing from the University of Kentucky and a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) at Western Connecticut State University. She also holds National League for Nursing Certification as a nurse educator. Simpson’s research has focused on the role of faith and healing in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer.

Simpson began her service in Kentucky as a staff RN for Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) and at that time, was one of only two RNs in Pike County with a BSN degree. Simpson moved into nursing education at Southern West Virginia Community College while maintaining supervisory RN positions at ARH. She helped establish the Elizabeth Akers Elliott associate degree in nursing program at then Pikeville College and later taught in a BSN program at Lynchburg College in Virginia and was a research associate at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing.

Simpson has participated in a faculty exchange program to South Korea, received research awards and chaired a national subcommittee to develop a certification exam for transcultural nursing. She has presented at national nursing conferences and is published in peer-reviewed nursing journals. At UPIKE, Simpson directed the development of the RN-BSN program and its successful national accreditation. She served on the local advisory council for Tug Valley ARH in South Williamson,and is a current, appointed member to the board of directors of Pikeville Medical Center. In 2002, Simpson attended the Salzburg Seminar in Austria where she joined nursing professionals from around the world in workshops focusing on healthcare access.

Most recently, Simpson completed a sabbatical leave at the University of Alaska-Anchorage (UAA) to learn about clinical simulation in nursing programs. She spent three months in Anchorage and the outlying Matanuska-Susitna area. Simpson worked closely with nursing students who traveled from across Alaska, sometimes by ferry or plane, to attend a required two-week learning experience at Anchorage hospitals and the UAA inter-professional simulation lab.