Claire Fagin ’48 H’93 is a national leader in nursing education. Her accomplishments include bringing the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing into the nation’s top ranks during her 15 years as dean. She also served as Penn’s interim president in 1993–94 — the first woman in such a role at any Ivy League institution.
Fagin was the president of the National League for Nursing, the first recipient of the American Nurses Foundation’s Distinguished Scholar Award, and a member of the Expert Advisory Panel on Nursing of the World Health Organization, among many other honors and positions. And it all started with Fagin earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Wagner College in 1948, during a time when that level of education was relatively rare for nurses. (Read more about her life in our fall 2011 feature story, "Fearless.")
“She’s an iconic leader in nursing,” says Patricia Tooker ’79 M’04 D’16, dean of Wagner’s Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing.
Now, Fagin is supporting Wagner’s newest academic program in nursing, the Doctor of Nursing Practice, through a planned gift that will provide scholarships for post-baccalaureate students to go straight into their doctoral studies.
In the near future, Fagin predicts, a DNP rather than a master’s will be required for nurse practitioners. “Why shouldn’t Wagner be on the leading edge of this trend?” she asks. Many universities are creating DNP degree programs; Fagin is supporting Wagner’s because of its high quality. “It’s a very advanced program in the practice of expanded nursing,” she explains.
Wagner’s DNP degree, launched in 2014, gives working nurses an interdisciplinary and global training with a focus on disaster preparedness and population health, so that they can fill leadership roles in government or other organizations on all levels.
Nursing has become increasingly professionalized, with more nurses having a seat at the decision-making tables in the health care industry and in governments, says Tooker. “Nursing will be elevated to the highest of levels someday,” she says. With the staunch support of Claire Fagin, who has helped to define the nursing profession, Wagner College’s Evelyn L. Spiro School of Nursing will continue to be a national leader in nursing education.