Patricia Butterfield to step down as nursing school dean
WSU administrator plans to return to faculty role
Staff ReportOctober 23rd, 2014
Patricia Butterfield, dean of Washington State University’s College of Nursing, will leave the dean post and return to a faculty role next April.
She currently directs nursing education at WSU’s campuses in Spokane, Vancouver, Tri-Cities, and Yakima.
“The time is right for a leadership transition,” Butterfield says in a press release. “I look forward to continuing to support our statewide leadership team as they transform clinical education in our region.”
Butterfield came to WSU in 2007 after serving as chairwoman of the University of Washington Department of Psychosocial and Community Health. Two doctoral programs—a Ph.D. program and a Doctor of Nursing Practice program—were launched under her leadership.
“Dean Butterfield’s impact on the College of Nursing and at Washington State University has been dramatic, positive, and lasting,” WSU President Elson S. Floyd says in the release. “I am extremely pleased that she will continue to contribute as a faculty member.”
Allison Benjamin, spokeswoman for the WSU College of Nursing, says the school plans to appoint an interim dean when Butterfield steps down next spring, then start its search for a replacement. The position likely won’t be filled until January 2016, Benjamin says.
In the most recent ranking of graduate nursing programs by U.S. News and World Report, WSU’s nursing program ranked in the top 12 percent of programs nationwide.
Butterfield has been a strong proponent of research, and the college increased its research portfolio more than four-fold during her tenure. Her National Institutes of Health-funded work addressed household environmental health risks to rural low-income families. She has served as a member of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Children’s Health Protection Advisory Committee, is a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing, and is an alumna of the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow Program.
In 2013, Butterfield received the top national nursing award from CleanMed, an organization focused on health care sustainability, and participated in invitational meetings at the World Health Organization addressing green health purchasing systems. In 2014, Butterfield received the YWCA of Spokane’s Women of Achievement Award in Science, Technology, and the Environment.
“I’m proud of what we have accomplished,” Butterfield says. “Thanks to our committed faculty and staff–WSU nurses, nurse practitioners, and nurse scientists serve in every community in our state and region. This is such an exciting time for health sciences at Washington State University. I’m looking forward to stepping away from administration and digging back into the science and teaching that I love.”
Founded in 1968, WSU’s College of Nursing educates approximately 1,000 students each year and is considered one of the largest educators of nurses in the western U.S. WSU offers nursing degrees at the bachelor, master’s, and doctoral level at five sites across Washington. The college also is active in research, providing students with access to hands-on learning opportunities.