UA Hires Nursing School Director

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A Florida college dean who once worked at UAMS will become the director of the University of Arkansas’ Eleanor Mann School of Nursing on July 15.

Pegge Bell, dean of the College of Health Sciences at Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla., since 2008, completed post-graduate work at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. She worked at UAMS from 1991 to 2002, starting as an assistant professor and eventually becoming associate dean of the College of Nursing.

In her current job, Bell secured nearly $3.5 million to educate future nursing faculty.

Bell said in a news release her goal is for the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing to be “the flagship school of Arkansas.”

“The flagship school is the school that has the quality programs that everyone in Arkansas would aspire to come to,” Bell said.

In March, the university dedicated the 45,000-SF Epley Center for Health Professions, which houses the nursing school and the UA Speech and Hearing Clinic. The building features simulation labs to give nursing students practical experience in many skills before they start working in clinical settings.

Bell said in the release that through the simulation labs, the nursing school could possibly help health professionals become certified in areas such as wound care.

“We could become a regional trainer of how to use simulation,” she said.

Nan Smith-Blair, an associate professor of nursing who has served as director of the nursing school since 2008, will return to the nursing faculty and her research on the effects of exercise on diaphragm fatigue. In March, she was named co-chair of the university’s recently created Health Research Initiative.