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College Dean's 'Spontaneous' Career Choice Pays Off
Published December 2007
Children often have dreams of what they want to be when they grow up. Many health care professionals can tell you stories of how they fixed their teddy bears and dolls when they were "sick" or checked their friend's heart rate with plastic stethoscopes.
Andrea Lindell, PhD, an internationally respected nursing leader, isn't one of them.
Lindell wanted to enroll in a flight attendant school in New York City after graduating high school in her small Pennsylvania town, but the tuition was more than her parents could afford.
A friend attending a diploma hospital nursing program told Lindell that her three years tuition was less than half of the cost for one year at flight attendant school. It was a price Lindell's parents could afford, so she enrolled in the program-a decision that paved the way for a distinguished nursing career.
Lindell, dean of the College of Nursing, has been a pioneer in nursing education for more than 30 years. Her dedication and commitment to advancing the field of nursing locally, nationally and internationally was recently honored by the National League for Nursing (NLN), which inducted her into its inaugural fellows class.
Fellows were selected by the NLN board of governors for their sustained and significant contributions to the field of nursing education, and are expected to be role models for those in the nursing profession.
"I love what I do," says Lindell. "I enjoy working with my team, sharing my expertise and mentoring leaders to continue moving nursing education forward."
Lindell's nursing career began
in a hospital but quickly moved to education. After earning a bachelor's degree in nursing from Villa Maria College, she earned a
master's in nursing and a doctorate from Catholic University of America.
Her initial focus was on psychiatric mental health, which she began teachingto nursing students at Catholic. While educating future nurses about their role in psychiatric mental health, Lindell then became interested in nursing administration.
"I really enjoy being the facilitator and working with faculty and staff to enhance the quality and programs offered to nursing students," says Lindell.
She continues, "I firmly believe what the faculty and I do has a significant influence on the future of nursing education. We're training students to provide exceptional health care to patients, as well as training those who will become nursing leaders and educators."
Lindell's administrative career began in 1975 as the director of the nursing graduate program at Catholic. She was there for two years before joining the nursing faculty at the University of New Hampshire (UNH).
In her four years at UNH, Lindell was the chair and associate professor for the department of nursing and the interim associate dean for the school of health studies for a year. At the time, she was the youngest person to hold a dean/director position in nursing education.
While at UNH, Lindell worked with the faculty to develop one of the first national bachelor's of science in nursing programs for registered nurses.
She left UNH to become the nursing dean and professor at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich. During the nine years at Oakland, Lindell helped establish a nursing master's program in areas including anesthesia, administration and adult health.
In 1990, Lindell came to UC as dean and professor for the College of Nursing. In addition, she was the founder and interim dean for the College of Allied Health Sciences from 1994 to 2002.
She is also the associate senior vice president for academic affairs for the Academic Health Center.
Lindell's accomplishments during her 17 years at UC are extensive and include: moving from a hospital-based nurse anesthesia program to a master's program; implementing a doctorate program; and developing new graduate-level practitioner programs such as neonatal, critical care, midwifery and genetics.
She also has established a board of advisors to the college comprised of community, corporate and health-care leaders, and developed and fostered corporate partnerships on joint programs, research and professional development.
Lindell's passion for advancing nursing education and expertise in curriculum and instructional design, organizational management and behavior, fiscal analysis and management has led to international partnerships in South Korea, Japan, China, Honduras, Mexico, Egypt and Jordan.
Her involvement and leadership with nursing committees and organizations includes being past president of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.
What drives Lindell is simple. She loves what she's doing and wants to keep moving nursing education forward.
"I like to go home every day and be happy about one thing I've accomplished," says Lindell. "Even if it's as simple as saying 'hello' to someone on my team that I haven't spoken with in awhile.
"Even the small things are important in our every day life as we look to maintain quality," says Lindel.