Bill Cody’s enthusiasm for the nursing program at DePaul can’t be contained.
“The nurses in demand are those with advanced skills in patient assessment, problem solving, and clinical research. That’s what we’re all about,” he says. “Our master’s entry to nursing practice [MENP] program provides our students the highest caliber education in all the areas that matter.”
Cody, the new director of the School of Nursing, says the first reason he was drawn to DePaul was the school’s bold and broad vision for the profession—the same boldness found in the Alliance for Health Sciences with Rosalind Franklin University of Medicine and Science.
“According to the Institute of Medicine, the No. 1 competency required of the 21st century nurse is the ability to work on interprofessional teams,” he says. “Rosalind Franklin is really ahead of the curve in interprofessional education, and we’ll be taking advantage of this great opportunity to participate in, and contribute to, that model.”
DePaul has received regulatory approval to expand the MENP program to the Rosalind Franklin campus in North Chicago. At the same time, the two universities have collaborated in the design of an innovative master’s degree for working nurses, which includes certificates in either administration or education. “The alliance works to everyone’s benefit,” Cody concludes. “We gain the opportunity to expand our footprint, and Rosalind Franklin gains an affiliation with an excellent nursing program. We’ll both be able to offer all our students deeper, richer programs.”
Cody also arrived at DePaul just in time to host the accreditation committee for the new Doctor of Nursing Practice degree program. “This is very exciting,” he says. “Forty years ago, nurse practitioners didn’t even have a college degree. Soon, doctorally prepared nurses will be running hospital practices and departments—that future is not far off, and we’re ready.”
The second reason Cody was drawn to DePaul was its Vincentian values. “We’ve always been excellent in academics, with excellent outcomes, and we’ve recently added several tenure track positions so we can do even more in the areas of scholarship and research,” says Cody. “But now we’re also formally incorporating community engagement and service learning in our programs. No one else in nursing in Chicago is doing this.”
Cody’s background makes DePaul a natural fit.
While serving on the faculty of the Presbyterian School of Nursing at Queens University of Charlotte in North Carolina—first as the dean of the School of Nursing and then as the dean of the College of Health—Cody ran Shelter Health Services, a free clinic that provides care to homeless women and children. In the early ‘90s he took the clinic public, and it now provides about 4,000 healthcare visits a year to about 1,000 people. From 2003 to 2006, Cody was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Executive Nurse Fellow; in this role, he made the School of Nursing a community anchor for delivering care to the vulnerable, while promoting health education and a whole-life approach to wellness.
“I’ve been part of the movement to put nurses in the front-and-center of community health programs,” Cody says. “They’re really good at multitasking, at seeing people for who they are in a moment of need, and at treating the whole person not just the illness. I think physicians are learning from nurses, because this shift is gaining ground in health care today.”
In 2013, Cody celebrates his 35th anniversary as a nurse.