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Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

Former students honor nursing professor by establishing $20,000 endowment

Media Contact: Dave Lavallee 401-874-2116


KINGSTON, R.I. -- January 22, 2003 -- Graduate nursing students at the University of Rhode Island have for 30 years benefited from Professor Hesook Suzie Kim Ďs expertise, commitment and personal involvement.

Many of those graduate students, some of whom have become faculty members at URI and at other colleges, have thanked Kim in a big way.

One of her former students, Steve Alves, led a successful effort to raise $20,000 for an endowment in Kimís name that will provide nursing graduate students with seed money to present their research findings at conferences.

A professor at URIís College of Nursing since 1973, Kim will retire next spring after gaining legions of disciples from Kingston to Los Angeles and from Norway to South Korea.

"Itís an honor and privilege to pay tribute to Dr. Kim, who has served the College and me as a teacher, mentor and friend," said Alves, who earned his doctorate in nursing from URI in May 2002 and is now an assistant professor and coordinator of the Graduate Nurses Anesthesia Program at Northeastern University.

URI Nursing Dean Dayle Joseph said Kim has had an impact on numerous aspects of nursing. "Throughout her career she has earned an international reputation and has been asked to present her ideas on numerous occasions," Joseph said. "It has been exciting to watch her develop, debate, and refine her ideas. Dr. Kim has always played a key role in curriculum development for the College. She is a team player, who asks thoughtful questions, and stimulates many of us to rethink our basic assumptions about nursing and the world we live in."

Since 1994, Kim has been a visiting professor at the University of Oslo at its Institute of Nursing Science, and has collaborated with colleagues in Korea, Sweden, Finland and Germany. Her work in Oslo has resulted in strong ties between URI and the University there. After retirement from URI, she will be a professor at the University of Buskerud in Norway.

Kim, a resident of Exeter, has been an international researcher and leader in nursing theory development with an emphasis on the nature of nursing practice. She headed a team of nurse-researchers in a series in of cross-national studies in Finland, Korea and the United States on decision-making in nursing practice. More recently she joined the group for research on pain assessment.

She also coordinated a series of five conferences at URI on nursing knowledge development from 1991 to 1995. In the early 1980s, the University thought Kim had the vision to lead the College and appointed her dean from 1983 through 1988. Alumni and colleagues credit her with being one of the driving forces behind the establishment of the doctoral program in the College.

"The uniqueness of this (doctoral) program stems from Dr. Kimís vision for nursing scholarship and her extraordinary ability to organize highly diverse bodies of knowledge, for example, physiological, sociological and philosophical, to bolster current nursing practice," said URI Nursing Professor Donna Schwartz Barcott.

And while Kimís research has won her accolades around the globe, her ability to serve as a mentor to students and faculty members has won her equally strong praise.
Holly Kennedy, former director of URIís graduate program in nurse-midwifery and now assistant professor and coordinator of the Nurse-Midwifery Specialty at the University of California, San Francisco. At URI, Kim was Kennedyís doctoral adviser and chaired her dissertation committee. "Dr. Kimís knowledge is so wide Ė at URI it was always amazing how she could answer almost any question posed to her without opening a book. Her classes made you stretch and grow, and the more you learned the more you wanted to learn.

"In spite of her international reputation you could talk with her collegially about your area of interest. She always recognized that it was the student's research and let her or him run with the ball.

"I have brought so much of what I learned at URI to the University of California, San Francisco. Suzie's immense knowledge of theory, her gentle humor, and her expectation of excellence are all gifts that came with me."

Kim said she is most proud of URIís doctoral graduates who are teaching and conducting leading research. "They are out there influencing other students and the nursing field as a whole. I see their publications in nursing journals regularly.
"We have a fantastic College with great colleagues and a very open culture," she said. "I could not have reached my goals without the support of the College. We have very powerful faculty in our focus areas."

For Further Information: Dayle Joseph 401-874-2766