On March 10, 2010, the UTMB School of Nursing celebrated 120 years of educational excellence. Since 2001, the school has been under the guidance of a dedicated and dynamic leader, Pamela G. Watson, R.N., Sc.D. Dr. Watson is currently the dean of the UTMB School of Nursing and the vice president of education, and she is very proud of the school’s legacy. She states, “When the school started, nursing was still struggling for appropriate recognition as a profession. Now we’re educating nurses not only for UTMB, but for the state, the nation and the world.”

Dr. Watson recently shared her thoughts on the significance of this historic anniversary with the Office of Public Affairs:

Dorothy Falkenberg, George Sealy, Sealy and Smith Foundation, Pam Watson

The 120 year anniversary of the School of Nursing is quite the milestone. Why is it important to recognize and celebrate this achievement?

Simply stated, the school’s long and prestigious history must be acknowledged.  It was the first school of nursing west of the Mississippi and one of the first in the country to become part of a university. UTMB’s School of Nursing has set the standard for progressive nursing education for more than a century, and continues to be a leader in nursing education in its baccalaureate, master’s, and Ph.D. nursing programs. Online and classroom learning experiences are superb. Clinical experiences at UTMB, the Texas Medical Center and innumerable other clinical agencies and private practice locations provide the best for all students.

What role will the School of Nursing play in defining the future of UTMB?

My goal is for the School of Nursing to be an indispensable element in the University’s quest to “define the future.” The School of Nursing has always been committed and known for its pursuit of excellence in education, research and clinical practice.

In addition to your role as Dean, School of Nursing, you serve as the Vice President of Education for the university. How would you describe this position? 

As vice president for education, I report directly to the provost with responsibility of oversight for the departments of synergy - Interprofessional Education, University Student Services and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness. The vice president for education plans and coordinates committee functions on the behalf of the provost. In this past year, we have been in the planning stages of creating a state-of-the-art interprofessional simulation center, with funding awarded from a U.S. Department of Education disaster grant.  In addition, I co-authored an article from the perspective of students on the impact of Hurricane Ike - how things were challenging for them and what the areas of the academic enterprise could do better in the event another disaster occurs.  This is an exciting role and I take pride in supporting the academic enterprise.

State Rep. Lois W. Kolkhorst and Pam Watson

You lived in the Northeast for most of your life. What was the most challenging aspect about learning to be a Texan when you moved here?

I didn’t find any aspect challenging. I love living in Texas and love that Texas pride. And, I love being an adopted Longhorn.

What is your favorite book?

I am a voracious reader so I do not have a favorite book. As a child, I was somewhat precocious in the reading area.  I read “The Diary of Anne Frank” in the second grade.  I saw the book in my mother’s bookcase and was drawn by the picture of the young girl on the cover. In Nursing School my favorite author was William Faulkner. My favorite quote is from his book, “As I Lay Dying.”  To paraphrase, “It’s not so much what you do, but who sees you when you are doing it.” I read mostly fiction which usually includes the books Oprah recommends and those on the “New York Times” bestsellers list.  I only like books that represent good literature.

What is the one thing most people would be surprised to learn about you?

I am the oldest of five sisters.  I also have an older brother.