10:38 AM

Dr. Claudine Dufrene Named Interim Executive Dean of the Peavy School of Nursing

Dr. Claudine DufreneUniversity of St. Thomas-Houston announced the appointment of Associate Professor Dr. Claudine Dufrene as interim Executive Dean of the Peavy School of Nursing (PSON). Dufrene, a Louisiana native, replaces Dr. Poldi Tschirch, who held the position since the nursing school’s re-opening in 2012. Tschirch retired in 2021.

“It is an honor to be appointed as the interim Executive Dean of the Carol and Odis Peavy School of Nursing,” Dufrene said. “I look forward to working with my colleagues at the school and at the University to continue to fulfill our mission to educate nurses intellectually, morally and spiritually in the art and science of nursing as a compassionate healing ministry.”

A nurse for 30-years, Dufrene joined the PSON faculty in 2013. She served as full-time faculty, chair of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program, Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program Director, and Division Dean of Undergraduate Nursing Programs. 

Meet Claudine Dufrene

Dufrene is certified as a gerontological nurse practitioner and a medical/surgical nurse by the American Nurses Credentialing Center. She is also a certified nurse educator by the National League for Nursing. Her research interests include exploring interventions and factors related to nursing student success, such as reflective practice and remediation. At PSON, she has taught courses in Foundations of Holistic Nursing; Holistic Nursing - Care of Adults/Older Adults; Holistic Nursing - Caring for the Community; Holistic Nursing - Foundation for Clinical Leadership; The Art and Science of Holistic Nursing.

In the campus announcement, Dr. Chris Evans, Vice President for Academic Affairs, said, “The PSON undergraduate programs have a lot of complicities. As ABSN director and Division Dean, Dr. Dufrene has managed these complicities with sheer brilliance. Her understanding of the Catholic mission and identity of the University is also of great value.”

“Dr. Dufrene’s credentials speak well of her for this new role. She earned a Ph.D from Texas Woman’s University; an MS from the University of Phoenix (New Orleans); a GNP-BC from UTMB (Galveston); a CNE by the National League for Nursing; and more than 20 years of teaching experience and other administrative duties,” Evans said. “Before joining the academy, Dr. Dufrene worked as a staff nurse, charge nurse, house supervisor, and nurse manager in hospitals in Louisiana. Under her leadership, the ABSN program has experienced impressive enrollment growth and geographic expansion,” Evans said. “The NCLEX pass rate of 94% is also no small feat.”

Currently, Dufrene holds the Cullen Trust for Higher Education Endowed Chair in Nursing. She has presented at regional, national, and international conferences on simulation and standardized patients in nursing education and has published articles related to simulation in healthcare education. She also serves as a manuscript reviewer for Geriatric Nursing and Nurse Education Today.

Dufrene on the Future of Nursing

Dufrene sees an ever-increasing need for nurses at all levels of healthcare. “Nurses contribute to the health of society in a multitude of ways: providing bedside care in hospitals, in-patient agencies, community settings, industrial settings, and many other areas; managing the needs of diverse populations as advanced practice nurses; participating in policy discussions and advocating for nurses at the local, state and national levels; leading changes in healthcare as nursing leaders; and educating the future nursing workforce,” she said.

Dufrene notes that nursing has evolved from providing care to individuals with a limited scope of practice to specializing in multiple areas of practice as a bedside nurse and an expanded role as an advanced practice nurse. 

“Nurses continue to expand their presence in healthcare settings and the legislative process through leadership opportunities in healthcare, education and professional organizations,” Dufrene said.

She believes it is imperative that PSON focus on the growth of our undergraduate and graduate programs.

Additional Appointments in PSON 

Additional appointments in PSON include Dr. Kristina Leyden as the interim Division Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Dr. Karen O’Brien as the interim BSN Program Director.