Associate Professor Emerita
Early in her choice to enter college out of high school to pursue a bachelor's degree in nursing, Pat Ebright had no idea of the satisfaction and rewards a nursing career could bring, nor the potential for impact that was possible through continuing her education. Finishing her BSN degree in 1970, she followed the path that most graduating nurses took after passing boards, including several years on medical-surgical units working day, evening, night and weekend rotations. It was great learning and the direct patient contact brought personal and meaningful experiences that Pat continued to cherish and use for her entire career.
Ebright's ongoing commitment to acute care settings, as well as increasing experience in management of care delivery revealed to her the need for further education, which resulted in completing MSN and PhD degrees over the next 20 years. While providing professional nursing care to patients and families is impactful on a daily basis, Pat is most proud of her impact on the new knowledge surrounding nursing work, knowledge about both the obvious complexity of completing multiple tasks in dynamic settings of care, and also the essential ongoing cognitive work that nurses do to inform decision making about their workflow and best interventions to assure patient safety and quality.
Dr. Ebright's research with colleagues about the invisible work of nursing (cognitive), and the use of human factors frameworks, and innovative interview techniques to collect data to describe what nurses do, resulted in dissemination of research related to nurses' work, nursing student clinical learning experiences, patient hand-off processes in clinical settings, and implications of the research for patient safety and quality. Spending the last 18 years of her career in schools of nursing (16 at the Indiana University School of Nursing), Ebright found that her entire previous nursing experiences informed her effectiveness as a nursing educator, as well as leading processes to support faculty, staff, and student success in the educational setting.
Pat found that a career in nursing provided multiple avenues for learning, achievement, excitement, and impact. She says, "For me, I cannot imagine a more rewarding path."