University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Named NLN Center of Excellence

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing Named NLN Center of Excellence

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing was recently designated a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing (NLN). The NLN utilizes their Center of Excellence program to recognize schools that demonstrate a commitment to excellence and invested resources to distinguish themselves in a specific area of nursing education.

UAB was recognized for its sustained efforts to “Enhance Student Learning and Professional Development,” a four-year designation that will remain through 2021. Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean of the UAB School of Nursing, tells UABNews:

“This designation is an external confirmation of the UAB School of Nursing’s commitment to preparing future nursing leaders, and aligns with our strategic goals of maintaining excellence in teaching and learning, and provides acknowledgement of faculty efforts in continual quality improvement.”

UAB School of Nursing faculty and students are honored by the Center of Excellence designation, and especially proud of the School of Nursing’s dedication to producing professional and advanced practice nurses to care for patients in rural and underserved areas. The school will be recognized at the NLN’s 2017 Education Summit, held in San Diego, CA in September. To learn more about the UAB School of Nursing, visit here.

University of Alabama Receives $1.7 Million Grant to Increase Number of Latino Nurses

University of Alabama Receives $1.7 Million Grant to Increase Number of Latino Nurses

The University of Alabama (UA) Capstone College of Nursing recently received a $1.7 million grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration Nursing Workforce Diversity Program to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared Latino nurses.

With help from the grant, the university will target and recruit 80 Latino associate degree registered nurses to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree through the College of Nursing’s online RN-BSN program as part of the Bama-Latino Project.

Dr. Norma Cuellar, UA professor of nursing, tells the Ledger-Enquirer: “Right now, the RN population is made up of 83 percent white/Caucasian nurses who are caring for a very diverse population. While we teach our students about cultural sensitivity, we know that many times when people are being cared for by someone who is not like them, there is a barrier that may impact health care outcomes. Sometimes it’s communication, sometimes it’s cultural. Both can pose a problem in delivered health care.”

Latinos make up 17.3 percent of the US population, but fewer than 5 percent of US nurses are Latino according to UA News. Latinos aren’t pursuing nursing because many do not receive the academic support they need in junior and high school in addition to financial barriers that keep them from pursuing higher education. UA hopes that once students in the Bama-Latino Project complete their bachelor’s degrees in nursing they will continue to pursue masters and doctoral nursing degrees.

To learn more about the Bama-Latino Project, visit here.

Herzing University Opens New Nursing Program on Birmingham Campus

Herzing University Opens New Nursing Program on Birmingham Campus

Herzing University recently opened a new Associate of Science in Nursing degree on its Birmingham campus to meet the growing need for registered nurses in Alabama. The two-year program will prepare students to take the National Council Licensing Examination for registered nurses exam (NCLEX-RN) and become a licensed registered nurse (RN).

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the annual job growth rate for RNs in Alabama is projected to reach more than 15 percent. The new degree program at Herzing is ideal for students who want to pursue a career in nursing, offering clinical education opportunities in high-fidelity simulation training labs with state-of-the-art technology.

Tommy Dennis, Birmingham Campus President at Herzing, tells Herzing.edu, “We’re launching this program in Birmingham because we’ve seen the demand for RNs first-hand at our campus career fairs and through our community partnerships. We’re proud to offer educational opportunities that fulfill a community need and make a positive difference in the lives of students.”

To learn more about the new Associate of Science in Nursing degree at Herzing University, visit here.

Nurse of the Week: US Navy Veteran Bill Smith Finds Calling as Cardiac Nurse

Nurse of the Week: US Navy Veteran Bill Smith Finds Calling as Cardiac Nurse

Our Nurse of the Week is Bill Smith, a former US Navy welder who pursued a career in nursing following his return from the military and found his calling in the cardiac-cath lab. A veteran for 25 years, Smith used the GI Bill to help him return to school and become a nurse, a field that piqued his interested over two decades ago. Now he works as a shift supervisor and team player in the cardiac-cath lab at Jackson Hospital in Montgomery, AL.

Smith started out his nursing career as a student at Troy State (now Troy University). Following his graduation, he took his first job on a heart floor where he found his passion for cardiac nursing. He has since worked at hospitals all over the state and country, but he prefers his home at Jackson.

As a shift supervisor in the cardiac-cath lab, Smith works with patients who have a cardiac component like chest pains, shortness of breath, or excess fatigue. Smith tells the MontgomeryAdvertiser.com, “We can take a heart attack and stop it midstream. It’s very gratifying to put a heart attack out right in front of you. It’s very gratifying work that we do in the cath lab.”

While returning to civilian life, Smith says the hardest part of his adjustment in leaving the military was going back to school. It was hard work and he found it intimidating at first, but he adjusted quickly and found that he had a talent for it. Smith isn’t big on individual attention, but his hard work has earned attention anyway. He was a recent recipient of the DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses and one of the first recipients at Jackson Hospital to receive the award. Discussing his career in nursing, Smith says:

“I’ve learned a lot about myself in that I have more patience than I thought I did, or compassion, toward my fellow man. I did not know before I got into nursing that I could do this role, that I could be as compassionate or patient with mankind, with other people, as I’ve developed over time.”

We want to thank our Nurse of the Week, Bill Smith, for his service over the years in both the Navy and as a dedicated nurse. To learn more about Smith’s experience as a cardiac-cath lab nurse, visit here.

University of Alabama at Birmingham Receives $1.4 M Grant from HRSA to Improve Healthcare for Underserved Populations

University of Alabama at Birmingham Receives $1.4 M Grant from HRSA to Improve Healthcare for Underserved Populations

The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing has been partnering with community agencies to serve the health care needs of underserved populations across the state for many years. In 2013, the UAB School of Nursing Foundry Clinic was created at The Foundry Rescue Mission and Recovery Center in Bessemer, AL. They have also partnered with Cooper Green Mercy Health Services and Aletheia House to provide substance abuse treatment and HIV prevention education to low-income neighborhoods.

Now UAB Nursing is expanding their partnerships to include the Bessemer Neighborhood Health Center as a New Access Point Federally Qualified Health Center by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The funding is to help improve the health of underserved communities across the country by increasing access to quality primary health care services. HRSA awards the two-year, $1.4 million grant to 75 institutions, and UAB’s grant was one of only four awarded in Alabama.

UAB strives to provide a full range of primary care to patients at both of its partnership clinics. Patients are able to receive blood pressure management services, diabetes management, treatment of acute illnesses, access to lab facilities, and help having prescriptions filled. Providing these services in their nurse-managed clinics allows underserved communities to receive competent care, increasing the likelihood that these patients will seek the care they need.

To learn more about UAB’s partnership clinics, visit here.

Nurse of the Week: Kristen Noles, Nurse Manager, Uses Personal Battle with Cancer to Help Other Patients

Nurse of the Week: Kristen Noles, Nurse Manager, Uses Personal Battle with Cancer to Help Other Patients

Kristen Noles, a nurse manager at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Hospital, was breastfeeding her youngest child five years ago when she found a hardened area in her breast. After being diagnosed with breast cancer, Noles embarked on a journey of aggressive cancer treatment. Now 40, and the mom of three kids aged 7, 11, and 15, Noles is using her personal battle with cancer to help other patients.

Noles’ mother, Madeline Harris, is an oncology nurse and the director of Birmingham’s Women’s Breast Health Fund which provides supportive care services for women with breast cancer. Her experience as an oncology nurse helped Noles immensely through her treatments, bringing the pair closer and making them determined to work together to make cancer patients’ lives fulfilling.

With no breast cancer risk factors or family history of the disease, Noles’ diagnosis was shocking to her, but she was determined to fight her cancer and embrace every moment of her life going forward. Despite her aggressive treatment approach, it was important for Noles to keep working. She would return to work as quickly as possible following her chemotherapy treatments and she finished her graduate studies during treatment despite a number of surgical and chemo complications.

Wanting to make her journey with battling cancer about other patients who she could positively impact, Harris told Parade.com, “We started thinking, How can we use this to further our understanding of what it’s like to be the family member of a patient.” Noles recalls how she would think of her patients on her toughest days, especially after she received some unsupportive reactions from coworkers and fellow healthcare providers after her hair fell out.

Now five years after her diagnosis, Noles hopes to share her experiences with other patients and use her experiences, both good and bad, in her approach to teaching as an adjunct faculty member at the UAB School of Nursing. In 2013, she became a co-founder of the Courage Network, a breast cancer survivor group made up of UAB staff who provide support to fellow employees facing their own cancer journeys. She wants all UAB employees to know they have a support system during hardships. Noles’ cancer experience also inspired her mother who has since awarded more than $1.3 million to area nonprofits to provide services for breast cancer survivors and their loved ones in her position as director of the Women’s Breast Health Fund.

We want to thank our Nurse of the Week, Kristen Noles, and her mother Madeline Harris, for their inspiring works as nurses to positively influence other healthcare providers and cancer patients in their own community and beyond.

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