Our Nurse of the Week is Calvin Kennedy, a Nurse Team Leader in the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s (UAB) Post-Anesthesia Care Unit. As a two-time kidney transplant recipient, Kennedy joined Team Mountain in climbing Mount Kilimanjaro to showcase the power of organ donation.
Kennedy joined Team Mountain to help raise awareness for kidney disease and the power of living, proving that deceased-donation gives recipients a second chance at life. He made the trip to Tanzania, Africa over the summer with 11 other members of Team Mountain who were motivated to bring awareness to organ donation.
Unfortunately, Kennedy was an hour and a half into the last climb when his body wouldn’t let him climb any further. Suffering from torn ligaments in one of his knees and intestinal parasites he acquired while climbing, Kennedy was exhausted and in excruciating pain at 17,000 feet above sea level with only three miles left to go. Disappointed but aware that he would be endangering his teammates by continuing, Kennedy knew it was time to turn around, and that reaching the summit was not the ultimate message he was trying to send. He tells UAB.edu:
“I wanted to show people that, when you do get a transplant, you can live and live well and do things – do great things. And if you donate an organ as a living donor or a deceased donor, you can help someone live a productive and exciting life. I think this accomplished that. I hope I did.”
Mount Kilimanjaro is the tallest freestanding mountain in the world. 35,000 tourists attempt the climb every year, but only about half of them make it to the peak. Kennedy is proud of his teammates who did make it to the summit and the entire team’s efforts to prove the power of organ donation.
To learn more about Kennedy’s experience climbing Mount Kilimanjaro alongside Team Mountain, visit here.
The University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) recently welcomed a new faculty member to the College of Nursing. Dr. Thuy Lam Lynch recently began her tenure as an Assistant Professor of Nursing at UAH. After earning her undergraduate degree in nursing from UAH, Lynch says becoming a nursing professor at the university feels like coming home.
Dr. Lynch was born in Saigon, Vietnam, and realized at a young age that she wanted to become a nurse after encountering the kind and caring nature of her own nurses during a hospital stay as a young patient. Lynch grew up in Huntsville, AL, and after graduating high school with honors she enrolled in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program at UAH. Explaining her decision to pursue higher education, Lynch tells UAH.edu:
“I was inspired and encouraged by my hospital nursing director to pursue a Master’s degree in Nursing. I believe in life-long learning, so naturally I enrolled in a PhD nursing program at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). My studies in the doctoral program helped to shape my worldview and better understand the experiences of others.”
Lynch graduated from UAB in 2012 with distinguished doctoral student honors and a specialty in pediatric nursing. She is honored to be among the faculty at UAH and give back to the nursing program where her career started. This fall she will be teaching Mental Health Nursing in the undergraduate program at UAH.
To learn more about Dr. Thuy Lam Lynch and her career in nursing, visit here.
Our Nurses of the Week are Sabrina Kopf, ACNP-BC, and her husband and fellow DNP student Scott Kopf, ACNP-BC, who recently graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. They are the first husband-wife team to earn their doctorates simultaneously as part of UAB’s Post-MSN to DNP Pathway program.
Scott and Sabrina share a lot in common. They are both acute care nurse practitioners, both work with transplant patients at UAB hospital (Scott with lung transplant patients and Sabrina with heart transplant patients), and are both adjunct clinical instructors in the school’s Master of Science in Nursing Program, Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Specialty Track.
The couple first met in 2007 at UAB Hospital where Scott would bring patients from the Emergency Department to Sabrina on the Trauma and Burn Intensive Care Unit. They eventually started dating in 2009, then married in 2011, and have now graduated together during UAB’s 2017 summer commencement ceremony and doctoral hooding which was held on August 12.
Scott tells UAB.edu, “As nurse practitioners, we both saw the need for the DNP degree because it would give us more skills to improve patient outcomes and help us have more impact on health care as a whole. We thought it would be good to go together because we knew we would have a good support system throughout the DNP program and at home.”
Their built-in buddy system while completing their DNP was beneficial to both, allowing them to provide encouragement, support, and feedback when they needed it. A unique relationship for two nurses following similar career paths, they treasure their bond as husband and wife, and as nurses and students. To learn more about Sabrina and Scott’s shared path to nursing, visit here.
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.
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 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.