Eight senior nursing students from the University of Arkansas (UA) Eleanor Mann School of Nursing have been getting to know the homeless people of Fayetteville through a 7-week clinical rotation with 7hills Homeless Center. Working with the homeless has taught them empathy and how to think beyond immediate treatment, an immensely valuable skill that they will carry with them into their graduation this Spring.
During their rotations, the students have learned that homeless people aren’t as unfriendly and scary as many people think. Homeless people come from all backgrounds and most aren’t homeless because of something they’ve done, but due to unforeseen bumps along the way. Gaining trust with their patients has taught them not to judge by first looks or impressions and educated them on many of the challenges that homeless people face. Dorian Nelson, a senior nursing student, tells News.UArk.edu:
“After you go to the emergency room, if your home is the wet, cold woods, it doesn’t matter that you had treatment. A lot of nursing is advocacy. Here, we work with case managers whose job it is to help the homeless in all aspects of their lives. They will leave here no better than when they came in if we can’t help them with resources.”
Registered nurse Janet Gardner established the clinical rotation program at the 7hills homeless enter in January 2016 and now places different groups of 8 students there two times per semester. Their clinical duties include taking blood pressure, checking blood sugar, treating wounds, and making calls on behalf of their patients who need further medical treatment. This has taught these senior nursing students how to be advocates for their patients who need help, especially those who need management of their chronic conditions.
Taking a broader mindset with them into their upcoming graduation ceremony, many of these students now plan to work in hospital emergency departments or critical care units where they can best serve some of the most vulnerable patients and populations.
To learn more about the University of Arkansas nursing program and 7hills Homeless Center, visit here.
The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree is a practice-focused doctorate for nurses for want a higher degree that gives them a clinical focus. It is the highest academic degree available in the field of nursing, and the University of Arkansas is the only nursing school in Arkansas that offers a DNP option to nurses with bachelor’s degrees. The University of Arkansas DNP program prepares advanced practice nurses to work as experts and leaders in complex healthcare settings. There are two entry levels for the program, one for nurses with bachelor’s degrees and one for nurses with master’s degrees.
With a nationwide shortage of medical providers, fast track DNP programs like the one being offered at the University of Arkansas are very beneficial to nurses and the healthcare system. The program takes longer to complete for nurses who start without a master’s degree but many students and faculty feel that the benefits make the program worthwhile. The program takes three to four years to complete and graduates of the program can pursue licensure as family nurse practitioners or adult geriatric acute care nurse practitioners.
The program is very fast and convenient for many students since its mostly online, only requiring students to come to campus one time per semester for advanced health assessment training. Most students are able to complete the program while still holding full-time nursing jobs. The Eleanor Mann School of Nursing at the University of Arkansas began offering the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree online in the fall of 2013. Students complete coursework online and arrange clinical practicum hours in their local area with qualified preceptors to supervise them. The DNP degree program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.
One student in particular has gained real value from the BSN to DNP degree. Teshekia Hawkins wanted to be a nurse her whole life and she just graduated in May 2016 as one of the first University of Arkansas graduates to complete the Bachelor of Science in Nursing to Doctor of Nursing Practice program. Hawkins knew that the advanced degree would set her above other nurses with master’s degrees, especially in the competitive Dallas area where she plans to work in a leadership role to help improve quality of patient care. As the first in her family to receive a terminal degree (the highest degree possible in a specific field), Hawkins hopes to set a high example for others.
This year’s daylong conference on evidence-based practice in nursing was held at the University of Arkansas on April 4th. There were over 100 nursing students and practicing nurses in attendance to learn about the importance of evidence in forensic nursing. The conference is co-sponsored by Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, University of Arkansas’s Eleanor Mann School of Nursing, and Washington Regional Medical Center.
The keynote address was given by Susan Patton, professor of nursing at the University of Alabama and leader in the field of forensic nursing. In her leadership roles with professional nursing organizations, Patton has worked to align practice, education, credentialing, and regulation in forensic nursing. She believes in the importance of DNA evidence, which has been used by the Innocence Project to overturn convictions of more than 300 people wrongly imprisoned for crimes like rape and murder. As a pediatric nurse, Patton also emphasized the importance of documentation in child abuse cases, which she came across in her practice.
Several University of Arkansas students and faculty followed Patton, giving presentations on the effects of music therapy on elderly patients with dementia, talking directly to patients to ask where they see room for improvement from their nurses, strengthening nursing curricula, and career planning for nurses.
All participants in the program were offered continuing nursing education credit for attending, and two groups of faculty members were awarded research grants by the Pi Theta chapter of Sigma Theta Tau. Their research studies involve child feeding beliefs and practices in Marshallese women, and academic performance and attitudes of classroom note taking.
The Nabholz Charitable Foundation has awarded a $500,000 donation to the nursing and occupation program at the University of Central Arkansas. Chairman of the Nabholz Corporation, Charles Nabholz, states that the foundation’s donation is a way for Nabholz to give back to UCA for its profound impact on the university as a whole and the community its healthcare students serve.
The money has been designated to be used in renovating the labs and buying new computers and equipment for establishing a simulation center in UCA’s Doyne Health Sciences Building. Nursing students will largely benefit from the new simulation lab, as well occupational therapy, psychology, and physical therapy students.
UCA President Tom Courtway has also involved in the acceptance of the donation, commending Nabholz for their steady presence and contributions to Faulkner County. Dean of the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, Jimmy Ishee, also spoke out to give his thanks for the charitable gift, and recognize that the simulation center will provide a new level of education and enhanced clinical experiences for nursing students enrolled at UCA.
The completed simulation center will be named the Nabholz Center for Healthcare Simulation. A date for the simulation center’s addition has not yet been announced.
Aimed at preparing their students for an evolving healthcare environment, UCA’s Department of Nursing focuses on student needs, changes in health care, and educational standards. Playing a leadership role in nursing education since 1967, the UCA Department of Nursing offers three programs: Bachelor of Science in Nursing, Masters of Science in Nursing, and Doctor of Nursing Practice.