The Jacksonville University (JU) nursing program recently received a $3 million donation from Beverly and Jack Keigwin which will go toward the newly named Keigwin School of Nursing. It now marks the largest donation in the school’s 36-year history, and will help expand the nursing program which is the most popular major at the university.
The Keigwin’s new investment comes as the university approaches its goal of raising $120 million by 2020 for an ASPIRE campaign. Once their goal is reached, a fifth of the money will go toward the Brooks Rehabilitation College of Healthcare Sciences which houses the school of nursing. The ASPIRE campaign is seeking donations from alumnus and alumna, parents, students, business leaders, and friends of the university to advance scholarships and academics, healthcare science, campus and student life, and athletics.
Funding from the Keigwin’s will be invested in expanding nursing curriculum, adopting state-of-the-art technology, recruiting top teaching talents, and developing students to accommodate the growing demand for quality healthcare in their state and around the nation. Healthcare is a field near and dear to the Keigwin family, and they were pleased to donate to a university they believe in. According to Jacksonville.com, Beverly Keigwin released the following in a statement regarding their donation to JU:
“As a former nurse, I want the students to have a true home on campus where they can learn in a cutting-edge environment with compassionate faculty and hands on training. They are ready when they leave JU.”
To learn more about the Keigwin family and their generous gift to Jacksonville University’s nursing program, visit here.
Florida International University (FIU) is helping recent veterans, current reservists, and national guard members prepare for a future as nursing professionals. Their Veterans Bachelor of Science in Nursing (VBSN) program was founded in 2013 and opened to service members who trained or served in select military classifications and were discharged in the past two years, or five years for veterans who were employed in civilian healthcare roles as a combat medic, flight medic, or hospital corpsmen.
The VBSN program is part of FIU’s Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences and has seen almost 100 graduates since the program opened. Curriculum is designed for accelerated graduation, and credit is offered through examination for military training when applicable. Graduates of the program are not expected to return to the armed services, although some do, while others choose to transition to civilian life.
The VBSN program is a project sponsored and funded by a grant from the Health Research Services Administration which runs through December. After that point, students in the program will be eligible to transfer into non-military accelerated programs. Students are also assigned a dedicated advisor, program coach, and mentoring from a veteran registered nurse. Dr. Strickland, Dean of the Nicole Wertheim College of Nursing & Health Sciences, tells MiamiTodayNews.com,
“By having a group of veterans come together in a cohort – as classmates – is a real advantage to them after coming out of the military and for adjusting to life as a new nurse.”
To learn more about FIU’s VBSN program, visit here.
With a mental health professional shortage occurring in Northeast Florida and across the country, six Jacksonville health care systems have joined together to collectively donate $900,000 to the University of North Florida (UNF). The funding will help alleviate the mental health crisis by funding UNF’s Mental Health Graduate Nursing Program which educates mental health nurse practitioners who hold doctorate degrees in nursing practice.
Northeast Florida is experiencing higher suicide rates across all age sectors compared to the rest of the state, according to 2014 statistics from the Jacksonville Community Council Inc. Studies estimate that 270,000 of the 1.1 million adults in Northeast Florida are living with mental illness, with 4 percent of those adults living with severe mental illness.
Part of the health systems funding will go toward establishing a non-endowed professorship in Mental Health Graduate Nursing for a five-year period, paying the salary of an outstanding faculty member in the field of psychiatric/mental health nursing. UNF will take over funding for this position once the donated funding stream has ended.
UNF’s Brooks College of Health (BCH) already offers a Master of Science in Clinical Mental Health Counseling which prepares mental health counselors to provide direct counseling services to individuals, groups, and families. Combined with the new Mental Health Graduate Nursing Program, BCH will prepare mental health professionals who will significantly impact Northeast Florida. BCH also hopes for improved mental health care, and decreased social issues like homelessness and addiction.
To learn more about UNF’s mental health graduate nursing programs and the new health care systems funding, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Ann Hilliard Ussery from Halifax Health Hospital in Daytona Beach who was assisted by Mike Chitwood, a Florida Deputy from the Volusia County Sheriff’s Department, in delivering a baby in a hospital parking lot. The pair were in the right place at the right time when the father-to-be came running into the hospital lobby and Ussery and Chitwood were the only ones available to help.
Chitwood was off duty at the time, visiting a friend at the hospital, but he jumped into action immediately when his help was needed. As he and the nurse approached the car where the woman was giving birth, they both reported that they could see the baby was already crowning. Too late to get the expecting mother safely into the hospital, Chitwood helped the mom get comfortable then calmed their 2-year-old toddler while nurse Ann Hilliard Ussery helped deliver the baby.
Chitwood joked to InsideEdition.com that, “It was the safest birth in Volusia County today.” With a sheriff and nurse standing nearby, the mother-to-be was able to safely deliver her newborn in the parking lot before they were moved to a more comfortable location inside the hospital.
Our Nurse of the Week is Loretta Bledsoe, a critical care nurse from Longwood, FL who helped deliver a 2-pound, 4-ounce baby on her flight home to Orlando before the plane made an emergency landing in Charleston.
Bledsoe was an hour into her flight from Philadelphia when the flight attendant made an announcement about a medical emergency and asked if any doctors or nurses were on board. A nurse for more than 40 years with a range of experience from intensive-care to pediatrics, Bledsoe was well qualified to help deliver a baby. She turned on her call light to let the flight attendant know she could help and was brought to the front of the plane where a young woman was hunched over in a window seat.
The pregnant woman didn’t look very far along but said that her water had broken and minutes later Bledsoe was holding a tiny baby boy in her arms. Another passenger, an emergency-room doctor from Pennsylvania, helped stabilize the mother while the flight attendants and pilot planned for an emergency landing to get the new baby and his parents to a local hospital.
Surprisingly, the mom and dad had already added ‘Jet’ to their list of baby names and they decided it was the perfect fit after baby Jet was born mid-flight. Bledsoe later found out that the mom whose baby she had delivered was also a nurse. Talking about the events of that day, Bledsoe told OrlandoSentinel.com, “But you always use your nursing background, always. It’s like riding a bike: You never forget.”
Bledsoe has spoken to the mother a few times since about updates that the baby is doing much better. She hopes to meet the family again when they return home to Central Florida. To learn more about Bledsoe’s courageous mid-flight baby delivery, you can view her interview with OrlandoSentinel.com.
Six months after the tragedy of the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub, memories of that night are still clear for the healthcare providers who cared for the survivors. To share what they experienced and learned during their shifts in the Orlando Regional Medical Center (ORMC) trauma center on June 12, doctors, nurses, and hospital executives have been traveling to conferences across the country to educate other medical providers.
Trauma Nurse Libby Brown was one of the many healthcare providers who treated survivors of the Pulse tragedy and she recalled the events of that night for the Orlando Sentinel. Brown recalls working her normal shift at the ORMC trauma center when her husband, an Orlando fireman, messaged her about gunshots at Pulse. Shortly after, the in-house trauma surgeon announced that their first patient was arriving.
The patients didn’t stop there, with one after another coming into the trauma center. Brown quickly realized that it was a scenario they had never experienced before and not all of their patients were going to survive. All healthcare professionals are trained for triage to help them make quick decisions and save as many lives as possible, but making life and death decisions in real time is nothing like practicing in a classroom. The ORMC trauma center received a total of 44 patients that morning, nine of whom died. Their last survivor was discharged in September.
Speaking candidly about the events of that night, Brown told OrlandoSentinel.com, “All I think about is love. In the face of hate, the only thing that can change that is love, and I know what love is, because I was there that night.”
Thank you to our Nurse of the Week, Libby Brown, and the many other healthcare professionals who treated the survivors of this tragic event.