The University of Michigan-Flint (UM-Flint) School of Nursing has announced a major expansion of its pre-licensure undergraduate nursing programs to allow for more students, faculty, and community contributions.
UM-Flint’s nursing program offers traditional and accelerated second degree Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) programs for students who do not already hold a Registered Nurse (RN) license. Students eligible for the accelerated second degree program include those who hold a previous non-nursing bachelor’s degree and veterans who have significant healthcare work experience in the military. As part of the expansion, UM-Flint received approval from the Michigan Board of Nursing to increase the number of students in the BSN programs from 120 to 176 starting in January 2018.
Megan Keiser, Interim Director of Undergraduate Nursing Affairs, tells News.UMFLint.edu, “Both of these programs are in high demand, with more than 350 pre-nursing majors seeking admission to one of the coveted seats in these programs.”
The expansion of the undergraduate nursing programs is also expected to attract a diverse student and faculty population. UM-Flint wants a diverse nursing population who will work and live in the local community and contribute to the local economy upon graduating. Students are encouraged to volunteer at area health screenings, health fairs, food banks, lead screenings, and water distribution sites, as well as internationally where their help is needed.
An expansion of UM-Flint’s nursing program will increase the number of nursing students available to serve the local community. To learn more about the planned nursing program expansion, visit here.
Our Nurses of the Week are the three generations of Harms women who have all worked as obstetrics nurses. Christina Harms is a labor and delivery nurse at Spectrum Health Medical Center in Grand Rapids, MI where her mother, Sue Hoekstra, 56, works on the same floor. Christina’s grandmother, Mary Lou Wilkins, 86, was also a nurse at the same hospital. The three women estimate that they’ve helped care for over 10,000 babies over the course of their careers.
“It is so incredible that all three of us have helped build so many families and we have such a passion for these moms and their babies. We love taking care of them.”
Harms fondly tells People.com, “It just goes from generation to generation.” As the mother of two little boys, Harms didn’t always plan on following in her family’s footsteps. She went to college for a music degree but later realized that she had the same passion as her mother and grandmother. She decided to go back to school to become a nurse and has been working in obstetrics for the past four years.
After working night shifts in the labor and delivery unit, Harms often passes off patients to her mom who works day shifts in postpartum. Wilkins, who retired in 1991, says she also shared several patients with Hoekstra over the years. Now Wilkins watches her grandchildren during the day when Harms gets home from working night shifts.
Wilkins knows what it’s like to be a mother and nurse after juggling raising three kids while she worked night shifts at the hospital early on in her career. She became a nurse in 1962 and spent 28 years helping moms deliver their babies. She still remembers how special each individual case was.
All three of these women share in the knowledge of knowing how special it is they all fell in love with the same career path, caring for mothers and babies. When Hoekstra and Wilkins flew to Colorado for Harms’ graduation, they both said they couldn’t have been prouder. Harms shares in the pride, telling ABCNews.com, “It is so incredible that all three of us have helped build so many families and we have such a passion for these moms and their babies. We love taking care of them.”
Our Nurse of the Week is Lauren Wirwille, bride-to-be, who was driving to her own bridal shower with her mom in the front seat when she noticed a minivan stopped in front of her. She decided to honk, prompting the car to start moving again, but after Wirwille turned at the intersection her mom saw the van veer off the road. Realizing that the man had looked slumped over, Wirwille pulled over and ran toward the man’s car where she found him unconscious.
As an emergency room nurse for St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Green Oak Township, MI, Wirwille knew exactly what to do to help the man who had gone blue in the face. She was already running late to her bridal shower but couldn’t help pulling over to help a stranger, and she quickly realized it was a good thing she had followed her instincts.
After instructing her mother to call 911, Wirwille began trying to find the man’s pulse. At the same time, another driver pulled over and offered to help get the man out of his vehicle. Then Wirwille immediately started CPR. She recalled the event to ABCNews.go.com, explaining that, “Not a lot of people know how to do chest compressions. After a little while, you do get tired, and you need to not be tired, so I had my mom start chest compressions. She did great. I was so proud of her.”
Shortly after starting CPR, Fire Chief Kevin Gentry arrived on the scene and assisted in performing chest compressions. The EMS crew was able to revive the man and transport him to Providence Hospital where they believe the man was recovering but weren’t able to retrieve any details.
Wirwille ended up being an hour late to her bridal shower, but she was welcomed with open arms and applauded for her heroic actions. She didn’t regret being late to her shower; she was simply humbled by the experience and happy she was able to help somebody through an emergency situation.
Our Nurse of the Week is Shihan Huang, a senior nursing student at the University of Michigan who was born with biliary atresia, a liver condition that gave her a slim chance of survival. She needed a liver transplant, but was born in Taiwan at a time when most hospitals in the country didn’t have the capacity to perform infant transplants. However, her parents relocated to Ann Arbor, MI a few months later where Huang remained on the transplant list for over a year.
Then just two days after her second birthday, Huang’s parents received a call that there was a liver available. Michigan Medicine nurse, Vicki Shieck, cared for Huang following her transplant and she still remembers those early days treating Huang. Her surgery was a success, and now all grown up, Huang is pursuing a nursing degree at the University of Michigan.
Huang is a thriving young woman, but her condition requires lifelong maintenance and monitoring. Shieck tells Nursing.UMich.edu, “Just like any young adult who had a liver transplant as an infant, Shihan had some transition hurdles to overcome in learning how to manage her chronic illness. Many of my kids her age don’t overcome those hurdles and it leads to non-adherence, chronic rejection and unfortunately, death.”
Huang credits Shieck for encouraging her throughout her treatment and as an adult pursuing a career in nursing that will allow her to support other children facing similar challenges. She explains her career choice, saying “I’ve been in the hospital so much and I know what it feels like to be sick and feeling terrible. Nursing is my way of giving back. The health care profession did a lot for me so I want to be able to give back.”
Huang is now preparing for her graduation ceremony. She plans to work for a few years before returning to graduate school after she has decided on a specialty area. To learn more about senior nursing student Shihan Huang and the many ways she’s giving back to the field of nursing, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Carrie Stephenson, a School Nurse at Bemis Middle School in Michigan. When Stephenson showed up for work on an ordinary Friday morning, she had no idea she would later be saving a seventh grader’s life as he began to suffer from a stroke.
Stephenson was called to a hallway to help a seventh-grader named Isaiah Griffin who was vomiting and drifting in and out of consciousness as he swayed back and forth. Realizing his vomit didn’t look normal, Stephenson insisted that he be taken to a hospital immediately via EMS transportation. However, the school nurse didn’t realize that the student she was helping had a blood clot an inch from his brain stem that was causing a serious and life-threatening stroke.
After an ambulance had been called, Stephenson sat with Griffin, checking his pulse and blood pressure, and watching his eyes and facial expressions while monitoring his breathing until paramedics arrived. Stephenson’s insistence that he be taken to a hospital immediately is likely what saved Griffin’s young life. Isaiah turned 14 just days after the emergency medical event. His blood clot was removed and while he now walks awkwardly and will need occupational and physical therapy to help his recovery, doctors are optimistic about his outcome.
Stephenson is in her third year as a nurse for the Jackson-Madison County School System and Griffin’s situation was the first time she had ever dealt with such a serious emergency. Students had been suffering from a stomach virus going around campus and when she received the call about a sick student, she assumed that’s all it was.
Looking back on the experience, Stephenson said she didn’t feel like she did anything but her job. However, Griffin’s mom was deeply grateful for Stephenson’s life-saving intervention. Stephenson also visits a nearby elementary school about once a week, but primarily works at Bemis Middle School. Not every school has a full-time nurse so Stephenson is thankful that she was there that day. Striving to learn from the situation, Stephenson hopes it will bring awareness to the local healthcare administration that a nurse is needed at every school in the district in case of emergency.
Kara George, BSN, recently received a DAISY Award for exceptional nursing skills and patient care from Sparrow Clinton Hospital in St. Johns, MI. George began working at Sparrow Clinton Hospital eight years ago, joining the Inpatient Nursing team where she quickly became a valued employee by co-workers and patients.
George found her passion for nursing after losing her mother in a tragic car accident at 19. She went on to earn her nursing degree from Clarkson College, affiliated with the University of Nebraska Medical Center. Nominated by her patients who praised her for her kindness, listening skills, and calming demeanor, her DAISY Award is well deserved. Showing her passion for her profession, George told Fox47News.com,
“Helping patients and their families through the healing process is part of the circle of life. When you care for a patient and you receive that first ‘thank you’ – that’s when you realize how awesome it is to be a Nurse.”
The DAISY Award is an international program celebrating extraordinary nurses for their compassionate and skillful care. For more information about the DAISY Foundation and nominating a nurse from your own hospital, visit here.