The University of Texas at Austin has scheduled renovations for its School of Nursing to take place this summer. The 1970s-era building houses old classrooms and outdated technologies that fail to match the nursing school’s reputation for advanced academics and cutting-edge research. With funding for the $3.3 million project now in place, UT Austin is ready to begin renovations.
Rob Bacchus, director of development for the School of Nursing, tells DailyTexanOnline.com, “This renovation will allow for more dynamic and flexible group work.” Inefficient and outdated learning spaces and technologies hinder students and teachers from learning and teaching at their full capability, which led the school to begin its plan for upgrading in 2014. Last December, the St. David’s Foundation awarded a $950,000 grant which set the project in motion for this summer.
Alexa Stuifbergen, dean of the School of Nursing, says, “With this grant, we intend to update classrooms so that the latest innovative teaching techniques can be used and students can participate in active learning and team-building activities.” Classrooms are expected to be ready for the fall semester, leading to better student performance and satisfaction.
To learn more about UT Austin’s new School of Nursing renovations, visit here.
Earlier this month, the Texas A&M Health and Science Center held an event called Disaster Day, a mass casualty simulation to help prepare nursing students and other health science students for their future careers. The simulation was held in a gymnasium filled with approximately 400 volunteer victims affected by a tornado that touched down near Houston.
Matt Ward, a student leader for Disaster Day, tells TheBatt.com, “We have the largest simulation in the nation for running a disaster day. We have college of nursing, medicine, pharmacy, veterinary staff and biomedical sciences all here today. It’s important to get all of those communities together, because we have over 300 students on staff to help the patients that are here.”
As approximately 300 students entered the gymnasium, they were instructed to mark victims with green (not critical), yellow (need care), red (critical), or black (deceased) triage tags to determine their necessary level of care. The students were faced with a number of simulated emergencies from birthing mothers and mentally ill victims to lacerations, broken bones, and tree branches lodged in bodies. Simulation conditions included that all nearby hospitals were at full capacity so all medical work had to be completed on site.
College of Nursing Assistant Professor Alison Pittman tells TheBatt.com, “There are two nurses assigned to each row in the disaster and there is one provider assigned to each row. So they gave to triage their patients and decide who needs to be treated first, second, third.” The simulation provided an opportunity for students to experience a fast-paced emergency situation to prepare for potential catastrophes they might experience in their medical career.
To learn more about Texas A&M’s Disaster Day mass casualty simulation training, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Darinisha Turner, a senior nursing student at the University of Texas at Arlington where she promotes work-life balance in her peers. Turner wanted to spend her time as an undergraduate nursing student proving wrong the statement that, “You can’t be in nursing school and have a social life.” She has learned how to pursue her love for the health care field while also staying involved on campus, something she hopes to help other students learn how to do.
While pursuing her degree, Turner also served as a member and journalist for the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, a mentor for upcoming freshmen at the Center for African American Studies, and a member of the Black Student Nurses Association. Turner has also secured a job at UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Intensive Care Unit where she currently works as a patient care technician. For Turner, a typical day includes a 12-hour clinical, preparing sorority events, and trying to find time to eat and sleep.
Turner’s school and social schedule certainly keeps her busy, but while she understands the importance of education to find a successful career path, she also believes everyone should have some balance. Turner tells TheShorthorn.com, “Having a balance between school and being involved on campus is extremely important to me.” The sorority is important to Turner because it allows her to be involved in something bigger than herself and to serve as a positive role model while changing the community around her.
While her time as a student is coming to a close, Turner is also ready to begin her career in a few months. She tells TheShorthorn.com, “I fell in love with the health care field in high school, and having the opportunity to live my dream in a couple of months is worthwhile.” Turner’s love for promoting a healthy balance of school and social activities will leave an impact on many of her peers as she heads into graduation.
To learn more about Darinisha Turner and her time as an undergraduate student at UT Arlington, visit here.
Lori A. Spies, PhD, RN, assistant professor in the Baylor University Louise Herrington School of Nursing (LHSON) recently received a 2017-18 Fulbright Global Scholar Award. Spies’ work specializes in global health and building capacity in health care providers. Her colleagues at Baylor are immensely proud of her prestigious recognition and the research and global health contributions she makes to the university. Spies tells Baylor.edu:
“I am thrilled to have been selected to receive the Global Fulbright. The award will allow me the amazing opportunity to teach and implement research in three countries. I look forward to collaborating with health care providers in India, Vietnam, and Zambia to research best education practices in noncommunicable diseases.”
With a background in teaching global health and international clinical courses to graduate students for over a decade, Spies’ Fulbright award is well deserved. Spies is the co-founder of the North Texas African Health Initiative, a past president of the North Texas Nurse Practitioners, and she serves on the practice committee for the International Council of Nurses Advanced Practice Nursing Network. Her international work includes travel to Uganda to build nurse leadership and research capacity; participation in faculty and nurse development in Ethiopia, India, Uganda, Vietnam, and Zambia; and refugee outreach in Myanmar.
The Fulbright Program is a government international educational exchange program sponsored by the US Department of State. Since its founding in 1946, over 370,000 award recipients from 180 countries have been given the opportunity to study, teach, conduct research, exchange ideas, and contribute to finding solutions to shared international concerns.
Our Nurse of the Week is Annie Young, a school nurse at Lake Highlands Junior High in Dallas, TX. Young was in the middle of paperwork on a slow Tuesday afternoon when two runners from a last period gym class came barreling into her clinic yelling about a collapsed student. She knew the word “collapse” meant something serious and seeing the panic on the boys’ faces, she grabbed an AED and office aide before following the boys back to the track field.
The collapsed student turned out to be 13-year-old Joe Krejci who was running laps on an outdoor track field when his coach saw him take a dive just shy of the finish line. When Joe stayed still on the ground not making any noise, Coach T started to worry. He found no signs of bleeding or injury, but felt only a faint heartbeat. That’s when he dialed 911 and sent two boys running to find the school nurse.
When Nurse Young reached the track field, she helped Coach T attach the AED shock pads. The AED elicited a “Shock Advised” warning which was enough to force Joe’s heart back into normal rhythm. Then Young began chest compressions while the office aide started mouth to mouth, both of them performing CPR until paramedics arrived a few minutes later.
After making the switch from labor and delivery to school nursing in 2013, Young quickly learned the job wouldn’t be quite as easy as handing out band-aids. Junior high kids are dealing with anxiety disorders and depression, severe allergies, asthma, seizures, and a number of other chronic health issues. At a school with 800 students, Young sees 20-30 kids a day, but she’s not just in charge of treating students. She also has paperwork to fill out, doctors and administrators to consult, prescriptions to track, conditions to monitor, and screenings to organize. Unexpected life-threatening emergencies can also strike at a moment’s notice like in Joe’s case.
Joe had no medical history, but he had gone without oxygen for an estimated six to seven minutes while in cardiac arrest and doctors warned of the severe damage that might have occurred in that time. However, doctors determined a few days later that Joe had lucked out – after a few days of rest he would return to his normal self. Doctors told Joe’s parents he shouldn’t be alive after the cardiac trauma he experienced, but thanks to the care he received from Coach T and Nurse Young, he returned to school a week later.
To learn more about Annie Young and her experience with school nursing, visit here.
In the midst of a nationwide nursing shortage, Central Texas is feeling the demand for BSN-educated nurses. The Austin Chamber of Commerce reported in January that there are more than 1,600 local job openings for registered nurses. To meet the demand for registered nurses, Concordia University is offering a new Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing program to help graduate nurses into the field at a faster pace.
Concordia’s regular BSN program requires two academic years to complete, including a summer off in between. Students who begin the fast-track program in August will take their coursework online, complete the same clinical hours, and skip the summer semester off. Working faster and harder, fast-track students will graduate a semester earlier and be employable a semester earlier. Ideal candidates for the fast-track program are those who already hold degrees and want to change careers, or students who have already completed some of the prerequisites.
The first cohort of students will be a group of 18-25, then Concordia will accept a new group of students each semester following. Nursing is a valuable and practical career option right now, even for adults looking to change careers, because it offers a job right out of school. But unfortunately, many local community colleges and universities turn students away from their nursing programs because they don’t have the capacity to teach larger classes of students. Fast-track nursing programs like the one being offered at Concordia are trying to fix that problem.