Our Nurse of the Week is Paige
Niepoetter, a senior nursing student at Southern Illinois University
Edwardsville (SIUE) who aspires to become a life-changing cancer researcher.
Her drive and academic experiences during her undergraduate years have positioned
her to achieve her dream of becoming a surgical oncologist specializing in
During nursing school, Niepoetter took
advantage of the opportunity to work alongside faculty mentor Chaya Gopalan to
conduct research through the university’s Undergraduate Research and Creative
Activities (URCA) program. Her scholarly work, which studied intermittent
fasting and eating patterns in obese and non-obese rats, has received national
Niepoetter was one of 50 student researchers selected from a pool
of more than 5,000 abstracts to present at the Federation of American Societies
for Experimental Biology DREAM Program’s Experimental Biology 2019 Meeting
She tells advantagenews.com, “Winning the FASEB DREAM travel award was a blessing. Research is a passion of mine, but without proper funding, I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to attend the entire conference. This award made it possible for me to attend various sessions of interest, connect with fellow researchers and gather ideas for new research directions.”
Gopalan also spoke to Niepoetter’s achievements: “Paige is a wonderfully focused student who works hard and is incredibly responsible. She has been in my lab for three years, is on two major research projects, and has been able to secure four abstracts and one manuscript for publication. This is only the beginning, as we will be writing several papers by the end of the summer. Paige will surely do amazing things in her future.”
Niepoetter attributes her success to Gopalan’s mentorship, which
helped her develop her passion for research and clarify her decision to apply
to medical school. The URCA program allowed her to go beyond what she learned
in the classroom and develop her leadership skills and gain a sense of
confidence she wouldn’t have without Gopalan’s mentorship.
To learn more about SIUE senior
nursing student Paige Niepoetter and her aspirations to become a surgical
oncologist specializing in breast cancer, visit here.
Our Nurses of the Week are
Marian and Suzanne Phelps, a mother-daughter duo who are both registered
nurses, who are working with students to organize blood drives in Porter
County, near the Chicago metropolitan area. They were inspired by Jan Dick,
Marian’s husband and Suzanne’s father, who estimates that he’s donated roughly
16 gallons of blood over the last four decades.
Dick explains how he came to be a regular blood donor: “I guess, what kicked the whole thing off, I had a neighbor. This was about 45 years ago, and (the neighbor’s) boss was in need of surgery. The guy worked for a small outfit and he asked me if I would go donate blood and I went. It didn’t take very long. If you don’t think about it, it was painless. Sure, you get stuck, but it wasn’t that bad. I thought it was the right thing to do.”
After becoming a
donor, Dick began volunteering with his local Red Cross in Porter County, and eventually
became the president. His activism inspired his wife and daughter to get involved
and they now work as a family to build up blood donations for the Red Cross.
Suzanne Phelps is a health
occupations instructor at Porter Area Career and
Technical Center where she teaches the Health Science Education II class.
She has been the Blood Drive Coordinator at the center for the last eight years,
and she follows in the footsteps of her mother, who taught the class for over
20 years and organized the first blood drives at the school.
The students have
four drives each year and Suzanne says the experience of organizing a blood
drive helps the students understand the significance of blood donations to the
medical field. Donors can give a pint of whole blood every eight weeks, up to
six times a year. According to Patricia Cochran, account manager for the
American Red Cross, only 40 percent of the population is eligible to donate blood.
She tells ChicagoTribune.com,
“Of those who are eligible, only about 3 percent actually donate. A very small
amount of people supports the blood supply. If everyone eligible would donate
once a year, we would never be in shortage…It might be one hour of your time,
but it is a lifetime to the patient in the hospital.”
To learn more about mother-daughter
duo Marian and Suzanne Phelps who are working to build up blood donations for
the Red Cross, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Angela Farnan, a nurse in the pediatric ICU at OSF Children’s Hospital of Illinois who adopted a baby with a rare condition who she cared for after he was born. Blaze, who turns 2 in May, suffered from hypo plastic left heart syndrome, a rare congenital defect in which a part of the infant’s heart is underdeveloped or not there at all.
Farnan tells People.com, “I work in the PICU and I can tell you many stories about the many children I’ve cared for over the years. There’s an attachment to these children and their families. You become very invested in them.”
Blaze was born on May 30, 2017, and underwent heart surgery at just 3 days old before enduring another a few months later. His biological family didn’t live near the hospital or have the resources to care for him at home so Blaze remained in the ICU for several months.
Farnan first agreed to have short-term guardianship of Blaze as he remained hospitalized, and a few months later Blaze was preparing to go home when his biological parents asked if Farnan and her husband, Rick Farnan, would adopt Blaze.
The Farnan’s filed the adoption papers last year and finalized the adoption in June. Both new parents describe the experience as a dream come true. Although Blaze is now at home with his parents, his health journey is not over. He will undergo a third heart surgery and may need a heart transplant eventually. Farnan, however, is up for the challenge and says Blaze makes her work as a nurse even more enjoyable when she comes home to him at the end of the day.
To learn more about Angela Farnan, a pediatric ICU nurse who adopted a baby with a rare heart condition after caring for him in the ICU, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Ashley Martin, an alumna of Western Illinois University’s (WIU) School of Nursing who is opening a clinic to help expand psychiatric services in the region. The Lakeview Medical and Psychiatric Clinic is opening this week and Martin will be helping build the practice.
Lakeview has been a private psychiatric firm for the past two years, providing traveling services to the mentally disabled. The new practice will also serve as a clinical site for students in the WIU School of Nursing. Students will have the opportunity to work with psychiatric testing, counseling, and psychological interviews and medications.
Martin tells WIU.edu, “We will still see the mentally disabled, but we are expanding the practice to include a psychiatrist, a psychologist, a nurse practitioner and a licensed family and marriage therapist. This will allow us to expand to do therapy, addiction treatment, DUI assessments and group therapy.”
Following her undergraduate education at WIU, Martin pursued two master’s degrees as a family nurse practitioner at the University of Illinois and as a psychiatric nurse practitioner from the University of St. Francis in Illinois. Martin also serves on the board of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Warren and McDonough Counties and on the board of the Colchester Area Relief Effort.
To learn more about Ashley Martin and her efforts to expand psychiatric services in her region by helping build a new clinic, visit here.
Southern Illinois University Edwardsville (SIUE) recently introduced a new Master of Science dual degree program in nursing administration and healthcare informatics. The program will prepare nurses for entry into management positions in healthcare organizations, and foster skill development in planning, designing, and implementing information technologies.
SIUE’s dual degree program provides a unique opportunity for experienced nurses to leverage their prior education and experience to improve their leadership skills by using technology to improve patient healthcare options.
Frank Lyerla, SIUE healthcare informatics director, stated in a press release: “In 2008, less than 10 percent of acute care hospitals were using electronic medical records. Today, that percentage is nearing 100 percent! Graduates of our dual degree program will be well situated for leadership positions in two fields that are growing and in high demand.”
The dual degree nursing program opens up new career opportunities to guide and lead fellow nurses by becoming a nurse manager or healthcare executive. Graduates will be prepared to analyze and interpret clinical data and work with other health professionals to plan, implement, and optimize healthcare information systems to aid in training, project management, and leadership within an organization.
To learn more about SIUE’s new dual program in Nursing Administration and Healthcare Informatics, visit here.
As the 2018-19 academic year kicks off, Illinois State University’s (ISU) Mennonite College of Nursing (MCN) is celebrating 100 Years of Excellence. A kickoff event will be held on August 28 to commemorate the event.
At the kickoff, keynote speaker Jeffrey Bauer will present Creating Futures & Preparing Professionals: The Next 100 Years at MCN. Bauer is a health futurist and medical economist with over 40 years of experience in teaching and consulting. His current focus is on improving the medical marketplace, including helping healthcare leaders develop strategies for more effective health care.
Judy Neubrander, dean of the Mennonite College of Nursing, tells News.IllinoisState.edu, “We are thrilled to launch our year-long celebration of Mennonite College of Nursing’s 100th anniversary with this event. Dr. Bauer comes to us with an extraordinary depth of knowledge regarding the future of healthcare. As we commemorate a century of educating exceptional nurse professionals, we are eager to hear Dr. Bauer’s thoughts about where the next 100 years will take us.”
The original ISU nursing school, the Mennonite Sanitarium Training School, was founded on January 23, 1919, and the school’s first commencement took place in 1922 with a class of 15 graduates. In May 2018, more than 200 undergraduate and graduate nursing students received their degrees.
MCN became Illinois State University’s sixth academic college in 1999 and has since increased enrollment, added to its master’s degree offerings, and created two doctoral nursing programs (PhD in Nursing and an online Doctor of Nursing Practice degree), as well as an accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing option.
To learn more about the 100 year celebration of Illinois State University’s Mennonite College of Nursing, visit here.