Nurse of the Week Julie Wedan oversees the management of her brainchild, a respite care wing at Wichita’s Union Rescue Mission for homeless men, and the results have been impressive. Doug Nolte, CEO of Union Rescue Mission, said, “Julie saw a need for a safe, clean environment for men discharged from a care facility to heal. It caused her to research, advocate and solicit funds to get a respite wing opened.” The 18-bed wing provides rehabilitation care for homeless men recovering from illness, accidents, or surgery. Men in the respite wing also receive help with medication, insurance, and establishing primary care physicians.
For Wedan, who has worked full-time caring for the homeless community in Wichita since 1997, the respite wing is her “dream.” In an interview with the Wichita Business Journal, she said, “This is a dream that started with a walk-in medical clinic every Friday.” For many of the men, their time in the wing is the start of a journey toward a stable living situation. After they recover, Union Rescue helps them find “assisted living, sometimes an apartment, whatever is appropriate for the individual,” Wedan says. “We also help them set up house with a bed, furniture and necessities of life.” Mission CEO Nolte noted, “Many of our guests coming to recover end up asking how they can continue in our programs to end their homelessness.”
Wedan is yet another nurse who became drawn to the profession after experience as a patient. Her time in the hospital during a complicated childbirth inspired her to enter nursing school. Three years after her 1994 graduation, she became a nurse at Union Rescue, and has been fully committed to serving the homeless over the past 30 years: “I love my job. I see men helped every day, all day throughout the Mission. We share God’s love. We want the men to know that they are loved and that someone cares about them…”
For more details on Julie Wedan and the Union Rescue Mission for the homeless, see this article in the Wichita Business Journal.
The University of Kansas Health System recently announced that Lindsay Norris, RN, has received the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) National Magnet Nurse of the Year Award. The award is in the category of Structural Empowerment and recognizes Norris’s contributions to internal education by improving professional nursing certification at the University of Kansas Hospital.
A personal battle with Stage 3 colorectal cancer in 2016 inspired Norris to better educate and equip her teams, and led to her writing an open letter to cancer patients that received national attention. Norris tells PRNewswire.com:
“The relationship between the nurse and patient is so important because we serve as a lifeline. Patients are just trying to process all the information related to their cancer and we get the opportunity to be a translator. Being a Magnet nurse at a Magnet designated hospital gives me that added confidence boost to empower the people I work with to help patients better navigate their cancer treatment.”
The ANCC National Magnet Nurse of the Year award recognizes the outstanding contributions of clinical nurses across the country for innovation, consultation, leadership, and professional risk-taking. The awards are presented in five Magnet Model areas: Transformational Leadership; Structural Empowerment; Exemplary Professional Practice; New Knowledge, Innovations, and Improvements; and Empirical Outcomes.
To learn more about University of Kansas Hospital oncology nurse Lindsay Norris and her ANCC National Magnet Nurse of the Year Award, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Sara Huffaker, a senior nursing student at Pittsburg State University (PSU), who has been donating her hair to help make wigs for cancer patients for over a decade. Inspired by her own hair donations, Huffaker decided to organize a donation drive on PSU’s campus. Discussing her decision to organize the donation drive, Huffaker told Pittsburg’s MorningSun.net:
“I’ve been doing this since I was in fourth grade. I was donating last year and thought ‘why isn’t everyone doing this?’ So I decided to get to work.”
The goal of her event was to receive eight donations – enough to make one wig. They already had eight people lined up by the time the donation drive was opening, and had over 64 donations by the end of the day, enough for eight wigs. After far exceeding Huffaker’s expectations, she decided that the hair drive will be a yearly event in the future, occurring on the first Saturday in February.
Huffaker is the Breakthrough to Nursing Program leader for PSU’s chapter of the Kansas Association of Nursing Students. Using her position there, she partnered with Wild Side Salon to organize the drive and ended up with hairdressers from multiple salons volunteering to donate their time. Donations were made through Pantene Beautiful Lengths in partnership with the American Cancer Society.
You can read the original story on Huffaker’s hair donation drive here.
A groundbreaking nursing education model is emerging in Kansas that will allow students to simultaneously earn their Associate’s Degree in Nursing (ADN) and Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). Four Kansas community colleges are joining the University of Kansas School of Nursing to make the program possible. Nursing students across Kansas will now be able to complete their BSN without leaving their home communities.
The new program, called the Partnership Model, received accreditation approval to join the four community colleges with the University of Kansas School of Nursing. Two students from Kansas City Kansas Community College became the first pioneers to complete the pilot program of the model and are both now employed as registered Nurses at the University of Kansas Hospital. Interest in the program is already very high with 43 students from the four community colleges enrolled in the new Partnership program. 60 percent of the students enrolled at Kansas City Kansas Community College have already chosen the new partnership route.
Using the partnership model makes the transition from associate level to BSN much smoother for students, while building relationships and capacity for students at the university level. It creates a more efficient pipeline for educating nurses to meet growing workforce needs and allows students to move easily through the pathway to achieve both degrees.
The program works by allowing students from community colleges with accredited nursing programs to simultaneously earn their ADN from the local school where they attend classes and their BSN from the University of Kansas via online coursework. To be admitted into the Partnership Model program, students must have completed prerequisite coursework for admittance into the University of Kansas School of Nursing and be accepted at their community college nursing program.
Faculty members from the University have worked with the community colleges to develop a curriculum that contains the necessary elements to sit for nursing licensure. Using resources already in place at the community colleges, the program is designed to be completed in four years without students having to leave the comfort and convenience of their community college setting. The Partnership Model was first introduced in 2013, and finally received accreditation this year. It is intended to improve the deficit of nurses nationwide, largely due to the high numbers of baby boomers expected to retire soon, and to increase diversity of the nursing workforce. Discussions about expanding the program across the Midwest are expected.