University of Missouri – St. Louis Hosts Disaster Preparedness Conference

University of Missouri – St. Louis Hosts Disaster Preparedness Conference

The University of Missouri – St. Louis (UMSL) recently transformed four of their classrooms into working parts of a disaster zone to help better prepare student and professional nurses for disasters and public health emergencies they may face over the course of their careers. The simulations were part of an innovative workshop on disaster preparedness, formed as a joint effort between UMSL, Johns Hopkins University, and Saint Louis University.

UMSL’s Roberta Lavin, associate dean for academic programs in the College of Nursing, spearheaded the program. She has a long career in disaster management and formerly served as a US Public Health officer, inspiring her to make sure the nurses in her community are prepared to handle disaster situations.

Attendees of the workshop were guided through online, interactive toolkits designed by Lavin and her colleagues to help them explore and learn from real-scenarios including 9/11, Zika, and the Flint water crisis. Then the day ended with a two-hour drill simulating a residential building fire and collapse.

Lavin tells, “Residential fires occur every day in every country. They are the most common disaster to impact an individual family. We wanted students to understand that an apartment fire in a small community with only a small hospital could indeed be a mass casualty event for that particular community.”

One room at the university was transformed into a health department, another into a hospital emergency department, a third into a field site, and a fourth into a casualty area. The purpose of the building fire simulation was to teach attendees that a disaster doesn’t have to garner national attention to be real and devastating. The workshop also focused on self and family preparedness, encouraging attendees to create a three-day, emergency “go bag” and extensive family plan in case of emergency. Nurses can’t do their jobs as effectively in a disaster without a plan for themselves and their family.

To learn more about UMSL’s disaster preparedness workshop, visit here.

Mary Zerlan, DNP, CRNA, Named to American Health Council Nursing Board

Mary Zerlan, DNP, CRNA, Named to American Health Council Nursing Board

Mary Zerlan, DNP, CRNA, at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, MO was recently named to the Nursing Board of the American Health Council. She was selected for her vast knowledge and expertise in anesthesia from three decades of experience in the healthcare industry.

The Department of Anesthesiology at Washington University’s School of Medicine emphasizes innovative education and comprehensive, personalized clinical training. Fostering an academic culture that integrates clinical care, research, and education, services provided include patient care in pre-operative evaluation, intraoperative anesthesia, post-operative critical care, and pain management.

In her role as a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist (CRNA) at the Washington University School of Medicine, Zerlan functions as an anesthesia provider at a Level I trauma center. Her scope of practice includes preoperative, intraoperative, and post-operative anesthesia care. After beginning her career as an ICU nurse, Zerlan began serving as an anesthesia provider upon completion of her master’s degree with a sub-specialty in anesthesia. Zerlan’s education background also includes a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree from Loyola University Medical College in 2012.

Zerlan credits her success to a strong worth ethic, perseverance, and passion. To learn more about Mary Zerlan and her position on the Nursing Board for the American Health Council, visit here.

Nurse of the Week: Missouri Nurse, Rachel Adrian, Ventures Across the Globe as Humanitarian Relief Worker

Nurse of the Week: Missouri Nurse, Rachel Adrian, Ventures Across the Globe as Humanitarian Relief Worker

Our Nurse of the Week is Rachel Adrian, a registered nurse (RN) from Missouri who has devoted her career to humanitarian relief work. Adrian’s career in relief work began in 2006 when she joined a Katrina relief team to help with disaster relief for thousands of people left homeless after devastating Hurricane Katrina struck the Gulf Coast of the US. Her relief work has since taken her around the world from her start in the US to South America, Kenya, and most recently to Iraq.

With an education background including a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Missouri Western State University and a Master of Public Health (MPH) from Liberty University, Adrian is well qualified for her relief service. After helping the Katrina Relief Team, Adrian went on to work with Project Amazon setting up mobile health clinics throughout the Amazon basin of Brazil, work as PACU Nurse for the Mexico Surgery Caravan Clinic, and serve as a Mobile Clinic Nurse with Heart to Heart International in Haiti. Her humanitarian ventures then took her halfway across the globe as a nurse volunteer with a hospital in Kenya before continuing on to volunteer and work in Iraq.

After moving to Iraq several years ago, Adrian ended up settling into several humanitarian nursing positions. As a Health Program Administrator for Samaritans Purse, Adrian helped establish a new clinic in Iraq while also teaching English as a second language to local citizens. She also held a position as an Emergency Nurse at Oasis Hospital in the United Arab Emirates.

Adrian’s personal life recently brought her into US news after she welcomed a healthy baby boy on Feb. 2. Her husband and baby’s father is Hoger Ameen, a Kurdish man from Northern Iraq who she met three years ago after moving to Iraq for relief work. They married the following year and began making plans to move to the US to start a family. After settling down temporarily in Iraq while they applied for a spousal visa, Adrian moved back home to Missouri in July to wait for her husband. According to, the couple was told in December that Ameen’s application was in the last steps of processing but after a recent executive order enacting a travel ban on citizens from seven countries including Iraq, Ameen received an email notifying him that his visa had been suspended.

The couple isn’t sure what the travel ban means for them yet, but they are hopeful that Ameen can return to the US as soon as possible to meet his newborn son. We want to show our gratitude to Rachel for her inspiring humanitarian work that has positively affected communities around the world thanks to her dedicated service as a nurse.

University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing announces construction of new building after combined $3 million donation

University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing announces construction of new building after combined $3 million donation

After a $2 million donation from Michael and Millie Brown of Leawood, Kan., and a $1 million donation from Richard Miller of Pittsburg, Kan., the Sinclair School of Nursing announced construction of a new $55 million 104,000-square-foot facility. Millie Brown is a graduate of the University of Missouri and Miller’s daughter graduated with a nursing degree from the university in 2012.

While announcing construction of their new building, University of Missouri stated that the new School of Nursing building will allow a 25 percent increase in enrollment and significant expansion of their research programs. The generous donations from Miller and the Browns were announced 3 days after the school of nursing received a $19.8 million federal grant to expand their study on how to improve care in nursing homes.

University of Missouri’s school of nursing is ranked #1 in the country by College Atlas, and it has now reached its capacity according interim chancellor Hank Foley. Foley compared the school of nursing to a fish, saying it’s grown to the size of its tank and in order to grow bigger, it needs a bigger tank.

The new nursing building will include larger classrooms, clinical seminar rooms, a nursing simulation center, and a research center. After the new building is completed, the school of nursing will be able to expand their number of enrolled students to 200, up from the 160 students that are currently enrolled. With nursing employment projections predicting a shortage of 1 million nurses by 2022, the new building will lessen that shortage in Missouri.

Sinclair School of Nursing has committed $10 million to the new building project in addition to the new donations from Miller and the Browns. MU seeks to collect the remaining $14.5 million in pledges in time to seek legislative support for construction starting in 2017.

Brown is aware that to increase student enrollment, the school of nursing needs more space. Hundreds of applicants are turned away from the nursing school each year and the donation from him and his wife can help lessen that number. More pupils will bring in the tuition needed to cover the cost of more faculty; the school simply needs more space to begin doing so.

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