NIH Awards 5-Year Grant to Advanced Practice Genetics Nurse

NIH Awards 5-Year Grant to Advanced Practice Genetics Nurse

Vanderbilt University School of Nursing Associate Professor Laurie Connors, DNP, FAANP, has received a grant from the National Institutes of Health National Human Genome Research Institute to train doctoral nurses—doctors of nursing practice and Ph.D. nurses—in the translation and integration of genomics into academics, research, and clinical practice. The five-year grant, called Translation and Integration of Genomics is Essential to Doctoral Nursing, aims to facilitate personalized health care through this national educational effort. 

Genomics, the study of all of a person’s genes, is a growing field within health care and the burgeoning health technology space. Genomics is a complex competency and has been identified as a core trend shaping health care’s future. With the vast amount of information made available by genetic testing, data science, and advanced sequencing technologies, there is an increased need for nurses trained in genomics, who can interpret the information and translate it in a way that patients can understand. 

The largest patient-facing workforce in health care, nurses play an integral role in the effective delivery of genomic health care for patients, their families, communities, and populations. Research over the past decade has shown that many nurses have knowledge gaps in the basics of human genetics, Connors said. Totaling nearly $700,000, the TIGER grant will enable Connors and her collaborators at Clemson University and Loyola University Chicago to increase the capacity and capability of doctoral nurses in genomics over the course of the grant’s timeline. 

“We will deploy a ‘train the trainer’ model,” Connors said. “Our participants will take their skills back to their universities to serve as champions to incorporate genomics into curriculum, research, scholarship and clinical practice. 

“Genomics impacts nursing practice across the lifespan from before birth to end of life. Nursing is one of the oldest and largest health care professions, and we must continue to ask ourselves if we have the necessary knowledge and workforce skilling to participate in genomic health care.”

—Laurie Connors, DNP, FAANP

An advanced practice nurse in genetics, Connors aims to close the space between students with higher levels of proficiency in genomics and their educators. In her four years at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, she has developed and implemented multiple genomic and oncology clinical-focused courses. Her specialty in genomics was sparked by looking deeper into hereditary predispositions to breast cancer during her time as an oncology nurse. 

“Nursing is a profession where you are a lifelong learner,” Connors said. “Genomics has allowed me the opportunity to pursue new knowledge and to assist individuals and families in understanding their genetic risk assessment and risk of disease and what they can do about it.” 

The training Connors is developing will begin with a half-day genomics course provided at the American Association of Colleges of Nursing annual doctoral conference in January, followed by monthly webinars posted to a learning management system from February to December 2022. To find out more information about this educational project, contact Connors at tiger@vanderbilt.edu.

ANA Selects Jessica Castner as NAM Scholar in Residence

ANA Selects Jessica Castner as NAM Scholar in Residence

SILVER SPRING, MD –Jessica Castner, PhD, RN-BC, FAEN, FAAN, has been selected as the 2021-2022 National Academy of Medicine (NAM) Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence. Supported for nearly 30 years by the American Academy of Nursing (Academy), the American Nurses Association (ANA), and the American Nurses Foundation (Foundation), the Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence is a year-long immersion experience for an Academy Fellow to leverage their expertise and play a prominent role in developing health policy at the federal level while engaging in interprofessional collaboration with scholars at NAM.

Operating under a Congressional charter, the National Academy of Medicine is a premier institution that provides evidence-based solutions and offers comprehensive policies to advance public health and address health inequities, such as the recently released Future of Nursing 2020-2030: Charting a Path to Achieve Health Equity report. Through these reports and their work, NAM is catalyzing critical health issues to the forefront of the public eye as well as to policymakers’ agendas. The Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence position provides crucial nursing perspectives to better support the public’s health.

Dr. Castner is the President and Principal Investigator/Consultant of Castner Incorporated, as well as Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Emergency Nursing. An expert in emergency and environmental health, Dr. Castner hones her clinical, entrepreneurial, and research experience to develop the next generation of telehealth and emergency care that understands and addresses social determinants of emergency medicine utilization in order to create more equitable care. Her pioneering work to integrate environmental health research, emergency nursing, and data science modelling within a social justice framework has enabled her promotion of healthy environments and prevention of health emergencies.

“I am honored to be selected as the Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence at NAM as this role will provide an opportunity to use my skills in a way that will have a profound impact on climate policy, nursing’s role in environmental justice, and the future well-being of our nation,” said Dr. Castner. During her time as the NAM Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence, Dr. Castner will maximize the opportunity for interprofessional collaboration to continue her work on environmental health equity initiatives.

“Our relationship with NAM, especially in regard to selecting a Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence, helps to reinforce the Academy’s mission to improve health and advance health equity by collaborating with experts and disseminating nursing knowledge. Selection to this post enables our Fellows to use their nursing lens to chart a course for improved health outcomes through policy,” said Academy President Eileen Sullivan-Marx, PhD, RN, FAAN.

“Congratulations to Dr. Castner. Her work at the intersection of telehealth and emergency care to bolster health equity is more important than ever as health care delivery systems recover and rebuild in communities across the nation. I look forward to supporting Dr. Castner’s journey as a NAM scholar,” said ANA President Ernest Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN. “The Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence program is a shining example of nurse excellence that continues to bridge contemporary nursing practice and health policy.” 
 
“Dr. Castner will bring a wealth of nursing knowledge and innovative concepts to NAM to address social and particularly environmental determinants of health, which contribute to the vast health disparities in our society,” said American Nurses Foundation Executive Director Kate Judge. “We must have nurses’ expertise and voice at every policy table to change the trajectory of equitable health for all.”

The review committee responsible for selecting this year’s Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence included Academy Board member Debra Barksdale, PhD, FNP-BC, ANP-BC, FAANP, FAAN; ANA President Ernest Grant; Foundation Executive Director Kate Judge; and NAM Director of Health Policy Fellowships and Leadership Programs Gregg Margolis, PhD. To learn more about application process and the NAM Distinguished Nurse Scholar-in-Residence program, visit www.aannet.org.

5 Pro Tips for Running a Successful Online Student Orientation

5 Pro Tips for Running a Successful Online Student Orientation

Orientation week is a pivotal event to help new higher education students bond with your school. Orientation is your school’s opportunity to get a student’s education experience kicked off on the right foot. In-person orientation usually takes place for about a week. During this week, students engage with a series of events, have the opportunity to mingle, and learn more about the school’s services. 

Over the last few years, we’ve run many student engagement events, from open houses to research symposiums, all the way to events for exam preparation and student de-stressors. We’ve used these events to discover crucial insights into what students expect from online event experiences. 

This article will highlight some key areas that can help you run successful online student orientation events. 

1. Make it EASY

For first-year students, it can be an overwhelming period. It will represent the most significant environment shift they’ve ever experienced in their lives for many students. With so many changes in their lives, the last thing any student wants is to figure out and navigate a jam-packed and overwhelming school orientation week. As an orientation planner, you want to do your best to simplify the orientation experience for students. 

A key aspect to simplifying the navigation experience is to minimize the amount of reading students need to process to access event activities. Do your best to make the experience highly visual – with images that will engage and excite students about the available opportunities during orientation. Students are immersed in TikTok and Instagram and respond better to visual cues than web page listings.

You also want to avoid complicated event schedules or have students join a series of Zoom/online calls, which students have told us can be exhausting. An excellent way to break up the monotony of live sessions and allow your online student orientation to ‘breathe’ is to place key event breaks to enable students to be more exploratory and access content on-demand. For example, a networking or mentorship zone, a company sponsorship hall with give-aways, a student clubs showcase zone, a games-room zone, and more. 

2. Think about the experience from the students’ point of view

We’ve been fortunate to speak with highly experienced orientation week coordinators across North America, and we’ve also been able to talk to first, second, third, and fourth-year students. Interestingly, students tell us that there are two big highlights or attractions for them during orientation week:  

(1) the exhibitors and companies that give students unique deals and promotions and 

(2) finding and learning about relevant clubs and social circles to join to make friends around their interests and affinities. 

These two highlights are often placed on the back burner by coordinators when planning online orientation events. They are unsure how to fit these elements alongside the more traditional orientation week events in the online environment. It is easier to organize school resources, but a lot of the value of orientation week to students are social events that welcome them to the community and enable them to plant strong social roots that make them feel they belong. In this sense, orientation week is a critical retention tool for schools.

3. Leverage the benefits of online by staging your orientation

In-person orientation weeks are typically framed and managed within the limitations of location and time. Students need to be at a particular place to see a specific faculty member at a certain time. If they miss that session, then they will typically lose access to critical information or experiences. Online student orientation provides a unique opportunity to overcome this limitation. Within an online orientation week, you have the chance to create live, on-demand, and blended experiences. You also have the opportunity to segment content that needs to be consumed live and content that can be seen ahead of time by students or seen after orientation week by those who may not have had the time. 

For example, students can access some resources ahead of time on demand, like tips and tricks on getting the most out of the LMS or an info session on academic writing and then mixing in Live sessions from key professors and campus leaders to address more targeted questions. You can also blend the two, combine a pre-recorded talk with the recreation center (gym), and provide a live QA session with a representative for students to talk to. This flexibility is an exciting lens to view planning an orientation week with and can dramatically increase student access to campus resources and be a differentiator for schools with more developed student resources seeking more avenues for student engagement with these resources and improving their ROI.

4. Find ways to get current students engaged and involved in the online orientation

Many online orientation weeks lack support from existing students. The lack of student involvement can make the event feel more clinical and boring for incoming students. So greater student involvement can make orientation week festivities more genuine but can also dramatically improve participation. We often see 10-20X greater student participation in school online events run by students during the regular year versus those organized solely by school administrators. Why? They ensure they invite their friends and their network to participate. They can influence and promote an online event far better than most school event organizers.

A great way to get students engaged is to ensure that your student clubs have a fundamental role to play. School clubs are always interested in easy and convenient opportunities to promote their name and recruit new members. Student club involvement gives your orientation week two key features. It allows incoming students to identify and join relevant clubs more quickly, and the additional voices create campus-like energy. A school club fair organized as a part of orientation week also allows for earlier student networking and relationship-building. 

Other vital members that you should consider involving are orientation leaders, student’ mentors,’ residence dons, and other campus student leaders. 

5. Don’t ask students to download an app, but be ready for mobile 

The world is going increasingly mobile. We see as much as 30% of online academic event participants joining using their smartphone devices (some open house events we have run have over 50% smartphone access). To serve this audience better, many orientation coordinators make the mistake of working with virtual event platforms requiring a dedicated app to run their orientation week. 

Using a dedicated smartphone app can be counterproductive for events like student orientation. When students already have a whole slew of new apps to install (LMS, Email to setup, etc.), installing an app for a singular event can be seen as an unnecessary complexity and often discourages large groups of students from participating. Instead, you want to ensure that your online orientation can be instantly opened on any smartphone device using a hyperlink. Avoiding a dedicated app also enables you to have a more consistent experience across smartphones and desktop devices. 

In Closing 

Student expectations when it comes to school events are shifting. There are increasing expectations for schools to provide a well-thought-out digital alternative to on-campus events. Schools should see this as an opportunity to provide their students with a more robust student experience while simultaneously ensuring a legitimate backup solution for students who cannot attend in-person campus events (weather conditions, pandemic restrictions, travel, or timing issues). 

I hope that this article has given you some insights or, at the very least, some food for thought as you think about your student orientation events. We are currently at an exciting juncture in figuring out how academia leverages online technologies to provide next-level experiences for their students. If you are interested in how Acadiate can support your events, don’t hesitate to reach out to us, we’d love to talk!

Time to Register for the 2021 NTI CCN Expo

Time to Register for the 2021 NTI CCN Expo

Registration is open for 2021 National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition, offered virtually May 24-27

The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) invites nurses and other healthcare professionals who care for progressive and critically ill patients and their families to its National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI). 

American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN)

NTI will offer a fully immersive, interactive conference experience May 24-27, delivering the education and inspiration critical care nurses deserve and the flexibility they need. 

Attendees will enjoy 24/7 access to concurrent clinical and professional development sessions, inspirational keynotes, ExpoEd exhibitor education, and new and different ways to make meaningful connections with other attendees. 

NTI learning opportunities offer the following formats:

  • Educational Sessions: More than 200 sessions offered during the conference and available after the conference through Oct. 31. Sessions are 60 or 150 minutes. 
  • SuperSessions: Large sessions for all participants featuring national speakers and AACN leaders, geared toward professional success, current and future trends, and/or national and global issues. 
  • Pharmacology Content: Online classroom sessions with a minimum portion of pharmacotherapeutic content on drug-specific information, safe-prescribing practices, safe medication administration and prescribing methodologies. 
  • Posters: Self-viewing Beacon Journey for Excellence, Chapter Best Practices, CSI Academy Innovation, Evidence-Based Solutions and Research digital posters offered during the conference and available after the conference through Oct. 31. 
  • Sunrise/Sunset Sessions: Sessions funded by unrestricted grants from corporate supporters. Sessions are 60 minutes long with approximately 75% clinical and 25% product-specific content. 
  • ExpoEd Education: Product- and program-specific educational and in-service-style learning provided by exhibitors. Sessions are 30 minutes.

NTI includes the Critical Care Exposition, the largest and most comprehensive trade show expressly for progressive and critical care nurses. The Critical Care Exposition will be available virtually during NTI, May 24-27. Attendees can visit online exhibit booths to view exhibitor content, link to ExpoEd sessions, plus visit and chat with exhibitor representatives. 

Participants can earn 200+ CE contact hours for NTI 2021. CE contact hours are calculated on a 60-minute hour and determined by the number of learning activities a registered NTI participant completes. Learners must view/read the entire learning activity and complete the associated evaluation, as well as the program evaluation, to be awarded CE contact hours or CERP credit. No partial hours or credit will be awarded. 

More than 200 NTI sessions will be available online for self-study with CE contact hours through Oct. 31. 

Review the complete conference program with all educational sessions. 

About the National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition: Established in 1974, AACN’s National Teaching Institute & Critical Care Exposition (NTI) represents the world’s largest educational conference and trade show for nurses who care for acutely and critically ill patients and their families. Bedside nurses, nurse educators, nurse managers, clinical nurse specialists and nurse practitioners attend NTI.

About the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses: For more than 50 years, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses (AACN) has been dedicated to acute and critical care nursing excellence. The organization’s vision is to create a healthcare system driven by the needs of patients and their families in which acute and critical care nurses make their optimal contribution. AACN is the world’s largest specialty nursing organization, with more than 130,000 members and over 200 chapters in the United States.

Nursing Educators, Students Adjust to Teaching and Learning During a Pandemic

Nursing Educators, Students Adjust to Teaching and Learning During a Pandemic

Nursing programs have had to innovate to meet the challenges posed by the pandemic. Restrictions imposed by shutdown orders, social distancing, limited in-person meetings, changes to course delivery and clinical placement requirements, and integrating technology into the classroom like never before are just a few of the ways that Covid-19 has impacted nursing education.

Ground-based nursing colleges and universities quickly created hybrid and online versions of their courses and materials and replaced live clinical assignments with scheduled simulation class events, web-enhanced synchronous meetings, and digital clinical experiences. Programs that were fully online already helped to provide support to those who had never taught in the online environment.

In both the nursing clinical and academic settings, a pervasive shortage exists. During the pandemic, many nursing faculty members were called back to the bedside to aid in addressing the demand for care. For faculty who were working in academia and the clinical setting, the pull and strain associated with competing priorities were evident.  The stress and tension felt by faculty befell the students as well.

Nursing students already work to balance competing priorities. During the pandemic, they were having to work extra shifts, be placed on mandatory stay orders, travel far from home to agency assignments, and keep their families safe. Concern for their own safety and efforts to minimize exposure were often waylaid by the desire to serve and improve patient outcomes. Needless to say, the pressure to perform in a challenging crisis was intense and the tension palpable.

Nursing faculty members and administration found themselves in uncharted territory. How do we help students persist in their academic journey during a time of unprecedented emergency? We rose to the occasion by doing what we do best, supporting our students. We became confidants in practice. Assignment deadlines were extended where feasible, student support mechanisms were erected, and leveraging technology to facilitate learning became the norm.

Over time, and all during a pandemic that does not seem to be finding its end as yet, nursing faculty have found ways to bridge gaps that exist when a product that was designed for face-to-face delivery has to be moved to a virtual setting. Technology, like the applications Zoom, Webex, Microsoft Teams, and GoToMeeting, was used to help students feel connected. Learning management systems (LMS) like Desire to Learn (D2L), Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard, and many others were used to deliver content, keep students on track, and offer a way to persist without missing a beat.

Together, nurses do what they do best, see through the problem, not to the problem. We are innovative critical thinkers who also support one another and the profession. These times have proven challenging and often arduous, but the power of nursing presses on. We collectively advocate for each other and our patients. During times of crisis and ease, we progress, inspire, encourage, support, and work with compassion and diligence to serve our communities and our profession.

Diverse Mag Adds FNU’s Geraldine Young to “Outstanding Women in Higher Education” List

Diverse Mag Adds FNU’s Geraldine Young to “Outstanding Women in Higher Education” List

Now that diversity and inclusion programs can sigh with relief that they are not “unAmerican” after all, we can proceed to celebrate their vital role in encouraging non-Whites to enter the nursing workforce. One of the nursing school champions in this area is Frontier Nursing University, and this year, Dr. Geraldine Young, DNP, APRN, FNP-BC, CDCES, FAANP, FNU’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, is being recognized as one of the Outstanding Women in Higher Education by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education magazine. This is the 10th consecutive year that Diverse has named 25 women “who have made a difference in the academy by tackling some of higher education’s toughest challenges, exhibiting extraordinary leadership skills, and making a positive difference in their respective communities.” The issue will be published on March 4, 2021, in honor of Women’s History Month.

“I am incredibly honored and humbled to be recognized on this special list of women,” Dr. Young said. “I am thankful to have led the diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives at FNU over the past year. As we strengthen our own environment, we have the opportunity to set an example and standard for other institutions to follow. I thank Diverse magazine for this honor and for giving us this platform to inspire others.”

Dr. Young, whose service in the nursing profession spans over 20 years, joined FNU in the fall of 2019. She holds a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (2010), an MSN from Alcorn State University in Mississippi (2005), and a BSN from the University of Mississippi Medical Center (2001).  She is also a board-certified family nurse practitioner (FNP) (2005) and a certified diabetes care and education specialist (2011). 

Dr. Young is a National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF) Leadership Fellow and Fellow of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (FAANP) and has been deemed a content expert for one of the leading credentialing bodies for NPs, the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).  She serves on an array of national committees to advance nurse practitioner education, including the NONPF Curricular Leadership Committee and Conference Committee. She is also a member of the NONPF Board of Directors and a member of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Essentials Task Force.

As a member of the Essentials Task Force and NONPF Board of Directors, Dr. Young is ensuring cultural diversity and inclusion are at the forefront of nursing education to address the health disparities and inequalities that exist in our nation.  She has effectively delivered models of clinical practice to improve the outcomes of underserved and minority populations with diabetes in conjunction with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS).

FNU President Dr. Susan Stone, CNM, DNSc, FAAN, FACNM cheered Dr. Young’s “experience and expertise as an advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion,” and added, “With the guidance of Dr. Young… we will continue to make diversity, equity, and inclusion a top priority at all levels of the university.”

In each of the past three years, FNU has also received the prestigious Health Professions Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine. The Health Professions HEED Award is the only national honor recognizing U.S. medical, dental, pharmacy, osteopathic, nursing, veterinary, allied health, and other health schools and centers that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion across their campuses. 

FNU’s commitment to emphasizing and valuing diversity and inclusion was formally instituted in 2006 when the university began intense efforts to recruit minority students in an effort to diversify the advanced practice nursing and midwifery workforce. FNU’s initial efforts were funded through the support of an Advanced Nurse Education grant from the Health Resources and Service Administration (HRSA). In 2010, FNU held its first annual Diversity Impact Conference. Held each summer since then, the Diversity Impact Conference opens the door for nurse practitioner and nurse-midwifery students plus faculty and staff to foster collaborative discussions, address health disparities, and find proactive solutions to improve minority health among underrepresented and marginalized groups. Today,  the goal of a diverse health care workforce continues with efforts to recruit and educate faculty, staff, students, and preceptors and integrate diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts throughout all of FNU operations with a goal that it should be fully integrated into the university’s culture. FNU’s diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts are currently funded with a Nursing Workforce Diversity Grant from the HRSA. 

These diversity initiatives span all facets of the university, but one of the most telling and important data points is the percentage of students of color enrolled at FNU. In 2009, that number was 9 percent. Starting in 2010 with the HRSA funding, FNU’s diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives have resulted in the percentage of students of color enrolled growing to 25 percent today.  

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