Nurse of the Week: Lindsey Moore Westenhofer Inspired to Become Nursing Director of the US Space and Rocket Center

Nurse of the Week: Lindsey Moore Westenhofer Inspired to Become Nursing Director of the US Space and Rocket Center

Our Nurse of the Week is Lindsey Westenhofer, the Director of Nursing for the US Space and Rocket Center (USSRC), a career path she chose after shadowing her mom at a young age while her mother was a nursing student.

Westenhofer tells UAH.edu, “My mother began her graduate nursing education when I was a young girl, so I have known since I can remember that I had an insatiable interest in all of the natural sciences but, in particular, anything relating to the human body. I remember begging to listen in on her nursing school conference calls. And, I frequently got into trouble for pulling out her books so I could ‘read’ them.”

It’s no surprise that Westenhofer decided to follow in her mom’s footsteps and earn a nursing degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville (UAH) College of Nursing. She completed her preceptorship in pediatrics, which has remained a theme in her nursing career.

Westenhofer is now the Director of Nursing for USSRC where she oversees 50 staff members and over 1,000 campers per week during peak seasons. The USSRC facility holds two on-campus nursing clinics for use by campers, chaperones, museum guests, and employees, and their nursing staff provides emergent response coverage for the entire campus.

In addition to serving as director, Westenhofer is also responsible for educating staff on relevant healthcare topics and managing the instruction of American Heart Association Basic Life Support courses. She also designed and implemented a Medical Alert System for the USSRC campus, which she now teaches.

To learn more about Lindsey Westenhofer, the Director of Nursing for the US Space and Rocket Center, and how she was inspired to pursue a career in nursing after shadowing her mother from a young age, visit here.

Nurse of the Week: Air Force Veteran Casey Botelho Stays True to Dream of Serving as a Nurse

Nurse of the Week: Air Force Veteran Casey Botelho Stays True to Dream of Serving as a Nurse

Our Nurse of the Week is Casey Botelho, an Air Force Veteran and first-generation college graduate who stayed true to her dream of becoming a nurse and then decided to give back by serving fellow veterans at the VA. Botelho currently works as a medical/surgical Intensive Care Unit (ICU) nurse at the Providence Veterans Affairs Medical Center (PVAMC), but her path there was not an easy one.

As a young girl, Botelho focused on two goals: contributing to an endeavor greater than herself and finding a career in which she could help others. Botelho joined the Air Force Reserves as an 18-year-old fresh out of high school and after six weeks of basic training she returned to Rhode Island and enrolled in classes at Rhode Island College to earn her nursing degree.

Botelho tells RIC.edu, “My love and passion to help people was the reason why I wanted to pursue going to nursing school. RIC is known for having one of the top nursing programs around so it was an honor to be accepted in the program.”

Shortly after starting her nursing degree, military orders arrived for Botelho to report to Afghanistan. Botelho became part of a unit responsible for providing dining facilities and loading trucks for missions by special force operations like the Navy Seals and Army Rangers.

After 10 months serving in a war zone, Botelho returned to Rhode Island College in 2011. She thankfully had a strong support system to lean on while she adjusted to her return to civilian life. She leaned on that support system while transitioning back into college life at RIC, taking on challenging nursing courses that identified critical care issues among geriatric and pediatric populations.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2015, Botelho decided to apply for entry in the PVAMC’s Post-Baccalaureate Nurse Residency Program (PBNR). Now she leads the PBNR’s two-month ICU training and says she doesn’t anticipate working anywhere outside of a Veteran Administration medical facility.

After earning her bachelor’s degree in nursing in 2015, Botelho decided to apply for entry in the PVAMC’s Post-Baccalaureate Nurse Residency Program (PBNR). Now she leads the PBNR’s two-month ICU training and says she doesn’t anticipate working anywhere outside of a Veteran Administration medical facility.

To learn more about Casey Botelho, an Air Force Veteran and first-generation college graduate who stayed true to her dream of becoming a nurse and decided to back by serving fellow veterans at the VA, visit here.

Nurse of the Week: New Mexico Nurse Misty Eskridge Proves It’s Never Too Late to Follow Your Dreams

Nurse of the Week: New Mexico Nurse Misty Eskridge Proves It’s Never Too Late to Follow Your Dreams

Our Nurse of the Week is Misty Eskridge, a 47-year-old resident of Rio Rancho, New Mexico, who graduated with her nursing degree from Central New Mexico Community College this past fall. She has been on a path to a nursing career since 1992 but after extenuating circumstances forced her to put her nursing career on hold, she still found her way back years later.

Eskridge tells abqjournal.com, “We had a family, and then my family was first, then my community, and then working for the school, and then I just decided, hey, it’s my time.”

Although Eskridge never lost per passion for nursing, going back to school wasn’t an option for many years, especially financially. Scholarships helped her pay for nursing school, awarding her peace of mind and a lot of stress off her family.

The Schumann Foundation, a local organization founded by Rio Rancho resident and Kiwanis Club member Douglas Schumann, awarded Eskridge a $2,000 scholarship in 2017 and matched her DeGroot-Akins Rotary Scholarship in 2018.

To learn more about Misty Eskridge, a 47-year-old nurse from New Mexico who just achieved her dream of graduating from nursing school thanks to help from scholarships, visit here.

Nurses of the Week: New Mexico State University Nurse Researchers to Help Border Residents Thanks to Grant

Nurses of the Week: New Mexico State University Nurse Researchers to Help Border Residents Thanks to Grant

Our Nurses of the Week are the researchers from the New Mexico State University (NMSU) School of Nursing who are helping border residents thanks to a grant from the New Mexico Department of Health’s Office of Border Health. The grant is going to fund a project that will separately examine the accuracy of a mobile translation device during mental-health evaluations and create an online, self-care resource for those experiencing urinary incontinence.

In the first project, researchers will conduct a study to determine the accuracy of a mobile device and smartphone app which has the ability to translate speech in real time. The device operates with a corresponding smartphone app that translates speech into a selected language. The research team at NMSU views the device as a possible solution to improve healthcare communication in rural communities along the United States-Mexico border, where language barriers exist between patients and providers.

Stephanie Lynch, a nurse practitioner and assistant professor in NMSU’s School of Nursing who is part of the team conducting the study, tells Newscenter.NMSU.edu, “We’re losing a lot of patients who need help in our area because of providers’ limited Spanish and patients’ limited English. When we learned about this device and saw this grant from the New Mexico Department of Health, we thought: ‘Why can’t we use it in our practices and see if we can reach those people who need help.’”

In a separate project, Lori Saiki, assistant professor in NMSU’s School of Nursing, plans to develop a web-based, educational resource that will help people in the border region who experience urinary incontinence.

The resource will be geared toward community health workers and teach self-care strategies to better manage urinary incontinence. According to Saiki, urinary incontinence affects more than 40 percent of Hispanic women and 18 percent of Hispanic men, and results in significant physical, economic, and psychosocial costs.

To learn more about two new projects from researchers at New Mexico State University’s School of Nursing to develop technologies to help border residents, visit here.

Nurse of the Week: Christina Van Der Weide Wins Halo’s Most Interesting Nurse in the World Contest

Nurse of the Week: Christina Van Der Weide Wins Halo’s Most Interesting Nurse in the World Contest

Our Nurse of the Week is Christina Van Der Weide, a nurse at Mercy Health St. Mary’s in Grand Rapids, Michigan, who won Halo’s Most Interesting Nurse in the World contest. Weide was chosen from five finalists across the US and, as the winner, will enjoy a $5,000 vacation—the perfect gift as she loves to travel!

Weide began her nursing career in Alberta, Canada, at 19 years old. She has worked in both Canada and the US, including general and ortho surgery, medical telemetry, palliative/oncology, pain clinics, rehab, and ER and ambulatory care. She has also trained and competed in Thai boxing, Brazilian Jujitsu, mixed martial arts and Krav Maga (Israeli self-defense), run half and full marathons, and spent eight months training for an Olympic triathlon and Ironman to raise funds for cancer research in honor of her brother.

She also travels and volunteers extensively both nationally and internationally. She loves adventures and has been white water rafting, paragliding, hang gliding, ridden ostriches, caving, bungee-jumping, and more.

Weide tells PRNewswire.com, “It’s super exciting. I’m so grateful for this amazing opportunity and to my colleagues who were so supportive and more optimistic than I was that I had a chance to win. The idea that there’s a prize for living my dream is unbelievable. I never expected to be rewarded for doing what I love. Thank you so much for this, Halo and all the people who voted for me.”

To read more about Christina Van Der Weide, the winner of Halo’s Most Interesting Nurse in the World contest, visit here.

Nurses of the Week: University of Alabama at Birmingham to Help Establish Primary Care RN Workforce

Nurses of the Week: University of Alabama at Birmingham to Help Establish Primary Care RN Workforce

Our Nurses of the Week are the nurses from the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing who received a $2.8 million grant which will help to establish a primary care registered nurse (RN) workforce. The grant will help to improve health outcomes in medically underserved areas in Alabama and educate undergraduate nursing students and practicing RNs in team-focused primary care.

The grant will fund a project called, “Building a Resilient Primary Care Registered Nurse Workforce for Chronic Disease Prevention and Control in Alabama,” which is funded by a Nurse Education, Practice, Quality, and Retention grant from the US Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration and will focus on training and sustaining baccalaureate-prepared registered nurses in medically underserved areas.

The project will be led by principal investigator Maria Shirey, PhD, professor and chair of the Department of Acute, Chronic, and Continuing Care.The role of the BSN-prepared RN is integral to care coordination and management of patient transitions from hospital to home but registered nurses have disappeared from most community-based primary care settings, often replaced by less trained medical assistants. When registered nurses are found in primary care settings, they often are not practicing to the full extent of their education and training.

Shirey tells UAB.edu, “Alabama and the United States have a primary care service deficit, especially in medically underserved areas, and BSN-prepared registered nurses are capable of assuming greater responsibility for care management for patients with chronic conditions across all levels of prevention, as well as follow-up and complex specialty care coordination for those discharged from the hospital. BSN-prepared registered nurses can provide safe, high-quality care to at-risk populations, such as patients with multiple chronic conditions, while also managing the costs of such care.”

To learn more about the $2.8 million grant received by the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing to help establish a primary care RN workforce in medically underserved areas, visit here.

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