Wondering what it’s like to be a VA employee? To give you some insight, we recently interviewed Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner Lisa Wratchford of the Abilene Community Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC) in Texas. As a Navy Veteran, she has a unique perspective on serving patients who’ve served America, and she’ll help you decide if a career with VA is right for you.
Why should job-seekers consider joining VA?
Our organization is moving toward less restrictive policies, which will give us full practice authority and more independence. There are also outstanding benefits, including generous paid time off, flexible scheduling and other perks that help us keep a healthy work-life balance. Above all, we get to give back to Veterans by providing treatment that improves their lives.
How does VA’s integrated model of care impact your typical day?
It makes things more efficient and productive. When I need to consult with someone, all I have to do is walk down the hall. I truly appreciate that I can work closely with other disciplines to meet the various needs of my patients.
What are some challenges that come with your position?
Taking the mystery and stigma out of mental health conditions. There’s a growing opportunity to educate others on the topic, so that’s something I’m always doing. My hope is to increase understanding of and empathy for people dealing with these issues. It’s a crucial part of being a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner at VA.
If you’re interested in healing Veterans with our extraordinary team, explore our current opportunities and pursue one today.
This story was originally posted on VAntage Point.
At their third biennial Constellation Gala in November, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) raised an all-time high of $10.1 million. The donations raised at the gala will go toward supporting student scholarships, faculty endowments, research, and clinical care.
Diana Hawkins, chair of the UTHealth Development Board, tells tmc.edu, “Our gala theme, the constellation, represents the character of this great institution. Just as a constellation and the night skies are made of many bright and shining stars, so do the unique people who are UTHealth shine together as one of the nation’s premier universities. Tonight, we honor you—our UT family, friends and supporters. You’re our stars in our constellation that help the university’s top doctors, scientists and scholars revolutionize health care.”
The gala honored Jane and Robert Cizik who donated $25 million to the UTHealth School of Nursing in November 2017. The unprecedented gift has gone toward the university’s endeavor to address the shortage of nurses in healthcare by training the next generation of skilled and compassionate nurses. The Cizik’s are known in Houston for their service to the community and UTHealth was honored to recognize them at the Constellation Gala.
The event also recognized actor William Devane for his voice-over work with the award-winning “Many Faces of UTHealth” branding campaign, which highlights the university’s educators, researchers and clinicians. The campaign educated the Houston community on the scope of UTHealth and the work of its exceptional faculty members across the healthcare spectrum, including the nursing program.
To learn more about UTHealth’s biennial Constellation Gala which raised over $10 million in November to support the university’s healthcare students and faculty, visit here.
Concordia University Texas School of Nursing students are now utilizing a medical van to better serve their community. Their mobile Medical Missions Van operates as a pop-up clinic that provides free, basic healthcare to two counties and has plenty of space for medical supply storage and seating for clients and nurses.
Students first put the van to use last month to help individuals living under an Austin bridge, setting up foot-washing stations while a local ministry provided fellowship and food. Though these community healthcare activities are strongly helped by the use of the mobile medical clinic, nursing students have been working on projects like these since 2015, as part of their requirement for their Community Health course.
Concordia’s Nursing program director Dr. Greta Degen, RN, told CTX Blog: “The biggest impact the van has is that it allows Concordia nursing students to become the first stop for people in the community who are wrestling with a medical issue. Students can use their nursing knowledge to screen and educate individuals on their health issue or medication before needing to go see a doctor or visit an emergency room.”
Mobile medical clinics like this are used globally, especially in areas devastated by war, natural disasters, and humanitarian crises. The clinics provide a way for healthcare professionals to get medical treatments and supplies to people cut off or isolated from communities, and are especially helpful in areas lacking in public transportation.
To learn more about Concordia University Texas School of Nursing and their mobile Medical Missions Van, visit CTX Blog.
Our Nurse of the Week is Elsamar Ibarra who was a nursing student in Texas when Hurricane Harvey struck her hometown last year. Even while her own home had taken on water, Ibarra still couldn’t sit by while she watched people pouring into shelters on the news, so she jumped into action and rushed to the temporary shelter at the George R. Brown Convention Center to help.
Ibarra says she will never forget how the storm left thousands stranded and homeless, and almost 100 dead. Witnessing the aftermath of the hurricane led her to want to help as a nurse by helping bandage wounds, taking vital signs, and giving out medications.
Ibarra tells Click2Houston.com, “It’s my passion. I have something that I want to do, to be the best for the people, to help them when they need help, and I’m here to serve for them.”
Ibarra was later recognized by the Texas Nursing Association for her brave actions. One of her professors at the University of St. Thomas Peavy School of Nursing said she wasn’t surprised by Ibarra’s actions one bit, explaining that Ibarra has been a standout student and nurse since day one.
It’s very special to Ibarra to be able to make positive changes in other’s lives and follow in the footsteps of her mother who was a nurse in Mexico. Ibarra is no longer a nursing student, having since graduated with a nursing degree. Now, she’s following her passion to jump into action and help others like she did during Hurricane Harvey.
To learn more about Elsamar Ibarra and her heroic actions as a nursing student in Houston during Hurricane Harvey, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Amber Estupinian, a 21-year-old nurse technician at Clear Lake Regional Medical Center, a health care facility that took in patients from the Santa Fe High School shooting. Estupinian is an aspiring nurse who shared her experiences from that day with Youth Radio.
“At the end of the day, it made me feel good that I could actually provide some kind of service to these families.”
When Estupinian’s manager texted her to ask if she could come in after working four days in a row, she immediately responded “no.” However, she began to see the news of the shooting on social media and realized that the tragedy had struck close to home this time. Estupinian knew some of the students might be arriving at her hospital so she went in to help.
During her shift, Estupinian went to drop off a blood sample in the lab. She passed by the ER waiting room where families were waiting to see if their children and loved ones were okay. Estupinian tells YouthRadio.org, “At the end of the day, it made me feel good that I could actually provide some kind of service to these families.”
Estupinian has been working at the medical center since early March and is slated to begin the nursing program at Houston Baptist University in August with a goal of becoming a registered nurse.
To read Youth Radio’s full interview with Estupinian about her experience working as a nurse technician when the victims of the Santa Fe shooting began arriving at the hospital, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Amanda Ward Braswell, a 2017 graduate from Baylor University’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing and recent recipient of a Fulbright grant to India. The Fulbright Program is an international educational exchange program sponsored by the US government to increase mutual understanding between people of the US and people of other countries.
Beginning in the fall, Braswell will temporarily leave her post as a registered nurse in the Bone Marrow Transplant unit at Medical City Dallas to live in Bengaluru, India, on the Bangalore Baptist Hospital (BBH)/Rebekah Ann Naylor School of Nursing (RANSON) campus. Braswell will conduct her research project with residents from DJ Halli, the largest slum in Bangalore, where rates of illiteracy and a variety of health disparities run high.
Braswell tells Baylor.edu, “The No. 1 cause of death in India is non-communicable disease, such as cardiovascular disease, and this is something that can be prevented if people have the knowledge about modifying certain aspects of their diet, for example. So my project will study the perception of food, dietary habits and the accessibility of food and find the link to cardiovascular disease with the goal of bridging the knowledge gap.”
Braswell became interested in Bengaluru, India on a mission trip in July 2017 with two of her nursing professors and a few peers from Baylor’s nursing program. Through a partnership with BBH/RANSON, Braswell and colleagues taught 200 nurses at the hospital how to initiate intravenous punctures while reducing the risk for infection and conducted research on the effectiveness of their teaching.
After finishing her Fulbright year, Braswell hopes to publish her research findings and return to Medical City Dallas, with graduate school a strong possibility in the future. Braswell is considering earning her DNP or PhD while continuing in the field of nursing research.
To learn more about Braswell’s work as a Fulbright scholar in India and future plans for her career in nursing, visit here.