Some healthcare professionals see blood, mangled bodies, and death every day, yet certain days are worse than others. As when, for instance, a dozen police officers are gunned down or 20 kids are killed in their elementary school in a mass shooting. Because public mass shootings happen nearly every 6 weeks in America, these tragedies are having a more frequent impact on the healthcare workforce.
Research data are sparse. One study surveyed 24 surgical residents working at Orlando Regional Medical Center in Florida in 2016. On June 12 that year, a gunman shot 49 people to death and wounded 53 others at the mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub. Three months later, rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and major depression were two and four times greater among the 10 residents on call that night versus the 14 off-duty residents. Though the differences didn’t reach statistical significance, assessments were revealing. A survey of the same residents 7 months after the mass shooting found that PTSD persisted in those affected in the on-call group but completely resolved in the off-call residents.
As part of an ongoing effort by MedPage Today to explore job stress and burnout among healthcare professionals, reporter Shannon Firth talked at length with physicians and nurses who shared personal experiences with mass shootings and how they affected their lives and careers.
Three Encounters With Mass Shootings
“After I Saw What I Saw, I Really Thought to Myself, ‘I Hope I’m Not Broken:'” Richard Kamin, MD (Sandy Hook school shooting, 2012)
“The Worst Night of My Professional Career:” Brian Williams, MD (Dallas police sniper attack, 2016)
“I Still Get That Pit Feeling in My Chest of, I Can’t Believe This is Happening:” Megan Duke, RN, CEN (San Bernardino terrorist attack, 2015)
MedPage Today intern Amanda D’Ambrosio assisted with reporting for these stories.
Originally published by MedPage Today.
of Texas (UT) at Tyler recently announced that it will be expanding
its Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program to accept more students in an effort
to address the shortage of nurses in Texas and beyond.
From 2011-2018, the School of Nursing admitted 2,116
students while turning away 2,361 qualified applicants due to a lack of space
and faculty. The expansion of the BSN program will allow for an additional 180
students to be admitted each academic year and will also accelerate the rate at
which the program produces nurses into the workforce.
Dr. Barbara Haas, School of Nursing executive director, tells news-journal.com, “With the expansion, students will graduate an entire semester earlier than was possible under the previous model. Not only will we be able to accept more applicants, but we will also get them out into the workforce faster.”
Beginning in spring 2020, the program will offer a
12-month, year-round BSN program which will be made up of three 15-week
semesters. Applicants will be admitted in the fall, spring, and summer
semesters, and attend full-time for four consecutive semesters.
To learn more about UT Tyler’s
announcement to expand its Bachelor of Science in Nursing program to accept more
students in an effort to address the shortage of nurses in Texas and beyond,
A&M University recently announced that the College of Nursing has
received approval for its Center
of Excellence in Forensic Nursing, transitioning the forensic nursing
program into a state- and federally funded center. The new designation will
help expand the capabilities and funding resource opportunities, pushing
forward the College of Nursing’s initiative to advance forensic nursing
education, outreach, and research.
nursing is a specialty role focused on the intersection of health care,
criminal justice, and the legal system. Registered nurses and advanced practice
registered nurses can specialize in forensic nursing, allowing them to provide
specialized care in the areas of interpersonal violence prevention, intervention,
investigation, and post-trauma care. Areas of practice within this specialty
include sexual assault, death investigation, corrections, disaster aftermath,
risk management, intimate partner violence, child maltreatment, elder
mistreatment, and human trafficking.
Nancy Fahrenwald, PhD, RN, PHNA-BC, FAAN, professor and dean of the Texas A&M College of Nursing, tells today.tamu.edu, “The Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing will accelerate multidisciplinary efforts to devise and implement comprehensive strategies that address interpersonal violence across the life span. We are now in the best position to engage scholars throughout The Texas A&M University System to develop and disseminate new knowledge, positively impacting health and social outcomes for those affected by violence.”
A&M’s new Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing allows for an expansion
of the college’s Master of Science degree and graduate certificate in forensic
nursing programs. The Center will also provide interdisciplinary and
professional education course trainings available to health care providers, law
enforcement agencies, social workers, and others seeking advanced education in
treating victims of violence.
learn more about the newly designated Center of Excellence in Forensic Nursing
in the Texas A&M University College of Nursing, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Maria Elena Valdez, a first-generation community health worker who is preparing to graduate from nursing school at the end of this year and embark on her career as a nurse.
Valdez was born in Eagle Pass, Texas to seasonal immigrant workers from Coahulla, Mexico. She traveled between Mexico and the US with her parents when she was young while her father worked in Wisconsin fields in the summers and then took his family to Mexico each winter when the work season ended. Her parents had a better plan for her future so they eventually settled in San Antonio, which now feels like home to Valdez.
During her junior of high school, Valdez started volunteering for the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) Pathway to Health Professions program, which is housed under the Policy Studies Center within the UTSA College of Public Policy. She earned her associate’s degree from Northeast Lakeview College and enrolled at UTSA in fall 2017 where she studied to earn her certification as a community health worker. She can now practice in the field while she works to obtain her bachelor’s degree.
Valdez is currently leveraging her Community Health Worker certification at the Children’s Hospital of San Antonio where she counsels emergency room patients so that they leave the hospital with better awareness of the resources available to them at home. She will graduate from UTSA in December with her Bachelor’s of Science in Community Health from the College of Education and Human Development.
Miguel Bedolla, the director of the UTSA Health Career Opportunity Program, tells utsa.edu, “Maria Elena is absolutely committed to serving the population of San Antonio, she has already been certified by the State of Texas as a Community Health Worker through the Pathways to Health Professions Program, she is one of the best students in the program and is unwaveringly committed to be an excellent nursing professional.”
To learn more about Maria Elena Valdez, a first-generation community health worker who is preparing to graduate from nursing school at the end of this year and embark on her career as a nurse, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Kathryn Daniel,
an associate nursing professor at the University of Texas at Arlington’s (UTA) College
of Nursing and Health Innovation (CoNHI) and director of the Adult and Gerontologic
Nurse Practitioner Programs who has a mission of preparing nurses to care for
Nurses make up the largest
segment of medical workers in the US, and Daniel believes they are the backbone
of the nation’s health care system. Daniel herself has been involved in the care
of older adults for over 35 years, practicing in geriatric primary care, long-term
care, and assisted living facilities. Daniel’s research in gerontology includes
studies on emerging technologies to enhance safety, cardiac rehabilitation,
palliative care, and an analysis of the present and future needs for nurses.
Daniel has also led UTA’s Smart
Care program since 2015. Smart Care is a collaborative project between
the College of Nursing and Health Innovation and the College of Engineering
that develops technology to improve the independence, quality of life, and
health of the elderly and those with disabilities. Daniel’s most current work is focused on facilitating healthy aging. Her
professional mission is preparing nurses to care for a rapidly aging
Daniel tells eurekalert.org, “I believe nurse practitioners are vital health care providers who can play an important role in the future health of our populations. Through my work and research, I am thrilled to be part of the group building the science of nursing through future nurse practitioners and nurse scientists.”
learn more about Kathryn Daniel, an
associate nursing professor in the UTA College of Nursing and Health Innovation
and director of the Adult and Gerontologic Nurse Practitioner Programs who has
a mission of preparing nurses to care for older adults, visit here.
In 1975, with the Vietnam War still fresh in the minds of the American public, most high school senior graduation plans did not include joining the U.S. Army. But for eighteen-year-old Virginia “Ginny” Warren, the North Texas daughter of a cotton farmer, the Army looked like an ideal path. Much to the chagrin of her father, Ginny Warren had just set forth on a 44-year journey from soldier to VA Nurse.
“The Army offered me a way to broaden my horizons and to learn,” said Warren, Nurse Manager at VA North Texas Health Care System.
Warren began her military career with two-years in medical administrative field before spending the next twenty-two years as a medic with the U.S. Army Reserve’s 94thCombat Support Hospital, based in Seagoville, Texas. With a primary mission to take a 150-person deployable hospital anywhere in the world and be ready to receive casualties within 72 hours of arrival, Warren continuously trained for the opportunity to apply her talents while developing a new passion to become a Registered Nurse (RN).
Through her career in the Reserves, the Army sent Warren to licensed vocational nurse (LVN) training and Warren quickly realized she had an aptitude and attitude for nursing. Warren went on to attend the University of Texas at Tyler School of Nursing to become a RN and was subsequently commissioned in the U.S. Army Nurse Corps.
“I had to find my place as a new nurse and new military officer,” said Warren. “I had a lot to learn, but I felt I had a lot to offer as well.”
After becoming an RN, Warren brought her health care experience to VA and joined another family of nursing professionals at VA North Texas in 1997.
In 2003, Warren’s Reserve unit was called upon to deploy to Landstuhl Regional Medical Center to treat wounded servicemembers straight from the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. The ability to muster tremendous internal strength and compassion, coupled with her many years of training to deploy on a moment’s notice, was exactly what the soldiers, Marines and airman she treated would need to make their next journey back stateside to recover with family and friends.
“I vividly remember leaning over this big sergeant, hugging him, and whispering in his ear that it would be okay, and the pain won’t last,” said Warren.
Warren would go on to give more than 40 years in uniform, retiring as a field grade officer in 2015.
With over 22 years of service as a VA nurse, Warren now walks the inpatient wards of the Dallas VA Medical Center where she once served as junior nurse, as a manager and mentor to a new generation of nursing professionals who rely on her expertise and experience to care for many of the 134,000 active patients who use VA North Texas for their health care each year.
“Nursing is not just a career, it’s a passion and a devotion,” said Sheila Wise, VA North Texas Nurse Manager, and herself a retired U.S. Army Nurse. “To bring that passion and devotion to the service of our Veterans the way the Ginny has, and continues to do every day, for as long as she has, makes her an inspiration and a guiding figure for our nursing team. She makes all of us better.”
While eighteen-year-old Ginny Warren could have never foreseen the impact she would have on our nation through her service to military servicemembers and Veterans over 44 years, the nearly 3,000 nurses who apply their skills at VA North Texas are glad that the cotton farmer’s daughter left home to make the journey of a lifetime.
“Nursing has always been where I could pour my heart and soul,” said Warren. “I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
This story was originally posted on VAntage Point.