School of Nursing Ranked Among Best Graduate Programs by U.S. News & World Report

Nursing stock image

Belmont University’s graduate nursing programs were lauded today when U.S. News and World Report released its 2018 rankings of Best Graduate Schools, a tool to help prospective graduate students better understand the graduate school landscape and identify potential programs. Both the Master’s in Nursing (No. 157) and the University’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (No. 127) were included in this year’s rankings which surveyed 532 accredited nursing schools.

Belmont College of Health Sciences and Nursing Dean Dr. Cathy Taylor said, “We’re pleased with this recognition for our growing graduate and doctoral nursing programs and the extraordinary strengths our faculty bring to teaching and practice every day.”

Both the master’s and DNP rankings are based on a weighted average of 14 indicators. Seven ranking indicators are used in both the master’s and DNP ranking models. The seven common factors are the four research activity indicators, faculty credentials, the percentage of faculty members with important achievements and faculty participation in nursing practice. The other seven indicators in each ranking use measures that are specific to each degree type. Both rankings take into account the ratings of academic experts.

Belmont graduate family nurse practitioners (FNPs) are prepared to practice in a variety of settings. Graduates are particularly skilled in measurement of patient and population outcomes, education of diverse populations, leadership in health policy development and implementation, translation of evidence into clinical practice and advocacy for quality care within complex health care delivery systems. This is directly reflected in Belmont’s consistent 100 percent national certification examination pass rate and robust, post-graduation job placements.

Belmont’s other health science-focused programs were lauded among U.S. News 2017 rankings—the website doesn’t rank those programs on an annual basis. For 2017, Belmont’s pharmacy (No. 98), occupational therapy (No. 88) and physical therapy (No. 79) programs were all included in the national rankings of Best Graduate Schools.

Social Work Club Hosts Nashville Unity Project

Students map their identifiers at the Unity Project event on April 6

Beginning on April 6 and lasting through April 9, Belmont University’s Social Work Club organized and implemented an interactive art project in Nashville as part of the international Unity Project movement. The event was aimed at reducing division in the community by visually showing how all lives are interconnected and related.

Panel discussion at the Unity Project event on April 6The event was held at the Bellevue Branch of the Nashville Public Library and began with an opening ceremony that featured a panel discussion led by local community members on matters of diversity and inclusion. Panelists included Belmont’s Chief of Staff and Vice President Dr. Susan West, Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at Vanderbilt Dr. George Hill, Education and Street Chaplaincy Coordinator for Open Table Nashville Lindsey Krinks, Community Relations Manager at Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition Leah Hashinger, Belmont student Jasmine Niazi and a representative from Conexión Américas.

After the opening ceremony, the interactive art project was open for public participation during normal library hours and was constantly supervised by Belmont students until the closing ceremony, held on April 9. The art project consisted of 32 poles placed in a circle, with each pole representing a unique identifier (culture, ethnicity, race, religion, etc.). Participants were invited to wrap colorful yarn around the poles they identified with, connecting themselves with the growing piece. Once complete, the yarn formed a cohesive web of interconnectedness to show that community members have more similarities than they do differences. The closing ceremony featured a poetry reading, music by a local artist and a group discussion on diversity, which was led by Associate Professor of Social Work Julie Hunt.

Belmont student Kate Patterson initially came up with the idea to bring the Unity Project to Nashville after being inspired by her participation in a Unity Project in Washington D.C. last June. Patterson was the main student involved in organizing the event and was present throughout the whole event.

“The Social Work club and I have been working out the details for the event for several months. It was rewarding to see the event take place after so mucStudents map their identifiers at the Unity Project event on April 6h planning,” Patterson said. “The panel discussion at the opening event was powerful to hear how organizations across Nashville value working together with various populations for a common goal of promoting the rights of humans. Throughout the weekend, I was blessed to meet many amazing individuals who reflected on their identities and had dreams of carrying the event to other locations around Nashville and to other cities. It was refreshing to meet so many people who worked together to create unity in the collaborative art piece as well as in their lives.”

The Unity Project was created in June of 2016 as a response to the divisiveness and negative rhetoric in American politics. Since its conception, the Unity Project has been completed in more than 20 countries.

Students and Faculty Attend Nashville Health Care Council’s DC Delegation

Pharmacy studentsFive students and one associate professor from the Belmont University recently attended the Nashville Health Care Council’s Leadership Health Care (LHC) initiative, along with a group of more than 100 health care leaders, on its annual two-day delegation to Washington, D.C. This year’s event provided delegates with an inside look at the state of health care policy under the new administration and predictions about what developments may unfold to impact Nashville’s $78 billion health care industry.

The delegation featured discussions with members of Congress such as U.S. Representative Diane Black (R-TN) and U.S. Representative Jim Cooper (D-TN). The other key health care leaders who participated in discussion panels were Jay Perron the Vice President of America’s Health Insurance Plans, Chip Kahn the President and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, and Michael Ramlet, the Founder and CEO of the Morning Consult.

Pictured above:  L to r: Brittani Montgomery, PharmD Student, Bruce Alter, DPT Student, Drew Dudek, DPT Student, Sabrina Salvant, OTD Faculty Member, Kerry Ternes, BSN-DNP Student, and Julie Wofford, OTD Student

Hallmark Elected to INACSL Nominations and Elections Committee

Hallmark's headshotAssistant Professor in Belmont’s School of Nursing and Director of College and Health Sciences Simulation Dr. Beth Hallmark was recently elected to the Nominations and Elections Committee for the International Association of Clinical Simulation Learning (INACSL). The INACSL is a portal for nurses and educators dedicated to advancing the science of health care simulation by developing standards for its practice. Hallmark will join four other committee members for a two-year term of service, beginning in 2017 and continuing through 2019.

In addition to her recent achievement, Hallmark has been serving as an invited contributor for the National League of Nursing’s (NLN) TEQ blog. Sponsored by the NLN Center for Innovation in Simulation and Technology, the blog works to keep nurse educators up-to-date with the latest innovations in simulation, e-learning, telehealth and informatics. Hallmark is on the blog’s editorial advisory board, which oversees content and contributes articles while also interacting with followers. The team is comprised of nurse educators who have been actively involved with the NLN’s technology-related professional development programs and are experts in the field.

DNP Students Attend Student Policy Summit in Washington, D.C.

Smith and Porter in front of the Capitol building in Washington, D.C.Belmont University Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students Carleigh Smith and Jordan Porter recently attended the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Student Policy Summit in Washington, D.C. During the three-day conference, Smith and Porter were immersed in didactic program sessions focused on the federal policy process and nursing’s role in professional advocacy. Additionally, they were able to visit the office of Tennessee Senator Lamar Alexander and representatives from the Senate Health Education Labor and Pensions (HELP) committee. The experience gave Smith and Porter the opportunity to learn more about the influences that policy advocacy has on the country’s health care system.

“As a graduate student in Belmont’s BSN-DNP program, I fiercely believe it is my ethical duty to advocate for the advancement of health in Tennessee and nationwide,” Porter said. “As reforms take place in our healthcare system, nurses at all levels of education must be seated at the table and understand the health policy process to ensure the delivery of safe, high-quality care for all Americans. This opportunity is a testament to Belmont’s commitment to investing in its graduate nursing students as leaders and advocates in our present and future healthcare system.”

“The wonderful opportunity to participate in the AACN Student Policy Summit enabled me to look outside the clinical focus of FNP training and experience the broader, policy-focused influences that shape healthcare in our community,” Smith added. “As a future DNP, I hope to continue to work towards advocating for my community on a policy level. This summit gave me the building blocks to get started.”

College of Health Sciences Scholar in Residence Shares Insight on Social Leadership

Bankston speaking at a faculty lunch on February 22

Belmont’s College of Health Sciences recently welcomed Dr. Karen Bankston, associate dean for clinical practice, partnership and community engagement in the University of Cincinnati’s College of Nursing, to campus as a Scholar in Residence. From February 20-24, Bankston led students and faculty in convocations, lectures, small group discussions and even one-on-one conversations surrounding the role that diversity plays in the health care system. Bankston has been working in the health care industry for over 40 years in areas ranging from trauma care in the emergency room to psychological health. She spent her week at Belmont speaking to students and faculty on topics centered on social leadership in the 21st Century.

At her convocation event on February 22, Bankston discussed the history of health care in the U.S., starting with the conception of the idea that care should be provided to everyone, including those who can’t afford it, which surfaced during the Civil Rights Movement. She focused on how the industry has had to adapt, like everything else, to changes in technology, moving from an industrial society to a technological one and from a national consumer base to a global market. Due to these advancements in the way that society functions, the focus of health care shifted to meeting the needs of an audience that expected fast and immediate attention. The idea no longer seemed to be centered on the patients being served or on the quality of the service, but rather on the money that could be made through providing the quickest gratification.

“There is no health care industry in the United States,” Bankston said. “What we have in the U.S. is an illness care industry.” With the emphasis of care being placed on those who are already sick instead of also working to promote wellness and prevent illness from occurring in the first place, different areas within the industry are straying away from their common goal of providing care. Bankston raised the question, “When is it okay to let one’s rights take a backseat to cost and quality?”

Bankston also discussed the role that social leadership should play in creating change where and when change is needed. She described social leaders as the ones who “bridge the gap between what is and what should be” and encouraged students and faculty to always question why things are done the way they are.

Bankston’s visit gave CHS faculty members the opportunity to open a discussion regarding the role that social contexts play in creating disparities in the health care industry. This information is being considered moving forward as the School of Nursing works to launch a new curriculum this fall.

“Dr. Bankston challenged us with shared experiences and insights into our academic social responsibilities, and we’re especially grateful for her frank contributions to our on-going dialogue about diversity and inclusion.  She is an inspiration for future healthcare professionals,” said Dr. Cathy Taylor, dean of the College of Health Sciences.

“We know that the health care workforce needs to look more like the population we serve,” added Dr. Martha Buckner, associate dean and professor in the School of Nursing. “We lack diversity in our professions and we believe the dialogue generated around [Bankston’s visit] will help move us forward. We also know that health professions faculty need to be more diverse and we hope to inspire a future generation of diversity for academia.”

Physical Therapy Faculty, Alumni and Students Present at American Physical Therapy Association

PT Students present at conference

Belmont University’s School of Physical Therapy had a strong presence at the 2017 Combined Sections Meeting sponsored by the American Physical Therapy Association in February. Physical therapists from around the country gathered in San Antonio, Texas to present research, attend workshops and honor the academic achievements of the past year.

Belmont faculty, alumni and current students were among those attending the conference. The faculty had four presentations and seven posters highlighting their scholarly work including the platform presentation on clinical electrophysiology and wound management by Kathleen Galloway, PT, DSc, ECS.

Several alumni received recognition for specialty certifications including Kristin Story, PT, DPT (’07), the second physical therapist in Tennessee to receive the Cardiovascular and Pulmonary certification. An additional seven alumni were recognized for receiving specialty certifications in sports and orthopaedics.

Additionally, Elise Meade, PT, DPT  (’15) presented research that she completed as part of the Neurologic Residency Program at Vanderbilt Pi Beta Phi Rehabilitation Institute and Belmont. Meade graduated from the residency program in August 2016.

The School of Physical Therapy also had a strong student presence as Jenny Ellison, Abby Lester, Kyla Lydon, Megan Rolfe, Ashely Gowen and Amy Krichau  presented research on a national stage.

College of Pharmacy hosts Fourth Annual Homecoming Continuing Education Program

Presentations during College of Pharmacy's 4th annual Homecoming Continuing Education Event

On Saturday February 25, the College of Pharmacy hosted its annual Homecoming Continuing Education event. Approximately 20 local pharmacists attended the event. Attendees came from across Middle Tennessee and represented a variety of pharmacy practice settings including health system pharmacists and community pharmacists. Presentations included a 2016 New Drug Update, Cyber Risk & Your Pharmacy, Precision Medicine in Pharmacy Practice, Neuropsychiatric Symptoms of Dementia and an Update on the Screening and Treatment of Depression. Belmont faculty Drs. Genevieve Ness, Kate Claussen, Amy Ham and Michael McGuire were among the presenters. Other presenters included Hayden McKaskle of Kroll and Stephanie Walters of Alive Hospice.

Belmont University College of Pharmacy is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) as a provider of continuing pharmacy education. For more information on upcoming Continuing Education opportunities, click here.

OT Doctoral Students Present Research at the Tennessee State Capitol

 Straatmann and Edwards with their research posterThird-year students in Belmont’s Doctoral Program in Occupational Therapy Joseph Straatmann and Emilie Edwards were recently selected to present their research at the Tennessee State Capitol as a part of Graduate Week. Straatmann and Edwards presented their research project to state legislators, Tennessee college deans and the Nashville community. Other colleges represented included UT-Martin, UT-Knoxville, Vanderbilt and Austin Peay.

“The primary focus of this poster presentation was to highlight the work that graduate programs were doing across the state,” said Straatmann. “We met wonderful people from all the local universities and had a chance to talk about our research. Not only did we present our poster, but we were able to network with many individuals in the Nashville community and universities.  We received great feedback and tips for future research projects and how we can improve on what we’ve done.”

Straatmann has been impressed with the opportunities he has received within the School of Occupational Therapy since his arrival at Belmont over two years ago. “As a member of the Belmont occupational therapy program, I have had opportunities to present at numerous conferences here in Tennessee, national conferences in other states and even international conferences that pass through Nashville. Our program, as well as Belmont, does a great job of allowing multiple ways for students to become active members in the community.”