Five doctoral nursing students recently participated in the Tennessee Action Coalition's Legislative Boot Camp held in Nashville. As part of their Health Policy course, taught by Dr. Carrie Harvey, Associate Professor of Nursing, the students joined 80 other nurses and nursing students in learning how to successfully communicate with state legislators. The students had interactive learning opportunities, toured capitol hill, and received training on the Full Practice Authority bill being introduced to the Tennessee Legislature this year.
Participating students included Robin Hopp, Tracy Wilson, James Winegart, Catherine Evans and Christine Hardesty.
Belmont’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) was recently granted full accreditation by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education’s (CCNE) Board of Commissioners. The University began its Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) to DNP program in the fall of 2012 with 5 students. In the fall of 2013, the Bachelors of Science in Nursing (BSN) to DNP program was launched. In the fall of 2014, the programs together totaled 28 enrolled students.
With the first graduating class in May 2014, Belmont has seen great success with both DNP tracks. 75 percent of these graduates were invited to present their scholarly project, a required portion of their degree track, at a national meeting of nurse practitioners.
“This is yet another notable benchmark for nursing at Belmont. I am grateful for the University’s leadership and encouragement for establishing the DNP program and also want to recognize the hard work of Drs. Buckner, Wofford and Higgins and the graduate nursing faculty and staff. This accreditation award is a direct reflection of their steadfast commitment to professional excellence,” said Dean of the Health Science and Nursing College, Dr. Cathy Taylor.
The School of Nursing aims to produce nursing professionals that can assist in transforming our nation’s health care industry, said Dr. Martha Buckner, associate dean of nursing. With a focus on a collaborative educational environment, the School is committed to identifying needs within the industry and producing additional tracks that meet those needs.
Belmont’s Provost, Dr. Thomas Burns said, “The full accreditation of the DNP program at Belmont brings to fruition the full suite of holistic nurse training programs at Belmont. With this final piece in place, our nursing program now provides compassionate, patient-centered education to nurses across the full spectrum of practice-based nursing education and provides our students and our community with the best comprehensive nursing training program possible.”
With this granting of this accreditation, all Belmont nursing programs are fully accredited by the CCNE.
Belmont University School of Nursing was well represented in a new slate of officers elected recently by the Tennessee Nurses Association (TNA) at their annual assembly. Dr. Sandy Murabito, Assistant Professor of Nursing, was selected as the President-elect for organization's governing body. In addition, Tracy Wilson, Instructor of Nursing, was elected to the nominating committee and senior nursing major Daniel Maison was elected president of the Middle Tennessee Association of Student Nurses.
“This is wonderful recognition for nursing at Belmont," said Dr. Cathy Taylor, Dean of the Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences & Nursing. "I have no doubt Ms. Wilson and Mr. Maison will excel in their new roles, and Dr. Murabito will provide the strong leadership the TNA presidency demands. She is an experienced advocate and will prove to be a worthy champion for Tennessee nurses.”
“This year’s meeting ushered in a new strategic direction for the Association,” claimed TNA President Frances Sills. “Each of these members bring experience and passion for the nursing profession and I am confident they will guide this organization to new levels of excellence.”
Dr. Murabito will serve as President-elect until next year's assembly in October and then serve as President for 2015-2016.
At the recent annual meeting of the Tennessee Nurses Association held in October in Murfreesboro, Drs. Donna Copenhaver and Sandy Murabito, both assistant professors in the School of Nursing, presented their work on nursing leadership and management simulation for undergraduate students.
They shared their experiences teaching critical thinking practices for delegation, prioritization and patient safety decisions, utilizing the newly released Standards of Best Practice in Simulation published by the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation (INACSL).
School of Nursing instructor Sara Camp gave a peer reviewed presentation of her work on end of life simulations for undergraduate nursing students at the National League for Nursing Technology Conference held in Nashville in October. She will also present aspects of this work at the Tennessee Simulation Alliance Conference in November.
“Helping students learn to provide holistic care at the end of life is a priority in nursing education. Opportunities for students to learn deeply about this may not present themselves in routine clinical rotations. Simulation creates a powerful opportunity for this learning to take place. Our students have received tremendous benefit from the end-of-life simulations and I’m so pleased that Ms. Camp is disseminating this work.” said Associate Dean of Nursing, Martha Buckner.
With an emphasis on experiential learning, Belmont’s School of Nursing provides students with the opportunity to participate in human simulation labs. For Nursing Instructor Sara Camp’s Adult Health II students, this meant taking part in an End of Life lab that simulated the death of a patient, with a volunteer acting as a grieving family member.
When the participating students arrived, they were aware of their patient, Lisa’s, prognosis. Equipped with her report, they were tasked with guiding Lisa and her family member through her final stages of life. As Lisa’s heart rate and pulse slowed, the volunteer family member’s questions sped up. Similar to what would occur in a hospital setting, students were responsible for providing care and comfort for the patient, while assisting the family during a particularly challenging time.
Belmont University Web and Marketing Developer Jon Blankenship participated in the simulation because of a personal connection he has to caregivers who specialize in end of life treatment. His father was recently diagnosed with end stage colon cancer and through the experience, “the one constant we have is how wonderful Dad’s nurses are to him and to us,” Blankenship said. The opportunity to contribute to the education of a nurse who could play that same role for a family in the future was what made Jon sign on. For those nurses, “there aren’t enough thanks to give,” he said.
Camp is committed to equipping students with the skills needed to care for the family system, not just the patients they are assigned. Often, nurses are expected to be experts on caring for patients in their final stages of life in a hospital, regardless of their training or comfort level. Camp said many bedside nurses aren’t confident in the end of life training they have received and because of that, are not adequate resources for new nurses to turn to. “Given that the end of life is such an important event in the life of our patients and their families, it seems irresponsible to leave this to on the job training,” she said.
Senior nursing major and simulation participant Blair Bailey would agree. “It is nice to have practiced skills in lab, prior to actually performing the skills in the hospital,” she said. “I will definitely be able to take what I learned from this simulation and take the experience into the real world as a nurse.”
In a debrief following the simulation, senior nursing major Mark Wolter, discussed the challenge of moving from a proactive treatment mentality to one that comforts the family and patient through the final stages of life. Because of Lisa’s signed DNR and DNI, once the final stages of life had come, there was no medical intervention that could be done. Instead of working to raise a heartbeat once it had dropped, the care team was responsible for ensuring the comfort and ease of both the patient and the family. “At this point in a patient’s care, you are treating everyone close to the patient, and you realize the impact that you can have as a nurse in keeping the situation as peaceful as possible,” he said.
Through this and countless other simulations included in Belmont’s program, students are given the opportunity to practice their skills through first hand experiences, preparing them for clinicals and post-graduation careers. Wolter said he is grateful for the emphasis Belmont puts on experiential learning and knows the program continues to advocate for more and more opportunities. “I’m a nail and hammer kind of learner, so that has helped me in a profound way,” he said. “The experiences I have had while at Belmont are beneficial because I have had varying experiences that I will build from in my first job and first few years as a nurse. I am thankful.”
Belmont University’s School of Nursing hosted a pre-conference as part of the ninth annual National League for Nursing Technology conference in Nashville in October. Participants from around the nation filled one of Belmont’s simulation labs for a presentation on the School’s integration of an academic electronic health record across the curriculum.
Professors Sarah Tarr, Jean Blank and Dr. Jamie Adam engaged the sold-out audience in hands on learning including selection, use and integration of the technology.
“Electronic health records (EHRs) have the potential to mitigate error, streamline processes and improve communication across the spectrum of health care. Meaningful use of EHRs in chronic and acute care is a major priority in the U. S. health system today. Our faculty have been early adopters of this technology in the classroom, lab and clinical areas and our students and their future patients are the beneficiaries of this work,” said Associate Dean of Nursing Dr. Martha Buckner.
Assistant Professor of Nursing Dr. Erin Shankel has presented her work on tele-monitoring and app-based symptom management in pediatric asthma at two recent national conferences. She presented at the annual meeting of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners in June and at the national Doctor of Nursing Practice conference in October.