Health Sciences at Belmont University


DNP students attend National Policy Summit in Washington DC

Pictured are DNP students Jennifer Jaramillo, Kathryn Dambrino, Danielle Voss, and Kristen Allen as they wait for a meeting in Senator Bob Corker's office.

Pictured are DNP students Jennifer Jaramillo, Kathryn Dambrino, Danielle Voss, and Kristen Allen as they wait for a meeting in Senator Bob Corker's office.

Four doctor of nursing practice (DNP) students attended the AACN Student Policy Summit held in Washington, DC earlier this week. The students were immersed in program sessions focused on the federal policy process and nursing’s role in professional advocacy. Aspart of the summit they made visits to capitol hill with Associate Dean of Nursing Dr. Martha Buckner, meeting with legislative staff of the senate Health, Education, Labor and Pension committee. Student Jennifer Jaramillo said, "The policy summit was such an amazing opportunity to advocate for nurses in Tennessee and across the nation. Building a network with other nursing leaders was an invaluable experience that will enrich our future practices. Advocacy and policy play a major role in our nursing practice and the future of our profession."


Belmont MSN graduates achieve 100% first-time pass rate for 11th straight year

2014MSNGradsSince 2004, all graduates of Belmont’s Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) program for Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP), totaling 150 students, have passed the nursing certification exam on their first attempt. The most recent class of 28 graduates passed the exam this spring.

Dean of the College of Health Sciences Cathy Taylor said, “This is marvelous recognition for our outstanding students and a testimonial to the passionate dedication of an expert graduate nursing faculty team led by Dr. Leslie Higgins. We are so proud of this remarkable accomplishment.”

The School of Nursing began offering its MSN degree 20 years ago and with the creation of the Doctorate of Nursing, the graduate programs have grown to a record enrollment of 87 students in the fall of 2014. Prepared to practice in a variety of settings, FNPs provide primary health care to families and individuals of all ages. Graduates from Belmont’s program have gone on to practice in pediatrics, genetics, family practice and public health, among others.

Lucille Turmel, a 2012 Belmont graduate, found Belmont’s post-master’s certification program directly fit her needs and prepared her for a career as an FNP. Currently working in a private practice in Washington, Turmel said she enjoys working with all ages of patients and has recently developed a passion for teenagers and young adults.

While at Belmont, Turmel said the best part of her education was the “personal attention and guidance from Dr. Higgins and the faculty and staff…I felt very well prepared and was employed two months after leaving Belmont.”

The advanced practice nursing examination for FNPs is administered by the American Credential Center (ANCC) and validates nursing skills, knowledge and abilities. Since 1990, more than a quarter million nurses have been certified by ANCC and over 80,000 advanced practice nurses are currently certified by the ANCC. The certification is accepted by governing boards throughout the U.S. as well as insurers and the military.


Nursing student completes military training programs

We missed this post several months ago, but the accomplishment is worth recognizing even a bit late.

As posted by Nashoba Publishing in Ayer, Massachusetts

ElizabethLochiattoElizabeth M. Lochiatto, an Army Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadet at Belmont University, Nashville, Tenn., has graduated from the Leader Development and Assessment Course at Fort Knox, Ky.

The 29 days of training provide the best possible professional training and evaluation for all cadets in the aspects of military life, administration and logistical support. Although continued military training and leadership development is included in the curriculum, the primary focus of the course is to develop and evaluate each cadet's officer potential by exercising the cadet's intelligence, common sense, ingenuity and physical stamina. The cadet command assesses each cadet's performance and progress in officer traits, qualities and professionalism while attending the course.

Cadets usually attend LDAC between their junior and senior years of college, and they must complete the course to qualify for commissioning. Upon successful completion of the course, the ROTC program, and graduation from college, cadets are commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Army, Army National Guard or Army Reserve.

Lochiatto has also completed the Nurse Summer Training Program.

This program assigns cadets who are nursing majors to Army medical facilities throughout the continental United States as well as in Germany, where they develop and practice leadership skills in a clinical environment. The cadets work side-by-side with an Army Nurse Corps officer preceptor.

Read more:

Belmont’s MSN program Included on U.S. News’ 2016 Graduate School Rankings

Belmont University’s Gordan E. Inman College of Health Sciences and Nursing was lauded last week when U.S. News and World Report released its 2016 rankings of Best Graduate Schools, a tool to help prospective graduate students better understand the graduate school landscape and identify potential programs. Belmont’s Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) ranked at No. 115, up from No. 234 in the 2011 rankings.

The MSN ranking is based on average peer assessment score, average undergraduate GPA, acceptance rate, faculty resources, student-faculty ratio and research activities, among others.  In addition to its recent U.S. News ranking, Belmont’s MSN program has seen great success through the first time pass rate of graduates. For the 11th consecutive year, graduates of the MSN program for Family Nurse Practitioners have achieved a 100 percent first time pass rate on the nursing certification exam totaling 150 student graduates since 2004.


2015 Mission to Guatemala: Final Day

FullSizeRenderTeam Nursing/Pharmacy
from Pharmacy Faculty Members
Elisa Greene & Edgar Diaz-Cruz, and
Nursing Faculty Member Jamie Adam

Our team returned safely to Nashville just before midnight last night with exhausted, yet fulfilled students and faculty. This unique Springbreak experience gave students an incredible opportunity to be immersed not only as American students in the Guatemalan culture, but also as an inter-professional healthcare team. Nursing, OT, Pharmacy students and a student majoring in Communications, learned how to leverage each other’s strengths to provide quality care to the people of Guatemala. Within the majors, students had various degrees of experience. Graduate students were mentoring undergraduates, seniors were mentoring freshman, and faculty were facilitating meaningful inter-professional learning experiences.

As most international trips go, students and faculty were challenged to be flexible about their own expectations and use the unexpected as “teachable moments.” In addition, our team had to learn to manage the people’s expectations of what we could provide. There was much we could offer, but in some cases, we had to acknowledge our own limitations. Regardless of whether we could identify a problem or a need, our patient might not be able to afford a physician or the medications needed.


2015 Mission to Guatemala: Day 6

Two separate teams of health science students are in Guatemala over Spring Break this year.  One team consists of nursing and pharmacy students.  The other includes OT and PT students.  Both  team are writing about their experiences.

ToriPowersDanielleMarshallGabiOkoniewskiTeam Nursing/Pharmacy
from Gabi Okoniewski, Danielle Marshall
& Tori Powers

A week ago, none of us knew what exactly we were getting into as we traveled to Antigua, Guatemala. Now a week later, our expectations of this trip have been far exceeded and our perspectives have changed. Not only have we learned about the culture here in Antigua, but we have also learned more about our own culture in America. Collaborating with the different professions this week has given us all a greater appreciation for the different disciplines in the healthcare field. This was a great experience that could not be matched by any other.

1Guatemala15Top reasons why YOU should come on the Guatemala Spring Break Immersion Trip

-There is 75 degree weather everyday and there are NO mosquitos!

-The creation of new friendships.

-Cultural compentance within the city.

-Having the ability to interact with the kids at both the coffee plantation school and the God's Children School.


2015 Mission to Guatemala: Day 5

Two separate teams of health science students are in Guatemala over Spring Break this year.  One team consists of nursing and pharmacy students.  The other includes OT and PT students.  Both  team are writing about their experiences.

KandiceSquiresErinOakleyErinToddTeam Nursing/Pharmacy
from Erin Todd, Erin Oakley,
Kandice Squires, Noah Ploegman &
Justin Beasley

Today our group drove to San Luca, a small town ten minutes from Antigua, to visit a pharmaceutical manufacturer called PharmaDel. JustinBeasleyNoahPloegmanHere we had the unique opportunity to observe the medication manufacturing process first-hand. It was exciting for us as future pharmacists to follow a medication from its raw form into its final packaged product ready to be distributed across Central America. We were impressed with the level of dedication and integrity demonstrated by plant employees.

After observing these processes for both solid and liquid medication formulations, our tour then shifted focus from the manufacturing aspect towards PharmaDel`s quality assurance measures. The technology and lab techniques used to evaluate the purity of the medication produced are very similar to those which we use in our country. 1Guatemala11Special air pressurization, filtration systems, and room design functioned to enhance sterility and prevent contamination. PharmaDel is working towards becoming certified by the World Health Organization as meeting their highest standards for pharmaceutical manufacturing. It was surprising to our group that most of the drug development and quality assurance measures were performed by pharmacists, however, the guide explained to us that this is a common role for pharmacists in Guatemala. To become licensed, students complete 5 years of post-high school general and pharmacy education, plus 6 months each in a hospital and laboratory practice setting. Finally, they complete an internship in one of these areas, which often leads to employment.


2015 Mission to Guatemala: Day 4

Two separate teams of health science students are in Guatemala over Spring Break this year.  One team consists of nursing and pharmacy students.  The other includes OT and PT students.  Both  team are writing about their experiences.

AlexisRheaAnnePendleyMaddyClarkeWilliamsTeam Nursing/Pharmacy
from Maddy Clarke Williams & Alexis Rhea-Anne Pendley

Language may be regional, but love is universal.

Today, we had no expectations of where we were going or what we would be doing. Upon arriving, we came to realize we were at a school that was tangible proof of how one man's work can establish a strong community for roughly 150 students in Antigua, Guatemala. Some twenty years ago, a man's heart was touched by God's radiating beauty that he experienced through the children he met on a mission trip. He was inspired to give back to the children who touched him. With the little money he had, he was able to purchase a Big Mac and split it twenty ways, so every child to which he was ministering was able to have some. The man went on to create a school for these orphans that has developed through the years and now provides a safe and empowering environment. We soon realized our purpose at the school differed from our previous experiences at the coffee plantation.

1Guatemala07To begin our day, we taught the children the importance of nutrition and basic hygiene, such as washing hands and brushing teeth. To assist in our teachings, we taught the students a simple, yet catchy, song about washing their hands. After practicing this song with them several times, they requested more songs. With humble hearts and shaky voices, our group managed to quiet the area by singing Amazing Grace. Many of us later remarked on the power of the moment; though the students may not have understood the words we sang, they definitely appeared to share the same content feelings. Afterwards, the children were eager to share with us a few of the songs they had learned at school.


2015 Mission to Guatemala: Day 3

Two separate teams of health science students are in Guatemala over Spring Break this year.  One team consists of nursing and pharmacy students.  The other includes OT and PT students.  Both  team are writing about their experiences.

EllieIvancichTimZerwicRachelSearfossTeam Nursing/Pharmacy
from Rachel Searfoss, Tim Zerwic & Ellie Ivancich

Put a few students in a room and you come up with a physical assessment. Put a few more students in a room and you come up with a list of suggested medications. Put yet another student in the room and you learn what exercises can be done to remedy specific pain. Put all of the above along with faculty and interpreters in a room, and you come up with a plan, from English to Spanish, for how to help an individual return to a more optimal state of health.

Day two of health screenings and teaching begins in Antigua with the College of Health Sciences and Pharmacy missions team. The group has worked incredibly hard to find better ways to organize our efforts together in order to provide the most useful amount of care that we can give to the coffee plantation workers and their families. Everyone has offered their insight, experience, heartfelt concerns, suggestions, and innovative ideas to make this process mesh together in a solidified way. When workers came to the screenings earlier this morning, we began recording height and weight first, assessing for any complaints of pain or health concerns, taking blood pressure and blood glucose measurements, and teaching for both adult and child CPR education. The effort to reorganize the health screening process engaged the workers and families so much more than before and also helped to streamline the process into where those with more serious health issues were able to receive more concentrated and specific care. One of those cases worked closely with our occupational therapy student on the mission team, Tim.

1Guatemala07A man who works the coffee fields was complaining of upper back and shoulder pain. He reported that he lifts heavy bags of coffee over and over again each day. The bags, filled with fresh coffee harvested, can weigh up to 150 pounds. After assessing the injury, Tim considered that the man may be suffering from a supraspinatus tendon impingement. This type of injury affects the rotator cuff and involves abduction of the arm away from the body and can result from overuse and overexertion. Working with an interpreter, Tim taught the man how to perform different types of stretches and exercises he could do at home, even with a can of beans, something he easily has on hand.


2015 Mission to Guatemala: Day 2

Two separate teams of health science students are in Guatemala over Spring Break this year.  One team consists of nursing and pharmacy students.  The other includes OT and PT students.  Both  team are writing about their experiences.

NoahPloegmanKristenFlowersTeam Nursing/Pharmacy
from Kristen Flowers and Noah Ploegman

On our second day in Guatemala began with a traditional Guatemalan breakfast prepared by a local mother and daughter. After breakfast, we ventured thirty minutes under the shadow of an active volcano to a coffee plantation where women enthusiastically greeted each member of the team with a hug.

1Guatemala02The owner of the plantation allowed us to set up a clinic in the school for his employees and their families. We provided screenings for diabetes and hypertension, personal hygiene, nutrition, and CPR. In return, the plantation owner invited us to experience the "work" on a coffee plantation. We were able to sort and pick coffee beans, and observe, first hand, the heavy lifting the workers perform. This experience gave us insights into why we were seeing so many workers complaining of shoulder and knee pain. In addition, the recent volcano eruption left ash covering the coffee plants and covered the workers and us while we worked, leaving us to wonder if workers were experiencing respiratory issues.

Although we had prepared for screenings and teaching it quickly became apparent that workers and their families had many acute needs they wanted addressed.
Patients presented with symptoms of strep throat, peritonsilar abscess, arthritis, diabetes, peripheral edema, and arrhythmias. This unexpected change placed a new responsibility on our team to work together to manage their expectations and our capabilities to care for their immediate needs.