Belmont’s Masters of Science in Nursing Graduates Achieve 100 Percent Pass Rate for 12th Straight Year

 All graduates of Belmont’s Masters of Science in Nursing (MSN) program for Family Nurse Practitioners (FNP) have passed the nursing certification exam on their first attempt. The most recent class of 22 graduates passed the exam this spring, making this the 12th consecutive year of 100 percent first-attempt success.

Nursing-ExamAssociate Dean of Nursing and Professor Dr. Martha Buckner said, “This is an amazing accomplishment for these students and Belmont’s program. It gives a clear indication of the quality and rigor of our program, and I could not be more proud of our students and their success. I am especially grateful to Dr. Leslie Higgins, director of Belmont’s Graduate Studies in Nursing, whose leadership of the program for the past 18 years has helped us achieve significant growth and outstanding quality within our graduate nursing programs.”

The School of Nursing began offering its MSN degree 20 years ago and with the creation of the Doctorate of Nursing, the College’s graduate programs have grown to a record enrollment of 88 students in the fall of 2015. 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.

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.

Health Science Students Attend Leadership Health Care Delegation in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Cathy Taylor, dean of Belmont’s Gordan Inman College of Health Sciences and Nursing, recently moderated a session at the Leadership Health Care Delegation in Washington, D.C. Taylor’s moderated session delivered by Dr. Meena Seshamani, director of the Office of Health Reform, who oversees the office charged with implementing the Affordable Care Act.

Seven Belmont nursing, occupational therapy and physical therapy doctoral students attended the conference with Taylor to network with industry leaders and decision makers. These students included Emmy Rice, Nicole Clark, Tim Zerwic, Joe Straatmann, Carleigh Smith, Kenneth Jenkins and Kristian Beach.

*Above photo provided by Keith Mellnick and Nashville Health Care Council

Mission to Guatemala: Energy, Laughter and Happiness

by Kristina Mertz, Meghan Chen, and Allison Lane
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This week has flown by faster than any of us had expected considering our rocky start. It is crazy to think that today was our last day of clinics here in Guatemala. Thursday's Blog PictureToday we were blessed enough to serve at Escuela Esperanza surrounding ourselves with kids full of energy, laughter, and happiness. The mission of this school was to break the cycle of poverty through education and empowerment, which motivated us to continue on through the heat of the day.

At the end of the day, we had our usual debriefing meeting where we reflected upon 1 Corinthians 1: 12-19. In this passage, it discusses how “God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” This scripture made us realize how God has given each individual on this team special abilities and talents that has allowed us to work together as a team. Similar to the Body of Christ, health care is made up of many different parts and roles. Our team is made up of students from pharmacy, physical therapy, social work, and nursing. Over the past week, we have realized the importance of integrating interdisciplinary roles in order to serve the people of Antigua. We all have our own individual strengths but we also know it is okay to ask for help when we need it.

Thursday's Blog Picture 2It is so rewarding to know that we were able to provide health care for so many people over this short amount of time. None of this would be possible without each of us coming together to form a team, for the sum of our efforts are greater than the parts we each play. Each of us will walk away with a stronger understanding of how we can serve others as the Body of Christ.

As Jesus says in Matthew 25:40, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.”

Mission to Guatemala: God came through. . .

by Shelley Robert, Adjunct Professor and
Nurse Practitioner, Vanderbilt Trauma Center

“Your word, Lord, is eternal;
it stands firm in the heavens.
Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures.” -Psalm 119:89-90

Leading the students on this trip has reinforced and renewed my faith in several ways. As a newcomer to Guatemala, as a rookie leader of a student trip, and as a nurse practitioner who practices in a highly organized healthcare system with ample resources, this trip presented many challenges and fears. I was not able to solve these challenges by my own volition or control, therefore I asked God to give me the strength and wisdom of the Holy Spirit. I breathed this prayer under my breath many times throughout the week, as I walked up to obviously sick women and children. And He responded. Our student team saw many very sick patients who literally had no other option outside of us. We are practicing in a rural area where many families live in great poverty, and they do not have the resources to provide healthcare for their families. Many of our Guatemalan friends, when I questioned their medical history, had never been seen by a doctor. We saw a variety of illnesses, ranging from children with chronic respiratory illness to a woman with dengue fever and impending hypovolemic shock. I prayed so many times during these examinations, for God to help me remember my training and to give me direction for how to best care for these very sick people. Cellular networks were unreliable, and we had no use for all the fancy & informative apps on our phones. But God came through for us. He answered my prayers, in all His goodness and grace. He helped me to recall the knowledge and skills that go unused in my day-to-day profession, which is highly specialized and not at all similar to the primary care/international medicine practice that we needed with these patients. He also gave me a brilliant multidisciplinary team of health science students and other leaders who were passionate and excited to lend their fresh expertise in a new perspective. God is faithful. Our prayers are a reminder of our reliance on God, as we humbly and desperately invite Him to fill us with faith and strength.

Mission to Guatemala: The Journey to Antigua

by Jon Ashton, Pharmacy Student

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From left to right: Shelby Hood (Pharmacy – 4th year), Meghan Chen (Nursing – 2nd year), Jonathan Ashton (Pharmacy – 1st year) in Antigua, Guatemala

Each of us has our own journey, our own path to walk. Some paths are easy, some are hard. Some smooth, some rocky. Some are flat, and some never seem to stop going uphill. Each of us has parts of our journey that are wonderful and some which are not, and some parts that help us find meaning in that journey.

For one week, a group of 22 students and faculty at Belmont University has come together to walk a part of our journey together. We have decided to journey together to Antigua, Guatemala in order to spend that time in service of others.

Our journey got off to a hectic start. We were scheduled to arrive at 4AM Sunday morning at Nashville International Airport in order to be prepared to board our pre-dawn flight to Houston and then on to Guatemala City. We checked in, shuttled through security, and boarded the plane, only to have the captain announce over the intercom that we would be delayed for fog in Houston. We stood up sleepily, trudged off the plane and waited, where but ten minutes later, we were invited back onto the plane after the captain had verified that in fact their equipment was sufficient to land in fog. This time, it was time to go! We taxied out onto the runway and waited for the word that we were cleared to take off. No_go_for_Houston_030616Some 45 minutes later, another passenger not in our party passed out and required medical attention, so we taxied back to the gate, only to find that there was no gate available. By then, the passenger had recovered, more embarrassed than anything else, but by this time, we’d lost enough time that it was impossible for us to make it to Houston in time to catch our connecting flight to Guatemala City. We were asked to deplane again. Strike two. Our faculty leadership sprang into action and spent 20 minutes with the gate attendant trying to find an option to reroute our flight and get us to Guatemala that day. Unfortunately, it was not to be. The next available flight was the following day. Strike three. We were out. Our only option was to return the following morning, once again at 4AM. A rocky start indeed.

Guatemala_City_from_the_air_030616Monday morning came, and by 4AM, each of us had returned to the airport ready to go, a little wearier from lack of sleep and a little warier of bad luck. This time, however, our luck was good. The skies were clear enough to fly on schedule, and we had an uneventful pair of flights to Guatemala City. The city itself is nestled in among verdant mountains with colorful buildings dotting the landscape as we approached. It was clear that the city was a modern city, but with a soul that was unique and different from that which we know in Nashville. The colors were vibrant, the people energetic, and there seemed to be a well-organized chaos directing traffic. It took an hour and a half by van to reach Antigua along a highway which might be described as an unhurried rush. No horns sounded angrily. Motorcycles weaved through traffic. People went about their day.

Calles_de_Antigua_030616As we reached Antigua, the feel changed. The town was smaller, the architecture took on a less modern and more colonial Spanish aspect. The roads were cobblestone. Amidst the historic charm of the city, there was a rougher edge to be seen. There were bars on windows, heavy steel grates, prominent locks, and walls with broken glass embedded in the tops to prevent burglars from jumping over. It was clear there are parts of the town that are less safe than we are used to. It was also clear that there was a very real need for people like us to come and offer what training, knowledge, and skills that we have.

Having been delayed a full day, our contact, a businessman named Pablo, informed us that a doctor was seeing patients and that many were waiting for us to arrive to help screen her patients. Once again, our leadership sprang into action, directing a few of us to drop off our bags at the residence, and setting up the various stations of the clinic. There were stations for vital signs, for blood glucose screening, an eye exam, and a limited pharmacy set up with the medications we brought from Tennessee. We saw over eighty patients, mostly elderly women, but included a few children and teenagers as well.

One patient in particular, an elderly woman of over eighty years, came to the clinic with leg pain. She told her story of chronic, severely debilitating leg pain that kept her housebound, confined to a wheelchair, unable to walk or work. She felt a burden to her adult daughter who cared for her. When we asked what we could do, she asked if we would pray with her. Sydney didn’t hesitate. She asked for a translator to join her and the patient’s daughter for a prayer. The bowed their heads. Sydney prayed. The translator translated. As the prayer was offered, those around the room took notice. Many bowed their heads and joined the prayer. Many others in the crowded, busy room heard the words and their eyes glistened as they asked God for strength, for guidance, and for love. When she was done, she said ‘Amen’ and offered a hug to the woman, who returned it with tears in her eyes.

There are times along our journey when our path intersects the path of another. On this day, the relatively smooth path of 22 young travelers crossed many paths: a young, inquisitive boy in for a check-up, a young girl with a persistent cough, a young mother with a sick infant, an elderly grandmother with leg pain, and countless others. Each day, we have the chance to make a difference, to reach out and offer comfort in a time of need, to help make the journey of a fellow traveler a little easier.

Mission to Guatemala: Tuesday

DSC_0320by Carolina Cerrato, Nursing Student

DSC_0240Today was a day both challenging and gratifying as my team and I tackled our second day serving those in Antigua, Guatemala. We had the opportunity to visit a clinic for the elderly, as well as a women’s clinic, and continued running general health screenings there. With today being our second day there were definitely more expectations in terms of what we were capable of, however, there was not a single challenge that one of my team members did not rise to meet. I am continually blown away by the energy, passion, and focus that each one of these individuals has for providing healthcare, and even more astounded by the love they have for a people they’ve only just met. As I walked from room to room within the clinic there were several instances when entire groups of people would have their hands over someone in prayer, which was incredible to me, because not only did it serve as a reminder of why we are here (for Jesus!), but it showed just how much of a team we have already become – united under Christ.

As we continue throughout this week I am excited and anxious to see how we grow together and as individuals. With only a few days left to provide care, we are eager to see how the Lord can continue to use us to love and care for His people. Bendiciones,
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Doctoral Health Science students honored for Thesis Abstracts

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Evan Pendygraft and Samantha Grishaber represent their research colleagues at the Graduate Education Day on The Hill.

Graduate students from two programs in Belmont University’s Gordon E. Inman College of Health Sciences & Nursing were recently honored by the Tennessee Conference of Graduate Schools with the 2015-16 Outstanding Thesis Award.

Six students in the Occupational Therapy Doctoral program were recognized for their abstract entitled, “Prevalent Concerns Among Community-Dwelling Older Adults in Middle Tennessee.”  The students, Samantha Grishaber, Abby Hawkins, Evan Pendygraft, Chelsea Skaggs, Mary Beth Thiel and Nicole Wright, were mentored by Dr. Debra Gibbs, Assistant Professor of Occupational Therapy.  The study identified health as the primary concern of community-dwelling adults that contribute to their ability to sustain independent living, followed by finances, memory, transportation and safety.

Kathryn D. Mitchell, a student in Belmont’s Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, was also recognized for her study entitled, “Public Access to Naloxone: Provider Awareness and Prescribing Attitudes.”  Her project examined knowledge, attitudes, subjective norms, and prescribing intentions among nurse practitioners (NPs) working in adult primary care, family practice, pain management, and emergency department practice settings in response to state naloxone distribution laws.  Her study revealed that NPs are critical to successful implementation of this innovative approach to combat overdose deaths in Tennessee.

The abstracts were presented at the Graduate Education Day on the Hill for the Tennessee Legislature earlier this week.

Colleges of Health Sciences and Pharmacy to host Health Academy in June for 5th-8th graders

HealthAcademyThe College of Health Sciences and the College of Pharmacy will host a week-long day camp from June 6 through June 10 that will allow students in grades 5 through 8 to explore the different careers available in the health sciences fields and expose them to issues healthcare professionals deal with on a daily basis. Students will explore a real-world example of how different health professionals (pharmacy, physical therapy, nursing, occupational therapy, social work) collaborate and work inter-professionally to take care of a patient.  Click here to register.

School of Nursing Leads the Way at Tennessee Nurses Association Meeting

A group of students and faculty from Belmont’s School of Nursing attended the Tennessee Nurses Association meeting Oct. 23-25 in Franklin. The conference, entitled “Nursing Ethics: Commitment, Compassion, Quality Care,” featured a legislative panel with Tennessee legislators, keynote speakers and podium and poster presentations from nursing students and leaders from around the state.

Sandy Murabito

Assistant Professor of Nursing Dr. Sandy Murabito was installed as president of the organization, having served the past year as president-elect, Assistant Professor of Nursing Dr. Donna Copenhaver was elected as secretary and Instructor of Nursing Tracy Wilson continues on the state-wide nominating committee. Earlier in the month, Assistant Professor of Nursing Dr. Loretta Bond was elected as vice president for the Nashville district. Additionally, a total of 8 students participated in the jointly held Tennessee Association of Student Nurses conference and participated in shared educational sessions.

TNA’s Executive Director Sharon Adkins said, “I am delighted that Sandy has assumed the presidency and am sure that under her strong leadership, TNA will make an even greater impact on our profession and the health of our citizens.”

During the annual gala on Saturday, Oct. 24, Professor of Nursing Dr. Leslie Higgins was presented with the Award of Excellence for Nursing Education.

Belmont Health Science Students attend Global Missions Conference

Shelby Blalock, a doctoral student in pharmacy, adds a marker for Guatemala on a world map at the conference which represented mission trips of participants. Shelby’s interest in missions was reinforced during a Belmont Health Science mission trip to the country earlier this year.

Shelby Blalock, a doctoral student in pharmacy, adds a marker for Guatemala on a world map at the conference which represented mission trips of participants. Shelby’s interest in missions was reinforced during a Belmont Health Science mission trip to the country earlier this year.

Students and faculty from Belmont University’s health science programs recently attended the 2015 Global Missions Health Conference in Louisville, Kentucky.  Over 3000 health professionals and health professions students gathered for the world’s largest such gathering for medical missions.

Dr. Ruby Dunlap, Professor of Nursing, and Dr. Tracy Frame, Assistant Professor of Pharmacy, coordinated participation of 16 students from Belmont’s programs in nursing, occupational therapy, pharmacy and physical therapy.  Student involvement was spearheaded by Derek Neice, a senior nursing major, and facilitated by a gift from the Gabhart Fund to help pay registration fees. Continue reading