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University of Alabama receives $1.8 million to improve patient care in rural Alabama

Headshot of Dr. Nathan Culmer and Dr. Todd SmithThe University of Alabama’s Dr. Nathan Culmer (College of Community Health Sciences) and Dr. Todd Smith (Capstone College of Nursing) have received $1.8 million in funding this year from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine grant program. This funding will significantly increase the Emergency Medical Services’ telemedicine capabilities in rural Alabama, connecting 49 ambulances with approximately 18 hospitals across 19 rural counties in Alabama.

“With this network of telemedically-equipped ambulances and emergency departments in rural Alabama communities, we anticipate better response times to and from patient sites, improved quality of care at the point of need, and reduced financial burden for both patient and provider,” said Dr. Smith. “Dr. Culmer and I feel that we have created a critical infrastructure of EMS telemedicine capabilities that will enhance patient care and outcomes in medically underserved communities across our state.”

Once fully implemented, the project will offer access to higher quality and more efficient patient care by transporting patients to the most appropriate healthcare facility or enabling emergency department personnel to determine that a patient should remain on site, potentially reducing unnecessary hospital transports and 30-day readmissions. Additionally, it will provide for the transmission of more detailed medical and video data directly from EMS providers to emergency physicians and advanced practice providers in emergency departments. With this advanced data and telemedical communications, patients with possibly life-threatening conditions can be transported to the most appropriate facility in the least amount of time, which could save lives and improve quality of life.

“Our earlier research found that telemedicine capabilities in emergency situations had not been widely implemented across the U.S., and especially in rural communities. In fact, we recently found only 13 previous studies directly related to prehospital telemedicine, most of which did not adequately address concerns related to quality, cost, and patient satisfaction,” said Dr. Culmer. “A project on this scale will not only enhance the quality of care for rural Alabamians but will provide data for future research in this critical area.”

Three EMS personnel in front of ambulance

This project will be implemented in the following Alabama counties: Bibb, Clarke, Clay, Cherokee, Choctaw, Coosa, Covington, Escambia, Greene, Hale, Lamar, Marengo, Monroe, Perry, Randolph, Sumter, Tallapoosa, Washington and Wilcox.  In 2020, these rural counties had a total of 56,346 EMS calls and 26,056 individuals were transported to a hospital emergency department.

 “Residents in rural Alabama often have limited transportation access due to geographic barriers, which can mean longer distances for ambulance travel, limited communication between first responders and physicians, and a limited number of ambulances spread over a wider geographic range,” said Dr. Elwin Crawford, Alabama State EMS Medical Director. “These factors ultimately yield longer wait times before a patient receives care in hospital facilities, poorer health outcomes, extended transition times, and less patient and provider satisfaction.”

“This project, along with other ongoing initiatives in our state, will do a great deal to address healthcare discrepancies in our rural communities.”

The USDA Rural Development’s Distance Learning and Telemedicine program helps rural communities use the unique capabilities of telecommunications to connect to each other and to the world, overcoming the effects of remoteness and low population density.

Photo captions: TOP: Drs. Nathan Culmer and Todd Smith. BOTTOM: Hale County EMS, represented by Duane Baines, Kade Roberts and Bailey Crawford, will implement the project, connecting telemedically-equipped ambulances and emergency departments in the communities they serve.

Join Our Legendary Faculty!

The Capstone College of Nursing at the University of Alabama is growing– in enrollment and facilities– and we need more nursing faculty at all levels. CCN is currently searching for:

  • MSN-prepared Instructors
  • DNP-prepared Clinical Faculty
  • Tenure Track and Tenured Faculty with research preparation and experience

With an enrollment of over 2,400 nursing students, CCN offers a traditional BSN program, an online RN-to-BSN program, and nurse administrator and nurse practitioner programs at the MSN level. The College also offers three types of doctoral programs: a Nursing Science PhD Program offered online in collaboration with the University of Alabama at Huntsville; a Doctor of Education for Nurse Educators program, jointly taught by CCN faculty and faculty in UA’s College of Education; and an online Doctor of Nursing Practice program.

With our winning traditions in athletics and academics, our programs are consistently ranked by U.S. News and World Report, including our most recent ranking in the Top 5% of BSN programs in the U.S. Our BSN graduates achieved a 100% NCLEX pass rate for first time test takers two years in a row. Our College is also recognized by the NLN as a National Center of Excellence in Nursing Education. Over 35% of incoming freshmen at UA have scored 30 or higher on their ACT exams, and we have over 940 National Merit Scholars on our campus. The University made the 2021 Forbes list of Best Employers for New Graduates.

We are located in Tuscaloosa, a vibrant college community with a moderate climate. Our campus has been ranked as one of the Most Beautiful Campuses in America. Come join us for a stimulating work environment and a great quality of life, at The University of Alabama – Where Legends are Made®.

To apply, visit Employment Opportunities at https://facultyjobs.ua.edu. The University of Alabama is an Equal Opportunity Affirmative Action education institution/employer.

For more information, contact Dean Suzanne Prevost at sprevost@ua.edu or 205-348-1040.

Bartlett Awarded $1.2 Million to Build Diversity in Nursing and among Nurse Scientists and Faculty in Alabama

Robin Bartlett: Professor, Lifespan Researcher

Dr. Robin Bartlett, Associate Dean for Research at the Capstone College of Nursing, and her team have received notice of a $1.2 million Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) of the National Institutes of Health for their project, Health Sciences & Technology Academy-Alabama (HSTA-AL). The goal of HSTA-AL is to build a pipeline for underrepresented students to the field of nursing, teaching them to become change agents in their communities.

“Our nation is in dire need for more nurses, particularly nurse scientists, nurse faculty, and RNs from rural areas and diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds,” said Dr. Bartlett. “To change this dynamic, we must encourage students from underrepresented populations to enter the field of nursing before they graduate from high school.”

According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, nearly 40% of the U.S. population are Black, Indigenous, and people of color, but these groups comprise only about 20% of the nursing workforce and 16% of full-time nursing faculty.

Dr. Bartlett continued, “Nurses from underrepresented and diverse communities have the potential to become change agents in their communities, employing their understanding and expertise to address health inequities that lead to poorer health outcomes among underserved populations.”

This five-year program seeks to replicate West Virginia’s SEPA-supported Health Sciences & Technology Academy (WV HSTA), but with adaptations specific to the needs of rural Alabama (the program will initially focus its efforts in Hale and Pickens Counties). HSTA-AL aims to support inclusion in nursing, nurse faculty and nursing science roles by opening the doors to higher education for underrepresented high school students.

The SEPA funded WV HSTA has been in existence for more than 25 years and has graduated nearly 3000 students from the program, with an 89% graduation rate among those who matriculate to college. WV HSTA graduates often go on to pursue advanced degrees, and many choose nursing as a profession.

“We will build on WV HSTA’s successes, tailoring HSTA-AL to meet the unique needs of Alabama high school students,” said Dr. Bartlett. “We look forward to opening these students up to the possibilities of a biomedical career, especially a career in nursing.”

“The Hale County School System has a passion for providing opportunities for all students, not only in their education endeavors but also in life. This program will do both,” said Mr. Michael Ryans, Superintendent of Hale County Schools. “I believe that long-term, sustainable change will be accomplished through this program. Together, we can improve the health of Hale County residents while educating and preparing our youth to become the health care professionals of tomorrow.”

Steps taken to encourage students to pursue undergraduate degrees will include (but not be limited to): hosting summer camps on nursing, citizen science and rural health disparities; offering after-school clubs to engage students in community-based participatory research; and providing professional development to HSTA-AL in-service and pre-service teachers.

UA’s Capstone College of Nursing HSTA-AL team includes: Dr. Bartlett, Drs. Mercy Mumba, Paige Johnson and Michele Montgomery, and Mrs. Brandi Lester. Dr. Betty Key from Samford University is also a member of the team, as are Ms. Bethany Hornbeck and Dr. Ann Chester from Apis Creative and Drs. Alan and Sherron McKendall from West Virginia University.

Research reported in this publication was supported by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under SEPA Award Number R25GM142027. The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

What is HSTA-AL?

Fall 2021 Pinning Ceremony

 

Photos from the Fall 2021 Pinning Ceremony available to view and download here.

 

CCN’s Fall 2021 Pinning Ceremony will be Saturday, December 11th at 10 a.m. in the Sellers Auditorium at the Bryant Conference Center.

December 2021 Traditional BSN graduates will receive additional information via email from the Office of Nursing Student Services. Please contact ONSS with any questions at 205-248-6639.

Current  UA guidelines:

Consistent with Executive Order 14042 and accompanying guidance from the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force, effective Nov. 5, 2021, face coverings will no longer be required for fully vaccinated individuals in most University of Alabama facilities.

Masks are only required:

  1. For unvaccinated individuals indoors, and in crowded outdoor settings or during outdoor activities that involve sustained close contact with others who are unvaccinated;
  2. For all individuals in patient clinical-care settings, including the University Medical Center, the Student Health Center, the Capstone Village assisted living and specialty care units, Brewer-Porch Children’s Center, and the Working on Womanhood program; and
  3. For all individuals on Crimson Ride buses.

Unvaccinated individuals will not be required to wear masks when eating or drinking while maintaining appropriate distancing, when alone in an office with floor-to-ceiling walls and a closed door, while actively exercising, or in residence hall rooms.

To the extent practicable, individuals who are not fully vaccinated should maintain social distancing.

Anyone, including those who are fully vaccinated, should feel comfortable choosing to wear a mask, even when not required.

These face covering requirements may be updated as necessary to comply with changes to federal guidance or as needed to respond to a substantial rise in community transmission.

 

 

Creating a Crimson Closet

CCN student’s idea to aid others under financial stress

While earning a college degree is certainly a strong investment, the expenses associated with pursuing higher education weigh heavily on many. After paying tuition, buying books and covering various additional fees, many students feel a financial strain. And for our nursing students, that strain might be felt long before the bill for their new crimson scrubs comes in.

Thus, the idea for a CCN Crimson Closet was born. Michealyn D. Crauswell, a student entering her upper division nursing courses, approached Dean Suzanne Prevost with an idea that would ease a bit of the burden for students under financial stress.

Michealyn D. Crauswell in crimson scrubs
Michealyn D. Crauswell

“We have several group chats for our nursing classes where we communicate study tips, answer questions about CCN, and just help each other out. As we were ordering scrubs, I noticed many students were worried about the cost because they’re not cheap– my set was $220,” said Crauswell. “As someone who grew up in a single-parent household, I know how tight money can get.. There have been many times I’ve had to choose between things, or go without because we just couldn’t swing it. My mom is pretty great, and always made something happen though.

Since it was such a large number of students and not just a couple, I took a few days to decide what to do and I came up with the Crimson Closet. I suggested that past CCN students could donate used scrubs, shoes, and coats so that current students could use them for little to no cost.”

As it would turn out, CCN already had an initiative like this in the works. In the past, 5th semester students were asked to consider donating their gently used scrubs back to the school. Those scrubs were then offered to students who needed assistance when entering upper division courses.

“We have been doing this on a smaller scale for a number of years, and are thrilled with the creation of CCN’s Crimson Closet which will now become a significant resource for our students,” said Rebekah Welch, Director of the Office of Nursing Student Services.

Knowing that UA’s Career Center has had such success with their Crimson Career Closet, Dean Prevost and ONSS felt confident this could work at CCN, and immediately identified a physical space for the closet as well as ways to fill it with uniform items. The CCN Board of Visitors has committed funds to ensure the closet is initially stocked, and ONSS will continue to accept donations of gently used scrubs and other uniform items.

Crauswell hopes that the creation of this resource will let students know they are not alone.

“I want our current students to know that past students, as well as their instructors, care enough about them to make sure that they succeed, even if that means helping with the cost of things. It’s okay to not be able to afford things sometimes and that shouldn’t be an embarrassment when resources are readily available. I grew up without a lot of things; we really struggled. Seeing my fellow classmates scared at the thought of going without really upset me. I would help everybody if I could,” said Crauswell.

“I want our current students to know that even though most may not know me, I love and care about them and their well-being. Most of the instructors know we are a tight-knit group, and I hope the Crimson Closet shows them just how much we truly love and are there for one another. I hope eventually that the Crimson Closet has a big enough community impact that purchasing scrubs is optional because they’ve been donated and can just be borrowed. As for the future, I hope our current CCN students remember the good deeds done for them and give back to those in need.”

If you are a CCN alum with crimson scrubs you’d like to donate, please reach out to the Office of Nursing Student Services at (205) 348-6639.

Joe Burrage Memorial Lectureship, February 8, 2021

Headshot Dr. Richard RicciardiPlease join CCN for its annual Joe Burrage Memorial Lectureship via Zoom on February 8th at 5 pm! This year’s featured speaker is Richard Ricciardi, CRNP, PhD, FAANP, FAAN. Dr. Ricciardi is a Professor and Director of Strategic Partnerships for the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at The George Washington University School of Nursing, and president of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing.

Prior to joining GW, Dr. Ricciardi served as the Director, Division of Practice Improvement and the Senior Advisor for Nursing at the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Dr. Ricciardi served on active duty in the Army for 31 years, where he held numerous positions as a pediatric and family nurse practitioner, clinical scientist, and senior leader. In 2020, he was recalled back to active duty to serve as the Medical Director for the COVID-19 pandemic screening, treatment and public health response at Fort Leonard Wood Missouri, one of the Department of Defense’s largest training bases.

This program honors the memory of Dr. Joe Webb Burrage, Jr., former Assistant Dean at the Capstone College of Nursing, and celebrates the work of male nurse leaders. One Nursing CEU will be offered to those who attend the lectureship.

 

Please register in advance using the Zoom link below.

Joe Burrage Memorial Lectureship

When: Feb 8, 2021 05:00 PM Central Time (US and Canada)

Register in advance for this meeting: https://bit.ly/CCNBurrage

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

For more information, contact Rosemary Kirby at rurussell@ua.edu.

CCN Expansion Provides Unique Learning Opportunities, Amenities

The new addition to the Capstone College of Nursing couldn’t open at a more essential moment in time.

When doors to the new wing opened in January 2021, the College celebrated the growth of its nursing program by expanding student learning and collaboration space and equipping faculty with the square footage needed to conduct research, prepare lectures and meet one-on-one with students.

The three-story, over 30,000-square-foot building expansion has significantly impacted the College’s ability to support its highly qualified students in achieving their dreams of becoming professional nurses. The expansion includes a home health care lab suite, additional practicum lab space, on-site food service, additional quiet study areas, collaborative work areas, private space for academic and career advising, a beautiful outdoor terrace and meditation labyrinth that will greatly improve the student experience!

 

2020 CCN Distinguished Alumni Award Presented to Dr. Jessica L. Peck

Dr. Jessica Peck holding awardEach year, the Capstone College of Nursing Alumni Association recognizes a distinguished CCN graduate who has demonstrated continuous and exemplary contributions to the profession of nursing and/or healthcare as the recipient of CCN’s Distinguished Alumni Award.

This year, CCNAA is thrilled to honor Jessica L. Peck, DNP, APRN, CPNP-PC, CNE, CNL, FAANP with this award. Dr. Peck is a 2012 graduate of the College’s Doctor of Nursing Practice program and continues to be an example of the key values of CCN: education, scholarship and service.

An expert in her field, Dr. Peck is shaping future nurses as a clinical professor at Baylor’s Louise Herrington School of Nursing. As Dr. Peck’s DNP faculty advisor, the late Dr. Marietta Stanton, once said, “Jessica uses an approach to education that is forward thinking and inventive, utilizing the latest educational theories to deliver current evidence-based practice guidelines in nursing… Her potential for innovation is unlimited.”

As president of the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, Dr. Peck is focused on improving the quality of care for infants, children and adolescents. An advocate for vulnerable youth populations, she also combats child trafficking through her work with a number of organizations, including NAPNAP’s Alliance for Children in Trafficking (ACT); Dr. Peck developed ACT Advocates, a grassroots advocacy program, to train healthcare professionals to respond to human trafficking in their communities.

CCNAA is honored to present this award to Dr. Jessica Peck. Below, she shares some highlights from her nursing journey.

 

What led you to pursue nursing as a career?

I am the firstborn in a new generation in my family. Previously, the only person in my family who had achieved a university education was my maternal grandfather. I was a bright learner and a good student, but I had absolutely no self-awareness, tools, or encouragement to seek academic opportunities after high school. As a woman at that time, the only two career paths that seemed remotely accessible to me were teaching and nursing. Because a teaching degree was not available at a community college, I fell into nursing. I had always loved caring for people and nursing turned out to be a wonderful fit for me. I am so grateful for the nursing profession, which provided affordable, accessible, and innovative pathways for me to grow as a clinician, a scholar, and a leader.

What are some major takeaways from your undergraduate journey?

When nurses, particularly nursing students, see my list of credentials and accomplishments, they often express admiration or intimidation. I love to remind myself and share with them, my very humble beginnings. I was not a strong nursing student in my undergraduate program. Plagued with timidity and a lack of self-confidence, I often found myself an unwilling focus of the instructor!

Once, an elderly female patient for whom I was caring demanded (loudly, rudely, and urgently) that I remove her dentures. I hadn’t practiced that in lab but made an educated guess that it was in the routine hygiene care realm and did not require supervision, put on gloves, and attempted removal. As you have probably guessed, she bit down on my fingers…and did not let go! After frantically signaling the emergency call bell and assisted removal by two nurses with padded tongue depressors, I was rescued. The nurses asked me, “What in the world are you doing?!” When I explained I was attempting to remove her dentures, they said “She doesn’t have dentures!” And that mean lady laughed and laughed and laughed. Long story short, I moved quickly to pediatrics and never looked back.

What motivated you to continue your education, ultimately bringing you to UA for your DNP?

Both my husband and the physician for whom I worked initially encouraged me to pursue a bachelor’s degree. My husband even got a master’s degree during this time, so we could go to school together. Then, he got a second master’s degree while I got my first so we could continue together! Sitting through five graduation ceremonies is true love.

All along the way, nursing faculty have encouraged me, mentored me, and pushed me to do more. They saw potential in me before I saw it in myself, patiently and persistently guiding me a step further down the path each time. I am so grateful to each of them. I never sought academic or professional opportunity on my own before achieving my DNP. It was always presented to me as an opportunity by a kind and faithful mentor who was willing to invest in the future of their profession.

Dr. Marietta Stanton and Dr. Jessica Peck in graduation robesWhen I was ready to seek doctoral education, as a nurse clinician, I knew the DNP was right for me. At the time, there were no DNP programs in Texas, so I began to look elsewhere, where I quickly found The University of Alabama. With nationally recognized and respected nursing scholars and a well-organized and leading-edge DNP program, I was quickly engaged. During my interview with the faculty who would become chair of my project, Dr. Marietta Stanton, she asked me “Are you willing to make the sacrifices that will be necessary to be successful in this program?” After a pause, I said “yes” and with no pause she said, “The faculty are willing to do the same.” I was sold.

Dr. Marietta Stanton and Dr. Peck at Peck’s DNP commencement ceremony.

What are some of your favorite moments from your graduate journey?

The first memorable moment was during the DNP Intensive. I was chosen as the keynote student speaker and to say I was nervous is a laughable understatement. I rushed off to the hotel business center to access a computer (this was before I had a laptop!) to review my presentation one. last. time. I flew in there like a crazy wind and found another woman working who recognized my distress. She offered to let me practice and gave me some encouraging words. I walked out, feeling more self-assured and confident. As I sat back at my table, I saw the same woman enter the room…and walk straight up to the podium as the keynote speaker. It was Dr. Penny Kaye Jensen, President of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners. I will never forget her humility and her kindness.

During my time at UACCN, I was accepted into the leadership program of the National League for Nursing, a great honor. At that time, Dr. Marsha Adams was a faculty member at UA while also serving as President of the NLN. Although I did not know her well, she came to find me at an NLN gala in Washington D.C. and I sat with the president and CEO, Dr. Beverly Malone as a UACCN DNP student. It was a great honor and a whole lot of fun. Dr. Malone shared stories about dining with Prince Charles and persuading Tony Blair to empower nurses to prescribe! It was a night I’ll never forget.

What did you find challenging about pursuing an advanced degree? Were there any particular obstacles you had to overcome along the way?

Graduate education is never easy. Even if you are a student with no financial stressors, no family challenges, no need to work, and no limit to your social support, it’s still hard! But life happens. Financial stressors arise. Family needs demand your time. Health crises occur.

For me, I got my DNP with four children between the ages of one and seven years, and a full-time job. The only way I could do it was capitalizing on their early bedtime and being disciplined to do it with my husband’s support in cooking and carpooling!

A bigger challenge was continuing to fight for the legitimacy of my DNP degree. Other health professions and professionals expressed skepticism, condescension, mockery even, toward the idea of a nurse with a clinical doctorate. Some of the attacks have been incredibly unprofessional and deeply personal. But I know nursing provided me an accessible pathway to positively impact health outcomes in a way that is innovative, forward-thinking, and modern. I’m meeting real people with real needs in real time, making a real difference.

What impact did obtaining your DNP have on your career?

Of the five academic degrees I now hold, the DNP degree program was by far the most transformative of my entire career. It was during this experience I felt a palpable shift from skilled clinician to leader and scholar. The DNP paradigm lifted my eyes from what I could do for an individual child in my exam room to what I could do for all children all over the world. I also became the first DNP-prepared nursing faculty to achieve the rank of full Professor with tenure in my state university system. I’m proud of that. DNP graduates continue to show the world the resilience and innovation of nursing.

What advice can you share for an undergraduate nursing student?

Maybe you are a student like I was, barely making ends meet and barely getting by in school. Persist. Persevere. Power through. Accept where you are in the journey and know your time to shine is just ahead. Develop relationships with trusted professional mentors. Take their advice. Believe them when they believe in you. Work hard! Never take no for an answer! There is always a new way to try something. If you are already a superstar, then keep shining! Dare to dream big! Nursing need leaders like you.

What advice do you have for a nurse considering an advanced degree?

There has never been a more exciting time to pursue a graduate degree in nursing. This is an unprecedented health crisis as the COVID-19 pandemic spreads throughout 2020, the Year of the Nurse. Nurses are ranked annually as the most trusted profession by the American public. With a holistic practice framework and the trust of the public, nurses are integral to the nation’s health.

The collective strength of nursing as a unified profession can impact health policy by leveraging our acquired knowledge and excellence in leadership to confidently serve the public and promote health equity. Nurses with advanced degrees are much needed and well-equipped leaders to serve at the epicenter of this crisis. Nursing is the most innovative, resilient, caring, and tenacious profession that has ever existed. Nursing will always find a way to rise up and meet the challenges of tomorrow.

You have come full circle—from student to educator. What is your favorite part of being in the classroom? 

My favorite aspect of being in the classroom is my students! They never cease to amaze me, inspire me, and teach me something new every day. I am grateful for the opportunity and carry the weight of the responsibility of stewarding this privilege well. I absolutely love seeing students grow professionally and join me as a colleague. One of my first undergraduate students I taught as a young nursing instructor has now gotten her master’s degree as a nurse practitioner followed by her DNP, and is joining me as faculty. That’s really special.

What is your favorite aspect of practice?

My favorite aspect of practice is the kids of course! The courage, tenacity, resiliency, and fresh-faced honesty of children lifts my spirit, warms my heart, puts spring in my step, and gives me hope for our future.

At CCN, we have made it a priority to encourage work-life balance for our faculty, staff, and students. What are some of the ways you achieve this balance?

My hobby has been learning, as you can see by my credentials and degrees (#NerdAlert). My favorite hobby is spending time with my family. We love to travel all over the world and experience new cultures. I also sing and play the piano a bit, and love being involved in my church’s worship ministry. I am an avid reader and an aspiring writer. Family is always most important. I often take my family with me when I travel. For example, my teen daughter came with me on a road trip to testify at the state capitol. I got to do my job, she got to see how government worked, and we had six hours in the car to talk. I use this approach as often as possible.

What do you see as your greatest achievement thus far?

My greatest achievement both personally and professionally is my four wonderful children. As a mother of three teens and one preteen, I am inspired every day to make the world a better place for them. My children have been so supportive of my career and my efforts to improve child health. They, along with my husband, are my greatest champions.

Professionally, I am honored to have been a trailblazer in a string of firsts, following in the footsteps of true legends in our profession… first woman in my family with a university degree, first nurse practitioner hired in three healthcare organizations, first DNP graduate on the faculty at the University of Texas Medical Branch, first DNP to achieve the rank of tenured professor in the Texas A&M system, now helping lead the first BSN-DNP program for pediatric nurse practitioners in Texas.

Other highlights include Fellowship in both the American Association of Nurse Practitioners and the American Academy of Nursing as well as being named Texas Nurse Practitioner of the Year. Serving the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners has been the most meaningful and impactful professional experience of my career.

What do you hope to achieve in the future?

This is an exciting time in my career. As a Clinical Professor, I have academic freedom to choose scholarly projects that are the most meaningful to me, and those which may have the greatest impact. I am very excited to see Baylor’s desire to use scholarship to positively impact underserved populations. I hope to impact my students by inspiring them to follow God’s calling with their profession. I hope to impact the patients we serve both directly and indirectly by using nursing to improve health outcomes.

While the care provided by nurses is widely and loudly celebrated, the voice of nursing lacks equal attention. As a scientific profession, nurses are not only caregivers but scholarly practitioners of care with a distinct culture of evidence-inquiry and implementation. Nurses conduct research, advocate for effective health policy, implement evidence-based practice, provide rigorous education and lead interprofessional teams to make a difference in health systems. Although nursing as a profession safeguards the majority of public trust, nursing voices are underrepresented at decision-making tables, in leadership positions, in government-appointed task forces and in the media.

Ultimately, I hope my work will shape the public’s health in the future by inspiring others to use their voices as policy advocates, their eyes and hands as competent caregivers, their minds as teachers and scholars, and their hearts to clothe these efforts in compassion, strength, innovation, and resilience. Nursing will always rise up to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Finally, is there anything you would like to leave us with today?

Our profession often requires grueling work which costs us physically, mentally, and emotionally. We practice in a world where our families struggle at times to understand burdens we bear, our education is diminished, our moral distress is present in decision-making, our bodies and minds are tired, and our voices are silenced. Nurses often put the needs of others above our own needs, to our detriment at times. These are, as many have said, uncertain times. However, I am certain the test of this pandemic will reinforce the strengths of nursing and we will come through this stronger together. And so, we press on. Despite the dangers, we are there in the most fragile and vulnerable times during human life. We meet indignities with the utmost dignity and compassion. We keep confidences without judgment. We honor wishes and protect autonomy. We cheer progress even when the end seems endless. We serve daily doses of hope in the face of utter hopelessness. We wipe tears of strangers and hug broken human spirits. We care for people when they cannot care for themselves. We are calm in the face of fear. We are comfort in the midst of pain. We face difficult things straight on, head up and eyes clear, although we take a moment to cry in the parking lot before we drive home to care for our own families.

As the most disruptive innovation in 21st century healthcare, DNP-prepared scholars have a calling to provide high quality, accessible, affordable care, especially to the most vulnerable among us– our children. It will take extraordinary courage to impact the issues facing healthcare today. As nurses, it will take our collective efforts, our acquired knowledge, our applied wisdom, and our unwavering dedication to fearlessly do whatever it takes to be a voice of advocacy for health all over the world.

Eight CCN Students Receive DCH Health System BSN Scholarship

DCH BSN Scholarship Recipients: TOP Left to Right: Paola Araque, Jordan Beckham, Abby Christensen, Javier Figueroa. BOTTOM Left to Right: Alisha Isbell, Amber Liu, Carly Stegall, Madeline Stoettner

The Capstone College of Nursing is pleased to announce that eight of its students are recipients of the DCH Health System’s BSN Scholarship.

CCN students Paola Araque (Mount Juliet, Tenn.), Jordan Beckham (Mobile, Ala.), Abby Christensen (Frankfort, Ill.), Javier Figueroa (Holly Pond, Ala.), Alisha Isbell (Tuscaloosa, Ala.), Amber Liu (Sandy Springs, Ga.), Carly Stegall (Helena, Ala.) and Madeline Stoettner (Western Springs, Ill.) were selected to receive the scholarship. Araque, Liu, Figueroa, Christensen and Stegall are current DCH employees.

“We are so appreciative of this opportunity for our students,” said Dr. Suzanne Prevost, CCN Dean. “The need for nurses has never been greater, and many of our nursing students are experiencing increased financial challenges due to the pandemic. The DCH Health System BSN Scholarship is easing the financial burden of pursuing a BSN, while ensuring that qualified nurses remain in our community during this time of great need.”

The DCH BSN Scholarship Program is open to all BSN college students enrolled in their last four semesters at an approved nursing program. Recipients of this scholarship are expected to become employed as full-time RNs at DCH Health System, and to remain employed at DCH for 12 months for each semester of scholarship assistance.

“Some of these students have already been gaining experience at DCH. From those experiences and what we have read, they are an exceptional group,” said Faye Zwieg, Chief Nursing Officer at DCH Health System. “We are excited to offer these scholarships and look forward to working with each of them.”

For questions about the scholarship program, please contact Peggy Sease at Peggy.Sease@dchsystem.com, or Rebekah Welch at rebekah.welch@ua.edu.

The University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing prepares graduates for the professional practice of nursing. The college is a national innovator in clinical simulation in nursing education, utilizing simulators and telehealth technology in teaching, research and health care delivery. We partner with a variety of well-respected health care facilities to provide clinical experiences that ease the transition into the working world and prepare graduates for challenges after school.

For nearly 100 years, DCH Health System has been providing quality and compassionate health care to its friends and neighbors in West Alabama. Today, the DCH Health System includes DCH Regional Medical Center, Northport Medical Center and Fayette Medical Center.

IMAGE: Top Left to Right: Paola Araque, Jordan Beckham, Abby Christensen, Javier Figueroa. Bottom Left to Right: Alisha Isbell, Amber Liu, Carly Stegal and Madeline Stoettner.

Clarification and Message to CCN Faculty

Dear Faculty Colleagues,

In my email to you yesterday with the subject line “Plans and Coverage for Fall Semester,” I noted that faculty with school-age children may be facing childcare challenges this fall, and asked that faculty unable to return to work let me know by August 7, so that the College has “time to hire a new faculty member to replace you.” 

I did not mean to suggest that any of you should resign from your faculty positions or that you will be terminated if you are unable to return to work, and I apologize if I created that impression. What I meant was that if you are unable to fulfill your teaching assignment, we need to know as soon as possible, so that we can make alternate arrangements for those courses.

I remind you that the Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides employees with emergency paid sick leave and expanded family and medical leave for specified reasons related to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can find more information regarding those provisions here: https://hr.ua.edu/coronavirus-covid-19-faqs/families-first-coronavirus-response-act-faqs-leaves-of-absence. Further, for those who are in the vulnerable population, and need a COVID-19 related accommodation, please find the COVID-19 Accommodation Request Form here:  https://hr.ua.edu/covid-19-accommodation-request-form-now-available.  Moreover, should anybody need an accommodation under the ADA, please contact our ADA Coordinator, Emily Marbutt.  

Thank you for all your efforts to ensure that our students have the best possible instructional experiences this fall, even in these challenging times.

Dean Prevost

Suzanne S. Prevost, PhD, RN, FAAN
Angelyn Adams Giambalvo Dean and Professor
Capstone College of Nursing
The University of Alabama
650 University Boulevard East, Room 3035
Tuscaloosa, AL 35487
office 205-348-1040
sprevost@ua.edu 
http://nursing.ua.edu/

The University of Alabama