Making the Grade
By MELANIE KILGORE-HILL
News of Note in Healthcare Education
New Epidemiology Minor
Belmont University recently announced the addition of an epidemiology minor, allowing students to develop specialized skills in managing and applying population health data to inform public health practices and policies. Students will examine large, targeted health data sets - birth or death certificates, registries that track injury, disease or health risk behaviors - as part of efforts to help identify contributing risk factors and focus on prevention and better outcomes for patients, communities and whole populations. The coursework includes practical field experience to link skills to actionable steps.
"Increased knowledge about the occurrence of disease and injury can help us reduce health risks and use our resources more wisely," said Cathy Taylor, DrPH, MSN, RN, dean of Belmont's College of Health Sciences. "We expect our graduates to contribute to a healthier Tennessee by doing just that."
Students in Belmont's School of Nursing are prepared for all aspects of what they'll experience on the job - including caring for patients and their families at the end of life. Senior nursing students in the Adult Health II course now experience training in the End of Life Simulation Lab. Though less than 2 percent of nursing curricula across the country is dedicated to end of life care, Belmont's program is dedicated to not leaving these critical aspects of job training to chance.
"We want to give our students some tools before they find themselves in such a heavy situation, and we want to be sure they have a chance to process in a safe place," said instructor Sarah Camp, DNP, MSN. Following the simulation, Camp leads the students through a debriefing where they're able to process their feelings and review the entire experience together. "Often, students become emotional during debrief, as they tap into personal experiences or see the nurse's importance at this critical moment for a family," Camp said. "I always tell them, 'You may experience your patients' deaths over and over again during your career, but the death of this loved one will only happen once in the life of a family member. Because of that, they will remember you. They may not remember the things you say, but they will remember how they felt when you were there.'"
Expanded GME, Nursing Education Opportunities
Last month, Nashville-headquartered HCA Healthcare, which has 185 hospitals and more than 1,800 clinical sites in 21 states and the United Kingdom, announced a new partnership with the U.S. Army Medical Recruiting Brigade. The two organizations signed a Patriot Partnership Program agreement on April 18 to enhance graduate medical education. Through the partnership, the Army Medical Department will provide subject matter experts to conduct clinics, lectures and grand rounds at HCA Healthcare residency and fellowship programs nationwide. The specialized training will include combat casualty care in the areas of infectious disease control, mass casualty response and emergency trauma. This program will also provide an opportunity for HCA residents and fellows to learn more about training and financial support offered through serving our country in the Army Reserves.
In March, HCA officials announced the publicly traded company had become the majority owner of Galen College of Nursing, headquartered in Louisville, Ky. With 94,000 registered nurses affiliated with HCA, the agreement brings together one of the nation's largest educators of nurses with one of the country's largest employers of nurses.
Currently, Galen College of Nursing, which will retain its name and continue to be led by CEO Mark Vogt, enrolls students in nursing programs across five campus locations in Kentucky, Florida, Ohio and Texas, as well as online. The partnership with HCA is expected to provide growth opportunities for the 30-year old nursing school. In addition to offering career development opportunities for HCA nurses, it is anticipated the alliance will provide opportunities for Galen to establish nursing programs at HCA affiliates across the country, providing more clinical education and career opportunities for their students.
New MHA Program
This fall, Lipscomb University will welcome its first group of students into the Master of Health Administration program, designed for mid-careerists who want to build a successful career in healthcare leadership, clinicians who want to learn the business of healthcare and progress in leadership roles within their organizations, and individuals from non-healthcare industries who want to transition their experience and skills to a career in healthcare.
Housed in Lipscomb's College of Business, the MHA program has been developed in close collaboration with industry executives and has embraced curriculum that is intentionally integrated, interactive and immersive.
"Healthcare is one of the leading industries in Nashville, and it is essential for the future leaders of these companies in this city and across the country to be prepared at the highest level," said Bart Liddle, assistant dean for healthcare programs in Lipscomb's College of Business. "With Lipscomb's rich history of preparing both healthcare professionals and business leaders, this is a natural intersection of these areas to continue to prepare graduates that will make an impact in this community."
The program, a first of its kind in the Middle Tennessee area, offers courses in a hybrid in-person and online format and may be completed in six semesters.
Lipscomb announced formation of the new School of Physician Assistant Studies in the fall of 2017 and accepted their first PA students in 2018, after receiving preliminary accreditation for the program. It's the second physician assistant program in Middle Tennessee to achieve such accreditation.
Lipscomb's 27-month PA program drew more than 800 applications for 35 spots in its first cohort. In January, students celebrated the completion of their first semester with a symbolic rite of passage to welcome them into the medical profession: receiving their white coats with PA patches.
Partnership with Detroit Medical Center
In April, Detroit Medical Center and Meharry Medical College announced expansion of their affiliation to provide additional medical education and training for Meharry students in the Metro Detroit area. This new, two-year agreement will increase the number of medical students across all DMC hospitals. Currently, Meharry has medical students training at DMC's Sinai-Grace Hospital. With the new agreement, more students will be added.
"Meharry understands that Detroit is facing a shortage of primary care physicians," said Meharry Medical College Dean Veronica Mallett. "By providing our students early exposure, they will think of the DMC for residency and possibly return to further their training. This pipeline could ultimately help the citizens of Detroit through improved access to quality healthcare."
New Nursing Transformation Unit
The Nursing Transformation Unit at Saint Thomas West Hospital became a permanent unit in April. The Transformation Unit is a training ground for nurse leaders and patient care technicians within Ascension Saint Thomas to learn process improvement techniques that can be taken back to their respective units to spread the concepts directly to the bedside.
Since launching the unit in October 2018, the transformation team has trialed 29 variations of interventions based on the barriers indicated by the bedside care team during orientation, on what works well in the clinical space, and on what needs to be changed.
VUSN Ranked among Top 10
In March, U.S. News & World Report's annual rankings of graduate nursing programs placed Vanderbilt University School of Nursing as No. 5 for its Doctor of Nursing Practice program and No. 8 for its Master of Science in Nursing program. Those positions are the highest rankings VUSN has received and mark the first time Vanderbilt has been ranked a national Top 10 best graduate nursing program.
Linda D. Norman, DSN, RN, FAAN
"Rankings are not changed overnight. This rise reflects years of continued effort and success in selectivity of students, maintaining a low student-faculty ratio, increasing research activity, recruiting distinguished faculty and more," said VUSN Dean Linda D. Norman, DSN, RN, FAAN. "Most of all, it reflects the impact our alumni have on healthcare through practice, education and research. The quality of their patient care, scholarly work and nursing leadership shows others the value of a Vanderbilt nursing degree."
In addition to the overall rankings, six of VUSN's specialties were recognized among the Top 10 best in the nation. The Family Nurse Practitioner and Psychiatric-Mental Health Nurse Practitioner specialties were ranked second. Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner and Nursing Informatics each ranked third. The Pediatric Primary Care Nurse Practitioner program was in the fourth spot, up from eighth last year. The publication didn't rank Nurse-Midwifery programs this year, so VUSN's Nurse-Midwifery specialty remains tied as No. 1 in the country from the prior rankings.
VUSN has redesigned two of its Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) specialty programs and relaunched them with revised curricula, educational formats and degree requirements. The programs, Nursing Informatics (NI) and Nursing and Health Care Leadership (NHCL), are now accepting applications for admission in fall 2019. In honor of the revised programs' launch, VUSN will award 10 percent scholarships to all incoming fall 2019 students for their first year.
Rick Watters, PhD, RN
"Our program is perfect for RNs in leadership roles -- or for those who aspire to be leaders in our dynamic and ever-changing healthcare landscape," said NHCL Academic Director Rick Watters, PhD, RN. "The art and science of nursing and leadership were integral to the redesign of the program. In addition to providing the knowledge and skills related to organizational and systems leadership, human and financial management, strategic planning, quality improvement and patient safety, the program includes immersion experiences and practicum courses to provide students with the opportunity to work on agency designated leadership projects."
Patricia Sengstack, DNP, RN-BC, FAAN
One major change for the two specialties was moving them to be part time only, which is a significant draw for many registered nurses who want to continue working while obtaining a master's degree. Both programs will be offered in a modified online learning format that allows students to complete degree requirements without relocating or giving up employment. The programs will incorporate on-campus interactive immersion experiences periodically during the program of studies. Distance learning activities for the programs will include online conferencing, video-streamed lectures and one-on-one mentoring by faculty.
Curricular changes for Nursing Informatics incorporate newly emerging informatics competencies, concepts and innovations, as well as customized practicum experiences. "The Nursing Informatics program is perfect for RNs who have interests in technology and data, and who want to improve health on a larger scale, for example, system-wide," said NI Academic Director Patricia Sengstack, DNP, RN-BC, FAAN. "Healthcare is one of the most technologically advanced fields, and the need for informaticists is expected to only grow larger as innovation continues. We need nurses with the skills to transform care delivery using data and creating knowledge to drive a learning healthcare system. And the best way to develop those skills is through education."