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School of Nursing Teams Up with University Health Services for Unique and Beneficial AGNP Summer Intensives

Vince Serio

Vince Serio

This summer, University Health Services (UHS) and the School of Nursing (SON) joined forces for two summer intensives of the Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) Program. Vince Serio, Director of Medical Services and physician, Sandy Spear, nurse practitioner, Maya Schimpf, nurse practitioner, and Tracy Johnston, nurse practitioner, taught portions of the AGNP Procedures and Health Assessment courses.

Tracy Johnston

Tracy Johnston

AGNP intensives are distinctly different from the community clinicals, in which the students participate in their local area throughout the year. In a clinical, the students take part in a preceptorship where they are paired with a nurse practitioner or a physician to take care of patients in a clinical setting. The purpose of the clinical is to help further students’ learning with real people. In contrast, the summer intensives are on Boise State’s campus with faculty, standardized patient scenarios, and simulation equipment. The students are able to gain experience in scenarios they are less likely to encounter with real patients, but in a controlled environment. Having UHS nurse practitioners and doctors at the intensives not only allows for more knowledge and experience to be brought to the table, but it also offers a more tangible learning experience for the students. For example, Spear, specializing in women’s health, was able to teach the students how to correctly insert an intrauterine device.

Maya Schimpf

Maya Schimpf

Summer is a slower time for UHS since the majority of students vacate campus for the semester. When UHS made it known to Dawn Weiler, associate professor and program coordinator for the Adult-Gerontology Nurse Practitioner program that they had medical staff who were interested and willing to teach students, Weiler welcomed them with open arms. The School of Nursing agreed that UHS staff practices what their students learn on a daily basis, and that the staff would be great teachers and mentors to the AGNP students. Last year, two UHS nurse practitioners taught in the program and the partnership worked so well that both parties were committed to solidifying the collaboration.

Sandra Hellman

Sandra Spear

The first cohort to visit campus this summer was comprised of five first year acute care certificate students and 18 second year master’s students in both acute and primary care. The students were given the opportunity to use simulation equipment to practice procedures such as suturing and emergency airway management. They were also exposed to two separate standardized patient simulation scenarios where they performed x-rays, electrocardiograms, and labs; studied abnormal heart rhythms; and presented diagnosis.

The second cohort consisted of 17 first year nurse practitioner students. These students worked with simulation equipment to listen to abnormal heart rhythms and identify potential diagnoses. They were presented with two standardized patient simulations where they gathered patient history, performed an exam, and presented a diagnosis with faculty observation. On the last two days of this intensive, the students performed genital exams with help from Project Prepare, a California based sexual health education program where students perform genital exams on the program’s educators. The students performed exams one-on-one in the comfortable and fully equipped environment that UHS provided. This specific part of the intensive is a great example of the distinct advantage the UHS-SON collaboration provides. When talking to the Project Prepare educators, the faculty learned that the educators are often placed in rooms in the back of warehouses with only a curtain for privacy. Being able to utilize UHS’ examination rooms offered better privacy and more comfort for the Project Prepare educators.

Dawn Weiler

Dawn Weiler

Three more intensives are scheduled for next summer. While the intensives are mandatory and students from across the nation participate in the program, they are planned far in advance and offer the students unique opportunities. Because the students were physically on campus, they were able to take advantage of the simulation center, on-campus labs, and face-to-face instruction. The students provided positive feedback about the intensives saying that it was a good way to build a community of learning.

Collaborations between UHS and SON are easier and robust now that UHS and SON no longer report to separate administrative units. The partnership enhances student education opportunities not only for SON but for other departments and schools, such as the School of Social Work, as UHS provides services such as counseling. UHS shares the goals of the College of Health Sciences, so student expectations and learning objectives are mutual.

Boise State University has a unique opportunity that no other university has, and SON appreciates and is grateful for the opportunities UHS has provided them. There is hope to expand the partnership between UHS and other entities in the College.

Denise Seigart Named AACN-Wharton Executive Leadership Fellow

Denise SeigartDenise Seigart, chair of the Undergraduate Nursing program and Master of Nursing Populations program, successfully completed the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)-Wharton Executive Leadership Program in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 10 -13.

Launched in 2012 in collaboration with the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the program was designed exclusively for top academic leaders in schools of nursing. Using a competitive process, 40 academic nursing leaders were selected to participate in the program. Those selected represented a wide diversity of nursing programs, including large academic health centers, small liberal arts schools, public and private universities, rural and urban-based programs, and faith-based institutions.

The four-day program was taught by Wharton faculty who presented relevant and timely content designed to advance chief academic administrators to a higher level of leadership. Participants of the program left with tools to: manage and lead change at an enterprise level, strategically influence and negotiate, and skillfully strategize and innovate value with internal and external stakeholders.

Seigart thoroughly enjoyed her experience saying, “I think the Wharton Leadership program was excellent, rather like a mini MBA program. I was exposed to concepts and tools I’ve never been exposed to before, so well worth the time, and of course, the cohort consisted of highly intelligent, experienced, creative nursing leaders, a cohort to which I am honored to belong.”

“Leadership development is a lifelong journey and a critical step in preparing nurses at all levels to succeed as effective patient advocates, interprofessional partners, and change agents,” said Dr. Eileen Breslin, AACN President and a member of the AACN-Wharton Program Class of 2014.  “I applaud the latest cohort of executive leadership fellows for their commitment to strengthening the skills needed to influence and steer the future of nursing education and research, patient care delivery, and healthcare policy.”
The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania has now graduated 127 fellows from 41 states and the District of Columbia.

Luther Raechal Attends SimGHOSTS USA 2015

Raechal_LutherLuther Raechal, simulation technician for the School of Nursing, attended the SimGHOSTS USA 2015 training event at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California on August 4-7. Though Raechal intended to take part in the conference as a student, he was presented with an impressive opportunity to volunteer.

SimGHOSTS holds the “Bug Buster Competition” each year. The competition consists of three rounds where simulation specialists work individually and in teams to troubleshoot and prep a room for simulations starting in ten minutes. This year, the event was in need of help, so Raechal seized the opportunity to volunteer. Raechal worked with the former champion of the competition and another advanced specialist to design, run, reset, and evaluate three different scenarios over two days. The volunteers used a patient and control room at the Cedars-Sinai simulation center, utilizing its incredible equipment. At the end of the competition, the volunteers crowned a new “Bug Buster” champion and the event committee recognized each of the volunteers and their respective institutions in front of the entire gathering.

Raechal praised the experience saying, “It was a great opportunity to use different technology, equipment and work with great specialists running actual scenarios.”

SimGHOSTS, also known as The Gathering of Healthcare Simulation Technology Specialists, is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting the growing international population of professionals operating medical simulation technology and spaces. The organization encourages individuals responsible for the technical operation of a medical simulation lab and clinical educators tasked with operating the day-to-day of simulation spaces to attend the event. Participants are exposed to hands-on training workshops, special pre-symposium courses, and podium presentations in manikin programming and hardware repair, A/V system design, integration and consolidation, information technology networking and debugging, and much more.

Though Raechal found himself busy volunteering, he was still able to attend a few sessions, the keynote and plenary addresses, and the vendor exhibit hall. He will also be able to attend the convention virtually since the sessions were recorded and will be posted on the SimGHOSTS website.

Janet Willhaus Re-elected Planning Chairperson for 2015 International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning Conference

Janet WillhausJanet Willhaus, assistant professor in the School of Nursing, served as planning chairperson this past year for the 2015 International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation and Learning (INACSL) conference which was held in Atlanta, Georgia in June.

The four day conference was attended by more than 900 people and featured more than 200 speaking presentations, hands on demonstrations, and poster presentations. The planning committee was headed by Willhaus and consisted of three other people. The conference contained a couple of new and successful activities, one of which was “Professor Rounds” where the planning committee selected a limited number of research posters and assigned a group of five or six posters to a professor with an expertise in simulation research. At specified times, the professor met with the poster presenters and discussed each poster. Small groups of conference attendees were able to follow the professors on their rounds to glean tips on research methods and design.

This conference, a leading forum for nurse educators, researchers, nurse managers, and staff development professionals, provides the ideal environment to disseminate and gain current knowledge in the area of skills/simulation lab management and simulation enhanced education. Nurses and other healthcare professionals have the opportunity to network with colleagues and exhibitors and to discuss best practice research, safety-related outcomes, competencies, and challenges. The 2015 INACSL conference was the largest in 14 years. Because use of simulation in nursing programs is growing so rapidly, it is anticipated that the organization and annual conference will continue to grow.

While Willhaus will not be the planning chairperson for the 2016 conference in Grapevine, Texas, she will still participate on the planning committee as an advisor to the new planning chairperson.


Gaming, Nursing Team Wins National Education Award

A Boise State University team of nursing and gaming professionals has won a national education award for developing a wearable technology that allows nursing students to practice complex simulations with significant cost savings compared to more standard training.

The WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) has bestowed a WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) award to the Boise State development team for their Virtual Reality Nursing Simulation with Custom Haptic System for Patient Safety. The awardees will be recognized during WCET’s 27th annual meeting in Denver, Colorado, Nov. 11-13.WOW award

The haptic system is a new, wearable technology that enables a student to see and interact with (touch, hold or grip) objects in the virtual environment, allowing for complex simulations (like catheter insertion) with significant cost savings compared to more standard training on a simulation medical manikin.

The team was led by Anthony Ellertson, director and clinical associate professor of the Games, Interactive Media and Mobile program (GIMM) in conjunction with the College of Innovation and Design and the Division of Research and Economic Development. GIMM is a new undergraduate major formed under the College of Innovation and Design. Its focus is developing cutting-edge mobile and gaming technologies, including the Internet of Things, Virtual and Augmented Reality.

“Using virtual reality in education provides students with opportunities to practice necessary skills in a realistic and low-risk environment,” Ellertson said. “Not only that, projects like this one provide a cost efficient solution for increasing access to medical training for nurses.”

Ellertson, along with Suzan Kardong-Edgren, a nursing and simulation expert, were responsible for the technology’s conception and development. Ann Butt conducted field research to test the technology with students. Amod Damle, Cameron Heikkinen and Sam Blomberg also contributed to the project.

Faculty Presents Research at American Holistic Nurses’ Association Conference

Alia Crandall and Marty Downey with research poster

Alia Crandall and Marty Downey with their research poster at the AHNA Conference.

Marty Downey, associate professor for the School of Nursing, presented two posters on pilot studies at the American Holistic Nurses’ Association 2015 conference in Branson, Missouri on June 12-17.

The first poster, “A Randomized Control Trial of the Effects of Healing Touch for Newborn Male Infant Circumcision Inpatients,” was presented with Laurie Bourn, a neonatal intensive care unit nurse from St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center. Healing Touch is a complementary therapy that involves gentle, noninvasive touch that supports the human energy system by restoring balance and harmony. Downey mentored Bourn and Melora Kellis, also a nurse at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center who studied whether Healing Touch therapy in addition to the current standard of nursing care affected the pain scores, oxygenation and heart rates on newborn males undergoing a circumcision procedure. Preliminary data for this ongoing study may provide new information about the combination of the traditional care and holistic therapy, which may reduce the infant’s pain during the procedure. This may also encourage practitioners to integrate more holistic practices into traditional healthcare practices.

The second poster, “The Effectiveness of Two Holistic Therapies in Reducing Test Anxiety Among Nursing Students” was co-authored by Janet Willhaus, assistant professor for the School of Nursing, and Alia Crandall, a recent graduate of the Boise State baccalaureate nursing program. The research team sought to determine whether or not aromatherapy and Healing Touch therapy reduced test anxiety among nursing students. They found that these complementary holistic therapies may significantly reduce test anxiety among nursing students.

Crandall also attended the conference after receiving the Bea Alley Commemorative Conference Scholarship, which covers the registration fees for the full conference.

Recent Graduate Nominated for 2015 Woman of the Year Award

Recently graduated Boise State School of Nursing and cross country and track and field student-athlete, Marisa Howard, has been named Boise State’s nominee for the 2015 Woman of the Year award. Howard is among 480 Division I, II and III student-athletes who were nominated by their respective institutions.

Now in its 25th year, the Woman of the Year award honors graduating female college athletes who have exhausted their eligibility and distinguished themselves throughout their collegiate careers in academics, athletics, service and leadership.

The Pasco, Wash., native finished her career as a three-time All-American selection while competing in cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field at Boise State. She won four individual Mountain West Championships – three in the 3,000m steeplechase and one in the 5,000m (outdoor) – and earned 11 All-Mountain West honors throughout her Bronco career.

Howard graduated from Boise State in May with a degree in nursing after concluding her academic career with a 3.84 grade-point-average. She also graduated with Magna Cum Laude distinction and made the Dean’s List in seven semesters at Boise State.

Outside of athletics and the classroom, Howard partnered with St. Mark’s Church Community Health Ministry last fall and created a health survey to better serve the needs of their large church population. In addition, she represented the Boise State School of Nursing at the Service Learning in Action Student Exhibition.

The Mountain West will select one nominee to represent the conference later in the summer.

After the conference nominee is chosen, a selection committee will determine the top three finalists from each division and then announce the top nine finalists in September. The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics then chooses from among those nine to determine the 2015 Woman of the Year.

The 2015 NCAA Woman of the Year winner will be announced, and the Top 30 honorees celebrated, at the annual award ceremony Oct. 18 in Indianapolis.

Chair Presents on Health Services in Schools at Stanford

Denise Seigart

Denise Seigart, chair of the undergraduate nursing program in the School of Nursing, was invited to present at the Health Services in Schools: From Cost Effective Studies to Distributional Justice conference on May 29 at Stanford University.

The conference was hosted by the Division of General Pediatrics and sponsored by the Stanford McCoy Family Center for Ethics in Society and the Stanford Humanities Center. The conference invited scholars, practitioners and colleagues to examine the common themes and challenges of providing health care services in schools in California and other states.

Seigart presented “International Collaborative Study Comparing Models for School Based Health Care in the United States of America, Canada and Australia,” which compared and contrasted school-based health care in these nations through a series of interpretive case studies. Unlike the US, school students in Canada and Australia rarely have access to school-based health care on site. All three nations face structural, cultural and societal barriers, often related to limited resources, which limit the effectiveness of school-based health care. The benefits of school-based health care and providing comprehensive services through schools can include healthier children, better learning, healthier parents, and healthier communities. Unfortunately, based on this research, comprehensive school health services have not been adequately implemented in the US, Canada or Australia. Seigart has found that increased comprehensive school-based health services are urgently needed in the US, Canada and Australia.

Emeritus Faculty Featured in Idaho Statesman Article on Saint Alphonsus’ No One Dies Alone Program

Margaret Leahy, Boise State University School of Nursing emeritus faculty, was part of an Idaho Statesman article which profiled Saint Alphonsus’ No One Dies Alone program.

The No One Dies Alone program places volunteer companions with dying patients who would otherwise be alone. With the support of the nursing staff, the volunteer companions are able to help provide patients with a dignified death. Leahy volunteers with the No One Dies Alone program as a companion.

Read the Idaho Statesman article and some of Leahy’s experiences as a No One Dies Alone volunteer online.

School of Nursing Faculty and Staff Volunteer for Full-Scale Emergency Exercise

The Central District Health Department (CDHD), along with multiple emergency response partners, held an emergency exercise using mobile medical facilities and approximately 75 medical staff and volunteers on Wednesday, May 6. Cathy Deckys, School of Nursing faculty, helped plan the exercise and participated in the exercise as an evaluator. School of Nursing staff members Marian Graham and Sherepta McLeod volunteered as part of the Medical Reserve Corps. Approximately ten nursing students and alumni also participated in the exercise.

The exercise tested medical and emergency response plans and coordination among the partnering agencies, which included Boise State University, St. Luke’s Health Systems, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Ada County Paramedics, Boise Fire Department, Southwest Advanced Care Hospital and Ada County Emergency Services.

The exercise scenario began at Boise State University Health Services and moved to the Veterans Affairs (VA) campus, where multiple BluMed mobile medical facilities were located. The majority of the exercise took place on the VA campus and involved about 30 volunteer patients who presented the same communicable disease symptoms. However, each mock patient had a unique role — from disabilities to language barriers — to help represent the varying backgrounds and needs possible in a real-life situation. Under the exercise’s scenario, medical staff worked to check patients into the mobile medical facility practice donning and doffing Personal Protective Equipment and Powered Air Purifying Respirators (PAPR) to begin initial patient treatment.

“This was a successful full-scale exercise, which is mandatory for public health organizations to take part in each year,” said Deckys. “Multidisciplinary roles were assumed and practiced successfully.”