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Spring | Summer 2012

Lifelines Medical University of South Carolina | College of Nursing

Bridging the fiscal divide How the College of Nursing met its financial challenges

MUSC Nurses Change Lives

Renovation, Preservation, and Restoration • In the upcoming months, the College of Nursing building will begin to undergo major and critical renovations that are anticipated to take two years to complete. • General construction on floors two through five, with the majority of the work being performed within the interior of the building, will include the addition of two new wired classrooms with fiber-optic cable and updated office space. • The project will replace most of the mechanical, plumbing and electrical systems; create an enlarged reception space; install a new cooling system chiller, and new roofing. • Students, faculty and staff are anticipating having a new College home that embraces state-of-the-art technology while retaining the historical presence of the original building.

A publication of the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing

MUSC Nurses Change Lives

Lifelines Volume X, Issue 1, Spring/Summer 2012

Gail W. Stuart, Dean Jo Smith, Editor Beth Khan, Design & Production Mardi Long, Director of Student & Alumni Affairs Laurie Scott, Director of Development

Published by

99 Jonathan Lucas Street MSC 160 Charleston, SC 29425-1600

Have feedback? Send comments to: Jo Smith Lifelines Editor MUSC College of Nursing 99 Jonathan Lucas St., MSC 160 Charleston, SC 29425-1600 E-mail: Phone: (843) 792-3941

POSTMASTER: Send corrections to Lifelines, MUSC College of Nursing, 99 Jonathan Lucas St., MSC 160, Charleston, SC 29425-1600. © Copyright 2012 by the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing. All rights reserved. No part of this publication can be reproduced without permission from the Medical University of South Carolina College of Nursing.



n the past year I have often been asked, how did your College of Nursing survive the “grim reaper” of extensive and devastating budget cuts. The fact is that we are not only surviving but we are actually thriving, as we move forward with a sharper focus, more creative ideas, and new proactive initiatives. In many ways we have emerged from this financial quagmire as a stronger and somewhat transformed MUSC College of Nursing. This issue of Lifelines highlights the challenges we faced, the strategies we implemented and our glimpse into the crystal ball of our future. One part of our future that is particularly exciting for all of us is the grand news that after 56 years, the College of Nursing is going to be renovated! Actually it will be more than just renovated; it will be transformed into a state-of-the-art nursing school. We will be gutting the hallways and literally rebuilding each floor from the inside out – new walls, flooring, windows, plumbing, heat and air conditioning, roof, and elevators. For those of you who have walked these halls, you may know that the College of Nursing was originally built in 1956 for a cost of $1 million. This five-story structure combined education, recreation, and dormitory areas all under one roof. What most people are not aware of is that the building was actually designed in the shape of a nurse’s cap, and that an impression of Florence Nightingale’s lamp appears at the top of the building. Our fine building has a rich history and one that we will be preserving as we launch our renovation. To that end we have met with University archivists to discuss how we will be preserving the historical artifacts in the College. They will be conducting a thorough inventory of the contents of our building, guiding us through critical decisions about what is of significant historical value, what the state requires that we preserve, and what items can be either stored or discarded. We also will have an appraiser come to inform us about some of our treasured possessions. As one of the oldest Colleges of Nursing in the country we are truly proud of our rich heritage and we will be moving through the renovation process carefully and thoughtfully as we preserve our celebrated past to inform our glorious future. In future issues of Lifelines we will share with you the renovation progress as we emerge from the cocoon of dust and dirt as a beautiful butterfly that will fly to new destinations of education, research and practice.

Gail W. Stuart, PhD, RN, FAAN Dean and Distinguished University Professor

Contents Features a conv e r sation with MUSC Pr es ident Ray Gr eenbe rg.............................................. . . . . . 4 Dr. Greenberg discusses the economy’s impact on MUSC B r i dg i ng the fiscal Divide .................................................................................. . . . . . 6 The College’s financial challenges, strategies and outcomes key s to Future financ ial success .. ...................................................................... . . . . 12 The College’s ongoing plans in education, research, practice and organizational culture

Departments D ean ’s Column................................................................................................... . . . . . 1 A round t he College ...................... ...................................................................... . . . . 18 Focus on Facult y.. ........................ ...................................................................... . . . . 2 6 S tudent S potl ig ht .............................................................................................. . . . . 2 8 A lumni connect ions . .......................................................................................... . . . . 3 2 g i v ing back . ................................ ...................................................................... . . . . 3 4 L i nes o f L i fe................................ ...................................................................... . . . . 3 6


a conversation with...

MUSC President Ray Greenberg

When Ray Greenberg, MD, PhD, became MUSC’s president in 2000, he was challenged with restoring fiscal health to the University’s hospital. This was achieved through a

combination of organizational restructuring and operational improvements, which then

allowed the University to undertake a progressive replacement of its aging facilities. In 2007, the 650,000 square foot Ashley River Tower was constructed as a state-of-the-art center for the diagnosis and treatment of heart, vascular and digestive diseases. Elsewhere on campus, separate new educational facilities were built for the Colleges of Health Professions and Dental Medicine, five new research buildings have been completed, and a renovated College of Nursing building is in development. Given the economic climate in the country, Lifelines sat down with Dr. Greenberg to talk about the fiscal issues from his point of view. The past five years have been financially challenging for higher education nationally. What has the impact been for MUSC? Dr. Greenberg: The most immediate impact has been the loss of almost half of our state appropriation. We are now operating with state support about where it was in the early 1980s, without any adjustment for inflation or growth of the institution. Fortunately, federal funding helped to fill some of that gap, but with the growing national deficit and likely austerity measures ahead, research and health care funding are likely to be constrained in the future.

How is MUSC positioned for success now compared to five years ago? Dr. Greenberg: We are in a changed world, and overall, I think that we are adapting to it fairly well. The credit for our success goes entirely to our faculty and staff, who are working harder than ever, and in many instances, under very challenging circumstances. One might



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expect that morale would suffer in such a stressful environment, but to the contrary, I see optimism and excitement across campus.

How has the CON adapted to these fiscal challenges? Dr. Greenberg: In my opinion, the College of Nursing has been very responsive to the new realities. This starts at the top, and Dean Stuart deserves credit and appreciation for doing a wonderful job in building consensus among the faculty and staff and moving forward with strength and conviction. The College is leading the way in on-line education, which is going to be increasingly important in the future. I am also impressed with the community engagement efforts of a number of faculty members. The research portfolio has grown substantially, and in a recent round of highly competitive grants focused on clinical innovation, the College of Nursing took the lead in responding with colleagues from the College of Medicine.

I believe that the College of Nursing and its graduates are going to be leaders in

assuring that historically underserved communities in our state have access to care, and in the process, the state of South Carolina will become a better and healthier place to live.”

What are the current strategic issues for the university? Dr. Greenberg: We are in the midst of implementing a strategic plan that has four areas of particular emphasis. One area is technology and innovation. A second is entrepreneurship. A third is globalization and the fourth is interprofessional efforts. Each of these foci is intended to encompass all aspects of our mission – from research, to education, to service.

- Ray Greenberg

straightforward to measure performance with respect to financial outcomes. You simply have to look at the bottom line of the College. Much to the credit of Dean Stuart and her management team, the College has managed its resources wisely. The introduction of a new funding model will create challenges for all units across campus, but I believe that this could work to the advantage of the College of Nursing in taking greater control of the flow of funds into and out of the College.

How do you see the CON fitting into those plans?

If you had a crystal ball what do you see in the CON’s future?

Dr. Greenberg: Each college will find its own points of emphasis within the campuswide plan. I see great opportunities for the College of Nursing to take a leadership role in various dimensions. For example, Dr. Frank Treiber who was recruited to the College in a SmartState endowed chair, is working on applications of smart phones to help people maintain and improve their health. There is every reason to believe that his work will lead to innovations in the applications of these technologies. In the area of entrepreneurship, the College’s early adoption of on-line education is creating non-traditional pathways for nursing education. The College also is playing a key role in interprofessional care delivery, as exemplified by the work that Dr. Carolyn Jenkins is conducting along with diabetes experts in the College of Medicine.

Dr. Greenberg: In my job, you have to be an eternal optimist, so forgive

me if this response seems to exude too much confidence in uncertain times. Nevertheless, from my perspective, after nearly 17 years of watching the College, the past 12 as President, I have never been more proud of the College, its faculty, staff, and students. It has a dean and faculty who are focused on the future and are meeting it with impressive energy, talent and enthusiasm. L

Changing What’s Possible

If you had a scorecard how would you rate the CON in “bridging the fiscal divide?” Dr. Greenberg: I don’t want to appear to be an easy grader, but it is pretty Spring | summer 2012





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Bridging the fiscal divide The recession hits higher education


n 2007, the nation experienced the beginning of a recession, and its impact has deepened and spread across the country in the past five years. Because states, unlike the federal

government, are required to balance their budgets, large revenue shortfalls created significant budget cuts for most state services. Funding for higher education was particularly hit hard as state funding for higher education is heavily influenced by each state’s fiscal situation. Even before the recession, South Carolina ranked near the bottom of the list of southern states when it came to funding colleges and universities according to the SC Commission on Higher Education. The reductions over the past five years have worsened that picture. Currently, South Carolina ranks 38th among all states and 15th out of the 16 southern states in support of higher education. Specifically, South Carolina’s average per student educational appropriations is about $289, while Kentucky invests $728 per student, Georgia gives $836, and North Carolina allots a stunning $2,219. Yet the link between higher education and the economy is well documented. It has been estimated that for every dollar spent on higher education, $11.20 is added to the economy. Spring | summer 2012



the fe ars we k n ow are o f not knowing. - W. H. Auden, Age of Anxiety (1947)


uring the period from fiscal year 2007 to 2012, MUSC had their state appropriations cut a staggering 47 percent, from $97.2 million in 2007 to the current level of $50.8 million. The College of Nursing had to absorb its share of this reduction in revenue at a time when applications to the various educational programs were very strong and research growth was gaining momentum. To say that this was a challenge is indeed an understatement. Facing a financial crisis is a lot like standing on a precipice. The choices are clear – either slip down the steep slope to an unknown destiny, or draw upon all of your strengths and resources and begin to scale the sharp cliff to the next level of greatness. The College of Nursing’s team of faculty and staff decided that ascent was better than descent, and so we entered into an intense period of evaluation, analysis and strategic decision-making about every program and activity engaged in by the College. It was clear to the College of Nursing leadership that a multi-pronged approach would be needed to deal with the threat imposed by the significant reduction in state appropriations to the College. Therefore work began with a comprehensive plan that was datadriven. Strategies were diverse and can be categorized as: one mindedness, communication, efficiencies, investments and partnerships.



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One mindedness It was understood that the success of the College and its ability to scale the mountain would be directly linked to all faculty and staff being of ‘one mind.’ A spirit of teamwork, collegiality and shared ownership of both the problem and the potential solutions was essential. We were all in this together, and solutions had to be derived based on organizational and not individual needs. To be successful, everyone had to leave their egos and personal agendas at the door and make decisions for the good of the College as a whole in the spirit of true collegiality. As a critical first step, faculty and staff were asked to take the long view of the organization, and to envision the current crisis as an opportunity rather than a threat. This was a time to revisit the College’s mission, vision and values, and develop a clear game plan of what we wanted to be known for nationally among colleges of nursing. We needed to keep our eye on this goal and identify targeted outcomes by which we could measure our future success.

Communication An early priority was to address the anxiety associated with a financial crisis that often makes problem-solving more difficult. In the words of W. H. Auden, “The fears we know are of not knowing.” The Dean held many open meetings with faculty, staff and students to outline the challenges, present data-driven information, gather feedback, solicit possible solutions, and answer questions and concerns as best as possible at the time. A model of transparency in information and decision-making was already in place in the College, but these circumstances made such openness, directness and honesty even more critical.

State Budget Cuts Date

% cut

MUSC Appropriation (millions)

Jul ‘08

$ 97.2

Jul ‘08

2.7 %

$ 94.6

aug ‘08

3.0 %

$ 92.7

Oct ‘08

11.9 %

$ 81.3

Dec ‘08

7.0 %

$ 75.6

Apr ‘09

2.0 %

$ 74.1

Sep ‘09

4.0 %

$ 71.2

Dec ‘09

5.0 %

$ 67.6

jul ‘10

21.0 %

$ 53.4

Efficiencies An early task focused on where the College could gain greater efficiency and reduce nonproductive variation. Everything was ‘put on the table’ for consideration. For example, class sizes varied widely with equal faculty effort allotted to classes with very different numbers of students. Faculty voted to standardize class sizes across programs. Each academic program also was open to examination based on data reflecting the costs and revenue it generated. This resulted in the closure of some academic programs that were not financially sustainable. Staff duties were reassigned to better align with the College’s emerging needs. It was also necessary to rebalance the skills and capabilities of both staff and faculty. Matching of the ‘right’ person with the ‘right’ skill was critical.

Investments Overall enrollment was reviewed and extensive discussions were held about reducing admissions, particularly in the BSN program, as other schools around the country were doing. However such reductions also would result in the need for fewer faculty and this reality mitigated against this course of action. In fact, the faculty took a strategic risk and decided upon a very bold investment. Instead of declining or retrenching, we decided to grow in capacity. National nursing trends made it clear that the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree should be added to the educational portfolio at MUSC.

Thus, in spite of declining dollars, faculty voted to open a new academic program, the DNP (Stuart, Erkel, & Shull, 2010). This decision meant that faculty and staff would increase their workloads at a time of fewer resources. Impressively, everyone stepped up to the challenge. Staff assumed additional responsibilities. Faculty work assignments were adjusted to maximize teaching workloads, using cutting edge online teaching strategies as well as curriculum revision to accommodate the new DNP students. The result was that CON enrollments and tuition revenue grew at the very time that state appropriations were falling.

The research and practice programs in the College also continued to rise to the pressing financial challenges. A Center for Community Health Partnerships was formed to support and consolidate the infrastructure for the growth in community-based research and practice. Investigators matched their work with funding agencies that maximize financial recoveries for their program. The result was that grant submissions and grant funding increased, again at the very time that state appropriations were falling and teaching workloads were heavier than ever before.

College of nursing Revenue $6 million state appropriations tuition & fees grants & contracts






0 FY 2008

FY 2009

FY 2010

FY 2011

FY 2012-PROJ

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Partnerships A final strategy was for the College to partner with key constituents to garner financial support for our various programs. Educational support came through the Veterans Administration Nursing Academy (VANA) program in conjunction with the Charleston Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, as well as with our own MUSC Medical Center. Research support was derived from increasing collaborations with other professionals across campus on federally funded grants. The



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Development Office doubled its efforts to secure additional funding as well.

Reaching the Peak The result of these strategies is that over the past five years, while state appropriations fell, tuition revenue from increased enrollments and revenue from funded grants has increased (see CON Revenue graph on p. 9). Furthermore, as a university response to the change in revenue streams, MUSC has implemented a new budget model called Responsibility Centered

Management (RCM) (see New Financial Model on p. 11). With this model in place, the College of Nursing now has the opportunity to better forecast its financial future and thus control its destiny. Today the College of Nursing is fiscally sound, educationally robust, clinically productive, and research intensive. Together, with great effort and passion, we have climbed the mountain and we are enjoying the view with pride.

new financial mod el unveiled


References Auden, W.H. (1947). Age of Anxiety. Stuart, G.W., Erkel, E.A. & Shull, L.H. (2010). Allocating resources in a data-driven college of nursing. Nursing Outlook, 58(4), 200-206.

or the past several years, the University has been engaged in a comprehensive review of revenue and expense allocation among the colleges, administration and support services. Representatives from every level of the organization, in conjunction with a management consulting firm, Huron Consulting Group, have been hard at work. In July 2012, the University will unveil a new Responsibility Centered Management (RCM) financial allocation model. Many universities around the country have employed RCM and even refined it in recent years. The theory behind the model is simple. Each revenue generating unit (college or department) will keep all of the funds it generates, including state appropriations, tuition, and grants. Each unit also will pay its costs to the University for the services it uses. This moves decision-making to the colleges in order to create a more transparent and rational budgeting process. RCM is, therefore, an incentive-based model. Instead of focusing on resources that have been historically shrinking—for example, state appropriations—the focus will now be on activities that generate a positive margin, thus fostering more entrepreneurial activities and initiatives. Central support services and their related costs will be allocated to the colleges based on several algorithms, such as number of employees, number of students, grant dollars spent, and occupied square footage of space. What does this mean for the College of Nursing? It means that we will continue to monitor student enrollment and program costs and extramural grant funding sources. We also will encourage new entrepreneurial ideas, while maintaining the efficiencies we have achieved in the last several years. In many ways it allows us to better control our own destiny, and we believe that we are well positioned for growing national prominence in the days ahead.

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ke ys to Future financial success A vibrant organization needs a proactive plan that will continue to address a recovering but still unstable economy. The College of Nursing has such a plan that focuses on its four strategic areas: education, research, practice and organizational culture.

EDUCATION Key Education is the primacy of the MUSC College of Nursing and it is a source of great pride. Unlike other colleges of nursing, we have established a very clear focus for our educational programs that distinguishes us from other nursing schools in the state and across the country. Our students are of two types: accelerated baccalaureate degree students (40 percent) and students pursuing a graduate degree (60 percent), with the greatest numbers of students pursuing doctoral (DNP or PhD) study. Enrollment in the College has doubled since 2002, and we have truly transformed the nature of our student body. Today we have 409 students enrolled: > 172 Accelerated Baccalaureate (BSN) students > 46 Master of Nursing Science (MSN) students > 140 Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students > 51 Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) students The students who come to MUSC have clear goals for a robust nursing career and future leadership roles. About half of our graduating baccalaureate students continue on with graduate education. Those who attain their DNP or PhD fuel the future nursing pipeline as primary care advanced practice nurses, nurse researchers and nurse faculty. Innovation and use of technology also are distinguishing characteristics. Our educational footprint is unique in that all of our graduate programs are taught entirely online. This includes our clinical and research centered doctoral programs. We fully utilize our state-of-the science Healthcare Simulation Center for both undergraduate and graduate students, engaging in over 3,000 simulations in the past year. And we foster positive student-faculty interactions with the latest advances in distance education across programs of study.

99% pass rate

on 2011 NCLEX exam



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Finally we are exceedingly proud of our educational outcomes. This past year our baccalaureate graduates achieved a 99 percent pass rate on their registered nurse licensing examination (NCLEX). This is the highest score in the history of the school. And our graduate students have exceptional records of publications, presentations, grants, honors and appointments to leadership positions in health care. So what do we anticipate as we move forward? MUSC will continue to proactively respond to the anticipated nursing shortage as large numbers of nurses currently working will retire in the next five to 10 years. We intend to increase enrollment in our BSN, DNP and PhD programs and continue to be the standard bearer for innovation, best practices and demonstrated quality outcomes in nursing education.

RESEARCH Key The College of Nursing is now ranked 30th among all colleges of nursing in the National Institute of Health’s (NIH) annual ranking of research funding. This is the College’s highest NIH ranking to date, and reflects an increase in both the number and the scope of research funding from the NIH. The latest ranking represents a 38 percent jump from a ranking of 48 in 2010 to breaking the top 30 in 2011. The MUSC College of Nursing is working toward achieving a top 25 ranking over the next two years. According to the NIH’s annual data and analysis on funded projects, the MUSC College of Nursing continues to surpass all nursing schools in South Carolina and is now ranked 4th in the southeast. In academic circles, grants and contracts from federal sources, including NIH, are considered among the most competitive and coveted funding sources. The reason for this significant jump in ranking is the College



in NIH funding

of Nursing’s two centers: the SCTR Center for Community Health Partnerships and the Technology Applications Center for Healthful Lifestyles (TACHL). Both centers are leading faculty developed research initiatives and submitting interprofessional grant proposals that strongly appeal to the NIH. The majority of the funded research focuses on community based behavioral interventions and technology based innovations (i.e., mobile phone applications) to improve health outcomes. Despite the challenging economic times and flattening of NIH funding, the College’s faculty have attained a 50 percent success rate in NIH funding over the past four years. These two centers that advance translational research in both community practices and community settings are playing a pivotal role in making the MUSC College of Nursing a national leader in improving the health care of disadvantaged communities. The type of research we are conducting at MUSC is on the cutting edge of health care transformation with the implementation of innovative interventions for transitional care, primary care, and community adoption of healthy behaviors.

PRACTICE Key National policy statements and the passage of the Affordable Health Care Act have created a demand for removing the barriers to nursing practice. In South Carolina, College of Nursing faculty members are playing a major role in the elimination of barriers to nursing practice through legislative action. These legislative changes will increase the impact nurse practitioners will have in meeting the primary care needs in the state. The state currently ranks 41st in health care status which is directly tied to the lack of access to primary care services. In response to these dynamic changes in health care, the College has positioned itself well to provide practice opportunities for faculty to test new models of care and for student experiences to develop the leadership skills necessary in the new health paradigm. The use of technology to improve the quality of care and lower the cost of care will play a major role in nursing practice in the future. Faculty in the College of Nursing are working with other MUSC colleges and community leaders to establish schoolbased clinics in four urban schools that will utilize technology to expand access to care for the children and their families. In collaboration with the TACHL, faculty and staff are demonstrating the use of with practice faculty & students digital technology to reduce uncontrolled hypertension. At the state level, College of Nursing faculty are using video conferencing to provide case reviews and training for Adult Protective Services employees at the South Carolina Department of Social Services on issues of neglect and abuse.

26 , 000 number of patient encounters

Historically the College has been on the cutting edge of community-based programming. Currently faculty and students work with private industry to provide work site wellness programs, collaborate with community partners to provide outreach activities, and work with municipal policy makers to address local health issues. The College of Nursing is seen as a leader not just in the provision of health services, but also in the identification of creative collaborations to build capacity in community partners. In the academic setting, the integration of practice with education and research facilitates the development of innovative practice models, the demand for higher education, and the testing of interventions for improving health care outcomes.

ORGANIZATIONAL CULTURE Key The value of any college may best be assessed by the nature of its organizational culture. A culture that promotes collegiality, respect, continuous learning, accountability, adaptability and mutual growth and development is a college that will thrive and excel in the days ahead. Promoting just this type of culture among students, staff and faculty alike is one of the priorities of the College of Nursing. Each year the College participates in a university survey that is part of MUSC Excellence. In the past year the results confirm that our hard work and attention to building a healthy organizational climate have yielded excellent results: > 100% of faculty said they made the right choice in accepting a position at the MUSC College of Nursing > 97% of staff said they are pleased to be working at the MUSC College of Nursing > 97 % of graduating students believe they made the right choice in selecting the MUSC College of Nursing > 97% of the current College of Nursing students believe they are receiving a high quality education at MUSC We are rightfully proud of these reports as they reflect the way in which everyone in the College works together to achieve success in every mission. We have a dedicated and energized faculty, 87 percent of whom are doctorally prepared, with numerous national and international leadership roles. Our staff are equally committed to the work of the College and demonstrate “customer service” to all individuals with whom they interact. In the days ahead we will strive to maintain and expand this culture of respect and excellence. Our goal is that students, staff, faculty, colleagues, and visitors will all see the MUSC College of Nursing as a welcoming door to new ideas, continuous learning and career enhancement.

100% faculty satisfaction

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Precarious Progress: A Consideration of Health Care Issues and Cautiously Optimistic Solutions to Solve Them

By Allyson Dodson Accelerated BSN Student



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“All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.” It’s easy to hear these words and get discouraged, or inspired, depending on which side of the issue you might fall. At face value, it is a given that with every solution, it is only a solution to part of the problem, or for only a portion of those affected by the problem. As Margaret Atwood (1985) eloquently wrote in the voice of one of her characters, “better never means better for everyone…it always means worse for some.” As this relates to health care, one must consider where progress is needed. The cost of health care is astronomical, and thus is a concern to individuals from all economic backgrounds. One devastating disease could bankrupt anyone, really. President Obama has attempted to mandate universal health care coverage, which is great from the

perspective of health care providers and health conscious individuals. However, the concerns for providing it also are great. Who will pay for it? Employer provided plans are often expensive, especially for families. Government funded programs are likely to only benefit those from lower economic groups, while the middle class must shoulder most of the burden of cost and will likely have to seek their coverage from other sources. The United States struggles to pay for Medicare as it currently stands. With individuals living longer, it is only a matter of time before this program, among others, is bankrupt. Of course, taxes could be raised, but how likely will it be that US citizens will support that? Dr. Arthur Garson (2000) of the American College of Cardiology suggests creating regional health insurance agencies that offer a variety of plans to choose from, having employers contribute a fee per employee to the agency for the employed, and government subsidies be provided per Allyson Dodson individual based on income and economic status. Then, each person would be allowed to select their plan of choice, and pay for additional benefits, as needed or desired, in addition to the basic coverage plan. For instance, supplemental prescription coverage could be offered at an additional affordable fee. Also, a system that rewards consumers for health promotion behaviors, such as maintaining a healthy weight, not smoking and effectively managing nonmodifiable health conditions, would be incentive to inspire a healthy society. If one’s financial health depended upon his or her behavior, diet, exercise and drug regimens prescribed by health care providers might be taken as more than just polite suggestions. This system could work. But, should government be able to mandate coverage in the first place? Many individuals think that deciding to have health insurance coverage should be a choice that lies with the individual alone. However, that brings the problem full circle back to the affordability of it all. Some might argue that this is discrimination. On the other hand, mandating car insurance in order to drive, as well as rewarding good behavior with discounts and “punishing” bad behavior with increased premiums, has worked well in the auto insurance industry. The difference between an auto and a health insurance requirement may lie in that health, or lack thereof, is something that applies to all whether we like it or not; whereas driving is a privilege, a choice.

As a future health care provider, I specifically worry about individuals with chronic health issues. Of greatest concern is obesity, as approximately one-third of the US population is obese, and thus often face subsequent issues such as heart disease, type II diabetes, and infertility. Health care facilities must be outfitted with equipment capable of handling the morbidly obese, and their staff must have a strong educational background in the management of heart disease and diabetes. The cost of cardiac medications and insulin must be managed and supplies well stocked. Currently, some of the medications used to treat heart conditions and diabetes are on the FDA medication shortage list, (Federal Drug Administration, 2011). However, most of the above conditions, as well as others, are preventable. If we had a system that rewarded healthy behavior, this could allow us as health care providers to focus our attention on encouraging and providing health promotion through screening, education clinics and wellness check-ups. A healthier society would mean that individuals will live longer, and health care personnel will need a more comprehensive education in geriatric care. A healthier, older population also will require additional home care personnel, as well as more assisted living facilities and nursing homes. With every health care concern there are multiple solutions, and each carries its share of benefits and additional problems. Who should be making the decisions is currently one of the biggest concerns and equal in magnitude is the question of who should pay and how. For now, we must hope for guidance from the Supreme Court of the United States, promote the side of the argument most important to us with our votes and volunteering, and provide the best level of care at the bedside every day with skill, encouragement and compassion. It is the one on one health care provider/patient relationship that will ultimately have the greatest impact on an individual’s life. As health care providers, this is something we can control today.

Editor’s note: This essay placed 2nd in MUSC’s 6th Annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Student Essay Contest.

References Atwood, M. (1985). The handmaid’s tale. London: Alfred A. Knopf. Federal Drug Administration. (2011, December 20). Current drug shortages. Retrieved from DrugShortages/ucm050792.htm Garson, A. (2000, April 25). The US healthcare system 2010: Problems, principles and potential solutions. Retrieved from Spring | summer 2012




>> College Partners with Johnson & Johnson In a continued effort to help alleviate the nationwide nursing shortage, the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future hosted the Promise of Nursing for South Carolina gala to raise funds and provide scholarships to help ease the nursing shortage in South Carolina. The event, which was held in Charleston on November 3, 2011, raised nearly $300,000. All funds raised from the event will remain in South Carolina to support undergraduate nursing student scholarships, graduate nursing education fellowships to prepare nurse faculty, and grants to South Carolina area nursing schools to help expand their program capacity. More than 500 South Carolina nurses and health care professionals were in attendance. As the 30th Johnson & Johnson Promise of Nursing regional gala to be held, this year’s proceeds contributed to the more than $18 million raised across the country to date. “At a time of limited financial resources this represents a rich and important gift to our community,” says Dean Gail Stuart, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Nurses are the heart and soul of patient care as they care for patients during their most intimate moments, from bringing new life into the world to helping patients die with dignity,” says Marilyn J. Schaffner, PhD, RN, CGRN, chief nursing executive and administrator for clinical services, MUSC Medical Center. “Through partnership with the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future, we have the opportunity to help fund scholarships for student nurses as they become part of the magic of nursing.” (L to R) Provost Mark Sothmann and Dean Gail Stuart Current predictions by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicate that South Carolina is expected to experience more than 12,000 nursing position vacancies by 2020. The shortage predicted for South Carolina corresponds with national projections from the Bureau of Labor Statistics that estimate more than one million new and replacement nurses will be needed to meet U.S. population demands by 2016. “The Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future is committed to supporting the recruitment and retention of our nursing workforce at both regional and national levels,” says Andrea Higham, director of the Johnson & Johnson Campaign for Nursing’s Future. “Partnering with local nursing organizations to host the Promise of Nursing galas help extend our reach, and our collaboration will ensure that nurses and student nurses across the country continue to receive the resources and funding they need.”



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>> >> Students, Grads, faculty shine at SNRS The 26th Annual Conference of the Southern Nursing Research Society (SNRS): Nurse Scientists as Crucial Partners to Health Delivery was held in February in New Orleans, Louisiana. As you will see below, the College of Nursing was well represented as a number of faculty, PhD students and graduates presented their work. Listed in order of the SNRS presentations: Jeannette Andrews, Carolyn Jenkins, Melissa Cox | From Bench to Curbside: Developing AcademicCommunity Partnerships Lilo Fink, Kathy Van Ravenstein, Lynne Nemeth | Health Care Providers’ Attitudes Towards Treating a Patients with Fibromyalgia Carolyn Jenkins, Marilyn Laken | A Statewide Community Participatory SWOT Analysis for Improving Diabetes in South Carolina Tara O’Brien, Lynne Nemeth, Laura Talbot | Social Stress, Family Influences, and Folk Health Behaviors Among Older Obese Appalachian Women Lenora Smith | Communicating Artificial Nutrition and Hydration Options in the Dying: An Integrated Review Margaret Kennedy, Elaine Amella | A Comparison of Disciplinary Contexts Using Evolutionary Concept Analysis Gia Mudd, Pamela Williams, Lorraine Frazier | Stewardship Methods for Genetic Biobanking Samples in Community Based Research Judy Mikhail, Lynne Nemeth, Martina Mueller | Insurance and Trauma Patient Outcomes in a Level I Trauma Center

Lynne Nemeth | Synthesizing Lessons Learned Within a Practice-Based Research Network Pamela Williams | Community Seeking Behaviors in Persons with Alpha One: A Formative Capacity Assessment for CBPR Approaches Collette Loftin | Diversity in Texas Nursing Programs Robin Matutina, Teresa Kelechi, Martina Mueller, Carolyn Jenkins, Jordy Johnson | Educational Interventions for Middle School Students to Improve the Perception of Nursing as a Future Career Choice Leslie Parker | Effect of Early Versus Late Breast Milk Expression in Mothers of Very Low Birth Weight Infants on Milk Volume and Lactogenesis Stage II Elaine Amella, Angela Fraser, Martina Mueller | Cooking Healthy-Eating Smart (CHES): Formative Steps to Develop a Community-Based Nutrition Program for Rural Older Adults

Nurse Educator visits CON With the implementation of the DNP program and its emphasis on quality and safety, the College of Nursing invited Susan Stillwell, DNP, MSN, RN, CNE to conduct a day long workshop on Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) for faculty in January. EBP is a problem-solving approach to the delivery of health care that integrates the best evidence from studies and patient care data with clinician expertise and patient preferences and values. When delivered in a context of caring and in a supportive organizational culture, the highest quality of care and best patient outcomes can be achieved. Dr. Stillwell is a clinical professor and associate director of the Center for the Advancement of Evidence-Based Practice at Arizona State University (ASU). She earned a DNP from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama in 2009 and a Post-Master’s Certificate in Evidence-Based Practice from ASU College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Center for the Advancement of Evidence-based Practice in Phoenix, Arizona in 2007. She also is certified by the National League for Nursing as a nurse educator.

Suzanne Sutton | Clinical Reasoning in Graduate Prelicensure Students Melissa Aselage, Elaine Amella, Martina Mueller, Jane Zapka, Cornelia Beck | Feasibility of a Webbased Dementia Feeding Skills Training Module for Nursing Home Staff Dr. Susan Stillwell

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>> BSN Student in the news Luck, novel treatment save the day By Dawn Brazell, MUSC Public Relations It was December 13, late afternoon on a warm Tuesday, a good day for a run or so Justin Repshas thought. The College of Charleston senior had finished a tough exam and needed a break before studying for his next test. Meanwhile, MUSC College of Nursing student Meg Skeele was having a very bad day. She was exhausted between exams and work and just felt out of sorts in general. A friend coaxed her to go out to eat to cheer her up. She agreed. In an unusual turn of events, MUSC research fellow Michael Bernard, MD, PhD, was able to leave work early — a very rare event — to go Christmas shopping for his wife at a cookware store downtown. How they all happened to end up on a side street downtown just when Repshas’ life depended on it, no one knows. Repshas is just glad they did. The three recently got to meet at MUSC, celebrate how well Repshas is doing and share their stories. As Skeele was driving by, she remembers seeing a crowd of people around someone lying in the grass, someone who looked somewhat like her younger brother. Her ‘gut’ told her to stop, and her friend didn’t mind. She assessed the situation

(L to R) Dr. Michael Bernard, Justin Repshas, and Meg Skeele 20


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and realized he needed CPR. “He was just helpless on the ground and no one was doing anything. His pulse was thready, and he had stopped breathing.” She dropped down to begin compressions, silently singing the Bee Gees’ tune “Staying Alive” as she had been taught to do in trainings. She laughs. “It has the right rhythm.” Mentally freaking out, she tried to remain composed. “It’s totally different from simulation lab,” she said. Then Bernard, who specializes in heart arrhythmias, drove by after having no luck in getting a gift. He saw someone doing CPR and stopped to help. Though Skeele knew EMS had been called, she said it was such a relief to see him arrive and have a “senior official” there. Bernard monitored Repshas’ pulse and Skeele continued to do compressions. Help from the Charleston Fire Department and EMS arrived in what seemed an eternity to Skeele, and Bernard briefed the emergency technicians on Repshas’ condition. At the time, Skeele and Bernard thought the patient, who had no identification, would be taken to another hospital. Skeele said she got in her car and sat for awhile in shock. Later, she tried to find out how he was, but patient privacy laws kept her from being able to get any information on his condition. Frustrated, Skeele accepted she may never know the young man’s fate, but then she saw an email from her nursing college that let her know Bernard was looking for her. Repshas ended up at MUSC for treatment since he had no identification. Bernard said he noticed a 22-year-old was in ICU who had avoided sudden cardiac death. Bernard thought who else could that be? In all the craziness he had forgotten Skeele’s name, but the family wanted to meet her. When Skeele came to visit, the family was in the waiting room. She was introduced and the mom, Chris Bernock, beamed at her saying, “This is the one. Let me give you a big hug.” Skeele said it was one of the most emotionally-charged moments she’s ever had and she instantly liked Bernock. “His mom was so calm and pulled together. It was fantastic meeting her. I met his sister, too.” Though Bernard was not directly involved with Repshas’ care, he did end up putting in his implantable cardioverter defibrillator

before Repshas was discharged. Repshas has a very rare (1-2 per 1,000,000 people) condition called left ventricle noncompaction cardiomyopathy. Bernard said there are doctors who’ve been at MUSC for three decades who haven’t seen this type of case. It’s an abnormal development of heart muscle where the muscle fibers do not form a compact layer. Instead the muscle fibers are loosely packed in almost a sponge-like manner, which can lead to heart failure, arrhythmias and other heart disorders. Repshas was treated with a hypothermia protocol where the body core temperature is cooled for 24 hours and then slowly rewarmed to a normal temperature. During this time, Repshas was sedated in a drug-induced coma and carefully monitored in the ICU. Bernard said the procedure has been shown to reduce brain injury after cardiac arrests. Bernard praised how Skeele handled the situation, encouraging everyone who can learn CPR to do so. “She provided prompt CPR that probably made the difference in his outcome. Providing early and sustained CPR is one of the most important factors in survival. After sudden cardiac death, there is a very narrow window to successfully resuscitate somebody. After only five to 10 minutes, survival approaches zero percent. The fact that she recognized the situation and acted accordingly saved Justin’s life.”

This experience has changed me. It’s connected me to what I want to do.” - Meg Skeele

As for Skeele, she said the event changed her life. She has found nursing takes her heart and soul. “It takes everything about yourself. I’ve learned a lot about myself and what people have to go through when they’re sick. This experience has changed me. It’s connected me to what I want to do.” She knows now more than ever that she has chosen the right profession. In school nursing students hear how they will make a difference in patients’ lives, but having it actually happen was inspirational for her, she said. Repshas, who has returned to school, said the experience has changed him as well. “I feel very, very lucky to come out as strong as I was before. It was very scary.” He’s very grateful that Skeele and Bernard showed up when they did, and the support he got from emergency personnel, the City of Charleston police and friends who

helped to get him identified and MUSC staff. “Words can’t explain how grateful I am. They saved my life. It was a really fortunate series of events that day. It gives you a different outlook in life. The small things in life matter more. I couldn’t be happier to be here with my friends and family.”

MEG’s Story The events that transpired that random Tuesday and the days that followed were nothing short of serendipitous. After processing everything and repeating the story countless times, it has finally begun to hit me how miraculous it really was. It all seemed quite matter-of-fact at the time. It was only later that the magnitude of what did happen and could have happened struck me. I think the most anxious part of the whole experience was the next 16 hours. Despite my best efforts, I could not find out the runner’s condition, or if he was even alive. I was trying to accept that I would never know his fate when I received an email from Carolyn Page forwarding a message from Dr. Bernard. Despite all odds, the patient had been brought to Med-U instead of Roper and was placed randomly on Dr. Bernard’s unit. Because of that last minute route change, I was eventually able to meet his mother, sister, and friends—one of the most overwhelming experiences of my life. A couple of weeks later I met the family again at a local coffee shop where I was finally introduced to Justin. I don’t have the words to describe how emotional that experience was. We are both still trying to wrap our heads around that meeting and what happened on the street corner. I have always thought that everything happens for a reason and I believe that was epitomized on December 13th. Everything that occurred was caused by small random acts, which culminated in an event that forever changed both of our lives.

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>> Stuart Returns to Africa In October 2010, Gail Stuart, PhD, RN, FAAN, dean, traveled to Liberia with a group from the Carter Center. Their mission was to work with the Liberians to refine a curriculum she developed to train 150 nurses to provide mental health care to those in the country recovering from the trauma of civil war. This mission focused on creating a ‘train the trainer’ model, educating groups of nurses and physician assistants who would then become the trainers for other cohorts—two each year. In March 2012, Dean Stuart returned to Liberia with her Carter Center colleagues to evaluate and update the mental health training curriculum. To date two classes of students (38 in total) have graduated from the program and it has been deemed a great success. While there, Dean Stuart addressed the second group of graduates and also visited some of the more rural parts of the country to further assess their mental health needs. The first annual Program Review of the Mental Health Liberia Program was held on April 18, 2012, at the Carter Center in Atlanta. Dean Stuart attended the event and shared her methodologies and research on components of the program that she created in addition to her preliminary findings of data she collected during her visit in March. Senior executive staff of the Carter Center, other consultants to the program, technical staff, and donors attended the review.

About the Carter Center The Carter Center was founded in 1982 by former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, in partnership with Emory University, to advance peace and health worldwide. A nongovernmental organization, the Center has helped to improve life for people in more than 70 countries by resolving conflicts; advancing democracy, human rights, and economic opportunity; preventing diseases; improving mental health care; and teaching farmers to increase crop production. Source:

Mental Health in Liberia Building upon nearly two decades of Carter Center efforts to foster peace and democracy in Liberia, the Carter Center Mental Health Program in 2010 launched a five-year initiative to help create a sustainable mental health system in Liberia that will address a broad range of mental health conditions. The over arching goal is to improve functioning in people with mental illnesses in the most populous counties of Liberia. The initiative will assist the Liberia Ministry of Health and Social Welfare by: building local training for professionals in mental health, such as nurses; collaborating on implementation of the national mental health plan; developing support models for family caregivers; promoting advocacy; and working to reduce stigma and discrimination against people with mental illnesses. Source:



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>> Newman participates in global leadership network As part of her Liberty Fellowship experience, Susan Newman, PhD, RN, CRRN, assistant professor, participated in the Aspen Global Leadership Network seminar, Leading in an Era of Globalization, in Kovalam, Kerala, India. The seminar explored the challenges of leading in an increasingly complex and intertwined world, was offered in a variety of locations around the world, and involved Fellows from across the Aspen Global Leadership Network. Dr. Newman and four additional members of her Liberty Fellowship Class of 2012 joined other young leaders from the United States, Central America, India, and South Africa for six days of intense discussion about different aspects of leadership in a global environment. “I was proud to have the opportunity to participate and offer my perspective as the only nurse and only woman from the U.S. attending this session,” says Dr. Newman. “I found the experience to be extremely enlightening as well as humbling. To engage in discussions about leadership with individuals who come from a country ruled by a dictator really made me appreciate the freedoms we have here in the U.S. I was inspired by their passion to do what’s necessary to assure their fellow citizens’ wellbeing. Somehow, after making these new connections and friendships, the world seems much smaller now.” For more information on the Liberty Fellowship visit For more information on the Aspen Global Leadership Network go to

Dr. Susan Newman pictured second row, third from right

Liberty Fellowship Young leaders of South Carolina possess the potential to lead the state to greatness. It is the role of the Liberty Fellowship to bring together those leaders so they may expand how they think, collaborate and make decisions. Liberty Fellows share a core value – transforming a mere hope of making South Carolina a stronger state to achieving that goal. The Liberty Fellowship brings together a dynamic mix of South Carolina leaders who represent the broadest spectrum of political, social and geographic realms to collaborate around this shared value. The core of the Liberty Fellowship is a seminar series for 20 leaders who range in age from 30 to 45 years, selected from a pool of nominations. These Fellows are carefully selected from a pool of strong candidates with a passion for progress to collaborate on issues. New ideas, formal and informal discussions generate deep introspection as Fellows compare their choices and values with those of leaders throughout history and with each others’. Source: Spring | summer 2012




>> STUDENTS HELP THOSE IN NEED IN UGANDA In August and December 2011, undergraduate and graduate College of Nursing students traveled to Uganda with the Palmetto Medical Initiative (PMI) to provide health care to those in need. Those students included Accelerated BSN students Lisa Carraher, Sarah Didow, Kristen Elmore, Margaret (Sosnowski) Lawrence, Lindsey Palmer, Anne Powell, Jenelle Quenneville, Thomas Rudisill, Margaret Skeele, and Jessee Wagner. Graduate students included DNP students Ashleigh Benda, Elizabeth Devereaux, Hannah French, J’Vonne Hunter and MSN student Reames Rinehart. Several of the students who participated in the trips share their experiences below.

Lindsey Palmer, Accelerated BSN student Having traveled quite a bit in the past, I have always felt the perspective gained as an outsider abroad taught me how I could better understand my goals and aspirations to be in the health care industry. Visiting other countries that are in need, and placing myself outside of my comfort zone is an integral part of my personal growth and it is why I was inspired to join Palmetto Medical Initiative’s trip to Uganda. As a student nurse, this was one of the best learning experiences, and I would recommend it to any health care professions student. During the trip, I was able to work with three health care professionals—an ophthalmology resident, a psychiatrist, and a nurse practitioner student—on three different days and see their diverse scopes of practice. There were some points of the day when I was actually asking all the questions, diagnosing the problem, and prescribing the drug, as a nursing student. Of course, I was under the supervision of these professionals, but I was really able to challenge my knowledge and apply what I remembered from Ms. Anderson’s pharmacology class or Dr. Conner’s pathophysiology lectures to treat patients, many whom had never received any medical care in their lifetimes. I also was able to brush up on my vital signs skills, and medical history interviewing during triage. This was a major learning experience, because in triage you must be able to identify patients who may need immediate care by taking their vitals and history. It also was a great chance to really get to know the Ugandan people, and see how much they appreciate any bit of care the team provides for them. Most of the people we treated have so little and live in absolute poverty, yet have the biggest smiles on their faces and such 24


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an appreciation for living. This is what makes the experience so life-changing, and I hope that other nursing students who may be planning to take the trip will get as much out of it both educationally and personally.

Kristen Elmore, Accelerated BSN student Before going on this mission trip, I was told over and over by others, “this will be a life-changing experience,” “you will want to come back,” “this experience will be like no other.” I believed all I was told, but I don’t think I truly grasped before leaving how much of an impact this experience would really make on my life. And as advised…my life has changed since returning. It was so inspiring to see that despite all that the Ugandans experience…extreme poverty, illness, sorrow…they still persevere, and still are so strong in their faith and belief that a higher power is looking out for them and has this awesome plan for their lives. I saw this in everyone I came in contact with from the children to the adults. It truly inspired me. I’m so excited about all of the personal growth I experienced, but also the growth I experienced as a nursing student. The experiences from this medical mission will heavily influence how I practice as a nurse, my interaction with patients, and my thoughts and beliefs on the value of myself as a health care professional. I grew in my faith, developed confirmation in what I’ve been called to do through my nursing career, and am encouraged to live a life full of giving and recognizing the needs of others. I want to use this mission to Uganda as a springboard. I hope to have the opportunity for other international medical missions throughout my nursing career and use those experiences, coupled with my nursing skills, to touch as many lives across the world as humanly possible. What an amazing trip!

Jenelle Quenneville, Accelerated BSN student A young mother came into the clinic with her five children for treatment. There was a 10 year-old boy, a 9 year-old girl, a 7 year-old boy, 4 year-old boy and 2 year-old girl. The 4 year-old boy was her nephew whom she had adopted four weeks prior because her sister had passed away. All of the children had worms, Tinea capitis, and various infections that needed treatment. The oldest child was unable to walk due to what appeared to be nerve damage that resulted from an exacerbation of malaria years prior. This family was extremely impoverished; you could see the pain in their faces from hunger, sickness, and loss. The mother expressed exhaustion from working in the fields and caring for five children on her own. I share this experience because I was honored to be able to provide care for this family. The child that was carried into the clinic left with new shoes, walking canes and muscle strengthening exercises. The other children were provided with individually bagged medications that included specific written instructions for the mom. We spent over an hour with this family and provided shoes for three of them. I left grateful that we were able to provide for this family and give hope to this mother and her children.

Sarah Didow, Accelerated BSN student It’s easy to get lost in the modern conveniences and comforts of the life that most of us enjoy today. When I first heard about the opportunity to travel to and volunteer in Uganda, I knew immediately it was exactly the experience that I had been looking for that would allow me to submerge myself in a different culture and provide some personal direction and insight. What I found was so much more. I discovered first hand what it truly meant to work as an interprofessional team and the rewards and accomplishments that can result when doing so. I learned the true meaning of human compassion and community, and renewed my appreciation of and respect for the human body. My advice to others interested in going on this trip is

to expect the unexpected. This trip is likely to make you both laugh and cry. You will work hard and long on both emotional and physical levels, but at the end of the day you will be able to go to bed with a sense of purpose and fulfillment unlike anything you have felt before. It is the most challenging and rewarding experience that will stay with you forever. Expect to be changed, and open your mind and heart to the amazing culture that is Uganda. And in the perfect irony that is life, just know that the service and love that you provide to the Ugandans will only be a fraction of what you will receive in return.

Ashleigh M. Benda, DNP student I wanted to experience how medicine in other countries compares to the U.S. I am now extremely appreciative of the abundance of medical gloves and not having the need to sleep in a mosquito net! I have realized that the little things do matter the most. Taking time to talk to your patient, fun band aids for kids, and a pat on the back can change the entire course and outcome of patient care. It is an experience that everyone should have and I want to go frequently to keep my basic nursing skills sharp and maintain my passion for the sick. On this trip, one experience that stands out for me is an older woman, who presented with what she claimed to be a rash on her right arm. After examination, she had third degree burns or a very severe case of cellulitis. Her skin was peeling, there were blisters between her fingers and her radial pulse was non-palpable. In the U.S., she would have been placed on a stretcher and wheeled into the operating room immediately. The most help we could provide for her was clean water irrigation, elevation and zinc cream. It was very difficulty to inform her she was probably going to lose her arm. Despite the terrible news, she was incredibly grateful for the clean water and pain injection we were able to give her.

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>> Research faculty receive honors Faculty inducted into AAN College of Nursing faculty members Teresa Kelechi, PhD, GCNS-BC, CWCN and Ida Spruill, PhD, RN, LISW, were installed as Fellows in the American Academy of Nursing during their 38th Annual Meeting and Conference held October 15, 2011, in Washington, DC. The 142 members of the 2011 class was the Academy’s largest class of inductees. Of those nurse leaders, only two, Drs. Kelechi and Spruill, were from South Carolina. “Selection for membership in the Academy is one of the most prestigious honors in the field of nursing,” said Academy President Catherine Gilliss, DNSc, RN, FAAN. “Academy Fellows are truly experts. The Academy Fellowship represents the nation’s top nurse researchers, policymakers, scholars, executives, educators and practitioners.” As Dean Gail Stuart, PhD, RN, FAAN notes, “We are immensely proud of Drs. Kelechi and Spruill and to have two more CON faculty inducted into the Academy. This means 20 percent of our tenure track nurse faculty are members of the American Academy of Nursing – a high level of distinction for our College.” (Left to Right): Drs. Ida Spruill and Dr. Kelechi is an associate Teresa Kelechi at AAN Ceremony professor and department chair in the College of Nursing. She is board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a gerontological clinical nurse specialist and by the Wound Ostomy Continence Nurses Society as a certified wound care nurse. Dr. Kelechi has been employed at MUSC since 1987 as a geriatric and wound care provider prior to joining the College of Nursing in 2001. Dr. Spruill is an assistant professor in the College of Nursing and a member of the research team at the MUSC Hollings Cancer Center/Prevention and Control. Her research interests include, management of chronic diseases, health literacy, ethno-cultural barriers to genetic literacy, and reducing health disparities among vulnerable populations. Specifically, her program of research involves the impact of culture and genetics on the management of chronic diseases among underserved populations.



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Nemeth appointed to AHRQ research study section Lynne Nemeth, PhD, RN, associate professor, has been appointed to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) Health Care Research Training (HCRT) Study Section. The four year appointment began last October. AHRQ has one chartered Health Services Research Initial Review Group (IRG) responsible for the peer review of grant applications submitted for study section review. This IRG is comprised of four subcommittees or study sections, each with a particular emphasis around which peer reviewer expertise is assembled. One of those four subcommittees is the HCRT Study Section. This Study Section conducts scientific peer review for individual and institutional training and career development applications, including Dissertation Grant (R36); National Research Service Award (NRSA) Predoctoral Fellowship for Minority Students (F31); National Research Service Award (NRSA) Postdoctoral Fellowship (F32); Mentored Clinical Scientist Development Award (K08); and Independent Scientist Award (K02).

Pope selected for VA research network Charlene Pope, PhD, RN, MPH, CNM, associate professor and associate nurse executive of the Ralph H. Johnson VA Medical Center, has been selected as the site leader for the VA’s Women’s Health Practice-Based Research Network. According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, women make up 20 percent of new military recruits, and it is estimated that women Veterans will comprise 10 percent of the Veteran population by 2018. The VA is committed to improving several key priorities for women Veterans care, including: access to care; culture of care surrounding women Veterans; women Veteran-centered care; and coordination of care across providers (e.g., primary and specialty care). For example, VA Health Services Research and Development Service funded the Veterans Practice-Based Research network, which will help provide a laboratory for examining new treatments, quality performance and quality improvements, models of care, and provider education and training for women’s health care.

Kathy Neeley, MSN, RN, CCRN is an instructor in the accelerated Bachelor of Science program. Ms. Neeley’s association with MUSC began in 2002 with her position as a clinical nurse coordinator in the Coronary Intensive Care Unit. She received a Master of Science degree in nursing from MUSC in 2007, and has held various adjunct faculty positions in the undergraduate BSN program. Ms. Neeley began her nursing career in Pennsylvania and Ohio where she developed her specialty in critical care nursing at the Sharon Regional Health System and the Cleveland Clinic Foundation. She has extensive experience in medical, cardiac, and cardiothoracic critical care. In addition, she has maintained a Critical Care Certification (CCRN) from the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN) since 1988.

Stuart ReceiVes Barton distinguished Fellow Award ACMHA, The College for Behavioral Health Leadership, selected Gail Stuart, PhD, RN, FAAN for their 2012 Barton Distinguished Fellow Award. The Barton Distinguished Fellow Award, named after one of ACMHA’s founders, honors an ACMHA member who has made outstanding and sustained contributions to the leadership of the College and to the field of behavioral health leadership and policy. The award was presented during ACMHA’s annual summit, Healthy Supports, Healthy Communities: Improving the Health of Communities Through Social Supports, that was held in March in Charleston.


Shannon Smith, DNP, RN, ACNS-BC, CGRN is an instructor in the accelerated Bachelor of Science program. Dr. Smith received both her Bachelor of Science in nursing and Master of Science in adult health nursing from the MUSC College of Nursing. She received her Doctor of Nursing Practice degree from the University of South Carolina. Board certified by the American Nurses Credentialing Center as a clinical nurse specialist in adult health, Dr. Smith also is certified in gastroenterology nursing. Prior to joining the College, Dr. Smith was an educator in the nursing department of a local community college and has held adjunct faculty roles with schools of nursing since 2001. She has eight years of experience in nursing case management and has been a part of the MUSC family for over 20 years. Dr. Smith is a member of the American Nurses Association, Sigma Theta Tau, the Society of Gastroenterology Nurses and Associates, and a Lifetime Member of the College of Nursing’s Alumni Association. She was the recipient of the United States Department of Commerce Scholarship awarded through the South Carolina Nurses Foundation (2009, 2010). Dr. Smith also received the Outstanding Abstract Award from the South Carolina Public Health Association in 2010. Her interests include health literacy, readmission prevention, and chronic disease management.


>> CON welcomes new faculty



Five College of Nursing faculty received the Palmetto Gold Nurse award. The recognition program was initiated in 2001 when a group of nursing leaders developed a program to recognize excellence in nursing practice. In April, the program celebrated its 11th anniversary during the annual gala held in Columbia. College of Nursing faculty recognized this year include: Berry

B. Conner

Anderson, PhD, RN,


Brian Conner, PhD, RN, Ruth Conner, PhD, RN, Sally Kennedy, PhD, RN, FNP-C and Ida Spruill, PhD, RN, R. Conner


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>> Scholarships News RWJ New Careers in Nursing Scholarships awarded The College of Nursing has selected five first semester accelerated BSN students to receive the Robert Wood Johnson New Careers in Nursing (NCIN) scholarships for spring 2012. They are Osman Obdi, Roxanne Johnson, Zora Johnson, Michelle Mejia, and Shechianh Stewart. Students selected for the scholarship must have an earned bachelor’s degree in another area and be a member of an underrepresented population in nursing. With the addition of these five students this semester, the college currently has 16 enrolled in the program. Since 2008, the College of Nursing has awarded a total of 40 NCIN scholarships to second-degree accelerated BSN students from underrepresented groups in nursing. Dr. Sally Stroud, associate dean for academics reports, “The NCIN students have been very successful. Twenty-three have completed the BSN program and 21 are currently employed as nurses.”

and volunteered in health care prior to her enrollment in the College of Nursing. This $30,000 scholarship, distributed evenly over four semesters, is awarded to a student entering the program each fall and spring semester. Students have a two-year work commitment to the Medical Center following graduation.

Ramos Selected for Ruth Jaqui Skudlarek Scholarship Fourth semester accelerated BSN student, Veronica Ramos, is the recipient of the Ruth Jaqui Skudlarek Scholarship Award and will be recognized during May’s convocation. Four outstanding students were nominated for this award which recognizes academic and clinical excellence in the “Population–Focused Nursing” course. Dr. Deborah Williamson, who nominated Ms. Ramos wrote, ”She inspires others to raise their level of performance by her dedication to produce quality work. Her group excelled and went on to present their community project at a national health disparities conference. She is compassionate, and professional. She is committed, and sensitive to the cultural values of the families.”

Stufflebean receiveS CLN Annual Student Scholarship Fourth semester accelerated BSN student, Andrew

(Left to Right): Osman Obdi, Roxanne Johnson, Shechianh Stewart, Zora Johnson and Michelle Mejia

Benedict selected for MUSC Medical Center Scholarship First semester accelerated BSN student, Laurie Benedict, a graduate of the College of Charleston, has been selected to receive the MUSC Medical Center Scholarship. Born in Ft. Knox, Kentucky, as a military dependent, Ms. Benedict was exposed to a wide variety of cultures through her travels. She shares, “the beauty of human diversity sparked my life-long fascination with human behavior and beliefs.” Driven by a desire to be of service to others, Ms. Benedict has worked in the hospitality industry



Spring | Summer 2012

Stufflebean, was awarded the South Carolina League for Nursing Annual Scholarship. Andrew is a second degree student, having earned a Bachelor of Arts in biology from the College of Charleston. He was recently inducted into Sigma Theta Tau, the international nursing honor society. Mr. Stufflebean served as president of the Student Nurses Association, and was the student speaker at the January 2012 Stethoscope Ceremony. He has volunteered with the Charleston Miracle League and led a supply drive for My Sister’s House, a safe-haven for abused women. A member of the College’s Hispanic Health Initiative Scholars Program, Mr. Stufflebean planned a health screening for residents in low-income housing, mainly assisting with translating and health screenings. He is proficient in Spanish, and prior to enrollment in the College, he participated in several medical mission trips to Honduras. He also completed the Culturally Competent Nursing Care Certificate.


doctoral students soaring to new heights

Another activity that highlights Mr. Stufflebean’s leadership is his involvement as a student assistant in a SAMMPRIS Trial, Neurosciences: Stroke Center at MUSC and his work as a study coordinator for a randomized pilot study at MUSC. His efforts have yielded two collaborative publications, one in the New England Journal of Medicine (September 2011).

Brown Selected for Charleston County Medical Society Scholarship Annakathryn Brown, fourth semester student enrolled in the accelerated BSN program, was awarded the Charleston County Medical Society Scholarship. The Charleston County Medical Society provides one scholarship annually to a nursing student who is a native of and currently resides in Charleston County. Community outreach is another important component of the selection process. Ms. Brown has been involved in Medical Campus Outreach missions to Romania, volunteered at an orphanage in Thailand, and volunteered at Greenville Memorial Hospital. She also was employed as an ED technician at Roper-St. Francis Hospital. Prior to her enrollment at MUSC, Ms. Brown studied at Clemson University.

Exchange Club Selects Three CON Students for Scholarships The Exchange Club awarded Kris Elmore, Cameron Funderburk, and Andrew Stufflebean each a $1200 scholarship. The Exchange Club looks specifically for students from the tri-county area who have at least a 3.0 GPA, and a track record of community service. Recipients were recognized at a luncheon on December 8 for their contributions and achievements.



Freeman named MUSC’s first CNIO PhD candidate Rebecca Freeman, RN, CEN, PMP, has been named MUSC’s first chief nursing information officer (CNIO). As CNIO, Ms. Freeman will partner in the design and oversight of health information technology facets of the enterprisewide MUSC Health Strategic Plan. She will provide strategic and operational nursing leadership in the development, deployment, re-engineering and integration of clinical information systems to support clinicians and patient service. She also will lead the Medical University Hospital Authority Nursing Informatics team. “The creativity and energy that Rebecca brings to MUSC nursing and informatics will be critical to our journey toward Magnet recognition and improving care,” says Dr. Marilyn Schaffner, administrator for clinical services.

Demonbreun joins national editorial board Doctor of Nursing Practice student, Kahlil A. Demonbreun, RNC-OB, MSN, WHNP-BC, ANP-BC, is the newest member of the editorial board of Women’s Health Care, the official journal of Nurse Practitioners (NP) in Women’s Health. Mr. Demonbreun has been a nurse for 23 years, providing professional nursing care to women across their life span. He has served as a consultant on women’s health programs for the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control and been a member on several regional and national committees devoted to improving the health of women, while maintaining his clinical practice. He has dual board certification from the National Certification Corporation as a women’s health NP and an inpatient obstetric nurse. In addition, he holds board certification as an adult NP from the American Nurses Credentialing Center. He is believed to be the only male nurse in the nation to hold these credentials simultaneously. Mr. Demonbreun practices as an NP in women’s health at the Family Health Center in Orangeburg, South Carolina.

Source: Nurse Practitioner World News

Stufflebean Spring | summer 2012



Convocation pics


ons, graduates! Convocation


D e c e m b e r 2 011

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Lawrence selected Georgia NP of the year James F. Lawrence, Jr., PhD, APRN-BC, FAANP, a 2006 graduate of the PhD program, has been awarded the 2012 State Nurse Practitioner Excellence Award by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. The award is given annually to a dedicated nurse practitioner in each state who demonstrates excellence as a leader, advocate, role model, and clinician in their area of practice. Dr. Lawrence will receive his award during the Academy’s 27th annual conference scheduled for June in Orlando, Florida. Dr. Lawrence works as a nurse practitioner at the Atlanta VA Medical Center’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation clinic. His patients are severely injured military personnel returning from Iraq and Afghanistan as well as those living in chronic pain. He also works as a part-time nurse practitioner with Guardian Hospice and is a part-time faculty member at Georgia State University and Georgetown University. (Source: Veterans Affairs Newsletter)

Megginson named GHC dean of Health Sciences Lucy Megginson, PhD, RN has been named dean of Health Sciences at Georgia Highlands College (GHC) in Rome, Georgia. Dr.



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Megginson previously served as assistant professor of nursing at GHC from 2005 to 2010. Last year she was also an adjunct professor at Shorter University in its Study-Abroad program. Dr. Megginson holds both a Doctor of Philosophy and Bachelor of Science in nursing from the Medical University of South Carolina. She earned a Master of Science in nursing education from the University of West Georgia. She returns to GHC with classroom and clinical experience at both the graduate and undergraduate level. While at West Georgia she helped develop a new nursing curriculum and a program for the institution’s new Doctor of Education degree in nursing. Describing her vision for the program, Megginson says, “We will try to build a sustainable, forward-thinking program that provides a venue for regional registered nurses to pursue professional and academic mobility to the baccalaureate level.”

American Nurse profiles midwifery alum Leigh Wood, MSN Class of 1982 and the 2008 recipient of the Outstanding Alumnus Award, was featured in the January/February issue of The American Nurse. She was one of five nurses profiled in the Future of Nursing Section article titled, Different Direction, Opportunities: How New Career Path Changed Five Nurses’ Lives.

Class notes


>> CON Grads’ Achievements

1955 Frances Powell Whipple returned to

South Carolina 11 years ago upon her husband’s retirement from Abbott Labs in Chicago. After her husband passed away in 2009, Frances moved to the Foothills Presbyterian Community in Easley. She enjoys spending time with friends and family and would love to hear from her MUSC classmates.

1962 Gail Whitfield Shave is looking forward

to her 50th class reunion in May 2012.

1972 Barbara Goranson Scott is enjoying

retirement, but misses nursing. She divides time between Western North Carolina and Florida.

1975 Rebecca Smith Ritchey is currently

teaching English and spirituality in Gwangju, South Korea, at Honam Theological University/Seminary.

1978 Julie Peden Wetmore is back to teach-

ing nursing research and a few other courses in the RN-BSN and MSN programs at Western Carolina University. She would love to hear from fellow 1978 College of Nursing graduates.

1982 Leslie Brown Frey is thrilled to be back in Charleston after living in Kansas for the past 15 years. Her husband received a transfer with Lockheed Martin Corporation to run the Charleston office. Their daughter is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Nursing (‘09) and is working toward her DNP. Their son is looking forward to his

senior year at Kansas University where he is studying electrical engineering. Leslie would like to become involved in CON activities and reconnect with classmates.

Command and Staff College at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, Alabama (August 2011 to June 2012). “Then, on to wherever the Navy sends me next.”


Lynette Richardson Gibson is a newly


tenured associate professor and received the Daisy Award for Excellence in Nursing Research from the Mary Black School of Nursing. Lynette is a member of the Alpha Sigma Lamda National Honor Society (for non-traditional students) and is president of the Mu Rho Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International.

Debra A. Heath has been deployed to


Lori Ann McNamara is looking forward to celebrating her 30th class reunion. Look her up on Facebook to reconnect.


1986 Last year Jean Stocks Crow moved to Pennsylvania to live with her daughter, son-in-law, and three beautiful grandsons—she has a total of six grandsons. She is enjoying retirement but really misses nursing.

Rebecca Engelman has been named vice

president of operations Select Health of South Carolina. Previously, she was director of quality improvement.

Joseph Burke graduated in 2010 from

Duke University’s School of Nursing with a masters degree. He is an acute care nurse practitioner (ACNP) and the first ACNP to be board certified by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses in Alaska. He works in a primary care clinic on a remote island called the Prince of Wales in Southeast Alaska.

Paula E. Johnson retired from the De-

partment of Veterans Affairs. Now she is self-employed through a private practice in mindfulness based stress reduction and serves as a private contracting clinical research assistant.


Gina Gibbons Wilson is a family nurse


nurse in Rehoboth, Namibia with Africa Inland Mission.

Jamie L. Shaw is currently working at Greenville Memorial in South Carolina.

Iraq in support of Operation NEW DAWN.

1988 practitioner at Manning Medicine in Manning, South Carolina.

Jennifer Bussey worked as a pediatric

2011 Joshua Medlin

has been accepted into the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps. He completed his officer development training in Rhode Island and has been stationed in Portsmouth, Virginia at the Naval Medical Center. When he completes the nurse residency program he will begin working in orthopaedics and then transfer to oncology. Joshua feels that this is a start to a rewarding career in the U.S. Navy Nurse Corps.

Clara E. Hinnant, 1935 Marion Phillips Defenbaugh Shearer,


Martha Jane Boyd Wingo,1943 Frances Robertson,


Mary Pauline “Polly” Orvin Hayes,


Margie Stapp Todd, 1947 Jane Pierson Martin,


Mary Ellen Hardee Moreland, 1951


Lily Richardson Matthews “Boots” Bonturi,

Laura Bolen Fogle recently gave birth

Gloria Cook “Cookie” Murray,

to boy/girl twins – Jacob McKinley and Sarah Elizabeth. Kevin G. Quinn is a U.S. Navy Lieuten-

ant Commander, Nurse Corps officer, currently attending the USAF Air



Angelyn Ladue,1958 Mary Louise Rentz Hodge,


1972 Robin Rudd, 2002

Rosslee Douglas,

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>> Scholarships making a difference, changing lives

“Having completed a previous college degree, I can honestly share that I tried a variety of jobs before finding my way into nursing. This is where I am meant to be and where I know I can make a difference. My clinical experiences have been so rewarding, and I am looking forward to working with patients and their families as a registered nurse. I would not be able to pursue this degree and reach my goals without the financial support provided through my scholarship.” Jade Prevost | Charleston, SC Class of May 2012

“Having graduated from Furman University with a bachelor’s degree in health sciences, my interest and passion for nursing made it an obvious next step academically and career-wise. I was involved in numerous extracurricular and church-related activities in college as well as representing the United States on the Under-21 National Handball Team. My primary motivator has always been to interact with people from a variety of ‘walks of life.’ I want to pursue the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree following the completion of my BSN. The financial support I receive from my scholarship will help remove the financial obstacles of pursuing my academic and career goals.” Molly Augustine | Hilton Head, SC Class of May 2012



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“Before coming to MUSC, I owned and operated a small business franchise with my husband. Owning a small business in today’s economy is challenging and uncertain. When I decided to pursue my dream of becoming a nurse, I never thought that “I was born in Trinidad, but raised and educated in America. I think I bring a unique cultural perspective to nursing. My mother moved my family to the United States and I grew up watching her learn to navigate in a foreign country. I work hard to be a role model for my family and excel academically. I have great compassion for individuals who need assistance as they are most vulnerable. The financial assistance I receive through scholarships allows me to focus on my studies and be successful so that I can in turn help others.” Kahea Isaac | Ladson, SC Class of May 2012

MUSC would be an option. Winning the scholarship has changed all of that. It has instilled a real sense of pride and accomplishment that now carries over into my work with patients. This blessing has also opened my future to the possibility of attending graduate school. In this difficult economic climate, finances are a real source of stress. Having this scholarship has meant that my full attention can now be focused where it belongs, with my patients. I will continually pay this kind and generous act forward to others in need who cross my path in my future nursing career.”

“I had been working in cultural affairs in the Charleston area before entering the nursing program. I loved what I was

Elizabeth Ashley Kelly | Charleston, SC Class of December 2012

doing, but felt like I needed to ‘make a difference.’ When I first started nursing, I felt unsure of myself, but with the help of so many others, I am building confidence and expanding my nursing knowledge and skills. I made the right choice and sacrifice to return to school and earn a second bachelor’s degree. Financially, it has been challenging to give up an income and return to school full-time. I am thankful for the scholarship support I have received.” Kristen Hindman | Florence, SC Class of May 2012

Each and every gift towards scholarships makes a real difference in the life of a deserving nursing student. Please call today to find out how your gift can change someone’s life. Contact Laurie Scott at 843-792-8421 or Spring | summer 2012




“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” - Mark Victor Hansen

What Kind of a Legacy Will You Leave?


e all have a desire for significance. For many of us, significance comes through creating a legacy during our lives – something for which we will be remembered in the future. A bequest is perhaps the easiest and most tangible way to leave a lasting legacy to the people and charitable organizations that mean the most to us.

A Bequest is a gift made through your will or trust. There are several ways to make a bequest: • Specific dollar amount • Percentage of your estate • Specific asset • Residue of your estate For more information on how to create a lasting legacy through a bequest to the College of Nursing, including sample language for making a charitable bequest, please contact us.

Laurie Scott Director of Development Ph: 843-792-8421 Tollfree: 800-810-6872 Email: Copyright © 2012 Crescendo Interactive, Inc. IN01.1

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99 Jonathan Lucas Street MSC 160 Charleston, SC 29425-1600

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Educating and inspiring nurses to become leaders of tomorrow through accelerated BSN, MSN, DNP and PhD programs.

The College of Nursing is on the cutting edge of nursing education, research, and practice. It shines in the use of innovative technologies to enhance learning, including our dynamic online programs of study. Most importantly, our nursing graduates assume leadership roles throughout the state and beyond and actively shape the health care of tomorrow. Changing What’s Possible in Nursing Education

Lifelines Spring/Summer 2012