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D E PA R T M E N T S The Assessment


Innovative Alumni Leading Nationally


In Their Own Words


4 18 20 22

News Roundup Five Questions With... Gifts That Will Change Everything



INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY: LEADING A NEW ERA IN NURSING 23 expansion and renovation is increasing the The School's $32 million capacity and impact of its teaching, research and service missions, which 34 are already nationally recognized for innovation and excellence



The Nurse-Family


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Nursing Schools

School Ranks 14th in NIH Funding




Partnership received 2006 96

nearlyY E100 referrals in AR

HIV Study Saving Lives..................................... 10 Brushing Away Infections................................. 11


its first six months and celebrated the birth


of six babies...

Helping Mothers, Saving Babies...................... 12 Improving Pediatric Outcomes ........................ 13 Increasing Improvement Science..................... 14 Sigma's Nu Chapter Changing Lives .................... 15

page 12


Nursing Welcomes Student Athletes............... 16 Battling Addiction Through Education............. 17

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"These patients put a

smile on your face

and a great feeling in your heart."

Partnership positively impacting patients, families and nurses page 13


EDITOR Jennifer Lollar CREATIVE DIRECTOR Jessica Huffstutler



Shaping the Future of Nursing......................... 22 Paying It Forward ............................................. 24

WRITERS Jennifer Lollar, Jimmy Creed, Laura Hornsby Lesley

PHOTOGRAPHERS Frank Couch, Jimmy Creed, Rob Culpepper, Catie Etka, Steve Wood


ursing’s social mandate to help individuals and families enhance health status, assets and human potential distinguishes our profession from others. In her earliest writings and social activism, Florence Nightingale laid the foundation for health in the environment, community and world, and the critical role of nursing in restoring, maintaining and promoting health for individuals and families. These enduring principles have evolved to guide nursing theory, knowledge and practice globally. And yet, as the lyrics of Bob Dylan’s infamous song say…“the times they are a-changin”. Today’s health care environment is increasingly complex, driven by the quest for quality, new technology, population health and health equity. This new era of environmental trends drives how and what health care is delivered across a continuum of settings and nursing stands at the front line of care delivery be it in the hospital, home, work, school, community or office. This issue of UAB Nursing describes how the UAB School of Nursing innovates education, research and practice with technology to prepare future nurse leaders. Recognized for sustaining excellence across our tripartite mission, the UAB School of Nursing is expanding the latest educational and health technology to lead teaching, research and practice innovation—to engage the students, patients and populations we serve. The School's Building Expansion, scheduled to be completed in July 2018, will transform how we live, work and learn. New classroom technology, virtual and simulation experiences, innovative hybrid courses, and research, telehealth and collaborative space for students and faculty will only enhance our work and learning. This requires mastery of innovation and technological competencies together with other holistic professional nursing competencies of human caring, knowledge, judgment and practice. Our faculty, students and alumni must embrace and lead dynamic change in our environment to provide excellent and high-quality health care today and

tomorrow. Innovation and technology have become essential to this change. From the classroom to home, the bedside to community, UAB faculty, students and alumni are driving the future of nursing, education and health care through innovation and technology opening up access, caring and inclusivity for people—students, faculty, staff, alumni, patients, families and populations— wherever they are. The long-term impact of the innovation and technology provides our School’s faculty, students and alumni with even more opportunity to continue to achieve priority goals with new strategies and tactics to address nursing’s social mandate in Alabama and beyond. By promoting the strategic plan, vision, core values and mission across the five strategic pillars: innovative programs, sustainable scholarship, clinical and global partnerships, valuable resources and global leadership, the UAB School of Nursing is well positioned to lead for better health outcomes now and into the future. Nightingale would expect no less!

Letter from the Dean


Dean Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing

“Our faculty, students and alumni must embrace and lead dynamic change in our environment to provide excellent and high quality health care today and tomorrow.” SPRING 2018 / UAB NURSING



the assessment



Nursing Schools

School ranks 14th in NIH funding

2006 YEA R


The UAB School of Nursing has jumped 9 spots, and into the Top 15 Schools of Nursing, in National Institutes of Health funding rankings published by the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research. With $4.15 million in NIH research funding for fiscal year 2017, the School ranks 14th nationally, up from 23rd in 2016. The School has an overall total of more than $11 million in current research, education, clinical and training grants. Associate Dean for Research and Professor Karen Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN, said a large research program project grant led by a senior faculty, as well as other NIH funding for several senior scientists, junior faculty and postdoctoral fellows account for the items.

“Central to our continued growth is our alignment with UAB Medicine, University-Wide Interdisciplinary Centers, and our other health sciences colleagues across campus that has helped expand our research, particularly around special populations,” she said. The ranking means the School has achieved one of its strategic goals – reaching the top 20 in NIH research funding by 2020. “Now it is up to us to sustain this momentum,” Harper said. “We have to continue to nurture and grow our early career scientists and our interprofessional scientific endeavors.” 2017 ----________________________________ 2016 ---------------------------2015 --_----_----_----_--

2010 -------------

2006 -----




Director and Instructor Dr. Kaitrin Parris


Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN, said interdisciplinary collaboration and the University’s innovative environment have been key in growing the NIH research portfolio.


34Interim BSN Program



“It reflects the dedication of the faculty, who have put together a curriculum that produces highly educated graduates and who inspire students to work hard.” -Dr. Kaitrin Parris

96.7 percent first-time NCLEX pass rate UAB School of Nursing Bachelor of Science in Nursing graduates are among the nation’s best at passing the National Council Licensure Examination, with an impressive 96.7 of the 2017 graduates passing their first time. This places the School above the state average of 90.4 percent and national average of 86.9 percent. “This is a wonderful accomplishment, but it is more than a number,” said Interim BSN Program Director and Instructor Kaitrin Parris, DNP, RN. “It reflects the dedication of the faculty, who have put together a curriculum that produces highly educated graduates and who inspire students to work hard. It is a team effort and every member of the team should be congratulated.” The ultimate goal, she said, is achieving and maintaining a 100 percent first-time pass rate. “This is no small feat when you admit high numbers like we do to help the shortage of bedside nurses. We have paved the pathway for our students to succeed and they have picked that up and worked hard. We got here with teamwork, and we’ll need to maintain that teamwork to push forward and do even better in the future.”

the assessment

Nurse Anesthesia achieves 100 percent first-time pass rate The School’s 2017 MSN in Nurse Anesthesia Specialty Track graduating class has achieved a 100 percent first-time pass rate on the National Certification Exam administered by the National Board of Certification & Recertification for Nurse Anesthetists. The 2017 national average for passing on the first time is 82.6 percent. “The students and faculty wanted this achievement. It was challenging and committed work, but they put their heart and soul into it,” said Associate Professor and Specialty Track Coordinator Susan McMullan, PhD, CRNA. McMullan, and colleagues, Assistant Program Director and Assistant Professor Todd Hicks, DNP, MNA, CRNA, Assistant Professors Bryan Wilbanks, DNP, CRNA, and Edwin Aroke, PhD, MSN, CRNA, and Instructor Kaitlen Woodfin, MSN, CRNA, collaborated to update the curriculum and adjust review materials to help ensure success.

“Ultimately, the students did the work,” said McMullan. “They are a really cohesive group. And I’m proud to share that they all have all secured desirable positions and will be employed within three months of graduation.” This is one of the School’s final MSN in Nurse Anesthesia cohorts. The Nurse Anesthesia Pathway is now a component of the School’s Doctor of Nursing Practice Program.

fellowship in the NCI multidisciplinary program for early career scientists training in cancer prevention and control. She is one of 12 scholars chosen from 112 applicants across a wide range of fields. Vo is mentored by Associate Dean for Research and Professor Karen Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN.

PhD student earns NCI Fellowship Third-year Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing student Jacqueline Vo, BSN, RN, has been selected for the National Cancer Institute Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program. Vo, a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar, received the four-year postdoctoral

After she completes her PhD in August 2018, Vo’s fellowship includes earning a master’s in public health from Harvard University in her first year. She then continues the fellowship for three years with a focus on identifying and addressing cardiovascular risk among the growing population of longterm breast cancer survivors she began with her dissertation, “Cardiovascular Disease Risk Among Breast Cancer Survivors.” “As an aspiring cancer research scientist, the National Cancer Institute is where you want to be,” Vo said. “To have this opportunity goes beyond anything I could ever dream of. It is going to set my career path for the rest of my life.”



& &

LEADING A NEW ERA IN NURSING School’s expansion and renovation increasing capacity, impact of teaching, research and service missions



echnology and innovation are the driving forces in health care delivery, with electronic health record data collection, remote patient monitoring, virtual health care provider visits via telehealth and much more.

The UAB School of Nursing is ushering in a new era in nursing education, research and clinical practice, harnessing the latest innovations and technological advances to engage students, promote active learning and teamwork, and encourage research and practice collaboration, paving the way for faculty and graduates to continue the School’ s legacy of leadership in nursing and health care innovation.

state-of-the-art building will allow “ourOurfaculty to prepare the next generation

of compassionate and highly competent nurses to deliver expert and innovative care, conduct research that will lead to new standards of care and generate better health care solutions for all population groups throughout our city, state and the world,” said Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN.

The School’s $32 million, 72,000-plussquare-foot building expansion set to open for the Fall 2018 term is a high-fidelity space incorporating the latest technologies as the foundation for innovation across the School’s missions of teaching, research and service.



The School's new eight-bed skills lab adds to the existing lab space.

EXPANDING THE TEACHING FRONTIER Innovation is the cornerstone of the School’s teaching mission. Recognized by the National League for Nursing with its Center of Excellence designation, the School is well-known for its focus on innovative and flexible academic programs, promotion of student engagement through creative teaching strategies, and student and faculty involvement in the community. “The Center of Excellence designation provides confirmation of the quality of our faculty, especially in engaging in evidence-based teaching innovations and their commitment to continuous improvement,” said Linda Moneyham, PhD, RN, FAAN, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor. “We have excellent academic program outcomes because of the high standards and commitment of our faculty and our highly talented students.” With leading-edge technology at the touch of a finger, the building expansion multiplies the possibilities for even better outcomes, with more collaboration, simulation and real-world learning experiences. “Students learn best when they are highly engaged,” Moneyham said. “The lecture is passé. Today students need space and technologies to make highly engaged learning happen. This building expansion provides that.” Among the expansion’s innovative features are a Nursing Competency Suite, complete with labs for simulating an intensive care unit/emergency room, a mother/baby room, a hospital/long-term care room, a pediatric room, an operating room, a nurses' station, a home health room, a working elevator to practice and simulate patient transport, and a new eight-bed nursing skills lab, to add to the more than 5,300 square feet of existing skills lab space. The new Nursing Competency Suite’s hospital rooms and nurses' station allow faculty to replicate a hospital floor. Students will receive simulated, real-life experience in managing multiple patients, and transferring patients and equipment. They also can be challenged with rare or unusual scenarios they might never encounter in a classroom or clinical setting. (Above) Dr. Linda Moneyham(l) and Dr. Rhonda McLain(r) accept the NLN Center of Excellence designation.

“For example, students can run an emergency code requiring resuscitative efforts,” said Jacqueline Moss, PhD, RN, FAAN, Associate Dean for Technology and Innovation and Professor. “In clinical practice students are asked to step aside if a situation is safety critical. In the Nursing Competency Suite, we can let them run the code and learn from it in a safe, instructive environment.

The technologies in the building “expansion are enabling faculty to bring

clinical and didactic material to life in a way we have never been able to before.

The expansion also includes an Innovation Collaboratory, a Technology Enabled Active Learning (TEAL) classroom equipped with interactive technologies to help students explore new ways to learn through sharing ideas and information.

Dr. Penni Watts(c) and Dr. Jackie Moss(r) have worked closely with UAB Project Manager Lamar Zuiderhoek(l) on the placement of technology in the building expansion and renovation.

Tools including podiums with touch screens enabling faculty to turn projection screens into interactive smart boards, audio visual equipment allowing real-time content streaming to and from the School, and device sharing among multiple users inside and out of the School are designed to enhance didactic education in this classroom as well as four new classrooms in The Leadership Institute.

INCREASING TELEHEALTH KNOWLEDGE The School also is incorporating the latest virtual technologies into the building and its curriculum to ensure students are prepared to serve patients where they live, and future plans for further telehealth curriculum expansion are in process.

In 2017, Assistant Professor Tedra Smith, DNP, CRNP, CPNP-PC, CNE, added a telehealth experience to one of the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Primary Care Pediatric Nurse Practitioner Specialty Track courses. It has been so successful it is now incorporated into the Primary Mental Health Nurse Practitioner and Family Nurse Practitioner curricula, along with the Accelerated Master’s in Nursing Pathway (AMNP). It is also being integrated into other MSN Specialty Tracks and the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) curriculum. “Many health departments in Alabama are being outfitted for telehealth, which shows how rapidly it is expanding in our state and how important it is for our students to be prepared to use it,” Smith said. “I am excited about the possibilities for all the things we can do with telehealth in the building expansion.” SPRING 2018 / UAB NURSING



Dr. Tedra Smith has added a telehealth module to a Pediatric Primary NP course she teaches. Telehealth modules have been added across programs to address Alabama's growing telehealth initiatives.

One of the School’s greatest achievements is producing professional and advanced practice nurses caring for patients with increasing rates of chronic diseases, especially those in rural and underserved areas. Faculty are using innovative virtual educational experiences to provide education and professional development. The building expansion will further those experiences. Students in the Graduate Nursing Education Primary Care Scholars (GNEPCS) Initiative, led by Assistant Dean for Graduate Clinical Programs and Associate Professor Ashley Hodges, PhD, CRNP, WHNP-BC, are nurse practitioner students planning to provide primary care in one of Alabama’s rural-designated counties upon graduation. They receive mentoring, content relative to rural health, preceptorships with rural health providers, and other opportunities for professional and leadership development. GNEPCS faculty use monthly webinars to mentor current students and graduates providing primary care in rural Alabama. Instructor Melanie Gibbons Hallman, DNP, CRNP, CEN, FNP-BC, ACNP-BC, FAEN, and Assistant Professor David House, DNP, CRNP, ENP-C, FNP-BC, CEN, CNS, use an interactive broadcast in an Advanced Emergency Nursing class in the MSN Emergency Nurse Practitioner Subspecialty. Throughout the semester, ENP students connect for “A Conversation with Dr. T.,” online discussions with Linda B. Thompson, MD, FACEP, Assistant Professor of Emergency Medicine in the UAB School of Medicine, who provides information on the most pertinent illnesses and injuries seen in emergency departments. “Innovative technology plays a vital role in many of our specialized educational initiatives, including our primary care scholars, and our many valuable partnerships like those with the UAB School of Medicine, which allow us to expand our service and educational outreach,” Hodges said.



have made great strides through “ourWeprograms and are leading the field in providing more health care access to the medically underserved in rural Alabama.

With the increased innovations and technology available to us in the expansion, that impact is only going to grow.”

UAB NURSING NETWORK Innovation and technology are also being woven through the School’s research and service efforts to create unique patient care advancements and experiences. In June 2018 the School is launching the UAB Nursing Network, an online educational broadcast targeting nurses, health care professionals, students and faculty—particularly those in rural areas or in other schools of nursing—who want to learn more about specific topics. Highlighting the expertise of the School’s faculty, the “Clinical Pearls” series is streaming live on YouTube TV, allowing interactive discussions on topics such as the opioid epidemic, diabetes management and dementia care. Hosted by Instructor Tracie White, DNP, CRNP, ACNPBC, CNOR, CRNFA, the 30-minute episodes air one Friday per month at noon. Nurses and nurse educators can earn 0.5 CEUs for $5 per episode.

“We are targeting those in the trenches of the health care profession every day who might not otherwise have access to this type of leading edge knowledge or this caliber of experts,” said Assistant Professor Nancy Wingo, PhD, MA, who is directing the show. “We want to provide practical, useful information as a resource for our community and beyond as part of our service mission.”

LEADING RESEARCH INNOVATIONS The School’s technological innovations extend beyond nursing education and the professional health care community. Technology is a common modality its research teams are using to reach vulnerable populations in rural areas, and plans are to increase that reach with the technology available in the building expansion.

White has reached out to patients using a computer based, video-sharing software to conduct electronic post-operative visits during the critical time between hospital discharge and scheduled clinic follow up to improve the quality of life for rural patients who require an ostomy after surgery. Professor Mirjam-Colette Kempf, PhD, MPH, performed a pilot study using telehealth to provide mental health counseling to African-American women in the rural South who cannot readily access mental health care, to improve mental health and better adherence to HIV treatment plans. And Marie L. O’Koren Endowed Chair and Professor Marie Bakitas, DNSc, CRNP, NP-C, AOCN, ACHPN, FAAN, has piloted a phone-based palliative care intervention to help improve palliative care access for veterans, minorities and patients from rural areas who have advanced cancer. All three have been successful and are in different stages of further implementation. Assistant Professor Michele Talley, PhD, CRNP, ACNP-BC, is using gaming technology in a creative— and fun—research project focused on improving outcomes for uninsured diabetes patients at the School’s nurse-managed Providing Access to Healthcare (PATH) Clinic. She is using an online game, Kaizen, for educational purposes with her patients. This, web-based platform developed by Assistant Dean for Clinical Education and Associate Professor of Medicine James Willig, MD, MSPH, and a team from the UAB School of Medicine, was initially used to help students learn about their subject matter through a series of trivia questions. With funding from the School’s Dean’s Scholar Award Program, Talley has adapted it for use by patients.

love playing the game,” Talley said. ““IThey thought most patients would want to play at home, but the overwhelming response is they want to play at the clinic. “ She is now exploring ways to make Kaizen available to all PATH Clinic patients as part of their regularly scheduled appointments. With enough firsthand evidence, Talley believes these learning opportunities can impact patient outcomes.

“I had one patient who saw me a couple of weeks after playing the game, and I asked what he would do if his blood sugar was low,” Talley said. “He told me very specif-

ically what he would do. The was the first time he was able to accurately identify the appropriate self-care actions. His response was, ‘I learned that from playing the game.’” “The UAB School of Nursing has played a tremendous leadership role in moving nursing and interdisciplinary research forward, and the leading-edge research that is being conducted here has implications all over the world,” said Associate Dean for Research and Professor Karen Meneses, PhD, RN, FAAN.

Dr. Michele Talley uses the gaming technology Kaizen to improve outcomes for PATH Clinic patients.

ON TO NEW HEIGHTS The School has long been on the forefront in adapting the latest technology into its missions and developing the innovations that are creating the knowledge and setting the standards of care that are transforming nursing practice, education and research. When its expansion opens in Fall 2018, it will enable faculty, students and alumni to be even more impactful across the School’s missions and the profession.

Technology enables faculty and students to jointly construct learning opportunities and merge the lines across our missions to have the most impact,

Moss said. “The opportunities we offer with the latest technology and innovations at hand better prepares students, faculty and alumni to be impactful practitioners, educators and researchers while at the same time providing compassionate care.”

“The new building is organized around new teaching, research and collaborative spaces designed to advance the mission of the UAB School of Nursing,” Harper said. “The future of health care is nursing and the future of nursing is UAB.”





Dr. Crystal Chapman-Lambert(l) is an expert in Women and HIV. PhD Student Jenni Wise(c) works on the WHIS study led at UAB by Dr. Mirjam-Colette Kempf(r).

UAB Women’s Interagency HIV Study is as much about taking care of participants as it is learning about the disease WRITTEN BY JIMMY CREED // PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRANK COUCH Professor Mirjam-Colette Kempf, PhD, MPH, is leading UAB’s site in the nation’s largest, long-term observational study of women living with HIV, and with its focus expanding to include cardiovascular, pulmonary and liver disease outcomes in an aging female HIV-positive population, the study is increasing knowledge of the impact of living with HIV and it is saving lives.


he sites’ success has enabled it to add infrastructure for more in-depth, bi-annual health screenings for diagnosing heart, lung and liver disease that otherwise might have gone unchecked.

“When we screen, we send a patient for further care if we find something abnormal,” Kempf said. “In many cases, our participants don’t have regular providers. This has become as much about taking care of our participants as it is collecting data. We are an observational cohort, but we have become an intervention as well.” The UAB Women’s Interagency HIV Study site is part of a fiveyear, $8.15 million National Institutes of Health grant to UAB in 2013, adding it and University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) to the original Women’s Interagency HIV Study that began in 1993 in which more than 4,900 women nationwide have been enrolled. The UAB-UMMC site, one of nine, is the fastest of four Southern sites added in 2013 to reach its recruitment goal and it maintains one of the highest retention rates—UAB has retained 96 percent of 107 participants and UMMC 99 percent. Kempf took over as principal investigator for the UAB-UMMC site from the UAB Center for AIDS Research Director and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases Michael Saag, MD, in 2017. Kempf said funding agencies are particularly interested in the substantial number of older HIV-positive women enrolled in the UAB-UMMC cohort, and the opportunity this provides to expand the knowledge of aging with HIV. “They want to explore issues such as cardiopulmonary and pulmonary diseases. They want to know what events we see, how early we see them and if there are predictors and risk



factors that can be identified early,” Kempf said. During health screenings participants also receive Pap smears to test for cervical cancer. Women with HIV are three times more likely to be diagnosed with cervical cancer than other women. Regular screenings can detect abnormalities early, enabling participants to receive treatment before cancer develops. As a result, no study participant has ever been diagnosed with cervical cancer. Every two years, participants also undergo tests to assess neuro-cognitive functioning, which is diminished in more than 50 percent of older patients with HIV due to its inflammatory processes. UAB School of Nursing Professor David Vance, PHD, MGS, MS, a UAB-UMMC cohort investigator and expert in HIV and aging, studies speed of processing training to improve cognitive functioning in older adults living with HIV. Since 2013, UAB-UMMC investigators have published 31 manuscripts and abstracts with six more in development. As a whole, study sites nationally have produced 835 publications since 1993 that have contributed to the revision of national screening guidelines, particularly for HIV-positive women. In addition to the $8.15 million awarded in 2013, UAB-UMMC cohort investigators have received more than $1.56 million in additional funding from the NIMH, NIAID and NHLBI, now the study’s main funding agency. “Our track record of building and maintaining a cohort is one of great success,” Kempf said. “The Women’s Interagency HIV Study has provided tremendous opportunities to investigate various pathways of disease progression, including behavioral and biological, and we expect to have more opportunities that will have far-reaching effects on future outcomes for women living with HIV in the Deep South, and globally.”


BRUSHING AWAY INFECTIONS $1.7 million grant impacting quality of life for people with cognitive issues



rofessor Rita Jablonski, PhD, CRNP, FGSA, FAAN, has been awarded a $1.7 million grant from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to improve the quality of life of dementia patients through oral hygiene in seven Birmingham, Alabama, nursing homes. The three-year project, “Brushing Away Infections,” will provide nursing home staff with training and coaching in techniques known to minimize care-resistant behaviors related to mouth care in older adults with cognitive impairments. It incorporates findings from Jablonski’s $1.4 million National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Nursing Research R01 study, “Reducing Care-Resistant Behaviors During Oral Hygiene in Persons with Dementia.” That study successfully tested a Managing Oral Hygiene Using Threat Reduction (MOUTh) protocol incorporating evidence-based mouth care specific to older adults and behavioral approaches to

minimize refusal of care by persons with dementia. “The majority of patients residing in nursing homes are frail, functionally dependent and up to 80 percent of them have some type of cognitive issue, yet many still have their own teeth,” Jablonski said. “Because of their confusion, many resist mouth care, which can lead to painful, swollen gums, gum disease, pneumonia and other respiratory infections. “While we will never eradicate these behaviors, with training and care we can manage them and improve oral and systemic health outcomes, which is the main focus of this project.” Jablonski and a team, including a dentist and two full-time nurse coaches, will go into each facility for approximately six months. They are using the MOUTh protocol to educate the staff on providing mouth care, especially when resisted. They also are working with administrators to improve each facility’s mouth-care poli-

cies and procedures. “This program brings evidence-based practice, coaching techniques and the most recent research findings directly to the bedside,” Jablonski said. Jablonski is engaging undergraduate students in the School’s Honors Program and graduate students its Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) and Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) Programs in project activities to assist in this translational research program. “This project involves the application of fresh research findings to a difficult clinical problem and will provide great insight for our undergraduate and graduate students into how to best care for people with dementia,” Jablonski said. “After having this important hands-on experience, the students will be well prepared to treat patients who exhibit care-resistant behavior due to moderate to severe dementia or become the next generation of researchers in this area.” SPRING 2018 / UAB NURSING


partnerships The program focuses on first-time mothers because evidence shows that it is during a first pregnancy that mothers and babies have the best chance to create positive and lasting behaviors. The impacts range from healthy, full-term babies and children who excel in school, to families who thrive and are economically self-sufficient through help in attaining goals, such as getting a GED or moving into the workforce. All of this begins with a relationship forged between the mom and her nurse. England continues working with the first mother to give birth, a 20-year-old from the Ensley community, who welcomed 8-pound, 9-ounce, “Baby Dee” January 22. With England’s guidance mother and baby are thriving.

Nurse home visitor Raven England (pictured) on a visit with the first client to give birth and her son, Baby Dee (pictured).


saving babies

School’s Nurse-Family Partnership ® producing positive outcomes for maternal, child health


The Partnership

received nearly 100 referrals in its first six months and celebrated the birth of six babies in the Birmingham area.



ess than a year into its mission, the School’s Nurse-Family Partnership® is seeing tremendous success in improving outcomes for first-time mothers and their babies.

Nearly 100 referrals were received in the Partnership’s first six months and it celebrated the birth of six babies in the Birmingham area, which has pockets of infant mortality rates greater than 15 per 1,000 live births.

“We have worked hard to get the program in place quickly, and our efforts are evidenced in the impact the program is already making,” said nurse home visitor Raven England, BSN, RN, who began seeing clients in September 2017. “It is exciting to see how many Jefferson County health care providers are interested in collaborating to make a difference for these families.” The School’s Nurse-Family Partnership® is made possible through more than $1.7 million in philanthropic grants from The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, JCDH Public Health Advised Fund, the Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation, The Daniel Foundation, and The Caring Foundation of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama.


“This mother told me that when she first heard that somebody would have to come into her home, she was nervous, but after I started my weekly visits, she really liked it,” England said. “Using my nursing skills to engage a new mother who was hesitant at first and now looks forward to me coming is what this program is about. To know I played a part in helping her have a healthy birth is professionally satisfying.” For the next two years England, accompanied by BSN students, is conducting up to 64 in-home visits focused on the mother’s personal health, caregiving for her child and life course development. As part of her visits with every mother and baby — tailored to each client’s needs—England checks vital signs and weight; ensures mothers are engaged in good preventive health practices, including eating properly; and in some cases, educates them on reducing the use of cigarettes, alcohol or illegal substances. England is also a confidant to many of her patients, who have nowhere else to turn. “A lot of the moms tell me things they won’t tell their doctors or anybody in their families,” she said. “They need someone to hold them accountable or be a role model, and I am happy to do that.” Candace Knight, PhD, RN, Assistant Professor and Nurse-Family Partnership® Nurse Supervisor, calls it “the most satisfying work any of us have ever done.”

Dr. Candace Knight

“We are really proud of everything we have accomplished so far and look forward to contributing to nursing knowledge that improves mother-baby interactions to achieve the best outcomes for new mothers and their babies,” she added.


Dr. Gwen Childs teaches the Scholars' didactic content and mentors their evidence-based projects.

Partnership IMPROVING PEDIATRIC OUTCOMES Clinical Scholars Program at Children’s of Alabama positively impacting patients, families and nurses

Clinical Scholars Jenny France(l) and April Skinner(r) developed a teaching tool for parents of preemies to help them understand the complex issues their babies face.



or Associate Professor Gwendolyn Childs, PhD, RN, one of the best things about teaching in the Jarman Lowder Clinical Scholars Program, a partnership between the School and Children’s of Alabama, is helping bedside nurses realize their potential and achieve it. The best is what results— improved patient outcomes. In its fourth year, Childs said the Clinical Scholars Program provides participants the opportunity to “see the real world of research and how it influences practice.” They also develop evidence-based projects centered on the hospital’s clinical initiatives and strategic plan, including quality and safety, and patient and family outcomes and experiences. Helping parents, helping patients The most recent projects focused on health literacy to help address patient readmission rates—more specifically developing better ways to educate parents on their child’s illness and their role in the child’s care and/or recovery.

NICU nurses April Skinner, BSN, RN, and Jenny France, BSN, RN, developed a brightly colored flip card, with a diagram of the gastrointestinal system on one side and definitions on the other, written in plain language to explain their function to parents. This helps parents understand complex GI issues, including necrotizing enterocolitis, a devastating infection and inflammation that affects nearly 12 percent of infants born weighing less than 3.3 pounds. “It is making a difference on our unit by giving us a tool to help parents understand what is normal about the GI system, what is abnormal, and how this relates to their child,” said Skinner. “Without the Clinical Scholars Program, I don’t know if we would have made this specific teaching tool or come up with a formal way to deliver the information in a standard format.” Inpatient care is more complex Childs said it is important to have nurses who can better educate parents and be comfortable in doing so. “Children staying in the hospital today are much sicker, which means there is

a lot more for parents to learn about the complexity of their child’s medical issues,” she said. “Our children often go home with long-term complications, which means parents must better understand what to expect and what their new normal will be—something bedside nurses are uniquely positioned to do. And that is what our Scholars are doing with their projects.” Clinical Scholars impress Thirty-nine nurses have completed the Clinical Scholars Program, funded by a generous philanthropic donation from The Thomas H. Lowder Family Foundation.

Deborah E. Wesley, MSN, RN, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer of Children’s of Alabama, said, “Through knowledge and application of evidence-based practice, our clinical staff have gained insight into the importance of current best practices to improve patient outcomes. Since the program’s inception, several projects have directly improved communications between professionals and the handoff of critical information for patients transferring between departments. “These efforts are helping us better demonstrate the positive impact of family-centered care, and the inclusion of families and patients in care decisions.” SPRING 2018 / UAB NURSING



FACULTY FOCUSING ON QUALITY, SAFETY Faculty Quality Improvement Scholars playing key role in UAB Nursing Partnership Discharge Planning Improvement Project WRITTEN BY JIMMY CREED // PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRANK COUCH


new faculty development initiative in the School is increasing improvement science expertise among faculty and playing a critical role in improving the patient discharge process at UAB Hospital.

Instructors Cori Johnson, DNP, CRNP, AGNP-C, Clare Kranz, MSN, RN, CPNP-AC, and Shannon Polson, MSN, MSW, RN, LICSW, PIP, NEA-BC, CNL, CWCN, CFCN, are the School’s first Faculty Quality Improvement Scholars. The voluntary

element of the UAB Nursing Partnership, the formal collaboration between the School and UAB Medicine. Scholars are mentored by Miltner and Assistant Dean for Clinical Innovation and Assistant Professor Shea Polancich, PhD, RN, who serves as Partnership liaison between the School and UAB Medicine. The Discharge Planning Improvement Project is a pilot study focused on streamlining the patient discharge process for UAB Hospital heart failure patients to improve overall experience, reduce length of stay and costs, and decrease readmissions. The QI Scholars also are connected to the School’s graduate program. Two are in the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program, and the improvement interventions are part of their scholarly project. The third is a DNP program graduate. Johnson, who earned her DNP from the School in 2017, is revamping the discharge summary process to ensure that clear, concise information on length of stay, procedures, current medications, self-care instructions and future-care instructions is provided to the patient at discharge.

(L-R) Clare Kranz, Dr. Cori Johnson and Shannon Polson

Faculty QI Scholars will transform health care through improvement science, streamlining processes to produce high-quality outcomes for patients.


Scholars engage in one year of in-depth training in improvement science, implementation science, and Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) competencies to enhance their knowledge and skills to help them transform health care. “Quality improvement methods, tools and techniques are commonly used in health care to streamline processes to produce high quality outcomes for patients,” said Director of Educationally Focused Partnerships and Associate Professor Rebecca S. Miltner, PhD, RN, CNL, NEA-BC. “We need more faculty with thorough training in this area to fulfill education and health care market demands.” Miltner is leading the educational efforts for the Scholars. At the same time, the Scholars also are heading three patient discharge improvement interventions as part of the Discharge Planning Improvement Project, a key


Kranz, a current DNP student, is drawing on her background as a pediatric nurse to develop a journey board, giving patients a visual display similar to a board game to help them better track the steps in their hospitalization. Polson, also a current DNP student, is working on care transition management from inpatient to outpatient to provide patients a clear understanding of their plan of care, the health care providers they must see for follow up appointments, and assistance in getting needed medication and equipment for home. Miltner said the ultimate goal of the QI Scholars is to impact patient care and quality of life in Alabama and beyond. “We have a lot of evidence about how we can improve care and work processes, but it is sometimes a challenge to get the science into practice,” Miltner said. “We want to meet that challenge. We want to instill this knowledge and skills into our nurses through the Faculty QI Scholars Program so they can be practice change leaders and improve the health care system.”


Sigma’s Nu Chapter

changing lives

(Top) Dr. Laura Steadman(l) and Dr. Karen Coles(r) are helping adults with disabilities. (Left) Undergraduate student Sheau Lam assessing a patient.



he smiles, laughter and cries of “the nurses are here” announce the arrival of Instructor Karen Coles, DNP, RN, Assistant Professor Laura Steadman, EdD, MSN, CRNP, FNP-BC, and a team of undergraduate students representing the School’s Nu Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International. They are on their weekly mission to impact the lives of dozens of developmentally and physically challenged adults at the Jefferson County Committee for Economic Opportunity-managed Adult Day Health Care Center in Birmingham’s Wylam community. Each Tuesday the group assesses vital signs, provides physicals, and performs wound, foot and nail care, dental hygiene and more. “These clients put a smile on your face and a great feeling in your heart,” current Nu Chapter President Steadman said. Sigma’s Nu Chapter has supported the work at the Wylam Clinic as a service project since 2015. Since then more than 50 students have benefited from this eye-opening clinical education experience. “It gives the students direct contact with a client population many of them have never encountered,” said Coles, Nu Chapter Past-President, who has had a faculty practice at the Wylam Clinic since 2014. “Many of our community health nursing students become heavily invested in the work and

clients. By the end of their clinical assignment they walk away talking about what a wonderful experience it is.” The monthly physicals the faculty and students perform are required by the Alabama Department of Human Resources to ensure the continued health of the clients while the other services are examples of Nu Chapter representatives digging deeper to impact health care locally. One client has a prosthetic leg. During an examination, she told Coles the prosthesis was rubbing uncomfortably and causing a blister. Coles was able to connect with the client’s regular physician, who treated the wound and ordered a new prosthesis. She is now healthy, happy and among the 54 clients who greet team members each week with hugs, high fives and hope. “If we did not have the faculty and students from the UAB School of Nursing helping us, our clients would not stay as healthy as they do,” said Yalanda Muhammad, JCCEO Coordinator for Adult Services and Center Manager for the Wylam Adult Day Health Care Center. “For them to take the care that they do of these people and show the love that they show them is remarkable. We could not have it any better.”

“These patients put a smile on your face and a great feeling in your heart.“ -Nu Chapter President, Dr. Laura Steadman






School, Blazers softball program work together to make nursing dreams a reality WRITTEN BY JIMMY CREED // PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRANK COUCH

B Megan Smith is making her nursing and softball dreams a reality thanks to cooperation between the School and UAB Softball.

ecause of remarkable cooperation among the School’s faculty and academic advisors and the UAB Blazers Softball coaches and training staff, Megan Smith can play a sport she loves and pursue a degree in nursing at the same time.

“At other schools it might be impossible to be a nursing student and an athlete, but not here,” said Smith, a senior third baseman from Pisgah, Alabama. “Our coaches and trainers pride themselves on putting the student before the athlete. They are great about making sure we get everything we need on the academic side and the softball side.” With input from the School, the coaches adjust practice schedules, workout routines and meeting times to accommodate the classroom and clinical schedule of Smith.



in the School of Nursing




“Our faculty and the coaching staff regularly communicate to coordinate activities so students can be on the softball team and in the nursing program, and that communication is the key,” Assistant Dean for Student Success Peter Tofani, EdD, LTC(R), said. “I don’t know if coaches everywhere collaborate with faculty in this way, but it is amazing to see how we work together here. It is a true student-athlete experience.” Senior Associate Athletics Director Marla Townsend, who guided UAB Softball from its


inception in 1998 until August 2017, considers the relationship between the School and the program one of the milestone achievements of her headcoaching tenure. “At least once a month I am somewhere interacting with softball coaches or parents and I hear ‘my child wanted to go into nursing but she would have had to quit softball’ or ‘she couldn’t go to that school because they don’t allow students to take the major she wanted and play sports,’” Townsend said. “It is always one of my proudest moments when I can say that, at UAB, we got together with the School of Nursing and developed a curriculum that meets all the needs of our student athletes and stays within NCAA guidelines. I am very thankful for what they have done for our student athletes.” First-year Head Coach Amanda Ellis, a longtime assistant to Townsend, called the hard work her staff and players put in to make the arrangement work “a reflection of their commitment to excellence in all that they do.” She also acknowledged that the Blazers use their strong ties to the School as a successful recruiting tool. “We really push this on the recruiting trail,” Ellis said. “We tell our recruits that if they want to go into nursing or medicine or engineering, we will work to make it happen, and we have gotten commitments from some top-level prospects because of it.” Smith is grateful for the direction and support she received in making her career choice and will be even more so after graduation. “I’ll appreciate that my coaches and the people at the School of Nursing pushed me to get my nursing degree even though it was really challenging,” Smith said. “It will be great to be a nurse after my college softball career is complete.”


BATTLING OPIOID ADDICTION through education Continually evolving curriculum ensures graduates are well prepared WRITTEN BY JIMMY CREED // PHOTOGRAPHY BY FRANK COUCH to address substance abuse issues


s the nation’s opioid crisis continues, the School is focusing on providing education at all program levels to ensure graduates are well versed in the recognition, prevention and treatment of addiction. Through a two-year, $1.3 million Advanced Nursing Education Workforce Program (ANEW) grant led by Assistant Dean for Graduate Clinical Programs and Associate Professor Ashley Hodges, PhD, CRNP, WHNP-BC, the School is expanding its behavioral health curriculum and services ensuring advanced practice nurses are prepared to lead clinical care across all behavioral health issues, including substance abuse, while helping patients get appropriate treatment. The grant emphasizes better access to behavioral health care in rural and underserved settings across Alabama. Graduate students in the ANEW program receive specialized didactic and clinical education on behavioral health screening and treating substance abuse. For ANEW academic-practice partners, School faculty also provide consultations. The content

created as part of ANEW is included in the Family Nurse Practitioner curriculum with plans to expand it to all graduate clinical program curriculum.

“It is important to educate students on the opioid crisis because as graduates they will be at the forefront of identifying individuals who may have an opioid use disorder,” said Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor Linda Moneyham, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Nurses are the front lines of care and can help patients so they don’t lose themselves in substance abuse. We want our students to be well prepared when these opportunities arise.”

Hodges said graduate clinical program nursing students also receive information on the dangers of opioid addiction and other substance misuse starting at orientation. Education continues in pharmacology and pathophysiology courses, where students learn through challenging case scenarios and simulations. Each Students in the Bachelor of Science in graduate specialty track also incorporates Nursing (BSN) program also are introcontent about opioid addiction and other duced to pain, pain management and substance misuse. Neonatal nurse pracaddiction through lectures, class discustitioner students learn to recogsions and learning activities throughout nize and manage babies the curriculum. They learn about born to mothers who pain as the fifth vital sign misuse substances, and about mental health, and nursing inforaddictions and addiction matics students treatments. learn to track “There is a significant opioid use and amount of content trends through covered in the BSN databases and curriculum related to registries. Psychipain management and atric-mental health addiction,” said Interim nurse practitioner Assistant Dean for students receive even Dr. Ashley Hodges Undergraduate and Pre-Limore in-depth instruction censure Programs and Associate on prevention, assessment and Professor Lynn Nichols, PhD, RN-BC, treatment of substance use disorders. SANE. Professor Susanne Fogger, DNP, Fogger also is working with School leadCRNP, CARN-AP, PMHNP-BC, ership to help guide future educational FAANP, who is working with Hodges on efforts to address the opioid epidemic. ANEW, is the School’s content expert on “Our goal is for our students to be well addictions and substance abuse, focusing on increasing awareness and understanding prepared as part of their nursing education to care for the patient with addictions of substance abuse issues and the opioid and to be leaders in helping alleviate this crisis, and providing curriculum develnational crisis,” she said. opment guidance.



NEWS ROUNDUP Three faculty named to leadership posts on national boards The UAB School of Nursing continues to be a leader in national professional Dr. Aimee organizations that Holland shape practice and health care across disciDr. Marisa plines. DocWilson tor of Nursing Practice Program Director and Associate Professor Aimee Holland, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC, NP-C, RD, FAANP, is Dr. Maria Shirey serving a two-year term as chair of the National Association of Nurse Practitioners in Women’s Health Board of Directors and is on the editorial board of the NPWH journal, Women’s Healthcare: A Clinical Journal for Nurse Practitioners. Chair of the Acute, Chronic and Continuing Care Department and Professor Maria Shirey, PhD, MBA, MS, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FACHE, FAAN, is a Director-at-Large on the National Association for Healthcare Quality Board of Directors and is Editor-in-Chief of the Association’s Journal for Healthcare Quality. Coordinator of the Master of Science in Nursing, Nursing Informatics Specialty Track and Associate Professor Marisa Wilson, DNSc, MHSc, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FAAN, has been elected to a two-year term on the Board of Directors of The Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education.

Patrician, Miltner head new QSEN initiative The School is part of a national effort by the Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) Institute to increase quality and safety education for nurses at all levels through the development of regional educational outreach hubs. Rachel Z. Booth Endowed Chair in Nursing and Professor Patricia A. Patrician, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Director of Educationally Focused Partnerships and Associate Professor Rebecca S. Miltner, PhD, RN, CNL, NEA-BC, are leading the new Deep South QSEN Regional Collaborative. Both also serve on the QSEN Board of Directors. The overall goals of the Collaborative include strengthening QSEN knowledge through proDr. Rebecca Miltner(l) and fessional development; Dr. Pat Patrician(r) serving as expert quality and safety consultants in nursing education and practice; and leading other quality and safety education and practice initiatives. “We know there is much as a School we can impart, as leaders in quality and safety education and research, about QSEN and the importance of being proficient in quality and safety principles,” Patrician said. “This includes preparing all nurses with the knowledge, skills and attitudes necessary to become leaders on interprofessional health care teams to help continuously improve the quality and safety in the health care systems in which they practice.”

Harris leading pediatric MS cognition research

Dr. Yolanda Harris

Instructor Yolanda Harris, PhD, CRNP, CPNP-AC, wants to know how Multiple Sclerosis (MS) impacts decisionmaking in children.

Harris has been named principal investigator by the UAB Center for Pediatric Onset Demyelinating Disease



at Children’s of Alabama of a $56,695 grant to study this relatively unexplored area. The grant is part of a larger multisite grant from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society to New York University and the Network of Pediatric Multiple Sclerosis Centers. “This study is the first of its kind to look at how pediatric-onset MS affects cognition in children,” Harris said. “The goal is to identify their challenges and eventually

develop interventions to help improve their cognitive skills as they age.” Using a battery of tests to study the rate at which the children process information from start to finish, Harris wants to better understand cognitive decline and create evaluations that could provide key insights. “We want to learn all we can so we can help these children reach their full potential,” Harris said.

AMNP changing curriculum to better meet health care system needs

John Beard

Dr. Marsha Adams and Dr. Linda Moneyham

Dr. Marietta Stanton

Four join Nursing Hall of Fame Four members of the UAB School of Nursing family were inducted into the Alabama Nursing Hall of Fame at the University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing in October 2017. Honored for their extraordinary contributions to nursing in the state, they are: UAB School of Nursing Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor Linda Moneyham, PhD, RN, FAAN; Marsha Adams, PhD, RN, CNE, ANEF, FAAN, a three-time graduate of the School and Dean of the University of Alabama in Huntsville College of Nursing; Alacare Home Health & Hospice Chairman & President John Beard, MBA, JD, a member of the School’s Board of Visitors who was influential in Alacare’s gift to name a home health simulation laboratory in the building renovation and expansion; and Marietta Stanton, PhD, RN-BC, CNL, NEA-BC, CMAC, CCM, FAAN, who earned a post-master’s certificate from the School, and is professor in the University of Alabama Capstone College of Nursing. More than 35 nurses and others associated with the School are in the Hall of Fame.

Bakitas receives Debra Sivesind Career Award Marie L. O’Koren Endowed Chair and Professor Marie Bakitas, DNSc, CRPN, NP-C, AOCN, ACHPN, FAAN, received the Debra Sivesind Career Award at the 21st annual Interdisciplinary Conference Dr. Marie Bakitas on Supportive Care, Hospice and Palliative Medicine, recognizing her outstanding contributions to palliative care. Bakitas has participated in or led more than 50 clinical trials in symptom management and early palliative care, and developed innovative ways to reduce health disparities for cancer patients and family caregivers in the rural Deep South. In addition to her role in the School of Nursing, Bakitas holds a secondary faculty appointment in the UAB School of Medicine and is Associate Director of the UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care. She has published more than 100 original data-based papers, book chapters and books.

The School has revised its Accelerated Masters in Nursing Pathway curriculum to allow for the awarding of the MSN degree upon completion of a four-semester accelerated curriculum that prepares the student to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam and practice as a professional registered nurse. The new Sherita Etheridge curriculum aims to better meet the needs of health care systems by preparing nurses that provide care at the bedside with enhanced knowledge and skill in health system leadership, transitional care management, and transition to professional nursing practice. The cohort admitted in January 2019 will be the first graduates of the new pathway. The pathway is also designed to allow graduates direct Michael Mosley entry into doctoral programs that prepare researchers (PhD) and advanced practice nurses (DNP). Linda Moneyham, PhD, RN, FAAN, Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor, said, “helping nurses achieve terminal doctoral degrees in nursing earlier in their career is essential to building nursing’s cadre of nurse scientists, educators and health system leaders. To sit at the health care table, nurse leaders must be well educated.” The curriculum revision, led by AMNP Program Director and Instructor Michael Mosley, MSN, CRNP, ANP-BC, and Assistant Director and Instructor Sherita Etheridge, MSN, CRNP, CPNP-PC, also adds coursework on patients’ transition of care and adds more clinical hours to facilitate students’ transition into the professional nursing role. “No other program is providing the content and learning experiences that prepare professional nurses to better manage patient care across the health care continuum and between care settings,” Mosley said. “Adding this piece of the nursing process is helping make our graduates leaders of the patient’s interdisciplinary care team from the time they enter the workplace. And by providing a better base for transition into the profession, we are assisting students in being successful right out of the gate.” Students in the revised program are eligible to sit for the NCLEX-RN exam after the third semester and receive a master’s degree after the fourth semester, which opens many professional options for the students. “Earning this master’s degree in four semesters enables students to practice in any state in which they become board certified,” Etheridge said. “They can then immediately enroll in doctoral programs to achieve advanced nursing education, helping to fill the need for a more highly educated nursing workforce across the U.S.” SPRING 2018 / UAB NURSING




{ Blake Smith } ”When there is parity in a profession, it results in diverse talent from all walks of life, who are connected by a set of common values of doing something that is bigger than themselves.“ INTERVIEW BY LAURA LESLEY // PHOTOGRAPHY PROVIDED BY BLAKE SMITH

Q: How did you choose nursing as a career? A: I always knew I wanted to pursue a career in health care, but

originally nursing was not on my radar as an option. It was when I started looking at graduate school for the first time, after my original bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science Research, that my uncle suggested I consider nursing. My experience as a man wanting to pursue a career in health care and not considering the nursing profession is not unique. To this day, many males are guided by high school counselors to the health care industry without even mentioning nursing as an option. This is something we must change as nurses.

Q: What made you pursue a leadership role in the American Association for Men in Nursing? A: The passion I have to serve and develop others is what has led

me to the leadership position in AAMN today. AAMN understands that there are many men in our communities that have the integrity, values and skills to become amazing professional nurses. My passion to develop others grew out of my experience as a coach. The nursing profession must seek out individuals based upon skills and integrity 20


Blake Smith, MSN, RN, Clinical Documentation Senior Analyst for Nebraska Medicine. Named President-Elect of the American Association for Men in Nursing, and at 32-years-old will be the youngest president in its history. Smith earned his Master of Science in Nursing Degree in Nursing Health Systems Administration from UAB in 2017 and received the outstanding graduate student award. Smith is on the Nebraska Action Coalition's Diversity Taskforce and Leadership Committee. He also is first chair of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation New Careers in Nursing Scholar Network Steering Committee.

and not limit recruitment by gender, ethnicity or socioeconomic status. This is the only way to provide true holistic care to diverse populations by reflecting the community within the local nursing workforce.

Q: What would you tell a male about considering a nursing career, and about choosing what could be considered a non-traditional path for men in nursing such as neonatal NP or pediatric NP? A: I would advise these future colleagues that

there is no such thing as a non-traditional path because each of them should be blazing a unique trail if they are to fulfill their potential in the nursing profession. Many men that are pursuing their nursing degree are already providing care for their family and friends as fathers, uncles, brothers, etc. A future colleague who has found passion in taking care of some of the most vulnerable is noble. Young boys

academics need great role models to look up to and there is no one better than a male nurse practitioner, who is highly respected, to help guide a young boy into manhood. Individuals should be proud to move into these areas of nursing with understanding the responsibility that comes from developing the next generation of Americans.

Q: What is your vision for the future for men in nursing? A: We must bring the brightest and best skilled workforce

to our communities as we continue into a complex and ever adapting future in health care. Our workforce must reflect our patient populations but also provide value from seeking out only the best from across the country. Men coming into the nursing profession is only one piece of a bigger picture needed to solve complex health care issues. We must stand side by side with our female colleagues to make sure all patient populations feel comfortable to access health care and can identify with those who care for them. AAMN stands with all nurses in the pursuit to continue the journey of parity in the profession, but not for representation purposes alone. When there is parity in a

profession, it results in diverse talent from all walks of life, who are connected by a set of common values of doing something that is bigger than themselves. This is how we solve the complex health care issues of today and tomorrow.

Q: How did your experiences in the UAB School of Nursing prepare you for the leadership roles you have? A: The MSN Nursing Health Systems Administration track

at UAB provided an environment to practice and refine my leadership skills to a level I would have never dreamed. UAB understands that in order to perform in real-life scenarios you must have the opportunity to practice these necessary skills in a safe environment. I cannot thank UAB enough for what it has given to me. The only way I can pay back the value that was provided is to continually pursue and develop others as I have been developed, and pay it forward so others have the same opportunities. If everyone of us shares the experiences that have shaped our lives with someone else we will leave the nursing profession behind one day to the next generation of nurses fully equipped to make us all proud.

MALE FACULTY, STUDENTS CHOOSING UAB The School leads the way nationally in breaking through the gender perceptions of the nursing profession, continually exceeding the national average of both male students and faculty. For the Spring 2018 semester, total male enrollment in the School was 13.7 percent. Male admissions in undergraduate programs were 14 percent, and enrollment in the PostBSN to DNP Pathway for Nurse Anesthesia was the highest at 48 percent. Males also account for 16.9 percent of the School’s faculty, including six men in leadership roles. “The inherent assumption has been that this is a female profession, but as time has gone on, we have seen more men move into nursing. Now there is definitely a feeling of ‘I belong here, too,’” said Assistant Professor Edwin Aroke, PhD, MSN, CRNA, faculty in the Post-BSN to DNP Nurse Anesthesia Pathway. Assistant Professor Richard Taylor,

DNP, CRNP, ANP-BC, credits more role models in the profession, as well as favorable portrayals of male nurses in commercials, TV shows and movies as helping to change perceptions. He also feels that more men are realizing how good a fit nursing is for them in terms of salary, career longevity and job flexibility. “Whatever you Dr. Edwin want to do with a Aroke nursing degree you can do,” said Taylor, director of the School’s MSN Advanced Palliative Care NP subspecialty and co-director of the Oncology NP subspecialty. He and his fellow male faculty are also aware of the responsibility they now bear. “Our male faculty members make a

Dr. Richard Taylor with students

conscious effort to go out and say, ‘Have you thought about nursing school?’” Taylor said. “We do that because we would like to see more males in nursing and certainly on nursing faculty.” The School also has been home to a chapter of the American Association for Men in Nursing for the past two years, with Assistant Professor Steadman McPeters, DNP, CRNP, CPNP-AC, RNFA, its current president. SPRING 2018 / UAB NURSING


Future of Nursing Constituents helping shape

Faculty, staff, students and alumni helping guide expansion and renovation move-in



onstruction is nearing the end on the School’s 72,000-square-foot, $32 million expansion and renovation that is ushering in a new era in nursing education, research and clinical practice.

The high-fidelity space incorporates the latest technologies as the foundation for innovation across the School’s missions of teaching, research and service. As plans are being made for moving into the expansion to start classes in Fall 2018, faculty, staff, students and alumni are again playing a crucial role in the decision-making process—as they did when architects began designing the expansion and renovation making key suggestions about future requisites for nursing education, service and research—providing essential feedback on space utilization throughout the building. “This expansion and renovation is changing how we live, work and learn in our School,” said Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN. “With this project we are afforded the opportunity to do things that have never been done before—and that includes everything from how we approach educational opportunities to how faculty and staff office space is organized. Faculty and staff input is essential to the creativity of the space utilization plan, as how we use the space will help drive innovation across all of our missions.”



The BIG More than 20 faculty and staff have been brought together in the Building Integration Group, or BIG, to advise senior leadership on bridging the existing and expansion, providing critical insight into space allocation, office equipment and other identified needs.

BIG member and Assistant Professor Karmie Johnson, DNP, CRNP, PMHNP-BC, said, “Starting with Nightingale’s work in Scutari, nurses are attentive to the use of space to optimize improvement and wellness. Where we learn influences how and what we learn. Participation in BIG allows for rich discussions and input on how well-designed surroundings contribute to a dynamic learning environment that fosters development and innovation in students and faculty.”

The DIG It is also important that those using the building have a say in what the expanded and renovated space will look like. More than 15 faculty, staff, students and alumni are being brought together on the Design Integration Group, or DIG, to advise on utilization of existing artwork, opportunities for new art placement, and how to best maximum enjoyment of the courtyard areas in the center of the building.

Associate Professor Marisa Wilson, DNSc, MHSc, RN-BC, CPHIMS, FAAN, whose experience at a previous institution inspired the DIG committee said, “It is important for the faculty, students, staff and alumni to have a voice in choosing the art in the public spaces. The art should provide a sense of the School's legacy leadership, shining the light on the potential of our profession. Our occupants and visitors should be inspired and called to action spurred on by what they see around them.”

Fall Opening

on the horizon

Furniture and technology that students, faculty and staff advised on have been ordered and installation is beginning mid-summer. What remains once that is complete is adding some of the School’s most valuable resources—the people. “Most of us spend more of our day in the School than we do anywhere else,” Harper said. “We want the expansion and reno-

vation to inspire innovation among all of those who use it— students, faculty and staff—because they are at the heart of the success of our missions. I know with their input the advances in teaching, research and practice for which the UAB School of Nursing has been known for almost 70 years will continue to positively impact nursing globally for years to come.” SPRING 2018 / UAB NURSING



that will change everything

PAYING IT FORWARD Alumnus Edward (Vance) Ferebee and his wife Vicki have made a planned gift to the UAB School of Nursing unlike any before—it is the first to ensure students who are interested in pursuing careers in critical care or emergency nursing can do so through the Edward and Vicki Ferebee Endowed Scholarship in Nursing. “I was a scholarship recipient during my time as a UAB School of Nursing student,” said Vance Ferebee—a 1980 Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) graduate. “My experience as a Callaway scholarship recipient allowed me to focus more on school without the added pressure of financial concerns. Now I would like for others to have the same opportunity I had.” Ferebee is the Program Director for Phoenix Air Group, a jet-charter service based in Cartersville, Georgia. The company is most well-known for transporting more than 40 Ebola victims in 2014. “As a flight attendant for 13 years, Vance and I have both enjoyed having interesting careers with crazy schedules,” Vicki, said. Ferebee, who worked on the Ebola flights that saved many lives, describes the experiences as being among the highlights of his career in emergency nursing. “We trained hard for those flights,” he said, “but the procedures are wellestablished and thought out, so we were actually pretty comfortable.” The program was named Program of the Year by the Association of Air Medical Services in 2017.

“I had no idea nursing could be this much

I give all the credit to the UAB School of Nursing.” fun, and

-Vance Ferebee

Having been a nurse for 37 years, Ferebee has flown both rotor and fixed wing aircrafts for 27 of those years. His goal is to reach 5,000 transports before retiring. In addition to providing hands-on care to patients being transported by air, Ferebee develops and implements the clinical, operational and logistical planning in support of Phoenix Air’s contracts with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and the U.S. Department of State for the repatriation of patients, such as those during the Ebola crisis. “The UAB School of Nursing gave me the tools to build a great career as a clinician,” Ferebee said. “Their focus on pathophysiology alone has made learning and testing much easier for me throughout the years, and I was fortunate to have some very strong clinical instructors. “I can pinpoint that it was my time as a UAB School of Nursing student that really got me focused on learning and excited about my career. I hope our scholarship will have the same impact on tomorrow’s critical care/emergency nurses.”



INNOVATIVE ALUMNI LEADING NATIONALLY Dr. Constance Smith Hendricks, BSN 1974, MSN 1981 Alumna Constance Smith Hendricks, PhD, RN, FAAN, is the new dean of the School of Nursing and Allied Health at Tuskegee University. She joined the School effective Jan. 2, 2018. Tuskegee University is home to the state of Alabama’s first baccalaureate degree in nursing program, established in 1948 by Dr. Lillian Holland Harvey. Previously, Hendricks served as the founding dean of the Division of Health Sciences at Concordia College Alabama, as well as 17 years in the Auburn University School of Nursing where she was the Charles W. Barkley Endowed Professor. “My goal at Tuskegee is to grow the School of Nursing and Allied Health’s enrollment, programs and, of course external funding,” Hendricks said. “I learned many organizational leadership skills from being involved in Alpha Sigma Tau Sorority and the Student Nurses Association during my time as a UAB School of Nursing student,” said Hendricks. “By the time I was a senior, I had been elected chapter president of my sorority, and in the Student Nurses Association, I learned to write resolutions. That has helped me to this day.”

Dr. Hendricks with the first two recipients of the Dr. Constance Smith Hendricks Endowed Scholarship in Nursing, BSN students Hannah Ludy and Shavonne Milhouse.

“Being a young black girl in Alabama, I always desired to become a Tuskegee University nurse—the epitome of a dream. However, as a disabled veteran’s daughter, the GI benefit was better at UAB—so off I went. UAB ended up being the best place for me whether I knew it or not, and I’ve still been able to realize my dream of being a Tuskegee University nurse through my new role as dean.” “Leading our nursing program and advancing the dream of our first dean, Dr. Lillian Holland Harvey, is an honor.” Hendricks received the UAB School of Nursing Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007. In 2016, she established the Dr. Constance Smith Hendricks Endowed Scholarship in Nursing together with family and friends to support deserving UAB School of Nursing students.

Matthew Banks, BSN 2009, MSN 2011 Alumnus Matthew Banks, MSN, began working in a hospital setting at age 18 as a nursing tech. Today, after earning three degrees from UAB—two, of which, are from the UAB School of Nursing—he is Chief Executive Officer at Davis Regional Medical Center in Statesville, North Carolina. To say he excels in his career would be an understatement. In his current role at the 144-bed acute care hospital, Banks oversees the hospital vision and daily operations. “As a nurse and having seen all aspects of patient care, I always remember that patients are the core of health care,” he said. “I have a foundation of knowledge I use and rely on each day in my position as CEO, thanks to my education at UAB which has further enhanced my career path.”

Banks was recently named a 2018 Presidential Leadership Scholar, a program serving as a catalyst for a diverse network of leaders to collaborate and learn about leadership. As one of 59 scholars chosen nationwide after a rigorous application process, his work will revolve around finding solutions and treatment options for individuals who face addiction. Scholars will travel to the presidential centers of George W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George H.W. Bush and Lyndon B. Johnson to learn from the former presidents of the United States, key former administration officials and other significant academic leaders. “The UAB School of Nursing instructors and professors from which I had the opportunity to learn were talented and inspirational, and I am truly grateful for my experiences and education there,” he said. “As a life-long learner, I look forward to building upon my knowledge base as a Presidential Leadership Scholar.” Banks received the UAB School of Nursing Young Alumni Merit Award in 2012. In addition to his nursing degrees, he holds a Bachelor of Science in Psychology.








50 states



as a PAHO/WHO Collaborating Center







GLOBAL LEADERSHIP (past & present)

VICE PRESIDENTS, CHANCELLORS, PROVOSTS ................7+ ENDOWED CHAIRS ................................9+ PRESIDENTS/CEOS ............................ 16+ CHIEF NURSING OFFICERS & CHIEF NURSE EXECUTIVES .............. 24+ NURSING DIRECTORS ........................ 29+ UNIVERSITY DEANS .............................. 38

Providing students international educational, research and service opportunities

1 of 6

minority undergraduate nurses from UAB


graduate prepared minority nurses in Alabama from UAB



1 in 5 1 in 7 1 in 3 1 in 8


Source: American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN)



Thomas is my miracle. He was born March 14, 1997, the middle of my three children, only son, and with a congenital heart defect. He had transposition of the great vessels where his pulmonary artery and aorta positions were swapped. He was brought to Birmingham from Montgomery by ambulance. When he was five-days-old Thomas was flown to Boston for life-saving heart surgery. We could not go with him on the plane but as a nurse, I knew he needed to be in Boston as soon as possible. We put our baby on UAB's Critical Care Transport and took a commercial flight.


homas’ surgery was a success and a week later we all flew home together. And he has thrived, playing baseball and football, though basketball and its necessary endurance is a challenge. He is now a junior finance major at Jacksonville State University.

Twenty-one years later Thomas is again facing a battle for his life. In October 2017 he was diagnosed with mono but seemed to recover. In November he was on a disaster relief trip in Texas when he began to feel bad again, having night sweats and sleeping for hours in the backseat of a car where his team was working. As a nurse I recognized the symptoms he described but I didn't tell anyone my suspicion, including Thomas or my husband Eric. I pushed to get into see his physician and just before Thanksgiving we got the call his that the CT and ultrasound of his extremely large lymph nodes were suspicious so Thomas went for an excisional biopsy. December 8 we received the preliminary report—Thomas had Hodgkin's Lymphoma. December 13 the final confirmation came—Stage 3 Classical Hodgkin's Lymphoma with spots mainly in his neck but some in liver, chest and underarm lymph node areas. His treatment plan was laid out—twice a month chemo for six months and scans after two months, with the possibility of radiation depending upon how he responded. His physician felt like Thomas had a good prognosis. Since the chemo can affect Thomas' heart they would watch him closely. While all of this was going on we got his grades—all A’s fall semester even though when he took his finals he didn’t feel well. Thomas is a fighter. He began treatment January 3 at The Kirklin Clinic of UAB Hospital at UAB Medicine and his physician said he could go back to school at Jacksonville State where he will graduate in May 2019.

Thomas was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in December 2017. He has responded well to treatment and was declared in remission in February 2018.

While this mama bear is a little protective, I remembered what I learned early on with his congenital heart defect—the best medicine was for Thomas to get back to his normal and into a normal routine—going to class, spending time with friends, being a college student. The day his dad and I took him back to school in early January we spent an hour or more scrubbing his apartment and I can’t believe there were any germs left. As a nurse, I was most worried about the flu season and the impact treatment would have on Thomas' immune system. He consistently wears a mask when he is out and so far, has avoided the flu or other illness. Thomas has a wonderful sweet positive attitude and a strong faith for a 21-year-old. And Thomas has an army of family and friends behind him. He also started a blog chronicling his journey and sharing his faith with others, thomascwatts. In late February Thomas was declared cancer free—his pet scan came back clear. He is continuing chemo as scheduled through June. And, instead of four meds each visit, he will have only three meds. Thomas is strong. He finished his sixth chemo treatment on his 21st birthday. While this is most often a treatable disease, we do not know what’s ahead. We are so fortunate and blessed. There are so many others suffering with worse outcomes, difficult treatment plans, and no hope. Nurses see and care for these patients every day. Our experiences have been difficult, but many, many others are suffering much worse situations. We’ve learned to count our blessings and remain ever thankful to UAB for being by our side every step of the way. SPRING 2018 / UAB NURSING










4:57 PM

Tomorrow's nurse leaders are at UAB today. C








They are in class, in simulation labs, and on clinical rotations gaining the skills they need to deliver highly skilled and compassionate care. They are in workshops, seminars and small-group learning teams, preparing to deliver patient-centered, quality-focused decision-making. And they're in a School of Nursing that believes in the power of nurses to transform health care now and in the future. Your gifts to the UAB School of Nursing help ensure that our students are ready to change the world.

UAB School of Nursing Magazine - Spring 2018  
UAB School of Nursing Magazine - Spring 2018