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New Challenges Spur Change

C E N T E R of


in NURSING EDUCATION 2020 - 2024




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Alumni travel to NYC to fight COVID-19


The rise of the Gamecock Nursing Nation

*photo courtesy of Prisma Health*


We thank you!

Now he’s working as a nurse during a pandemic

Gamecock nursing students lead the way

Excellence in nursing education during a pandemic

A community for all


DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS • @UofSCNursing The University of South Carolina does not discriminate in educational or employment opportunities on the basis of race, sex, gender, gender identity, transgender status, age, color, religion, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, genetics, protected veteran status, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

Jan Johnson





Donors and Friends


Amazing Alumni


First Class Faculty


Stellar Students


Read & Repeat: By the Numbers

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Craig Brandhorst Chris Horn Tenell Felder Laura Kammerer Brad Muller

CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHERS Jason Ayer Matt Brodie Brett Flashnick

2020: A Year We Will Definitely Remember


e started the year with hope and anticipation as the World Health Organization launched the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” campaign. By mid-March, we began pivoting in the era of COVID-19, a virus

uniquely spread by mostly asymptomatic hosts. Our intolerance of racism and social injustice has also elevated this year, and we have further championed our commitment to achieving health equity and respecting human dignity. Our future is forever changed in the way we educate nurses, innovate in healthcare

delivery, promote preventive health and public safety, and discover new evidence for nursing practice and optimal health for our communities. Our values of commitment, professionalism, integrity, caring, diversity, inclusion, and respect continue to guide our

Jeannette O. Andrews


actions. This year’s magazine focuses on our people—students, faculty, staff, alumni, donors, and partners—and our team’s leadership, which navigated this unprecedented year. You will discover how we leverage technology in our classrooms with virtual simulations and our practice and research with telehealth and mobile health apps. You will be inspired by our voice, actions, and research to eliminate health disparities. And, you will remain optimistic as you see the innovation and leadership among the future of our profession—our talented students. Our Gamecock Nursing Nation has been nimble, thoughtful, strategic, and bold. We continue to stand tall with the readiness to adapt, innovate, and lead. We will definitely remember this challenging year and will emerge in the months and years ahead, seizing upon the opportunities before us as we embrace our vision to be a preeminent College of Nursing of distinction that pioneers innovation, leadership, and excellence.

Jeannette O. Andrews PhD, RN, FAAN Dean and Helen Gurley Wolford Professor of Nursing

“Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.” Brené Brown


THE YEAR OF THE NURSE AND MIDWIFE The rise of the Gamecock Nursing Nation

*photo taken pre-COVID-19*


he World Health Organization designated 2020 as the “Year of the Nurse and Midwife” with the theme of excel, lead, and innovate – three powerful words that define so much of the work nurses do. This special initiative

aimed to advance nurses’ vital position in transforming healthcare worldwide. As events occurred, the spotlight turned on nurses for an entirely different reason: nurses on the frontlines fighting the COVID-19 pandemic. The world learned what we already knew – nurses are essential in every corner of the healthcare system. Although this year has not turned out the way we expected, our Gamecock Nursing Nation rallied and is stronger than ever.


2020 Year of the Nurse & Midwife EXCEL • LEAD • INNOVATE

We kicked off the year with great events such as a Year of the Nurse and Midwife celebration with faculty, staff, and students, an alumni social at the Carolina men’s basketball game, and the 2020 Carolina Clinical Excellence Conference. We had our annual faculty and staff retreat and hosted exchange students from the Netherlands.

As the coronavirus pandemic intersected our community and our daily lives in many ways in March, our faculty, staff, students, and alumni always stood tall during challenging situations. We continued supporting and encouraging each other and our fellow nurses during this unprecedented time.


In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the college quickly created virtual simulations of critical, hands-on experiences for eight undergraduate courses with clinical components. The college’s undergraduates must complete at least 1,000 hours of clinical instruction to be considered ready for professional practice. In the space of three weeks, College of Nursing faculty and staff assembled a full suite of simulation experiences that enabled all its nearly 500 upper division students to achieve their learning objectives for the semester and allowed seniors to graduate on time.

Read the feature article by Chris Horn

HELPING OUT As numbers increased in the fight against COVID-19 in March and April 2020, our healthcare systems experienced a severe PPE shortage across the country. Our simulation lab donated masks, isolation gowns, and other essential medical supplies to our partners at Prisma Health-Midlands. We were proud to play a role in helping protect *photos taken pre-COVID-19*

local healthcare workers and patients.



Faculty members share their expertise during COVID-19

DR. BEV BALIKO, MENTAL HEALTH FOR HEALTHCARE WORKERS DURING COVID-19 Feelings of distress are reasonable responses to crisis, and it is best to focus on things that you can control. We cannot control the situation or what others say or do, but we can control how we respond. Limit exposure to negativity and information overload, practice selfcompassion, and intentionally notice what is good. Let family and friends know if you are having a difficult time and how they can help.

Read more from Dr. Baliko

DR. ROBIN DAWSON, PEDIATRIC ASTHMA AND COVID-19 Parents of children with asthma may be especially worried during the COVID-19 pandemic. Studies show children with asthma are not any more likely to be infected with COVID-19 than children without asthma. However, children with moderate to severe asthma may be at higher risk for severe symptoms. Parents should talk with their child’s healthcare provider to ensure their asthma action plan is up to date.

DR. NATHANIEL BELL, THE NEED FOR GISCIENCE IN MAPPING COVID-19 Our goal is to draw attention to the limitation of maps used to illustrate the severity of COVID-19 spread. Adopting a GIScience approach and using location-based intelligence tools can improve data reporting shortcomings and more accurately reveal how COVID-19 will have a long-term impact on global health. A GIScience approach can help researchers and policymakers improve access to high-resolution data to support better, evidence-based decision making.

Read the article

DR. CORETTA JENERETTE, THE COMPLEX INEQUITIES AND RACIAL DISPARITIES OF COVID-19 IN SC The intersection of systemic racism, structural inequalities, and social determinants of health fuel disparities that lead to African Americans getting sick more often than others. Thus, COVID-19 disparities are not surprising. It is essential to move from awareness to action. We need to implement the policies to eliminate the disparities and inequities to move towards a healthier South Carolina and nation.

Listen to the SCETV interview 6/COLLEGE OF NURSING

DR. DEMETRIUS ABSHIRE, BARRIERS TO TELEMEDICINE IMPLEMENTATION IN SOUTHWEST TRIBAL COMMUNITIES DURING COVID-19 There has been an increasing use of telehealth because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, some rural populations are less likely to have adequate broadband internet service needed for certain telehealth services. Among census tracts within the Navajo Nation, an American Indian tribe in the Southwest US hit hard by the pandemic, we found that approximately 58-88% of households did not have broadband internet service compared to about 20% nationally. Increasing broadband internet service in underserved rural areas will be necessary for optimizing the potential of telehealth in these areas.

Read the article

DR. SWANN ADAMS, CANCER PATIENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES DURING COVID-19 Research has shown that cancer patients tend to have lowered immune response and are more susceptible to infectious diseases. Our physical health is tied to our emotional health and well-being. So, when we are happy or peaceful, our bodies can better fight disease and heal than when we are depressed or anxious. Thus, cancer patients must take as much care of their emotional health as they do their physical health. Three areas to focus on for our emotional health are physical activity, social connections, and pleasurable activities.

Read Q&A with Tenell Felder

DR. CINDY CORBETT, UTILIZING VIRTUAL HOME ASSISTANCE DEVICES TO PROMOTE CONNECTEDNESS DURING COVID-19 We are researching utilizing virtual home assistance devices (like Alexa) to promote connectedness in older adults. This research and their findings may be particularly relevant for older adults in quarantine or residential living facilities with no/limited visitors during COVID-19. Research shows that not being connected or lack of social connection results in public risks comparable to obesity, smoking, and a higher mortality rate. Virtual assistance devices can help with mental health, provide safety measures, and connect older adults with family members.

DR. ALICIA RIBAR, HOW THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC HAS AND WILL AFFECT NURSING Nurses possess unique abilities that allow for the delivery of very specialized technical skills grounded in the human act of caring. In short, nurses humanize healthcare. The unique challenge most nurses will face is how they can continue to deliver care from behind personal protective equipment (PPE), but nurses will be up to the challenge. Nurses will continue to assess, comfort, and advocate to provide the best care for every patient during this pandemic and any crisis.

Read Q&A with Tenell Felder UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA / 7


Undergraduate students stepped up early and often during the COVID-19 pandemic With campus life disrupted in March 2020, most undergraduate students returned home and engaged in a new reality of online classrooms and virtual simulations. They were patient, flexible, and inspiring during our zoom meetings and email communications. The uncertainty of clinical rotations, housing, summer and fall semesters, and many other issues created stressful circumstances. But as always, our students rose to the occasion.


TAYLOR BROWN volunteered at

GENNA RIVERS helped to keep her

Prisma Health-Midlands during COVID-19. She called patients to confirm appointments and, along with other volunteers, began working on how to manage telehealth/video visits. “As a future healthcare professional, I wanted to help during this crisis. I appreciate Prisma Health for allowing me to do my small part in easing the burden.”

the UofSC COVID-19 phone bank. “I’m not a nurse yet, but I still wanted to help out in some way. This opportunity allowed me to help families stay updated and informed about COVID-19. I learned that although we are going through a tough time, it’s important for communication to stay strong.”

community safe by making and donating cloth masks. “Lining the inside of the masks with reusable bags makes them more protective than a simple cotton lining because it’s waterproof. My mom and I are making as many masks as possible to give to people in the community. I am so glad we can contribute in some way.”


swim team member, led an effort to collect new and used goggles to be used as protective eyewear for healthcare workers. Megan’s efforts were shared on social media by numerous pro swimmers wanting to help. “When I look back at my life, I want to be able to say I helped people in some way.”


Read "Diving in to help in the fight vs. COVID-19" by Brad Muller

HANNAH FISCHER volunteered at the UofSC COVID-19 phone bank. “I wanted to help any way I could. I wanted to provide some calm in the storm by giving people the answers they needed during this unusual time.”


Alumni travel to New York City to fight COVID-19 This spring, as COVID-19 spiked in New York City, the nation’s largest metropolitan area became the face of the U.S. pandemic. In response,


nurses from across the U.S. descended on the region, enduring personal hardship and risking their health to help stem the tide. ROSINA FADUL, ‘15 BSN, an oncology nurse, has plenty of experience with death, but this was different. With COVID-19, loved ones could not visit, leaving nurses to communicate with families via text and video chat. “It made me want to go the extra mile,” she says. “After every medical attempt had failed, I would just go in the patient’s room and hold their hand until they passed away.”

Read Rosina's essay

ALESIA MCFARLIN, ‘13 BSN, knew what COVID-19 was like before she encountered her first patient. She and several family members in the Greenville-Spartanburg area contracted the virus in early March. The experience motivated her to contact a placement service, which found her a temporary position at Lincoln Medical Center in the Bronx. “I felt like I could relate to the patients,” she explains. “I was able to say, ‘I know how you’re feeling. I’ve had it too. I know it’s awful.’ They’d look at me like, ‘Really?’ But I was able to say, ‘Look, I survived this. You can survive this, too.’ ”

STEPHANIE MUNOZ, ‘20 MSN, would board the charter bus outside her Times Square


hotel at 6 a.m. and not get back until close to 9 p.m. — just in time for a late dinner, a shower, maybe a little television, then bed. During a 21-day stretch, she got two nonconsecutive days off. “It was chaos, but it was organized chaos. There were


doctors from all over — neurosurgeons working as ICU doctors. The camaraderie and teamwork were amazing. I don’t know if you can ever prepare for something like this, but it was also really nice to see all of these people from all over come together for the same mission.”

Read the feature article by Craig Brandhorst



*photo courtesy of Prisma Health*


any of our alumni and graduate students are on the frontlines caring for patients during the day or night while attending class

online and caring for themselves and their families. Others are working in supportive roles in hospitals, clinics, health departments, and other health systems. They inspire us with their stories and experiences. During this unprecedented time in our nation’s history, nurses make a difference in the lives of millions of Americans. They are dedicated, committed, and passionate about their role in fighting this pandemic. Visit the college's YouTube channel for messages from:

● Governor Henry McMaster

● President Bob Caslen

● Coach Will Muschamp

● Leeza Gibbons


“For the nurses caring for the sick, I would simply say ‘thank you’ from the bottom of my heart. You are sacrificing time away from your families to take care of those who need you most. I wish you nothing but health and happiness. You are true angels!”


“Testing and treating patients

“My primary role includes

for COVID-19 has made me so

assessing home-bound patients following acute

much more appreciative of

illnesses who require

my health. While these times

hospitalization or rehab.

may be stressful at work, I

I coordinate with primary

am grateful for the strong workforce I am with each time

providers to develop and

I step into the ED. COVID-19

facilitate safe care plans to

patients represent only a fraction of

continue their journey to health. I educate patients and their caregivers on medications, disease

the patients we are treating. Even more now, we must continue

processes, and safety in their homes. COVID-19 has been an

to provide the same care for those patients coming to us for

interesting spin on my daily activities because I not only come

many other reasons. These patients provide perspective for our

in contact with high-risk patients but also educate caregivers

staff, as they are more of our ‘regular’ population. I am doing my

and family on their safety and precautions to keep all persons

best to show compassion and empathy to anxious patients and

safe and healthy in the community.”

overwhelmed coworkers, which is more prevalent now.



“The main challenges during

“COVID-19 has impacted every

the COVID-19 pandemic

aspect of my job as a nurse

have been related to the

practitioner. Even the simplest

disease’s unknown - its

cases are now more complex

effects and transmission.

and time demanding. I think

It was scary for me knowing

the biggest impact is learning

that I could be bringing

how to advocate for a patient

COVID-19 germs back to the

with COVID-19. I have developed

neonatal ICU, where the patients’

a new level of resilience that I hope

immune systems are extremely vulnerable. As hard as

translates into more holistic patient care. The challenges have

everything has been during the pandemic, staying positive

been more emotional and mental than physical. It has also

has been easy. As a nurse, each shift’s primary goal is to save

been hard telling family members or explaining to patients that

patient’s lives and positively influence them.”

visitors are not allowed. It is heartbreaking to see how isolated


our patients have become due to COVID-19.”




Now he’s working as a nurse during a pandemic By Michael Lananna


UofSC College of Nursing Catcher and Designated Hitter, Carolina Baseball NCAA National Champion


n Jan. 25 at 2:13 p.m., Hudson Thomas entered the world-

“Thankfully we didn’t have the surge (in COVID-19 cases) that we

born at the same Charleston hospital where his father

thought we were going to have. They did everything protective to

works as a nurse anesthetist.

try to keep that spike from reaching us, and I think they did a really

The moment changed Brady Thomas instantaneously. A first-time

good job.”

dad, Thomas, 32, said the love and emotion he felt for his newborn

Gamecocks fans should remember Thomas as a catcher and

son overwhelmed him. Then Hudson came home, and within a few

veteran leader on the 2010 and 2011 national championship

weeks, the entire world changed.

baseball teams. In a recent virtual reunion of those College World

Suddenly, going to work meant putting on an N95 mask, a face

Series teams with The State, Thomas’ teammates called him one

shield, gown and shoe covers. It meant working in the airways of

of UofSC’s “glue guys.” South Carolina athletic director and former

patients who were under investigation for a highly contagious and

baseball coach Ray Tanner added: “Brady was very responsible. He

potentially lethal virus. One day, Thomas was asked to float over

was our go-to guy.”

to the very wing where his wife, Sarah, had given birth. The wing

Today, Thomas belongs to a much different sort of team. He works

had transformed into a backup COVID-19 unit. The room where

as a certified registered nurse anesthetist, spending the bulk of his

Hudson took his first breaths had been converted into a negative-

time at the Medical University of South Carolina’s Ashley River

pressure isolation room.

Tower in downtown Charleston. Three days a week, Thomas

“It was kind of surreal to see that stuff,” Thomas said. “He was

wakes up at 4:30 a.m. and works a 13-and-a-half-hour shift.

probably the last one to be in there.

Under normal conditions, balancing those hours and helping


to raise a newborn child would be demanding, but the rise of

Born into a baseball-loving family that watched the College World

COVID-19 pushed those demands into a higher stratosphere.

Series with regularity, Thomas cherishes his college experiences,

Thomas said he was grateful for the way his hospital approached

especially being able to win the final CWS ever played at historic

the virus early on, shutting down elective surgeries and providing

Rosenblatt Stadium. He credits Tanner and the rest of the coaching

an element of protection for Thomas and his coworkers. Diagnosed

staff for instilling an attitude and work ethic that he and his other

with ulcerative colitis as a freshman in college, Thomas takes

former teammates carry to this day.

the immunosuppressive drug Humira, placing him in a more

It’s a testament to the special nature of those 2010 and 2011 teams

vulnerable population during this pandemic. While he hasn’t

that, even a decade later, Thomas still gets recognized by the

worked with confirmed COVID-19 patients, Thomas did work

occasional patient and coworker for being a Gamecock.

with patients under investigation for the virus in the days before

“It does come up, believe it or not, 10 years later,” Thomas said.

testing became more readily available. He called the experience

“People will be like, ‘Were you the catcher?’ Or subtle things like

“nerve-wracking,” knowing he could potentially catch the virus

that, and I’ll say, ‘That was a long time ago, though.’

and spread it to his family. In the last couple of months, his wife

“It’s pretty neat to still be recognized for it. For diehard Carolina

has been especially — and understandably — protective of young

fans, it’s something that they’ll probably never forget. We won


as players, but I know that was the first major championship for

“She’s making me strip down before I get into the house, in the

the school, so I know the fans were waiting a long time for that to

garage, saying, ‘Don’t look at us, don’t touch us, go straight upstairs,

happen, and we were able to give that to them.”

take a shower, and then we can socialize,” Brady said, laughing. “I’ll tell you what, my wife has done an incredible job. It shows you how strong she is. When I work, she’s the one getting up during the


night, she’s letting me sleep, and she doesn’t have to do that. She’s

The post-baseball plan was always to become a Certified

been an absolute rock. She’s been incredible.”

Registered Nurse Anesthetist. While in college, Thomas spent many


of his Christmas and summer breaks shadowing family friends who worked as anesthetists. He observed their schedules and lifestyles and visualized himself in that same role. “I knew it was

A couple of weeks ago, in between 13-hour

a rigorous course to get there,” Thomas said. “but why not give it a

nursing shifts and innumerable diaper changes,


Thomas found a little time to reminisce. His

The past couple of months have been rigorous in their own right,

mother texted him that the SEC Network was

with Thomas balancing newfound fatherhood and medical

re-airing the 2010 and 2011 College World Series

work during a pandemic. But there are signs that the clouds are

championships, which featured South Carolina

beginning to part. New antibody tests and an overall increase in

defeating UCLA and Florida, respectively.

access to testing have spurred a safer work environment. Now

“I was watching back — and just unreal memories,” Thomas

Thomas and his coworkers know for certain whether a patient

said. “It hits me more now looking back, being older. It’s just an

is positive for COVID-19. Elective surgeries are picking back up.

incredible feeling to be able to do that for our fans, our school, our

Patient volume is nearly back to full steam.

state. Just unbelievable. “I hate to say it’s more special now, but it’s

Dangers lurk for every medical professional during these times,

just a different feeling and a different appreciation.”

but Thomas insists he’s nothing but grateful. He said he loves his

After spending his freshman and sophomore seasons at Florida

job and knows how fortunate he is to have one given the current

State, Thomas transferred to South Carolina for the final years of his

economic conditions.

collegiate career and batted .313 in 131 games with the Gamecocks.

Even more, he’s grateful to be able to come home to his baby boy —

While not known as a power hitter, Thomas had a knack for

even if he has to shower before he can see him.

sparking the team with key hits in pivotal moments. In UofSC’s

“It’s been special for us,” Thomas said. “Just watching him with my

title-clinching, 11-inning win against UCLA in 2010, Thomas

wife and the way she responds to him, it’s hard to put into words

initiated a game-tying rally in the eighth inning with a pinch-hit

how special it is.”

single. A year later, he went 2-for-4 and drove in a run in UofSC’s title-clincher against Florida.

Read this article on our website From The State. © 2020 McClatchy. All rights reserved. Used under license.


FROM THE TRENCHES “Right now, my job involves collecting information from multiple sources and


providing that information to the public.

Dr. Cheedy Jaja, a former frontline healthcare

Daily, I’m talking to patients and community

worker during the Ebola crisis in West Africa,

members about COVID-19 updates.”

believes the Ebola epidemic and the coronavirus


“Once elective procedures resumed, we had

pandemic have many similarities. In his Ebola

to test all of our patients for COVID-19 before

experience, when

procedures were performed. If patients are

someone was

an unknown status, the entire team has to

admitted to the

dress out completely. We are adapting as

hospital, they would

much as we can as a unit.”


leave loved ones behind because of the virus’s contagious nature.

“I work in the Progressive Care Unit, which

If the patient died, that was the last time they

became a COVID-19 unit. It’s a scary feeling

interacted with their family. “I’m seeing the same

going in every day, but our patients need us.”

thing happening here with the coronavirus. When


patients die, the trauma not only impacts the healthcare workers who have to communicate the information to their loved ones but also to

“What’s happening right now is overwhelming. As an ER nurse, the pressure

to say goodbye,” says Jaja. He feels this creates

to protect our community while caring for

psychological trauma, which we need to address

those affected is unlike anything I’ve ever

by connecting families by phone or internet.

experienced. We’re scared, but we will get

He believes we need to “help the helpers.”

through this.

Healthcare workers need mental health support


from the community. That support can be as simple as phone calls, texts, or emails, which help

“During COVID-19, I have been floated to

them feel connected and convey the impression

the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Cardiac

that we are all in this together. “Nurses, more than

Intensive Care Unit, and Pediatric Oncology

any other healthcare workers, constitute the major

floors. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to

taskforce in responding to disease outbreaks. They

broaden my knowledge base and skill set,

need institutional support to ensure that they are

connecting all the dots at such a critical yet eventful time.”



the loved ones who never had the opportunity

trained, well prepared, and ready to step into an epidemic response role,” shares Jaja.

Read Dr. Jaja's article on The Conversation


Our seniors missed the last half of their final semester on campus, hanging out on our patio or the horseshoe with their classmates. But they completed the program on time and were prepared to enter a workforce that desperately needed them. The Class of 2020 makes us proud of the future of the Gamecock Nursing Nation!

Watch the video from our faculty and staff to the new BSN graduates.

The BSN Class of 2020 at their Stethoscope and Commitment Ceremony in August 2018 at the UofSC Alumni Center.

Dean Andrews, fellow South Carolina Nursing Deans, and nurse leaders around the state advocated for recent graduates to assist in the COVID-19 pandemic. The SC Department of Health and Environmental Control and the SC Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation’s State Board of Nursing has allowed graduate BSN nurses a temporary license while waiting to take their NCLEX exam. “This is a win for our graduates and our state to meet the nursing workforce needs, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” stated Dean Jeannette Andrews.

Watch the ABC Columbia news feature


In collaboration with the UofSC Artificial Intelligence Institute, researchers in the college have developed the Health-e Gamecock mobile health app to monitor specific symptoms associated with COVID-19 infection. The research team includes nursing faculty members, Drs. Ronda Hughes, Sara Donevant, Cindy Corbett, and

Robin Dawson. In this pandemic, nurses have a crucial role in awareness, assessing, and proactive symptom management. “We have found that most people who test positive for COVID-19 attributed their symptoms to other things, such as a cold or allergies,” shared Hughes, director of the center for nursing leadership. This app provides a comprehensive approach to controlling the spread of COVID-19.


RETURN TO CAMPUS Gamecock nursing students lead the way

We are proud to be leaders in the UofSC community with the return of our students. As nurses, we are the most trusted health professionals in the world, and role modeling safe and preventative measures are vital.




his summer, nursing students returned to campus to begin their upper division nursing program. As part of UofSC’s three-phased return plan, the College of

Nursing was among a select few Health Science programs to transition back to face-to-face instruction. Friends and family usually celebrate the exciting start of upper division at the college’s in-person stethoscope ceremony. Instead, the student services team adapted by planning a Zoom stethoscope ceremony and streaming it live on Facebook. Friends and family from all over the country cheered on the future nurses virtually. Critical planning took place among the college’s leadership to ensure a safe and healthy environment for faculty, staff, students, and the patients students would treat in their clinicals. “We set up CDC approved social distance measures in our classrooms, our stairwells were marked to avoid crossing traffic, and students wore face coverings at all times in our building and throughout campus,” said Kate Chappell, coordinator of clinical education. She continued to share, “Students monitored symptoms daily and participated in classes live online if any potential COVID-19 symptoms occur. Within the hospitals for clinical rotations, students were treated like employees and followed individual hospital COVID-19 safety measures.” Faculty teaching face-to-face were confident the safety policies would not curtail student learning. “In addition to in-person classes, we recorded each lecture so that students could review the live sessions for more review help. We were available for virtual meetings and study help as needed,” says Joy Jackson, assistant professor. While the campus may look and feel different this year, nursing students are eager to learn and excel. “As with all things in the College of Nursing, we strive for excellence in all we do. We have a tradition of producing high quality and competent nurses who are strong leaders and advocates, and we will continue that tradition,” Dean Andrews shares.

Read this article on our website UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA /17


Graduate students perfect techniques

Optional on-campus immersions for graduate students took place this summer, with virtual options for those who did not feel comfortable coming to campus. Immersions are in-person learning experiences centered on a theme relevant to students’ coursework. Throughout immersions, students demonstrate their skills in simulated and real-world environments. Students practiced skills in multiple areas such as diabetes and joint pain management, radiology information, and scoliosis. Students evaluated simulated participants for anemia and hypertension. They also simulated manikin-based pediatric scenarios involving newborns and children.


“These enhanced immersion labs help develop skills and clinical decision making. They are another avenue to help our students become proficient nurse practitioners.”



RISING TO THE CHALLENGE Excellence in nursing education during a pandemic


ur commitment to excellence was tested when COVID-19

However, there was a looming concern among students, parents,

abruptly and dramatically impacted the spring semester.

and our clinical partners about learning quality. Our commitment

As the University of South Carolina’s campus closed and

to quality in preparing nurses required our faculty to be flexible

clinicals came to a halt, the College of Nursing leadership team

and create safe virtual learning spaces without compromising

worked diligently and creatively to develop a successful academic

hands-on learning experiences. Distributed teaching often

strategy for the college. While familiar and actively using online

involves significant changes in course content, teaching strategies,

learning methods along with clinical education, a swift shift to

and evaluation methods.

complete virtual learning for all students required significant adjustments. With new safety policies in place at many learning hospitals, we worked diligently with our partners to keep clinical instruction moving along throughout the summer and fall, without disruption. With guidance from the College of Nursing’s Director of Distributed Learning, Vera Polyakova-Norwood, faculty were able to transition their courses to virtual learning in a matter of weeks in March of this year.


“Online delivery only works when it is done well, and all students’ needs, including those for human connection and emotional support, are taken care of.” Vera Polyakova-Norwood,

Director of Distributed Learning

Classes are now offered in an A/B format to accommodate large class sizes. “BSN students can either attend face-to-face or join the synchronous class online via Zoom,” says assistant professor, Laura Herbert. Many faculty utilize the innovative nature of online learning to provide new and unique experiences for their classes. Suzanne Sutton, assistant professor, shares, “In med-surg, we are using the opportunity to flip the classroom, which is very exciting. All lectures are recorded, which students review before coming to their assigned active learning days. Students who choose not to attend in person are using virtual classroom tools to stay engaged in learning activities.”

“The pandemic may change the way that we do things, but I feel that the college and clinical sites have both done an excellent job adjusting to ensure that we can learn and practice skills effectively.” CONTINUING CLINICAL EDUCATION DURING A PANDEMIC

Dalton Hughes, BSN Student In June, students could return to the hospitals for most of their clinical learning in addition to the innovative enhancements from the simulation lab. Hands-on experiences are an essential component of students’ building competencies to adequately prepare them for their transition into practice. The college’s academic team skillfully worked to modify the classroom and simulation experiences and lead students in clinical rotations in our health systems with all the required mitigation strategies recommended by our system partners, CDC, DHEC, and our university. Since the beginning of COVID-19, we have

“We are proud to have robust relationships with our committed system partners. They have worked with the college to keep our students safe in these clinical learning spaces to enhance their readiness for practice after graduation.” Dean Jeannette Andrews

Read this article on our website

remained steadfast in our commitment to quality and excellence. The past months have not disrupted our vision to be a prestigious college of nursing. These challenging times have made us stronger, shown us who we are, and have inspired us to keep moving forward.



“When we embrace diversity and people who are different than ourselves, we are advancing our personal growth and providing opportunities for others to grow as well.”



he college’s core values of diversity, inclusivity, commitment, caring, integrity, respect, and professionalism are the heart of Gamecock Nursing

Nation. Violence, hateful rhetoric, and racism are not reflective of these values. As a profession, nurses heal through science, evidence, and compassion. We must work to eliminate racism and bias and strive to increase diversity and support action for change. Without action, we will lose more lives, and unnecessary suffering will continue. As Gamecocks, our Carolinian Creed calls on us to respect all persons’ dignity, respect the rights and property of others,

“The College of Nursing promotes diversity and inclusivity with initiatives and resources aimed at supporting our belief that diversity, equity, and inclusion are necessary to achieve academic and institutional excellence.”

discourage bigotry, while striving to learn from differences in

Dr. Coretta Jenerette,

people, ideas, and opinions.

Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, & Inclusivity


*pictured with Dr. Benjamin Reese, taken pre-COVID-19


Latino children with asthma who

The college’s Diversity, Equity, & Inclusivity (DEI) committee

live in rural areas have higher

strives to identify the inclusion and diversity strengths, issues,

rates of uncontrolled asthma

and opportunities within all aspects of the college. A few of their

symptoms, emergency

projects have included an implicit bias lecture with Dr. Benjamin

department visits, and repeat

Reese, holistic admission update, Carolina Care Cupboard project,

hospitalizations. Some of the

and the Cultural Traditions Luncheon. The committee supports all

reasons for these disparities

faculty, staff, and students and welcomes new members and ideas.

are language barriers and access to primary care.


Technology-based solutions have

Planning has started for a virtual panel series by the Colleges of

the potential to address issues affecting

Nursing at Clemson, MUSC, and UofSC to address the plight of

asthma management successfully.

black faculty, staff, and students in higher education. Throughout

Dr. ROBIN DAWSON received a NIH grant to develop a bilingual,

the 20-21 Academic Year, the eight sessions will rotate with each

smartphone-based mobile application with a Spanish

college planning and hosting, focusing on faculty recruitment,

language interface for parents to track their child’s asthma

faculty and staff retention, enhancing career success, and student

symptoms and medications. “I hope that by improving

clinical experiences. They aim to improve awareness, knowledge,

communication and taking a collaborative approach to

and actions by addressing DEI concerns and challenges of faculty,

asthma management, we will empower the patient and

staff, and students.

family and improve asthma outcomes for this vulnerable population,” Dawson said.


As an Atlantic Fellow for Health Equity (The Atlantic Institute

developed a mobile website app,

– Oxford, England), Dr. LIAM

Mocha Mamas Milk, to improve

HEIN is learning how to

breastfeeding among African

combat health inequity more

American women. Breastfeeding

effectively and leading for

reduces the risk of developing

change. His work focuses on

aggressive breast cancers in women,

reducing barriers to healthcare

yet African American women are less

for the transgender population in the South. He has partnered with

likely to breastfeed. “Research shows a direct linkage

the local LGBTQ community, trans-affirming healthcare

of lower breast cancer rates

providers, and is learning from colleagues and mentors

in women who choose to

through the fellowship. “There is no quick fix to the issue

breastfeed. Our goal is to

of safe affirming healthcare for the trans community in the

educate and support African

South. It requires building a coalition in the community,

American women to make

with allies, healthcare providers, and changing the narrative

the best and most informed

around LGBTQ healthcare. It ultimately requires encouraging

choice about how they choose

friends, allies, and those who are not quite there yet to return

to feed their newborn,” said

to core southern values of kindness, hospitality, generosity,


and family. I am hopeful, I am determined, and I believe in these values. I believe most of you do, too,” said Hein.

Read Dr. Hein's Q&A


UNWAVERING GAMECOCK SPIRIT Barbara and Earl Lovelace’s story began as two spirited Gamecock

“As both our parents began to

students on campus in the mid-1960’s. Barbara Huitt was a nursing

age, we saw the dedication

student and a cheerleader when she met Earl Lovelace, a basketball

and comfort the nurses

player, and history major. After more than 50 years of marriage,

provided at the doctors’

their love for each other and UofSC is still unwavering. Their love of

offices and hospitals.”

UofSC is now a family tradition passed down. Their granddaughter

Barbara continued, “the

is a student living in the women’s quad - the same dormitory area

work nurses do every

on campus that Barbara lived.

day is imperative to their

The Lovelaces have returned to campus for sporting events,

patients and their patients’

reunions, and more. “Each time we visit, the campus has new

families.” Since 2015, the Earl

and positive changes. It’s been amazing to watch the different

and Barbara Huitt Lovelace Nursing Endowed Scholarship has

innovations and growth over the years,” says Earl.

supported over 14 students. When asked what they would say to all the students they have supported over the years, they replied, “I hope they know we are so glad to be able to help with their expenses so they can focus on their academics. We want them to enjoy and be excited about their career.” The Lovelaces look forward to the kind letters they often receive from their scholarship recipients. The couple recently received three letters sharing their students’ appreciation and nursing aspirations. “One of the students told us she was going into rural health, and we were so happy to know a rural area will be getting the support it needs,” says Earl.

In 2015, the Lovelaces decided to give back to their alma mater financially to assist students with their academic journey. They knew right away they wanted to give back to the College of Nursing. Barbara’s calling as a nurse led her to work as a school nurse for 17 years, and after retirement, she volunteered within their local hospital system. While the couple was passionate and well acquainted with nursing, the care the nurses provided for their aging parents sparked their desire to give back.

“Receiving the Earl and Barbara Huitt Lovelace Nursing Endowed Scholarship has been a blessing to me and my family. It has lightened the financial burden of graduate school and allowed me to focus on achieving my educational and career goals.”

ANNE GRIFFIN TAFEL, MSN STUDENT Read this article on our website





iving back is a practice deeply rooted in Charles B. “Chuck” Chitty’s family. In 1990 an anonymous member of the Chitty family

founded the Mary Seymour Kittrell Scholarship to support undergraduate nursing students. Other members of the Chitty family have given passionately to the scholarship for over three decades. This past spring, Chitty continued his family’s philanthropic legacy as he bequeathed a generous gift to the Mary Seymour Kittrell Scholarship. Mr. Chitty grew up in a home where nursing and generosity were celebrated. “My mother, Kay Kittrell Chitty, is the former Dean at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga College of Nursing and is a well-respected nursing educator and scholar. I learned the importance of nurses in the healthcare system at an early age,” says Chitty. Over the years, he watched his mother and extended family take their advocacy for nursing a step further with monetary donations. As a businessman living in Chattanooga, Chitty is proud to honor his mother by giving to his family’s scholarship. “Nurses are on the frontlines every day with regard to community health and wellbeing. They have the difficult job of delicately balancing the human emotional side and the clinical side

“I learned the importance of nurses in the healthcare system at an early age. I am pleased to support the future nursing workforce by supporting nursing students.” Chuck Chitty, Donor

of healthcare for their patients and families. I am pleased to support the future nursing workforce by supporting nursing students,” shares Chitty. Along with relieving the financial burden for BSN students, Chitty hopes that the recipients of the Mary Seymour Kittrell Scholarship will one day have the chance and be inspired to participate in the virtuous cycle of giving themselves.

For more information on how you can support the College of Nursing, contact Monica Cromer, Senior Director of Development, at 803-777-3848

Read this article on our website UNIVERSITY OF SOUTH CAROLINA / 25

CAROLINA CARES CUPBOARD Helping students in need

An empty stomach and lack of sleep from working three jobs should not be the reasons students and future nurse leaders struggle in a course or on an important exam. When the College of Nursing’s Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity learned of students struggling with needs of food, hygiene products, and clothing, they looked for ways to reduce these barriers for vulnerable students. The DEI Office collaborated with student services and community partner, Brookland Baptist Church, to establish the College of Nursing Carolina Cares Cupboard. Through faculty and staff donations and a food drive at

“This initiative is important because it reflects our commitment to caring and providing resources to support the success of our students. The hope is to support students so they can focus on academics, which enhances their potential for success.”

Brookland Baptist Church, the Cupboard opened to College of Nursing students last year. Need-based nursing students can fill

Dr. Coretta Jenerette,

out a confidential form available online and in the DEI office to

Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusivity

access a variety of items that support their essential everyday needs. They hope to expand the Cupboard and offer unique resources for students in need. They are currently working on hosting a guest speaker on the topic of dressing for success, highlighting free resources such as the Cupboard and less expensive stores

For more information on how you can support the

Carolina Cares Cupboard, contact Whitney Sudduth, Diversity Coordinator, at 803-777-5217.

like Goodwill and the Salvation Army.


Learn more about the Carolina Cares Cupboard



The UofSC College of Nursing’s December 2019 BSN graduates are the fourth cohort in a row to achieve a 100% first-time pass rate on the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). Our students work extremely hard during the program, and their work and commitment shine with these results. Our staff and faculty’s ongoing commitment to quality and excellence shows in all aspects of our mission. The approximate NCLEX averages for nursing programs in South Carolina are 88% and 86% in the nation.

Read more from the BSN class of December 2019.

*photo taken pre-COVID-19*

ELLEN HAYES, ‘19 BSN, is working in an abdominal organ transplant unit at Emory Hospital in Atlanta. She says that being a new graduate nurse at the beginning of a pandemic was not something she or any of her classmates imagined as they joyfully accepted their diplomas in December. Most of their residency classes have been postponed allowing for social distancing, leaving no formal education provided by the hospital. This has made her even more appreciative of the Gamecock Nursing education that equipped her for the real world - pandemic and all. “I have loved this season of practicing what it is really like as a nurse. It still humbles me to realize that nurses are an integral part of the team in giving these patients a whole new lease on life. I will be forever grateful to the rigorous nursing program at UofSC for the thorough foundation of my nursing practice,” Hayes shared.


*photos taken pre-COVID-19*

NIGHT’N TALES Last Fall, the University of South Carolina College of Nursing hosted the Night’n Tales Alumni Homecoming Event at 1801 Grille in downtown Columbia, South Carolina. It featured the presentation of the 2019 Alumni Awards. Nursing students Katie Milo, Asia Greenhill, and Kelsey Barnes introduced the award recipients, and Dean Jeannette Andrews presented them. Ann Henry was honored for her service on the Executive Advisory Council, pictured with her husband, Bob Henry.




FAAN INDUCTION SHARON LOCK, ‘90 Ph.D. and KAHLIL DEMONBREUN, ‘94 BSN, ‘98 MSN ahave been selected for the 2020 Class of Fellows of the American


Academy of Nursing. They will be inducted at the AAN’s Virtual Policy Conference in October. Dr. Lock is a Professor, Assistant Dean of Faculty Practice, and Director of Wilmore


Faculty Practice at the University of Kentucky College of Nursing in Wilmore, KY. Dr. Demonbreun is the women’s health medical director at the WJB Dorn Veteran Affairs Medical


Center in Columbia, SC.

Sara Hogg, ‘12 BSN, ‘15 MSN

Read their full bios and view event photos.


CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR PALMETTO GOLD AWARD WINNERS Dr. Kate Jones, Dr. Alicia Ribar, Dr. Demetrius Abshire, Dr. Leigh Pate, Dr. Shelli Gibbs, and Dr. Megan Cain

*photo taken pre-COVID-19*


Dr. CRYSTAL MURILLO received a HRSA Grant for her project, Experiential SHiNE (Simulation and Social-determinants of Health in Nursing Education). The project will focus on using simulation education training to transform South Carolina’s public health nursing workforce. The goal is to improve rural populations’ health outcomes most at risk from social determinants using a training curriculum specifically designed to prepare both faculty and students to serve as social justice advocates. SHiNE was designed using a community-based, hands-on approach to create collaboration among stakeholders and inform the development of the training curriculum. Working with her on this project are faculty members, Drs. Coretta Jenerette, Karen Worthy, and Abbas Tavakoli. Murillo was also nominated VP/President-Elect of the South Carolina Nursing Education Simulation Alliance (SCNESA) and serves as adjunct faculty at the Harvard Center for Medical Simulation. A native South Carolinian, Dr. Murillo, states, “I am invested in using simulation to improve patients’ lives in this state.”



Dr. EBONI HARRIS has been appointed the director of the new Master’s Entry to Practice Nursing


(MEPN). The first in South Carolina, the program will prepare non-nurse baccalaureate-prepared individuals to enter the nursing profession as master’s degree graduates. The first cohort will begin in Spring 2021. Harris is board certified as a family nurse practitioner and nurse educator.

WELCOME NEW FACULTY DR. JOY DEUPREE Associate Dean for Practice Innovation, Partnerships and Policy and Professor

DR. DIANNA INMAN Director, Psychiatric Mental Health Program and Associate Professor

DR. DWAYNE ALLEYNE Assistant Professor

The University of South Carolina College of Nursing has been designated a NLN Center of Excellence for 20202024. A special thank you to the faculty leadership team: Drs. Bev Baliko, Kate Chappell, Robin Dail, Robin Dawson, Amy Dievendorf, and Kate Jones.


DR. CHRISTY JEFFCOAT Assistant Professor

DR. RACHEL ONELLO Associate Professor

DR. MARGARET SELPH Assistant Professor

“We are honored to be awarded this designation for creating environments that enhance student learning and professional development. This award has been accomplished through dedicated administration, faculty, and staff. Dr. Robin Dail,

Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs

DR. ALLISON SWEENEY Assistant Professor

DR. KIMBERLY TAYLOR Assistant Professor


SC TASKFORCE STRIVES TO REDUCE HIGH MORTALITY RATE In 2018, the South Carolina maternal death rate was the 8th highest in the United States, and the mortality and morbidity rates are even higher for minority women. Dr. RHONDA JOHNSON and the SC Midwifery Education Taskforce is looking to change these statistics. Worldwide, countries with the lowest maternal and infant mortality and morbidity rates utilize midwives as part of their maternity care system’s solution. The taskforce believes developing a nurse-midwifery program in South Carolina can help solve the state’s high maternal and infant mortality rates and improve the gap in both urban and rural health. To date, South Carolina has 128 licensed Certified Nurse Midwives (CNMs), but only 45 CNMs are practicing fullscope midwifery.

“The Old English definition of midwife means ‘with-woman.’ A midwife is an advocate in the partnership with a woman and her right to selfdetermination. Giving birth is hard; however, I have never considered attending a woman’s birth as a job, but rather as a distinct honor and privilege. My heart and hands have been blessed to help over 1,500 women give birth to their newest family member. Midwifery is about helping a woman embrace her strength regardless of her socioeconomic background,” shares Johnson.

DIET, NUTRITION: CHRONIC DISEASE LINK Dr. MICHAEL WIRTH, an epidemiologist, studies circadian rhythm disruptions on the human body and its health impact. His recent research focuses on analyzing diet and nutrition as it relates to chronic diseases. Chronic inflammation is an underlying cause for many chronic diseases, and diet is one of its most significant modifiers. Dietary inflammation can be measured through the Dietary Inflammatory Index (DII®) and has been associated with almost every chronic disease, including cancer and depression. Chrononutrition focuses on the timing of when you eat, not what you eat. Eating food later at night is associated with increased inflammation. Chrononutrition is associated with metabolic disorders such as hyperglycemia.

“My research has impacted my personal health journey; I eat a much healthier diet since I’ve started working on the DII®. Nutrition tips I follow include eating anti-inflammatory foods such as green leafy vegetables, increasing the nighttime fasting period, and finding a sustainable DIET – not a short term ‘fad diet,’ ” WIRTH SAYS.


FACULTY Dr. CHEEDY JAJA has been selected for the 2020 Class of Fellows of the American Academy of Nursing. He will be inducted at the AAN’s Virtual Policy Conference in October. A Fulbright Scholar, Dr. Jaja’s research interest is in sickle cell disease and pharmacogenetics. He was a frontline worker during the Ebola crisis in Sierra Leone where he is currently involved in establishing a pediatric clinic for children with sickle cell disease. “I believe that I can contribute to the Academy’s policy efforts in areas of health disparities. As a Fellow, I will have a distinguished platform to disseminate scientific knowledge


and amplify sickle cell disease stakeholders’ voices and promote awareness of sickle cell disease,” Jaja said.

Dr. LORI VICK’s initial interest in sickle cell health management began as a personal interest, having family members with sickle cell disease (SCD). As a

Dr. CORETTA JENERETTE has been selected for the 2020 Class

nurse and nursing educator, she came to understand

of Fellows of the National

the essential role of red blood cells to biologic

League for Nursing Academy

health, the nurses’ role in caregiving, and the need for

of Nursing Education. She

education and clinical support for persons with SCD. Her

is also the 2020 Sickle Cell

attendance at several national programs and discussions

Advocate of the Year Awards

with patients, hematologists, and mentors led her

National Advocate Winner.

research focus to treatment in persons with SCD. Vick was awarded a NIH grant, where she will identify strategies to improve adherence to Hydroxyurea

“I want to make community engagement a priority, continuing to integrate awareness and education about

(HU). This medication reduces the frequency of

sickle cell into the community. I advocate because all of

blood transfusions, acute chest syndrome (ACS),

us should do our part to be and cultivate social justice

hospitalizations, and pain crises. HU can also help

advocates,” Jenerette said. A Macy Faculty Scholar, Jenerette

prevent damage to the spleen, kidneys, lungs, and brain.

works with both students and faculty to raise awareness

During the 2-year project, Vick will use motivational

about the social determinants of health and mitigating their

interviewing techniques to identify HU barriers from a

impact on health outcomes.

behavioral perspective.

LEADING THE WAY QUENTON WASHINGTON is the secretary of Brothers of Nubian Descent (BOND). The organization aims to create and enhance the African American men’s community through meetings, community service, and multiple events throughout the school year. He is also a member of the Multicultural Outreach Student Team (MOST), which recruits minority students to enroll in the university.

“Being a member of thESE initiatives haS been so uplifting and rewarding. I have the privilege of giving tours, serving as a summer counselor, speaking on various panels, and enjoying organizational meetings alongside other driven minority students with similar goals for this university and our community.”

KATIE MILO joined the Student Nurses Association (SNA) during her freshman year to meet fellow nursing majors and become involved in a community-based organization. She served as the community health board member and 2018-19 president. Milo led the SNA in multiple initiatives, including a biannual blood drive, administering flu shots in hospitals, creating care packages for military troops, and a mentorship program. She is currently the secretary for the SC Student Nurses Association.

“Serving in these leadership roles have helped me grow into a more confident nurse. I’ve been able to connect with students and faculty outside of the classroom.”

Read Katie's feature article

TIARA HEBRON served as the College of Nursing student senator on UofSC’s Student Government council. Hebron joined this organization to get involved and make positive changes on campus while meeting new people. Hebron sees the value of being actively involved in her community and plans to continue her student government involvement during college. She says she is enjoying learning about policy advocacy.


“I now see the importance of being involved in nursing policy on the state and national level. Legislation and regulations affect how nurses practice.”



CAROLINE GUYNN spent her summer externing in the Brain Injury Unit at Shepard Center in Atlanta, GA. Along with practicing clinical skills,


she reaffirmed her ‘why’ for

Having organizations like Chi Eta Phi on campus


is an integral step to providing a safe space for black students. With fewer African American students in nursing cohorts, it can be easy to feel lost. However, having Chi Eta Phi meetings and events where mostly everyone looks like you and

Some of Guynn’s favorite moments were watching a patient stand up and walk again for the first time in months and spontaneous dance parties in the garden. “I was watching someone who had been through something traumatic finally find a place where she could now give back all the love and support she’s been shown along the way—a new beginning for her. I am grateful to have been a participant in that moment,” she said. Due to COVID-19, the usual community aspect and atmosphere of the hospital have drastically changed. Since no visitors are allowed, friends and family stand outside from a safe distance to visit. Because of this situation, the staff of nurses, care techs, and therapists have an even more significant role. In addition to patient advocacy they provide emotional support.

“My experience this summer has made my ‘why’ very clear - Why I chose nursing, why I get up early to work long hours, and why I know I am on the right career path.”

people rally behind you with support and tips on succeeding help to remind you that you belong.

Lea Swinton, Chapter Epistoleus MEN IN NURSING While we are proud to be a co-ed organization, we take particular interest in developing a sense of community within the underrepresented male nursing student demographic. We hope to provide an environment our male members can relate to and learn from to enhance their experience as nursing students.

Brendan Kreag, President STUDENT NURSES ASSOCIATION The goal of SNA is to promote professionalism in nursing while advocating for wellness in families across Columbia and beyond. As a UofSC-SNA member, all students in both lower and upper divisions can run for an executive board position at the school, state, or national level.

Lauren Tautkus, President

Learn more about Student Organizations


GETTING PERSONAL GABI AMSTER uses her health transformation to connect and empathize with her patients. “I want to share my story and be the inspiration for someone to find their confidence to accomplish a goal,” says Amster. Gabi grew up in a household where nutritious foods and exercise were not part of daily life. As a result of this lifestyle, Amster was overweight as a teenager. Her weight and mental health were very unhealthy, and she lacked confidence in her daily life. After extreme bullying, she began eating clean foods and went to the gym, where she walked and eventually ran five miles three to five times a week. Over a few months, Gabi lost 70 pounds and gained a new passion for life. “My mental state improved drastically when I became healthier. I started loving who I was and became a new, confident person,” says Amster. Now, as a BSN student, Gabi finds moments to inspire others. Amster recently had the opportunity to share her health journey with a patient. “My patient came in with peripheral vascular disease and was over 300 pounds. As I was scanning, he noticed I was having challenges due to his weight, and he began to cry. I showed him pictures of myself in high school and talked to him about my journey. I shared that he could make positive changes too.” Amster hopes that she will be able to inspire many more patients in the future with her story.

Read Gabi's feature article

Watching her sister and grandfather struggle with hearing, SYDNEY JONES has always been interested in sign language. For her sorority’s philanthropy project, she participated in Brennen Elementary’s ‘Deaf and Hard of Hearing Classroom’ which motivated her to take sign language to connect better with the children. She started the American Sign Language Club to promote sign language on campus and hopefully inspire other students to take ASL. “Watching people learn sign language makes me happy. I thought that if I could inspire students to love ASL as much as I do, they could inspire their friends, and it could be a chain of inspiration for ASL.” Her dream is to work as an RN interpreter to help fix communication barriers between patients and their medical team.



HOPE STEGER is doing her South Carolina Honors College

THIEN NGUYEN works in the

thesis on something she is

college’s ACORN center,

passionate about - camp nursing. This summer,

assisting with data

she was able to work as

collection, management,

a nurse at her childhood

and analysis. He also conducts literature

camp while conducting research. “I’m learning

important elements about research that will help me in my future practice.”

reviews, participates in research team meetings, and assists in preparing posters and presentations. “I love learning and improving my research skills. I chose the ACORN center because I

Honors Student, KENNEDY GOLDEN’s research interest is the stigma against mental health in African American culture and society and the

enjoy working with older adults,” Nguyen said. He recently received a Magellan Mini-Grant Award. His focus will be on using smart light bulbs through the Alexa app to promote improved safety and higher quality of life.

coping mechanisms.

“The subject of mental health in black culture is very taboo. education on this topic can improve African Americans’ overall mental wellness.”

ISABEL STRINGFELLOW works in the college’s ACORN center, assisting in enrolling patients in studies, data analysis and data entry, and helping Ph.D. students with research and literature reviews to help with grant

GWENYTH ASBURY’s honors research focuses on how a physical activity curriculum affects stress in underserved adolescents within afterschool programs in South Carolina. She interned at ‘Connect’ as an intervention assistant, where she began her research project. “Through my research

experience, I have learned the importance of adaptation and flexibility, both of which are essential skills to have as a nurse.” Learn more about the Nursing Honors Program

writing. “The ACORN Center provided me with my first research experience and showed me how I can impact my community. I’m interested in the intersection of research and hands-on patient and participant experience, which I get both at ACORN. My clinical interests match with innovative ideas about taking care of others through research opportunities at ACORN,” she said. Learn more about the ACORN Center


FOREVER TO THEE Why graduate school at UofSC?

U.S. News and World Report ranks the UofSC College of Nursing No. 1 in the nation among public universities (No. 2 overall) for online graduate nursing programs. This ranking is a testament of our commitment to offering flexible paths for degree completion. The rankings also place the College of Nursing No. 1 among public institutions (No. 2 overall) for its online graduate program for veterans. “Our program works very hard to meet students where they are and help shape and mold them for a successful and satisfying career in nursing,” Dean Jeannette Andrews says. With most nurses working 12-hour shifts and various days during the week, they are looking for quality programs with flexibility and highly engaged faculty who care about student success. “Our faculty are forward-thinking and highly creative in their delivery and standards for our world-class programs,” Andrews stated. U.S. News added specialty area rankings this year, and among those, the college ranked No. 4 among public institutions (No. 11 overall) for its online graduate family nurse practitioner (FNP) program.

“I decided to return to graduate school, specifically the doctoral program, to be able to make a difference in the nursing profession. I have always had the desire to teach, so obtaining a doctorate in nursing practice was necessary for me to reach my fullest potential. I chose UofSC Nursing because of its reputable nursing programs and dedication to excellence. The DNP program was essential for me in understanding the importance of leadership and advocacy for the nursing profession.”



“I returned to school to further my career, I have always wanted to practice in the provider role. I received my BSN from UofSC and


had great experience, I loved it so much I decided to come back. Go Gamecocks! I have been able to work full-time while attending school part-time and appropriately balance both. I am thankful for the support I have received from faculty and my colleagues and leaders at work.”

SARAANN FAGAN, ‘16 BSN, DNP STUDENT “I want to do more in my field and realized how great the need is for primary care providers in rural areas.

Although both completed their undergraduate degree at UofSC,

COURTNEY WORNER, ‘17 BSN and KELLY CLARK, ‘13 BSN did not know each other before enrolling in the master’s program.

I hope to help bridge the gap in those areas so

When they began the FNP program, Kelly wondered what she had

people can get adequate

gotten herself into – questioning if she would be able to handle the

healthcare. The flexibility

program. “Being paired with Courtney for a group project came at

of the program at UofSC is very suitable for working and advancing your degree.”


just the right time,” Clark shared. Although they have not been in a group project since then, they FaceTime to study even with a 3-hour time difference. They take turns ramping up notes and holding each other accountable. “We learn in similar ways but complement each other. My grades would not be as good without her pushing me,” Worner said.

“I loved that I already knew and had relationships with some of the faculty. I knew what their

wanted to make the trip from California to

expectations of us were

meet Clark in person. They were so excited

and how they utilized virtual resources. I also like the fact that UofSC is ranked the #1 online graduate nursing program for public universities by U.S. News and World Report.”


With the chance to come to campus for immersions, Worner

at the airport; it was like a reunion. “I don’t think most people realize how close you become with your classmates. The online community is very supportive. I came to school for a MSN, but I am leaving with a lifelong friend,” said Clark.




ver the past two years , KAYLA

EVERHART has been working with

her Ph.D. mentor, Dr. Robin Dail, on Dail’s five-year $2.7M National Institutes of Health funded study. The study includes five NICU sites, enrolling 440 infants, to examine body temperature and heart rate over the first 30 days of life as a predictor of infection. Everhart’s role as the research coordinator includes data management, site visits, and troubleshooting technology. “I like seeing the positive impact the research is making and using the research to help babieswho can’t help themselves,” she said. She was recently the first nursing recipient of the University’s SPARC grant. She will use the funding to conduct the first phase of her dissertation study, which is a National Survey of Neonatal Intensive Care nurses, to examine standard practices of packed red blood cell transfusions in early preterm infants.

Read full article

The experience I’m gaining with Dr. Dail and my dissertation provides me with the opportunities to enhance my skill set. I will have a strong advantage in research and education after I graduate. *photo taken pre-COVID-19*

Kayla Everhart, Ph.D. Student


PHD STUDENTS JINGXI SHENG’s long-term research focuses are healthy behaviors and health outcomes among Asian Americans. She is currently focusing on physical activity in East Asian American women with a diagnosis of breast cancer. She is particularly interested in understanding and investigating physical activity determinants with her faculty mentors, Dr. Sue Heiney and Dr. Demerius Abshire. “I chose UofSC Nursing

PAM WRIGHT believes lifting weights can be the key to better health for women with polycystic ovary syndrome

because it has an excellent reputation and is number one in South Carolina for faculty research productivity.

(PCOS), a common hormonal disorder. PCOS is a health

There are several renowned nurse scientists researching

condition associated with irregular periods, obesity, and

my fields of interest,” Sheng said. She recently received

elevated levels of the male hormone androgen, leading to

the SCNF Nurses Care Scholarship and the American

excessive facial and body hair and infertility issues.

Nursing Foundation Scholarship.

She plans to apply scientific analysis to test the benefits of resistance training for PCOS patients, which she thinks could improve disease symptoms, prevent its progression, and reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases such as

UBONG JAMES’ latest research topic

diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

is the association between

Wright earned degrees in counseling and rehabilitation

consumer behaviors related

before returning to school to study exercise science. She

to purchasing food/meals

opened a gym in Lexington and trained clients with

and Dietary Inflammatory

various health conditions, using exercise as a tool to

Index (DII®) scores. He says he

improve health markers such as mobility, bone density,

chose this topic because chronic

and weight.

diseases like heart disease, cancer,

With her research, she will design and test an exercise-

and diabetes are currently leading causes of mortality,

based intervention for the PCOS population, combining

disability, and rising healthcare costs today. A significant

her counseling, rehabilitation, fitness, and nursing

risk factor for these chronic diseases is chronic systemic

experiences to benefit patients.


“My whole goal has been to learn all the parts of the healthcare continuum and put all of that knowledge and skill together in one career,” Wright shared.

James collaborates with his faculty mentor, Dr. Michael

She recently received a NIH F31 pre-doctoral grant, which will provide support while completing her dissertation. She is also currently the coordinator for the smart technology and medication-taking research project in the college’s ACORN Center.

Learn more about the Ph.D. program

Wirth, as well as Dr. James Hebert and Dr. Christine Blake, both from the UofSC Arnold School of Public Health. His research intends to provide an understanding of potential associations between food-related consumer behaviors and dietary inflammation. James enjoys the numerous interdisciplinary research opportunities in and around UofSC and the college’s Ph.D. mentorship program.



Things to know about today’s College of Nursing

#1 public (#2 overall)


4 consecutive cohorts NCLEX pass rates top 1% in the country

2020 U.S. News & World Report

Online Graduate Nursing Programs

2020-2024 National League C E N T E R of



of Nursing Center of Excellence in

Nursing Education

2020 - 2024


Total number of students


ANCC pass rate for new nurse practitioner graduates

enrolled for Fall 2020

Top 30s

in NIH funding among U.S. Colleges of Nursing 42 /COLLEGE OF NURSING

*photo taken pre-COVID-19*

10,700 + Alumni in

49 States

$20 million grant funding in past 5 years




2 Bachelor’s 6 Master’s 5 Certificates 2 Doctorates

*photo taken pre-COVID-19*


Full-time and part-time faculty members




NURSING EDUCATION AND RESEARCH BUILDING To learn more, contact Monica Cromer, Senior Director of Development, at 803-777-3848 or

Profile for University of South Carolina College of Nursing

University of South Carolina College of Nursing Magazine Fall 2020  

Annual magazine from the University of South Carolina College of Nursing. @UofSCNursing #UofSCNursing

University of South Carolina College of Nursing Magazine Fall 2020  

Annual magazine from the University of South Carolina College of Nursing. @UofSCNursing #UofSCNursing

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