SON Annual Magazine

Page 1








IN 2021








Contents 2 3 6 8 12 14 17 20



22 34 38 40 42 44 47 49 53 58


THE DEAN’S MESSAGE: Continuing the Legacy As the oldest school of nursing west of the Mississippi River, The University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing (SON) has learned many lessons from its 131-year history of adapting to natural disasters and other unpredictable challenges. When first faced with the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020, we responded with the qualities that have been the cornerstones of our success: flexibility, innovation, compassion and resilience. During a global pandemic, we have ensured the safety of our students, faculty and staff, while maintaining excellence in education, research and clinical care. Our students and faculty have volunteered countless hours collaborating with local health districts to ensure that we are serving our community in areas of need. Helping to vaccinate those at risk against COVID-19 is one more example of how UTMB SON is contributing to the health of diverse populations in Texas and around the world. Picking up the lantern of Florence Nightingale – the founder of modern nursing whose 200th birthday occurred during a year of global pandemic – we have continued the indomitable pioneering attitude from our nursing school’s birth in 1890 through today. Our traditional preparedness over more than 130 years has allowed us to meet this moment with the needed knowledge, skills, and readiness to serve. We understand that it isn’t enough to merely make it through trying times. As an institution and as individuals, we must be agile and bold in our efforts and learn from challenging experiences. Our world has changed so quickly, and we must adapt to new realities, opportunities, and responsibilities while remaining steadfast in our mission and values. I feel confident in our school, and I am truly excited for what our future holds. This Annual Magazine was created to honor our school’s unparalleled history of excellence and innovation in educating professional nurses, to celebrate our contributions to nursing education, research and health care, and to highlight how we have responded to the global COVID-19 outbreak. With this publication, UTMB SON shines a light on our successes and thanks those who have made our community what it is today.

Deborah J. Jones

Deborah J. Jones, PhD, MSN, RN Senior Vice President, Dean and Professor Rebecca Sealy Distinguished Centennial Chair




We improve the health of diverse

To create the future as leaders

We, at the UTMB School of

populations in Texas and around

in innovative nursing education,

Nursing, will achieve excellence

the world by advancing nursing

promoters of high-impact research

and professionalism through

excellence through leadership,

and as transformers of health and

compassion, integrity, respect,

clinical practice, education,


diversity & inclusion, lifelong

research and service.

learning, and accountability.

By the Numbers ACCREDITATIONS The baccalaureate degree program in nursing, the master’s degree program in nursing, and the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at The University of Texas Medical Branch School of Nursing are accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).

COMMISSION ON COLLEGIATE NURSING EDUCATION (CCNE) Officially recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education as a national accreditation agency, the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) is an autonomous accrediting agency, contributing to the improvement of the public’s health. CCNE ensures the quality and integrity of baccalaureate, graduate, and residency programs in nursing.

SOUTHERN ASSOCIATION OF COLLEGES AND SCHOOLS (SACS) The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools is one of the six regional accreditation organizations recognized by the United States Department of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation.

BACCALAUREATE PROGRAM The UTMB School of Nursing offers two different tracks for students seeking to earn their Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree. Ultimately, each program prepares students to become competent registered nurses to provide patient-centered care in a variety of healthcare settings. UTMB SON bachelor’s programs include: BSN Traditional RN – BSN

MASTER’S PROGRAM For nurses seeking to advance in their career, UTMB SON provides multiple tracks for students to earn their Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) degree. An MSN degree equips students with skills and advanced training needed to give high- quality nursing care in a specialized role, such as a nurse practitioner (NP), executive nurse leader, or nurse educator. UTMB’s MSN tracks include: Adult Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner (AGACNP) Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner (AGPCNP) Clinical Nurse Leader (CNL) Executive Nurse Leader (ENL) Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Neonatal Nurse Practitioner (NNP) Nurse Educator (NE) 3

As ranked by U.S. News and World Report:

By the Numbers, continued

DOCTORAL PROGRAMS UTMB School of Nursing offers multiple doctoral level programs to prepare leaders for roles in clinical and research areas that advance the practice of nursing and improve health locally and globally. UTMB SON doctoral programs include: BSN to PhD (in collaboration with the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences)

#17 Best Online Master’s in Nursing Programs (2021)

MSN to PhD (in collaboration with the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences) Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP)

MASTER’S PROGRAM LICENSURE EXAM PASS RATES, 2020 – ◆ MSN Adult-Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner – 100%

#6 in Best Online Master’s in Nursing Programs for Veterans (2021)

◆ MSN Family Nurse Practitioner – 98% ◆ MSN Neonatal Nurse Practitioner – 90% ◆ MSN Certified Nurse Leaders – 100%

NCLEX - RNNCLEX Pass Rates - RNNCLEX Pass Rates - RN Pass Rates






94.94% 93.97%95.00%





84.18% 85.00%

84.39% 84.18% 85.00%





75.00% 2015

75.00% 2016 2015

96.90% 94.94% 93.97%

98.67% 98.75% 97.42%

98.75% 97.42% 96.90%

97.42% 96.90% 94.94%


88.29% 86.94%

84.39% 84.18%


88.29% 88.18% 86.94%

2015 2017 2016

2016 2018 2017

2017 2019 2018


National UTMBAvg. SON

National UTMBAvg. SON

2018 2020 2019 National Avg.

Traditional Program 20* NCLEX Scores *2020*BSN from NCLEX firstScores *2020* and second from NCLEX first quarters Scores and second from only first quarters and second only quarters only 4

89.25% 88.29% 88.18%

98.67% 98.75%

89.25% 89.25% 88.18%

2019 2020

#14 in Best Online Master’s in Nursing for 89.25% Family Nurse Practitioners (2021)



By the Numbers, continued


14,000+ ALUMNI

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, UTMB SON safely celebrated an in-person, no-guests Commencement on April 23, 2021 at Moody Gardens Convention Center. The SON awarded 595 degrees and certificates for the 2020-21 academic year (in 2020, the total was 584):

19 : Doctor of Nursing Practice

50 : MSN Adult Gerontologic Acute Care Nurse Practitioner

12 : MSN Adult Gerontologic Primary Care Nurse Practitioner

8 : MSN Clinical Nurse Leader

role that our alumni play in our

7 : MSN Executive Nurse Leader

school’s success. For over 130

81 : MSN Family Nurse Practitioner

years, we have educated nurses

22 : MSN Neonatal Nurse Practitioner

11 : MSN Nurse Educator

and beyond. We believe that by

42 : RN-BSN

advancing our professional network

343 : Traditional BSN

2 : Certificates

We take great pride in the active

in innovative ways to meet the demands of health care in Texas

and community partnerships, we continue to increase opportunities for our students, faculty, and alumni. Through the substantial contributions of our alumni, we foster lasting collaborations to advance the institutional shared mission of improving the health for the people of Texas and around the world together.


Our Priorities, Goals & Strategies Our strategic priorities provide the foundation to advance and achieve our mission and vision. Additionally, these strategic priorities guide our path to the future and represent our unique attributes that distinguish us from other nursing schools.

CR E A 6




A healthy work environment creates a committed and engaged community, working together to reach our full potential. Our school is committed to employing and educating a work force whose diversity mirrors the populations with whom we serve. By providing professional development, mentoring opportunities, and meaningful recognition, we hope to improve retention, promote lifelong learning, and ensure that all members of our community can flourish in their careers.

We are committed to improving healthcare outcomes and healthcare systems through highimpact research. It is imperative to create a culture of research with the necessary infrastructure and collaborative partnerships. We support and promote opportunities for students and faculty to lead interprofessional teams in research and innovation.

Our faculty is committed to student success. Through innovative pedagogies in a studentcentered environment we equip graduates to provide highquality health care in their communities. We will continue to offer exceptional undergraduate and graduate nursing programs that align with market needs. Our emphasis on interprofessional education will ultimately serve to improve the patient experience and population health, as well as reduce healthcare costs.


We support a culture of innovation and creativity aimed at addressing the challenges facing education and health care today. Utilizing technology and interprofessional education, we offer an innovative learning environment that accelerates the discovery of knowledge and solutions to healthcare. The school will remain bold, strategic, and agile in advancing our mission.

We, at the UTMB School of Nursing, will achieve excellence and professionalism through:

Our Purpose, Destination & Commitments



We believe that creating a healthier future for diverse populations begins with transformative education and practice. By offering robust academic programs that emphasize collaboration, leadership and service, we prepare nurses who impact healthcare systems and policy. Through data-driven decision-making, we strengthen our ability to adapt and quickly adjust to the ever-changing healthcare landscape.

Advancing our professional network and community partnerships, we will increase opportunities for students, faculty and alumni. We will foster lasting collaborations to advance the institutional shared mission of improving the health for the people of Texas and around the world. Additionally, we will continue to pursue partnerships beyond our community, to increase meaningful contributions to global health.

Starting in January 2019, the school’s dean, Dr. Deborah J. Jones, led development of a new strategic plan for the School of Nursing using input from faculty, staff and students. Acting as an anchor for the school’s strategic plan, the mission, vision and values were updated to reflect the shared vision.

OUR PURPOSE Building on 130 years as Texas’ leader in nursing education, UTMB’s School of Nursing serves the state, nation and the world as a premier 21st century nursing education destination. We improve the health of diverse populations in Texas and around the world by advancing nursing excellence through leadership, clinical practice, education, research, and service.

OUR DESTINATION We are distinct among all other nursing schools in how we pursue our mission. Through our shared vision, we aim to develop a culture committed to transforming health, education, and research. To create the future as leaders in innovative nursing education, promoters of high-impact research and as transformers of health and health care.

OUR COMMITMENTS The foundational pursuits of research, innovation, transformative education, engagement, diversity, and inclusion anchor the school’s mission and vision; guide our priorities and actions; and are visible in our achievements. We execute our mission and pursue our vision while remaining true to the following commitments: compassion, integrity, respect, diversity and inclusion, lifelong learning, accountability.

Compassion  / Integrity  / Respect  / Diversity and Inclusion  / Lifelong Learning  / Accountability


Contending with the COVID-19 crisis

“During the many ups

Throughout its 130-year history, UTMB School of Nursing has demonstrated its ability

19 crisis, we have been

to adapt, innovate and quickly adjust to challenges of all kinds. While continuing to adapt to an ever-changing healthcare landscape, the 2020-21 coronavirus pandemic presented a unique, unforeseen threat to the SON’s educational mission and to the health of its employees and students.

keeping each other safe

During the first year of the coronavirus pandemic, more than 31,000 cases were reported in Galveston County, and nearly 300 people lost their individual battle with COVID-19. At least one in 11 Galveston County residents were infected – an unprecedented test for health care and public health professionals.

community and keeping


– Dean Deborah J. Jones

and downs of the COVID-

while educating nursing professionals, providing health care to our UTMB SON strong for the time when life returns to normal.”

Guided by UTMB SON’s strategic plan, the school responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by simultaneously moving the curriculum to a virtual environment while also upholding the high-quality educational standards for which UTMB is so well known. To comply with physical distancing and other safety protocols, all laboratory and clinical activities were moved from the traditional, in-person, campus-based events to meaningful virtual experiences (see more on page 14). “In a year of crisis for the learning environment, our faculty and students have shown great flexibility, collaboration and innovation,” said Dean Deborah J. Jones.

UTMB School of Nursing committed substantial volunteer hours to support the UTMB COVID-19 screening and vaccination plans. From Dec. 2020-March 2021 SON FACULTY VOLUNTEERED:

400 +

110+ Hours


in Employee Health

in Student Health

at Ambulatory Clinics and HUB sites








at Ambulatory Clinics

in Student Health

of Faculty Supervising

at HUB Sites


30% 8




of the UTMB SON faculty were able to sign up to help with COVID-19 vaccine distribution.

MOBILIZING TO RESPOND TO COVID-19 UTMB SON students and employees stepped up to serve with compassion and expertise those who were in need in local communities. In the first weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, BSN Capstone students (see more on page 11) devoted over 800 hours to prioritizing and scheduling patients for coronavirus testing based on their reported exposure and symptoms. This system prevented a first-come, first-serve process and ensured testing based on need. As they used their education in the real world, patients seeking testing, healthcare institutions administering tests, and the nursing students themselves have benefited from the experience. MSN Nurse Educator faculty members and students collaborated to provide educational modules and “just in time” refresher courses for UTMB Health System nurses who were moved from outpatient to inpatient settings in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

HANDS-ON FOR THE COVID-19 VACCINE ROLLOUT With arrival of federally authorized vaccines in December 2020, the State of Texas named UTMB Health a COVID-19 vaccine hub provider. In partnership with Galveston County, the Galveston County Health District and others, UTMB Health – including SON students and faculty members – are vaccinating as many people as possible, as quickly and conveniently as possible, with the allocated supply of vaccine stock. Several BSN students in the Adult Health II course participated in the Galveston County Health District’s first drive-through vaccination event on Jan. 23, 2021 at Walter Hall Park in League City. They registered community members, administered vaccines and made process improvement recommendations. Each student administered between 50 and 100 vaccines in one day. “We were extremely grateful to partner with the GCHD and our community members, said Assistant Professor Meredith Ford, M.S.N., R.N., who teaches Adult II. “Our BSN students were involved, engaged and excited to be there. We are all thrilled to be contributing to history.” The drive-through clinic was the first of many vaccination sites and events to follow. BSN students fully engaged with patients at Jennie Sealy Hospital and the Primary Care Pavilion (pictured at left), led by Associate Professor J. Michael Leger, Ph.D., M.B.A., R.N. School of Nursing students and alumni visited the homes of UTMB Geriatrics House Call patients on and off Galveston Island to administer their COVID-19 vaccinations.

“What these volunteers do is very important and of immense value to our patients and their loved ones,” said UTMB Health Division of Geriatric Medicine Administrative Coordinator Lauren Campbell. “Although it may feel like the pandemic dominated every aspect of this past year, we managed to continue to excel in our mission,” said Dean Deborah J. Jones. “Even now, we are energetically preparing for the era ‘Beyond COVID-19’ and carrying forward lessons learned from this global public health crisis.” 9

Coronavirus Response, continued

ALUMNA WORKED IN THE MIDST OF THE COVID-19 PANDEMIC – by Loan Do, BSN, RN On a Saturday afternoon in March 2020, I took a huge leap of faith by going to fight as a front-line nurse in the city that needed my help the most during the surging pandemic. New York City was being hit hard by the coronavirus with deaths rising every day. The healthcare system was overwhelmed and overworked as the patients were flooding into the emergency department and intensive care units. Before this travel assignment, I was an ICU nurse in the Texas Medical Center with eight months of critical care experience. Making the decision to go to New York wasn’t hard, because I knew I was called to do this. I knew that this experience was going to help make a difference, even if it was a small one. Doing this was important to me, because I knew that this city needed my help and my sacrifice.

“I thank UTMB School of Nursing, along with all the clinical experience it has given me to open my eyes to the world of opportunities. It guided me to do what I’m most passionate about— critical care.”


My first week in NYC was one of the toughest weeks I have ever experienced while being a nurse. I came home every night with a heavy heart and most days, it felt as if doing my best wasn’t ever going to be enough. It was getting harder to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Was this ever going to get better? When will this pandemic end? How many people have to lose their lives to this deadly virus? I was working at one of the hospitals that was hit the worst, and I could vividly remember the week when the outbreak was peaking. The ICU nurses were taking care of up to 7-10 patients when, normally, the nurse-to-patient ratio is ideally 1:2 in the ICU. Units that were originally outpatient clinics or Med/Surg floors were being converted into makeshift COVID-19 ICUs. Within a short time, the world turned into something you would see in a movie…it was pure chaos in the hospitals. The city that never sleeps turned eerie—no one on the streets, all the stores were closed, and Times Square was empty. I graduated from The University of Texas Medical Branch in Spring 2019. It’s ironic how I ended up taking care of critically ill patients at the epicenter of this pandemic, because being an intensive care nurse was not even on my radar whenever I started nursing school. More than ever, I am so proud that I have chosen this profession and that this profession has chosen me. It truly is a beautiful thing when you can say that your career and passion come together. I have to say, it isn’t always beautiful and glamorous. There were countless moments where I couldn’t hold it together anymore and would fall apart on the bus ride home, in the medication room, or in my hotel room. There were moments

where I had to hold it together for patients and their families during the last FaceTime call or during post-mortem care because there were six other patients that still needed my focus, attention, and energy afterwards. I had skin breakdown on my nose from wearing an N-95 mask for over 14 hours each day for 21 days straight and dry cracks that bled on the back of my hands from washing and sanitizing them so often. Despite the challenges, I don’t regret this experience one bit, and I would do it all over again. This experience not only helped me grow as a nurse, but it also humbled me. Saying it has challenged me physically, mentally, and emotionally is an understatement. With that being said, I am inspired and honored to have worked with so many other nurses and essential workers who empowered me. I am uncertain of what the future holds, but I know that it’s important to take things one day at a time and eventually, we will realize all this hard work was not in vain. Thank you to all of our health care heroes who continue to fight in the front lines every single day. To all the nurses who selflessly choose to come to work to take care of others during this tough time, don’t give up—we’re all in this together.

BSN CAPSTONE STUDENTS APPLY KNOWLEDGE TO HELP THEIR COMMUNITY IN COVID CRISIS “When the call to help at a COVID-19 screening center came to UTMB School of Nursing, our students answered in the spirit of service—exactly as their nursing school training has prepared them,” said Assistant Professor Rebeka Watson Campbell, Ph.D., R.N.

“It was a great opportunity for us as students to utilize our skills and be able to offer support to the community during a time of crisis,” student Sharina Mears said. Her classmate Leslie Garcia concurred. “Most of the patients I spoke to thanked me for guiding them through the COVID-19 assessment, she said. It felt good giving back to the community.” “It was great to know that I was able to help people find some answers during this vulnerable time,” student Helen Le said.

As Clinical Capstone course director, she saw an excellent opportunity for BSN Capstone students to get involved in an emergency response endeavor. After an application and vetting process, about 50 senior-level students were selected and trained to provide telephone screening services at the call center organized by Harris Health. “Within days, the students were actively involved in prioritizing and scheduling patients for testing according to their reported exposure and symptoms—thus preventing a first- come, first-serve process, and ensuring testing based on need,” Watson Campbell said. “The students’ volunteer efforts have benefited patients seeking testing, healthcare institutions administering tests and the students themselves, as they have been able to apply their education in the real world.” The phonebank opportunity enabled our students to demonstrate their adaptability to the ever-changing health care landscape and gain valuable assessment experience which will serve them well in their future careers. Each semester, Capstone students support their community through opportunities like Tall Ships, ARTober Fest and Dickens on the Strand. Capstone students also have worked with UTMB and the Galveston County Health District to conduct two major disaster simulations. “These volunteer opportunities are instrumental in helping to mold our students into professional nurses and integral parts of our community,” said Watson Campbell.

Leslie Garcia, in front, and Sharina Mears were among the approximately 50 student volunteers.


Driven to Serve and Engage During the 2020 Pandemic AUGUST 2020 UTMB students coordinated an immediate response to help those affected by Hurricane Laura. Although the Category 4 storm did not hit Galveston directly, the near-miss still brought high tides and significant local damage. Students circulated a poster showing the list of most-needed items, along with drop-off times and locations. People on the Galveston campus generously supported the relief drive.

SEPTEMBER 2020 Another group of third-semester BSN students in Population Health Nursing volunteered to perform blood pressure screenings alongside mammogram screening provided by the UTMB Department of Surgery Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Screened patients were uninsured women in the Galveston area. The students also shared resources and education on healthy blood pressure, and learned about mobile mammography from the radiation techs who performed the screening. Not only did they provide a valuable community service, they built on their education and experience in preparation for their nursing careers.

“For two semesters, students worked with the project to coordinate efforts to combat social isolation in nursinghome-bound older adults,” said course coordinator Rebekah Penton, D.N.P., APRN.


OCTOBER 2020 COVID-19 has affected individuals of every age, but none more so than senior adults, who are some of the community’s most vulnerable citizens. In partnership with Save Our Seniors, a group that supports seniors experiencing isolation during the pandemic, UTMB’s Population Health Nursing students learned firsthand about seniors’ needs during this unique time while also helping to address them. The project, in partnership with Absolute Kheir Home Health, is guided by Liz Lerma, UTMB Transitions of Care Manager and a UTMB SON clinical faculty member. “For two semesters, students worked with the project to coordinate efforts to combat social isolation in nursinghome-bound older adults,” said course coordinator Rebekah Penton, DNP, APRN Penton said that since the COVID-19 pandemic has limited direct clinical experiences, SON’s clinical partners have provided valuable opportunities for students to engage in projects that improve health and healthcare access. As part of their work, the students organized a donation drive to help home- bound seniors through the winter. This drive helped collect winter supplies such as blankets, coats, sweaters and socks for home-bound seniors who needed resources. They designated three drop-off locations for members of the community to support the drive.


Moving the Classroom into the ‘Cloud’ BSN STUDENTS LEARN TO APPLY CRITICAL SKILLS IN VIRTUAL OBSTETRICS SIMULATION “This past year of COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it uncertainty that most people have never experienced. But it also has given us the opportunity to pause and reflect on our previous routines and create a new normal. While we have been apart physically, I have never felt closer to and more proud of this resilient and generous community. Over the course of the pandemic, our school has not only overcome every obstacle thrown our way, but we have raised the bar and created new standards. We continue to offer high- quality education to our students, our faculty continue to contribute to high-impact research, and our alumni continue to serve on the front lines of the pandemic.” – Dean Deborah J. Jones

The threat of COVID-19 to in-person teaching required a massive response by UTMB School of Nursing educators. In just eight days, while the school was on its 2020 Spring Break, faculty members transformed more than 40 courses over 11 program tracks to 100-percent remote/online instruction. “Didactic, lab and clinical activities – all of it moved to virtual,” said Vice Dean for Academic Affairs Kristen Starnes-Ott, Ph.D., CRNA, who led the transition effort with faculty and staff support. In one particularly challenging example, members of the Obstetrics (OB) nursing faculty— Jacquelyn Svoboda, D.N.P., R.N.C., Laura King, D.N.P., R.N., Dora Martin D.N.P., R.N., and Cheryl Day, M.S.N., R.N.— designed and conducted a new kind of simulation lab for third-semester BSN students. They deftly converted what traditionally is a face-to-face experience into an unfolding high-risk delivery case simulation online via Zoom. Five students per simulation navigated the virtual experience with a faculty moderator and visual prompts. Student participants served as virtual nurses, family members and observers, just as they would in the in-person lab experience. “It was encouraging and enlightening to see that in the virtual environment, students were able to critically apply their knowledge and prioritize nursing assessment and interventions with confidence, despite the lack of face-to-face contact,” said Svoboda, the course director. “The students were actively engaged in learning and successfully demonstrated development of their critical thinking skills through application of the concepts they have learned in the OB course,” King added. Dr. Svoboda felt the change to virtual experiences has been just as educational for her as for her students, because she has sharpened qualities that help make her a better educator— such as being well-organized, accessible and a clear, concise communicator. Most importantly, Svoboda has seen that education does not have to be compromised just because it is delivered in a virtual format — even with a larger cohort of around 120 students. “This virtual simulation format can be extremely engaging and has the potential to apply as much, or even more, critical thinking and prioritization skills than brick and mortar experiences,” Svoboda said. “We are continuing to discover that, when both faculty and students are engaged with the experience, critical skills can be taught just as effectively online.”


HYBRID FORMAT COMBINES MEANINGFUL HANDS-ON SKILLS TRAINING WITH VIRTUAL INSTRUCTION Many aspects of the nursing education experience have looked different for UTMB’s BSN students during the past year. When it comes to some skills, however, there is no substitute for in-person learning. That is why SON faculty and staff carefully coordinated an on-campus skills lab experience that would allow first-semester BSN students to practice, demonstrate and master their medication administration skills on campus with safety for all as the number one priority. “Nursing is a hands-on profession. It is an expectation that nurses are competent in their skills along with having a strong knowledge base to care for patients,” said Assistant Professor Carol Glaze, M.S.N., R.N., who teaches Adult Health I. “Hands-on lab practice builds knowledge and confidence in nursing students. It promotes an environment of safe practice where learning is optimized.” Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, these skills activities were incorporated into a three-hour weekly lab experience. Students would practice over several weeks in small groups in the lab, while faculty members circulated to assist and offer corrections. Many skills validations would take place over two consecutive weeks. Closely following UTMB’s COVID-19 guidelines, last summer’s activities were planned within a twoto-three-day window for students to be on campus. Additional planning and modifications helped ensure the lab was conducted as safely as possible. For example, only 10 people could be placed in the large skills labs, versus the typical 25 to 35 participants. Support staff also were on hand to help to screen students, making sure that no one entering the lab reported symptoms or exposure. While videos demonstrated virtual skills and online simulation activities helped them stay motivated to practice their skills at home and become more confident, students said they greatly benefited from visiting campus, working alongside their peers and teachers, and getting to practice in UTMB’s state-ofthe-art facilities. For a virtual tour of our facilities, visit:


“We were able to practice in front of our professors, who gave us valuable feedback in order to continue to improve,” student McKenna Namken said. “We were also evaluated in a way that simulated a real-life scenario with our professors asking us questions like actual patients.” On-campus lab activities also were the BSN students’ first chance to meet many of their classmates and faculty in person — something that made the experience even more valuable. “It felt amazing to come to campus for the first time and finally meet the people I’d been learning with and learning from! The SON has done an amazing job with the virtual learning, but nothing beats seeing people face-to-face,” student Angela Madoux said. Glaze said the hybrid format also was an important learning experience for her as an educator, because she is seeing the benefit of delivering information to students in a variety of ways. “The hybrid format has allowed the Adult Health I team an opportunity to consider many new learning activities that previously had not been considered or implemented. It will affect how we plan for future course activities,” she said. While innovating like never before, the SON faculty’s commitment to high-quality education and to student success has gone beyond the learning tools employed. “Although videos, online simulation modules and other remote education platforms have taken on a much greater role than before, faculty and staff have closely engaged with students at every program level to ensure the SON is meeting their educational objectives, even in a time of pandemic,” said Dean Deborah J. Jones. The nursing school offered town halls where students asked questions, and the faculty led chat rooms for students to share stories of how the pandemic has affected them. Flexing assignments and due dates have provided students an opportunity to balance a “new work-life” through the challenges of an uncertain and ever-changing environment. “Even with the changes in how we educated our students, they have expressed gratitude for the effort and time to continue to provide them quality education,” Dean Jones said.


iLead Engages BSN Students via Apps

A new initiative designed to increase active learning and prepare students to be leaders in the use of technology in health care is putting iPads in the hands of each incoming cohort of UTMB undergraduate nursing students. The development of iLead, or Innovative Learning Environment Accelerating Discovery, began when the BSN faculty and Multimedia Lab (MML) staff received iPads and completed training sessions provided by Apple Professional Learning. Faculty members and MML staff were challenged to become Certified Apple Teachers, demonstrating proficiency using the iPad and a range of Apple apps for teaching and learning. Eighty-five percent of the BSN faculty attained certification within the first year of iLead. Led by Department Chair of Undergraduate Programs Patricia Richard, Ph.D., R.N., iLead kicked off in 2018 and is proving so successful that UTMB SON is working toward designation as an Apple Distinguished School. With iLead in place, BSN students lease iPads that are distributed each semester during orientation. Students keep the tablets for the 16 months it takes to earn their bachelor’s degree, ensuring that everyone works on the same platform. “The introduction of iLead represents a giant leap forward in encouraging active learning,” said Assistant Professor Laura King, D.N.P., R.N., who is optimistic about iLead because adult learners have been shown to benefit most from this teaching style. The BSN curriculum, which annually produces outstanding NCLEX 1st attempt pass rate—98.67 percent in 2020—has not substantially changed with the introduction of iPads. However, iLead does require faculty members to take a new approach to teaching. 17

Some educators, like Assistant Professor Morgan Cangelosi, M.S.N., R.N., began using iPads in their teaching long before the formal launch of iLead and welcomed the expansion throughout the curriculum. She has used apps to show pathophysiology at work (such as lungs experiencing an asthma attack), and to simulate cardiac or respiratory attacks. The platform’s video-editing capabilities allowed Cangelosi to present case studies in a format that allows her to add notes, helping students recognize normal and abnormal findings. “I was able to highlight abnormal findings using my iPad. We then used these findings to walk through the nursing process and create a plan of care for this patient. Students were very engaged. Many of them seemed to have ‘a-ha’ moments while doing this,” Cangelosi said.


Students use their tablets to interact with the material being taught, while the technology allows instructors to call on individual students to share their screens, so students can learn from seeing one another’s work. “One of the things that excites me about teaching future nurses is engaging them in active learning,” King said. “I want them to be invested in being the best nurse possible, and to take ownership of their learning with me as the facilitator. When you are an involved participant in your own learning, you get so much more out of it.” Among other measurements, Richard said the school will administer surveys to students participating in iLead for a better idea of how iLead and iPad use affect the student experience.

“Your classmates will become not only colleagues but family. You will find yourself developing and ultimately becoming a competent nurse, prepared with the tools necessary to overcome the obstacles in your future practice.” Aaron Pavalonis BSN Traditional Student

Did You Know? UTMB SON’s youngest BSN student in fall 2020 was 17. Our oldest full-time student was a 60 year-old in the MSN Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program. The average age of a UTMB nursing student is 30.


Today I Held a Hand BY ERIN PEREZ, DNP, APRN Today I held a hand. I held a cold hand that was covered in dried blood and dressings from an arterial line that was mottled with purple webbing from artificial blood pressure support. Today I held a hand to help bring comfort to a patient in an intensive care unit bed.

Erin Perez, a three-degree alumna of UTMB School of Nursing (2010, ‘13, ‘19), was the second-place winner in the 2020 national essay-writing contest held by the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP). AANP members were invited to submit their firsthand accounts on the theme: Nurse Practitioner Reflections on the COVID-19 Pandemic. “We are so proud of her hard work on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this moving essay that captures her experience,” said UTMB SON Dean Deborah J. Jones. “Our thanks go to Erin for giving permission to reprint her essay here.”

I held your hand as I wiped your face as blood was coming out of your nose, around the nasogastric tube we placed to decompress your stomach. I wiped your cheeks as blood came down your nose and saturated the pads in place meant to hold your breathing tube that connected your ventilator as the machine breathed for you as you could not. I wiped your mouth that required more oral suction as frank blood continued to seep out. I held your hand as the other nurses and doctors came to your bed as the extensive artificial life support with medications, a breathing machine, continuous renal replacement therapy and a balloon pump were not enough to keep your weary body going. I held your hand as we called your family. I held your hand as I told your family that your earthly time is coming to an end soon and that we have an opportunity to make sure your last moments are more comfortable and provide you a more dignified death as you transition to heaven. I held your hand as your family said to make sure you were comfortable and did not suffer anymore. I held your hand as the chaplain came by. I held your hand as your pulses came and went with the alarms in concert. I held your hand as I had the other nurses go call back the doctors as your time on earth was done. I held your hand as the doctor did the “official pronouncement,” even though we all knew you had left moments earlier. I held your hand as we began to peel back the medical technology layers that had attempted to keep your body going.


I held your hand as we changed your gown soaked in blood and changed your bed. I held your hand as I cleaned every nail bed and the rest of your hands and arms and placed pressure dressings over where the IV sites were. I held your hand as they cleaned your feet and legs. I held your hands as I asked for the lavender lotion. I began to let go of your hand as I gently massaged the lavender lotion on your hands, arms and legs. I held your hand as we replaced a crisp white sheet and comforter across your cleaned body and gown. I held your hand one last time as I said a silent prayer for you and your family. I let your hand go as I replaced and positioned your hands and arms on clean bedding and replaced the side rails so the bed was neat. You look so much better the other staff said. You look at peace now. I touched your hand then walked and paused a moment and touched your tip toes as I was done holding your hand. Today nurses of all backgrounds and training will hold a hand. For families that cannot be here due to this COVID-19 pandemic: Know that I and my nursing colleagues will be there to hold their hand if your loved one’s time on earth is complete. Nurses are here to hold your hands in good times and bad. May you know how very honored nurses are to be able to hold the hands in these sacred times of great joy, sorrow and need. May God give you peace and grace as we all walk this journey of life ahead, hand in hand— Together We Can!

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: ERIN PEREZ Congratulations to Dr. Erin Perez, who channeled her commitment to community service into a successful campaign as a City Council Place 3 candidate in Live Oak, located in Bexar County. Results of the May 1st election showed her winning with 60 percent of votes cast. What’s more, her first textbook and interactive learning video, “Goals and Wishes Advance Care Planning,” now are offered online as a master class for nursing continuing professional development credit by Nurses Care Hub.


First Nursing School in Texas—turning hindsight into foresight In March 1890, the Galveston Daily News proclaimed nursing “a new field in which educated women may find a means of support.” As the first school of nursing in Texas, the University of Texas at Galveston has been on the cutting edge of the nursing profession. The City of Galveston was a leading seaport and commercial center in the south in the years following the Civil War. As the Texas State Legislature deliberated in 1881 about the site for the establishment of a university with a medical department, Galvestonians campaigned vigorously to convince the legislature and Texas voters that Galveston was the ideal location. The voters chose Austin as the site for the main campus of The University of Texas and Galveston for the medical department, later to become UTMB. Several circumstances contributed to the efforts to open a school of nurses at the John Sealy Hospital in 1890. Young Ella Goldthwaite, the niece of Mr. and Mrs. George Sealy, seriously injured her hip in a fall. Her parents took her to New York to consult a specialist, and they returned with Miss Dorothea Fick, a graduate of Mt. Sinai Hospital Training School for Nurses in New York, as her personal nurse. The young Ella died in January 1890, after a long illness. This child’s injury and the difficulties in obtaining skilled nursing care for her in Galveston contributed to the growing interest in a school for nurses. After the opening in January 1890, it rapidly became evident that the hospital could not adequately care for the sick without a corps of trained nurses. A group of prominent local ladies, including Mrs. John Sealy, Mrs. George Sealy, and Mrs. Goldthwaite, formed a Board of Lady Managers, which assumed the responsibility for raising the needed funds to establish and support the John Sealy Training School for Nurses. They employed Miss Dorothea Fick to organize the school and direct the first school for nurses in Texas. The first curriculum reflected Florence Nightingale’s views about the importance of proper nursing in promoting the healing powers of nature. Students were taught care of the ward, including ventilation, disinfection, and sanitation; care of the patient, including bathing; and preparation of invalid food and administration of medications.


Students were required to be female, 19 to 35 years old, unmarried, and of sound health and moral character. The only academic requirement was proficiency in reading, penmanship, and arithmetic. They served a one-month probationary period, and if accepted as pupil nurses, remained for a two-year course of instruction. They served as ward assistants for the first year, and performed a variety of duties in the second, including private nursing in the home. Surgical ward, 1905 Women who became nurses in the late 19th century did so at a time when it was not considered appropriate for women to live or work outside the family. The nursing profession placed women squarely in the public eye, and the prescriptions for dress and behavior were designed to legitimize nursing as a valuable service to the public and as respectable work for women. The earliest graduates of John Sealy Training School for Nurses were pioneers, helping to open new opportunities for women. Because of the increasing difficulty encountered in obtaining the needed funding for the growing training school, the Board of Lady Managers petitioned the Board of Regents of the University of Texas to assume responsibility for the school. They voted to do so and, in May 1896, the John Sealy Hospital Training School for Nurses became one of the schools of the University of Texas Medical Department. The training program did not change dramatically when the school moved under university administration. Curriculum and admission requirements remained unchanged, and graduates continued to receive diplomas, not university degrees. Nursing and medical students worked together on the wards of John Sealy Hospital, and seemed to share a sense of accomplishment in their work and the fun the students always manage to discover, even in such difficult and demanding disciplines as nursing and medicine.

Nineteenth-century nurses in training

Rendering of the 1890 John Sealy Hospital


Extensive hurricane damage to the Galveston Campus and surrounding neighborhood, 1900

The pioneer spirit of the John Sealy nurse faced its greatest test on September 8, 1900, when the worst hurricane in United States history struck Galveston with deadly force. The loss of life and destruction of property were staggering. The city was virtually destroyed. More than 3,600 buildings were demolished by wind and water, and more than 5,000 lives were lost. When the chairman of the University of Texas Board of Regents Medical Committee received news that the school was badly damaged and might not open on October 1, he wired back “The University of Texas stops for no Storm!” The students and staff worked day and night under impossible conditions to care for the sick and injured and to repair the damage to the university. The Nurses’ Home was completely destroyed. Dr. Allen J. Smith, a professor of pathology in the Medical Department, described the part played by Home for Trained Nurses the nurses in the aftermath of the storm: “They were left without a home, and for the most part, without clothes, other than those on their backs. For days and weeks they were crowded into a few unoccupied private rooms in the hospital; they knew the press for food and water the first few days; and all through the dreary time until some order and comfort came back to them as to others, they showed only the tried badge of courage and hope.”


The John Sealy Hospital Training School continued to grow and change, keeping pace with the progress of the nursing profession. In 1907, the course of study was extended to three years to encompass the increasing body of knowledge and skill required of graduate nurses. The first Rebecca Sealy Nurses’ Home, built in 1915, provided improved classroom space and equipment, and comfortable living quarters. For many students, life in the Nurses’ Home offered companionship and fun. In spite of the hard work and many rules for behavior, students shared good times and had a strong sense of belonging. In 1918, graduates of John Sealy Hospital Training School served with the Red Cross and Army Nurse Corps during World War I with distinction. The public image of the nurse was enhanced during the war years because of the significant contributions of the nurses in caring for the wounded. The demand for public health nursing was on the rise. As the war was drawing to a close, the world was devastated by a meningitis epidemic. The nurses showed great heroism as they tried to cope; in many cases tent cities sprung up to house the overflow of patients in the hospital. The epidemic abated in the spring of 1919.

Nursing students, 1918

During the 1920s and 1930s, the superintendents improved the standards for admission, upgraded curriculum, and improved classroom instruction for students. Public Health and Psychiatric Nursing were added to the curriculum. Classroom space and equipment were improved, and the first full-time nurse instructors were appointed. As the body of nursing knowledge increased, nurses increasingly assumed the responsibility for theoretical as well as practical instruction.

Students at the Rebecca Sealy Nurses Residence.


By 1923, students were required to be high school graduates. The student work day was reduced from ten to eight hours, to permit more time for class work and study. At a time when many hospital schools of nursing used students as a source of free labor and provided a haphazard clinical education, the John Sealy Hospital School of Nursing stood out as a model for excellence in nursing education. The knowledge and skill required of nurses continued to increase as medical and technological advances provided new methods for treating patients. Disposable and pre-packaged supplies were far in the future, so students boiled instruments, rolled bandages, and set up procedure trays. Patient care and comfort were most important nursing concerns. The 1940s and 1950s saw tremendous advances in medical science and technology with equally great advancement of nursing knowledge. The John Sealy Hospital now employed graduate nurses to staff the hospital. Under the leadership of Dean Marjorie Bartholf, the school moved toward the goal of university education for nurses as an essential condition for professional status. Under the guidance of Dean Bartholf, the school fully developed the Bachelor’s Degree program, and the first Masters Degree program in the state. The last class in the Diploma Program was admitted in 1957. World and local events helped shape the student experience. The School of Nursing participated in the Cadet Nurse Corps program during World War II, and a number of graduates served in the Armed Forces. Dolly Vinsant, a graduate of the class of 1940, entered the Army Nurse Corps and was killed in action in April 1945. A flight nurse on a medical evacuation plane that crashed, she was the only Texas woman killed in operations as a direct result of enemy action. Vinsant Hall, a student residence, was named in her honor. The war led to many advances in medical science and technology. The demand for health care increased dramatically. There was a tremendous increase in federal spending for health care research and education. The Medical Branch experienced enormous growth during this time. Nursing students worked and learned in an environment that was active in research and increasingly oriented toward acute, highly specialized care.


BRAVERY PERSONIFIED Wilma “Dolly” Vinsant, a 1940 School of Nursing graduate, spent much of World War II evacuating wounded Americans from battlefields in Germany, many from the front lines. The petite Texan (and avowed Amelia Earhart fan) enlisted in the US Army Nurse Corps in 1942 and, after acing rigorous basic training, went on to become one of only five hundred air evacuation flight nurses. Stationed in England, Vinsant had completed her hazardous-flight quota when she volunteered for one last mission. She became one of only three in the Army Nurse Corps (and the only one from Texas) killed by direct enemy action when her plane was shot down over Germany. Her valor earned her many posthumous honors, including the Purple Heart and a special citation from President Harry Truman. Although neither building stands today, Vinsant’s hometown named a hospital after her, and UTMB recognized its nursing graduate by naming a student dormitory in her honor.

A NURSING STUDENT PERSPECTIVE AN ACCOUNT OF THE TEXAS CITY DISASTER, APRIL 16, 1947 The day of the Texas City disaster, I was coming down the steps of the main building of John Sealy Hospital. Sally Burns, supervisor of the Operating Room, and three other people were passing in a car headed for Texas City and yelled to me to get in the car, declaring there was an emergency in Texas City and I was needed. I was in a student nurse’s uniform and told them I didn’t have permission from the Nursing Office. Sally Burns said, “It doesn’t matter, I give you permission.” I later learned I was one of the first five persons from the medical branch on the scene. When we arrived in Texas City and drove through the downtown area, there was destruction everywhere. Windows in all the buildings were blown out. We went to the school gym and found it full of bodies. We started giving first aid and giving morphine to relieve the pain. Some of the bodies were charred, some of them dead and if the patient was still conscious, the patient was in excruciating pain, so I had an open order to administer hypodermics of pain relievers as I saw need. In a situation like this you are oblivious to everything except doing the job at hand. Somehow everything you have ever learned in this area comes to the surface and you do the best you can. I worked there for hours and in the end I brought a patient back in a station wagon, holding his infusion and guiding the way. In an emergency, things go quickly. When I arrived back on campus it was covered with tents. The Red Cross moved in to help and was passing out coffee and food to exhausted workers. All medical personnel were on 24-hour call. It was amazing how everything began to fall into place and regardless of rank or race, we were a team, doing the best we could. For years I saw many of the patients from this terrible disaster on the hospital floors. I later realized there was no way that you could take a holistic view of a patient in a situation like this; it’s only the immediate needs that are met.

Nursing students in 1947 worked with the medical and nursing teams who cared for the victims of one of the worst disasters in U.S. history, the explosion of the ships the Grandcamp and the High Flyer at the Texas City docks. More than 600 people were killed, and nearly 800 wounded. Most were hospitalized at the medical branch. This experience helped to expand the scope of nursing, as nurses were called upon in a state of emergency to perform new procedures and assessments to care for the injured, and demonstrated that they were able to do so efficiently.


A NURSING STUDENT PERSPECTIVE In retrospect the upperclassmen played a key role in facilitating my student experiences. We did not have clinical faculty, and the registered nurses were supervisors, head nurses (sometimes over more than one ward), and private duty nurses. Early in my training, Mary, an upper classmen, informed me and my roommate that she had obtained permission for us to observe a blood transfusion to be performed one evening at 7 p.m. in a particular treatment room. There were no blood banks as we know them now. The blood transfusion was a direct transfusion of blood from one person to another carried out in the most aseptic technique known at that time. It was an exciting experience to have the doctors explain the process to us. CHLOE FLOYD, CLASS OF 1943

Nursing knowledge and skill expanded along with medical advances. The baccalaureate program emphasized the need for a good general academic background, preparation in physical and behavioral sciences, and education in all areas of clinical nursing. Nursing practice expanded rapidly with new equipment and nursing procedures constantly developing. The time-honored activities of nurses for assisting in patients to feel cared for and comfortable continued to play an important part in student learning. By the late 1950s, married students were allowed to attend the school. Married students and those over 21 were permitted to live off-campus, and the first male and minority students had entered the program. In 1976, in response to request from the local nursing community, under the direction of Dean Dorothy Damewood, the school developed a self-paced program for RN to BSN nurses known as the Flexible – Option Program. The school was the first to have a separate baccalaureate track for RNs. Students moved through the curriculum with different progression, and course evaluation was based on attainment of course competencies rather than on hours spent in the classroom. It was based on the assumption that RN students come with varied work experiences that contribute to attainment of course competencies. Another major assumption was that these students usually work full time with major family responsibilities and manage multiple roles. This program offered opportunities to students who never before could continue their education. By the late 1970s the student body had grown to more than 400 students in graduate and undergraduate programs. There was a growing number of non-traditional students, including those who came to nursing later in life, often as a second career. Some students continued to live and work together in dormitories, while others pursued independent living arrangements. The standard uniform gave way to the individual’s choice of white uniform and shoes. Matters of dress and decorum were less rigid and more individual. Knowledge, skill, and accountability for practice entitled nurses to be respected as professionals. 28

A NURSING STUDENT PERSPECTIVE During the years of 1986-2001, Dean Mary Fenton’s administration, the School of Nursing embarked on a number of progressive ventures. In 1986, the school moved to its new building which it shared with the School of Allied Health, and was able to accommodate more nursing students. This location provided office space for faculty, additional classrooms, a Learning Resource Center, offices for Student Affairs, research space, as well as study and computer labs. A new organizational structure was instituted based on the creation of four departments within the school: Maternal/ Child Health, Community Health/Gerontology, Adult Health, and Mental Health/ Management, with Associate Deans for Academic Affairs, Research, and Practice, and educational program directors. Department chairs guided the faculty in development of research, practice options, and teaching excellence. The school also established the office for Student Affairs, office of Development and Alumni Affairs, and two centers: the Research Center and the Center for Law and Ethics. Based on the growing need for Advanced Practice programs in Texas and nationwide, Nurse Practitioner programs were established including Adult, Pediatric, Ob/Gyn and Women’s Health, and Gerontology.

The day finally arrived for rotations through Ob/Gyn, Pediatrics, Med-Surg, Psychiatry. I’ll never forget some of my patients -what a variety of needs that begged for attention. Our case studies and nursing assessment skills were never ending. The best in us came out -- we truly cared about these people, our patients. We tried to understand and make them comfortable and well. A mastectomy patient of mine came back after her discharge to give me a box of chocolate covered cherries. She had such a hard time and suffered great emotional shock initially. But we talked so often about her rehabilitation and good prognosis that her human spirit rallied. She was so poor, and her gift to me when she left made me realize the importance of caring and understanding. SUSANNE HOOSER SULLIVAN, CLASS OF 1967

The relationship between the medical branch hospitals and the school was a vital link to the development of quality educational programs and nursing practice; a collaborative program conceived in the late 1980s enhanced continuing education, research, and nursing practice. At the same time, the school established a formal faculty practice plan with faculty practicing at UTMB hospitals and clinics as well as other private and public clinics and hospitals in Galveston, the Clear Lake area, and Houston. Simultaneously, the school also turned its attention to international health care. In 1988, it became one of the three founding members, along with the University of Illinois and the University of Pennsylvania Schools of Nursing, and the World Health Organization Collaborating Centers for Nursing/Midwifery Development in Primary Health Care. Through its membership, the school collaborated with schools of nursing all over the world in the development of nursing education. The program initiated collaborative agreements with other schools to create opportunities for faculty and student exchange programs, fellowships, and leadership development training, where faculty members could share models of health care education and conduct joint research projects with colleagues from around the world. Academic relationships were established with nursing schools in England, Thailand, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Bahrain, Egypt, and the Caribbean Region. With the assistance of the Kellogg Foundation and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the school was able to place special emphasis on nursing and health care in Mexico and Latin America, including schools of Nursing in Columbia, Ecuador, Chile, Brazil, and Guyana.


In 1988, the School of Nursing assumed a major leadership role on campus in distance education. Advances in technology powered paradigmatic shifts in education. The school promoted the RN-BSN curriculum (Flexible-Option) establishing a collaborative program with Lee College in Baytown, in which the faculty traveled to Baytown to instruct the students face-to-face. This onsite degree program allowed those in underserved areas of the state to complete their education in their own communities where they often stayed to practice. In 1990, the School of Nursing celebrated its Centennial Anniversary with a year of events. More than 575 alumni came from as far away as Australia to attend the Homecoming Weekend in March. In honor of the School of Nursing Centennial,the school received its first endowed chair, the Rebecca Sealy Centennial Chair from The Sealy and Smith Foundation. In April, the faculty staged a Global Nursing Conference with attendees from all over the world, coinciding with hosting the third annual meeting of the World Health Organization Network of Collaborating Centers for Nursing Development. In September, the American Association of the History of Nursing held its annual meeting at the Tremont House, hosted by the school.

TIME TO HONOR ALUMNI The Centennial was a time to reflect with pride on a long tradition of excellence and innovation. The Alumni Association established the Hall of Fame Award to honor alumni who made major contributions to nursing through a commitment of excellence in patient care, research, publications, education, community service, and/or nursing leadership, and the Rebecca Sealy Alumni Award which was given at Commencement each year. It was also a time to reestablish old traditions such as the Pinning Ceremony, and initiate the inclusion of the baccalaureate hooding in the graduates’ commencement regalia. Securing regard and respect from many, the celebration of the centennial year spurred the school to move steadily forward to address the new roles and challenges it would face in the 21st century. Strongly committed to the pursuit of excellence in education, research and clinical practice, the school expanded its programs. Nurse Midwifery, Acute Care, Psychiatric/Mental Health Practitioner, and Family Nurse Practitioner programs were formed and became ranked among the top programs of their kind in the nation, allowing students to remain in the areas where they lived and worked. Seeking the most innovative approach to education, in 1992, the Family Nurse Practitioner program (FNP) joined the RN to BSN program by delivering its curriculum online. The FNP program used videotapes to augment campus visits and to provide content when a faculty member was unable to travel to a clinical site. In 1994, UTMB acquired two-way broadcast capabilities and the school soon began broadcasting to remote sites via a T-1 line rented from the telephone company. The Neonatal Nurse Practitioner program was started in conjunction with Harris Hospital in Fort Worth. By the late 1990s, the school was broadcasting programs to several locations across southeast Texas, including the UT Health Science Center at Houston, Willford Hall Medical Center in San Antonio, Lee College in Baytown, Scott and White Hospital in Temple, and Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches.


A NURSING STUDENT PERSPECTIVE Under the leadership of Dean Fenton (1986-2001), the school addressed the problem of the nationwide shortage of nurses, including those to teach advanced-level courses. The national nursing shortage created a demand for highly skilled nurses with advanced education. Nurses were being employed in a greater variety of healthcare settings than ever before, and the need for a steady supply of nurses who could function in advanced roles of administrators, educators, clinical nurse specialists, nurse practitioners and nurse midwives became increasingly evident. In 1996, the School of Nursing answered the challenge by creating a doctoral program with unique emphasis on the construct of healing, which enabled the school to achieve top U.S. ranking and be competitive for national research funding. In 1998, the school developed a Web presence with their first online website. With the capabilities of web-based instruction growing and the technology becoming viable, faculty of the school developed the first web-assisted course for the school and the university, and entire programs became web-based over the next few years.

In 2001, under the leadership of Dr. Pamela Watson, the school continued to grow and to offer innovative approaches to nursing education in all programs, including clinical simulation with interactive mannequins, online education programs, development of new degree programs, and fast-track degree plan options. Through nursing research, the faculty became more involved in the acquisition of knowledge that translates to improvements at the bedside for better patient care. During this period, five new academic programs were added in response to state and national mandates to educate and graduate nurses with advanced degrees within accelerated time frames. These included: Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) to PhD; Registered Nurse (RN) to Master of Science in Nursing (MSN); Bachelor of Science in Nursing Accelerated (BACC2); Master of Science Nurse Educator; and Master of Science Nursing Leadership in Complex Healthcare.

I am a senior level honors baccalaureate nursing student while I work full time as a licensed vocational nurse. I am 35 years, divorced with no children, and a homeowner. I work ICU or the ER on weekends: Fridays 3 p.m.–1 p.m.; Saturdays 7 a.m.-1 p.m.; Sundays 7 a.m.–11 p.m. Often I work longer hours than scheduled and I sleep about 4 or 5 hours between shifts. Monday through Friday I attend classroom and clinical scheduled events for a total of 33 hours of active participation. That leaves only 85 hours a week to sleep, study, commute, complete the necessary household duties, eat, and participate in a minimal social life. Obviously I maintain a rigid schedule of study, and budget my time carefully to accomplish these tasks. My schedule is not unlike my classmates who work other full time schedules and/or the classmates who have families. Being a student in the 1990s is a challenging and rewarding experience. In the future, I expect that a greater number of students will come to the BSN program with prior medical experience than in years past. We shall see more LVNs, paramedics, emergency medical technicians, and nursing assistants entering higher education programs. The priority of future nursing, especially the next decade, should be focused on programs to encourage and integrate these students. GARNETT C. STEWART, CLASS OF 1990


The Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree emphasizes healthcare leadership, interdisciplinary collaboration, scholarly practice, practice improvement, testing of care delivery models, and evaluation of health outcomes and health policy. The PhD Nursing program was expanded in focus to include health promotion, human response, and healing and became available as an online program September1, 2009. As a historic leader in distance education, the school improved courses and programs to meet the needs of the distance student. These online programs include: RN-BSN Track Baccalaureate; Gerontological Nurse Practitioner also as a Post-Master’s; Nurse Educator with Clinical Concentration; Pediatric Nurse Practitioner also as a Post-Master’s; Neonatal Nurse Practitioner also as a Post-Master’s; and Nursing Leadership in Complex Health Care Organizations. The newly renovated Nursing Simulation Center is equipped with state-of-the-art mannequins that simulate human biological functions. This equipment enables students to practice their skills in an environment that allows the use of trial and error learning without the risk to a real person. The lab is equipped with computerized Sim Man mannequins with programmable heart, lung, and bowel sounds along with palpable pulses and other training features. The lab also features multiple Vital Sim mannequins with programmable breath, heart and bowel sounds. Each station is equipped with a bedside computer that students use to access media related to the skills they are learning as well as a simulated electronic medical record for each mannequin. Other teaching labs include the Primary Care Lab and the Birthing Simulation Suite.


On September 13, 2008, Galveston and UTMB suffered greatly from the ravages of Hurricane Ike. The entire campus experienced severe flooding, and the first floors of all buildings were deemed uninhabitable for a month or more. Due to the foresight of leadership, the school was able to resume classes within two weeks of the devastating storm because of their many programs and classes available online.

A very special thank-you to those who documented the history of our SON. This history section was adapted from the School of Nursing Centennial exhibit, Women’s Work, Nurse’s Work: One Hundred Years of Caring, created by Poldi Tschirch, PhD, RN, and 120th Anniversary Piece, supported by previous SON leaders, Mary Fenton, DrPH, RN, and Pamela Watson, ScD, RN.

“I chose UTMB because of the small class sizes and cohort style. The flexibility of online classes was appealing and the required courses provide a comprehensive curriculum needed to be successful in executive leadership roles.” Teoka Shelton Executive Nurse Leader (MSN) Student


UTMB SON: THEN TO NOW TIMELINE The Seventeenth Texas Legislature formally establishes the University of Texas and votes to host the UT Medical department in Galveston, TX.


John Sealy Hospital Training School for nurses welcomed its first 23 students. This established the first nursing school in Texas.

1890 1891


John Sealy Hospital admits its first patients. 34

The Medical Department, later known as UTMB, opens and holds its first class in “Old Red.”

The 1900 storm occurred during my training. I know that none of us who passed through it will ever forget it. At that time senior nurses were sent out to do special nursing in homes, and one of my class was on such a case and she and the whole family were drowned…We worked under great handicaps for a time after the storm. No electricity or gas and only one cistern that had good water. Not much food either.

Mattie Moore Class of 1901 School of Nursing

First six students complete nursing program.


1900 1896

John Sealy Hospital Training for Nurses officially becomes part of the Medical Department. This marks the first nursing school in the nation to be affiliated with a university, now referred to as the School of Nursing.



SON expands diploma curriculum from two to three years.

First state hospital for African Americans in Texas opens. 35

UTMB SON: THEN TO NOW TIMELINE Rebecca Sealy Nurses’ Home dedicated.

SON offers the state’s first Master of Science in Nursing program (MSN).


1952 1937

SON offers bachelor’s degree (BSN) program.



SON establishes a self-paced program for registered nurses seeking baccalaureate degree (RN-BSN).

Hurricane Ike

School of Nursing begins to build SON Research Innovation and Scientific Excellence (RISE) Center.

SON offers its first doctoral degree program (PhD).





SON offers first online graduate education program in Texas.


Construction for new Health Education Center breaks ground and opens in 2019.


Fashion + Philanthropy Aid BSN Honors Program 2019 HOLIDAY STYLE SHOW WAS A RECORD-BREAKER Haute couture and health care may seem like an unlikely pairing—until you speak to the passionate supporters of UTMB School of Nursing’s Holiday Style Fashion Show and Luncheon. A partnership between fashion and philanthropy drive the success of this annual fundraiser for the school’s BSN Honors Program, supporting soon-to-be nurses who will deliver outstanding patient care. BSN honors students are top performers who go above and beyond to become leaders in their field. The honors program affords unique opportunities for these select undergraduate nursing students to work closely with faculty in small groups and engage in challenging experiences not found in the typical learning environment. The UTMB SON program is distinctive in its focus on policy issues related to the underserved populations in Texas. The 2019 style show on November 7 at Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center raised a record sum from donations and table sales for the BSN honors program and the leadership opportunities that it helps to sustain. An unexpected matching gift of $250,000 from the Moody Foundation is benefiting the BSN honors program over the next few years. “The Moody Foundation’s generous gift will help ensure future UTMB SON nursing professionals have the best educational experience,” said Dean Deborah J. Jones. “We are so grateful for this support, and we are excited for its current and future impact.” The event itself was a sight to see! The runway show, produced by Lenny Matuszewski, featured sensational seasonal fashion trends by TOOTSIES. The elegant gourmet lunch prepared by the fabulous chefs was decadent and remarkable. The phenomenal silent auction packages pleased even the most discerning holiday shoppers. The sophisticated lunchtime gala was worth attending, both for the entertainment and for a great cause! Unfortunately, COVID-19 public safety measures required cancellation of the 2020 fundraising event. A 2021 Holiday Style Fashion Show and Luncheon is planned for Nov. 18, pending UTMB public safety guidelines. For information about the upcoming benefit style show, or to make a donation to UTMB SON’s outstanding BSN Honors Program, call 409-772-8267 or email 2019 BSN Honor Students who graduated in May 2020. 38

Holiday Style Fashion Show and Luncheon Moody Gardens Hotel, Spa and Convention Center Nov. 7, 2019

Benefiting the BSN Honors Program


Investing in Healthcare Teams: UTMB’s Health Education Center

The Health Education Center (HEC) at 301 11th Street is designed and equipped to provide technologically-advanced training necessary for future nurses, physicians, biomedical researchers, physician assistants, clinical laboratory scientists, and occupational, physical and respiratory therapists, as well as experts in nutrition and rehabilitation science. The center’s design empowers disciplines to merge in the new space (162,000 square feet on five levels), where faculty from UTMB’s four schools teach a team approach to healthcare. To see more, visit:


Interprofessional Education

Simulation - Based Education

Research & Technology Development

INTERPROFESSIONAL EDUCATION (IPE) TEACHES A TEAM APPROACH UTMB prioritizes interprofessional education and practice in the delivery of health care, the pursuit of health knowledge, and the promotion of healthy societies. Accordingly, UTMB SON students are introduced, integrated and immersed into interprofessional environments to acquire the skills that advance collaboration and teamwork across the health sciences for the betterment of patient care. Cultivating interprofessional environments, teaching interprofessional skills, and facilitating interprofessional practice-based learning is the focus of the new $90.4-million Health Education Center (HEC). The UTMB campus’s first significant new education space in 40 years, the HEC is a landmark investment in state-of-the-art technologies and in teaching students a collaborative, interprofessional approach to health care. The HEC houses a 77-bed simulated hospital and encompasses five floors of cutting-edge simulation facilities equipped with over 60 low-, mid- and high-fidelity manikins for creating reallife simulations. “Students can fail in a safe environment,” Dean Deborah J. Jones told Galveston County’s The Daily News. “There’s a nursing station outside the ICU unit and control rooms behind it, all with cameras. Student interactions can be recorded for debriefing later by the medical staff.”


Nursing and Respiratory Care Partner for IPE Activity With a wide variety of disciplines represented on the UTMB campus, opportunities for interprofessional education (IPE) are nearly endless. A prime example of educators keeping interprofessional training from falling by the wayside during the COVID-19 pandemic was the collaboration between senior BSN students and the Department of Respiratory Care of UTMB’s School of Health Professions (SHP). School of Nursing assistant professors Chris Edwards, Ph.D., R.N., Roy Trahan, Ph.D., R.N., and Morgan Cangelosi, M.S.N., R.N., led an IPE activity to familiarize BSN students with aspects of respiratory care encountered in critical care areas, such as non-invasive and invasive ventilation, airways, and oxygen delivery. “We worked with Respiratory Care to create an IPE activity to give the SHP students, with a faculty member present, the opportunity to practice teaching about ventilators,” Edwards said. “And it allowed our students to see the various ventilators before going into the clinical setting. It also reinforced material from lectures.” Assistant Professor of Instruction and Director of Clinical Education Melissa J. Yanes, M.S., RRT-ACCS , was the Respiratory Care department’s lead. “This activity helps our students build on their communication skills and allows them to share their knowledge and experience with nursing students,” she said. Under normal circumstances, the Respiratory Care students would rotate through senior nursing class simulation activities. The COVID-19 pandemic, however, constrained group


size and forced faculty members to think creatively in order to preserve this learning opportunity. They devised a plan that allowed just as many students to participate, while prioritizing social distancing and safety. Twelve Adult III students of the 119 enrolled in the final senior nursing semester visited campus to participate in person, while the remainder did so remotely. Meanwhile, 21 senior-level Respiratory Care students served as facilitators, demonstrating the use of respiratory care equipment with simulated patients. Using their iPads, the nursing students walked through the stations and broadcast the activities to their classmates, who were connected via Zoom in breakout rooms. Students could still interact with SHP students and faculty members, as well as the SON faculty, to get clarification on concepts or to even ask for a different view. Amy Hughes Childs, an MSN Nurse Educator student at the time, appreciated the hybrid online/in-person format and also felt encouraged by the students’ level of engagement.

UTMB’s emphasis on interprofessional education will ultimately serve to improve the patient experience and population health, as well as reduce healthcare costs.

“For a nurse educator, activities like this are extremely beneficial to future endeavors,” she said. “With the current pandemic situation and the actual unknowns, being able to think out of the box and deliver quality education is exceptional.” José Rojas, Ph.D., R.R.T., associate professor and department chair, said that the Respiratory Care participants also benefited from being challenged to effectively teach both in-person and remote learners. He likened the experience to what patients must navigate as telemedicine encounters become more prevalent. “Many of our educational meetings are now being held virtually, and the nursing and respiratory care collaborative provided an opportunity to experiment with various technologies available. It gave us a good practical experience in advantages and limitations of the technologies,” Rojas said.


BAMBI into our BSN program,” said Dean Deborah J. Jones. “I believe this initiative will prove to be a template for other states to scale and implement in their communities.”


Nursing students help moms and newborns bond in award-winning partnership with BAMBI-TDCJ An offshoot of the Baby and Mother Bonding Initiative (BAMBI), the BAMBI/School of Nursing Collaborative Project builds on a partnership between the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ), UTMB Health System and TDCJ Hospital Galveston System. It supports the original mission of BAMBI—which allows eligible offender mothers to be housed with their babies in a secure residential facility following delivery rather than sending the newborn to family or alternative care—while also fostering clinical and leadership skills in current BSN students. UTMB SON Assistant Professor Jacquelyn Svoboda, D.N.P., R.N.C., formed this initiative in 2016 with a community-wide team—including Veronica KwartengAmaning (SON alumna, 2002), Natalie Bachynsky (SON and UTMB alumna, 1998 &, 2008) and Elizabeth Moore, BAMBI liaison. As they and other collaborators identified ways for the existing BAMBI program to become more effective, they recognized the value of harnessing the energy, enthusiasm and willingness to learn of the UTMB BSN student cohort. “Dr. Svoboda’s strong passion for women’s health and for working with vulnerable populations, plus her enthusiasm and commitment, have been the driving forces to expand 44

The BAMBI/School of Nursing Collaborative Project encourages breastfeeding and bonding for incarcerated mothers by utilizing student-led education and bedside companion opportunities. It pursues three tangible approaches through BAMBI to improve the outcomes for all offender mothers and their babies: 1. Student-led pre/postnatal educational sessions for all offenders 2. Resources (financial, supplies and personnel) for the prison and BAMBI facility 3. Bedside student birth and postpartum companions to improve mother-newborn access These efforts assist the offender mothers and their newborns, while also creating a unique service-learning opportunity for UTMB’s BSN students. Teams of faculty members and up to 12 senior BSN nursing students are established each semester to provide collaborative care, education and bedside companion support to offender mothers incarcerated in the Texas corrections system. Students must apply and qualify to be part of this project. Students receive specialized training through lactation sessions, childbirth education sessions, and through security-oriented training at the beginning of the semester. The chosen student cohort provides seven educational sessions for all offender pregnant mothers at TDCJ’s Carole S. Young Medical Facility to improve the mothers’ knowledge of prenatal, postnatal and infant care. Students who participate in the project are matched with BAMBI offenders and offer mentorship time following each education session. The matched students then remain on call for the duration of the semester as does Svoboda as the faculty member. When the BAMBI offender-mother is in labor, a nurse contacts Svoboda, who notifies the student to prepare to

arrive in labor and delivery. Students then serve at the bedside as birth and postpartum companions through the mother’s hospital stay. (Within this project, the nursing staff support the new mothers by promoting skin-to-skin contact with their babies, as well as breastfeeding during the initial time after childbirth.)

As an educator, Svoboda views the initiative as profound and empowering for the BSN students. “The project impresses on them the importance of caring for patients without bias, the importance of educating patients so they can make better choices, and the importance of advocacy in nursing,” she said.

Svoboda is convinced that this type of innovative project has the potential to not only promote the bonding for the offender mothers with their babies today, but to also strengthen the mother’s confidence and understanding of how to care for them as they grow together outside of the prison nursery.


BENEFITS OF BAMBI Between the spring 2016 and fall 2020 semesters, participants in the BAMBI/SON Collaborative Project participants served over 1,087 hours at the pregnant incarcerated mothers’ bedsides, participated in 46 labor and postpartum experiences, and conducted 75 prenatal, women’s health and newborn health educational sessions in the prison. The SON faculty director has trained and mentored 161 students as they participated in this project. “This collaboration not only helps incarcerated mothers, it also promotes leadership and advocacy among BSN students,” Svoboda said. UTMB SON graduate Julie Stefanick (BSN, 2018) is confident that Svoboda and the BAMBI/SON Collaborative Project have shaped her educational experience at UTMB and guided her career trajectory as a nurse.

In the summer 2020 semester, 10 students were accepted into the project with modifications made for COVID-19 prevention and safety. Students were trained in advocacy for vulnerable populations and participated in educational sessions focused on incarcerated mothers. Students developed and distributed educational pamphlets on breastfeeding and infant support for the pregnant incarcerated mothers in the prison and in the out-ofprison BAMBI nursery program. In fall 2020, 18 students took part in the coronavirus-modified project. They developed two pamphlets and educational sessions that were presented live via Zoom video-conferencing. Topics included Infant Developmental Milestones and Newborn Care. “This was an interactive and engaging opportunity, even in the virtual setting,” said Svoboda.

THE FUTURE OF BAMBI Because there is no other project in the country that supports pregnant offender mothers by utilizing students’ nurses as educators and companions, one of the major goals of the collaboration is to inform other

“Professor Svoboda passionately introduced the initiative to our cohort, and I knew immediately that I wanted to participate,” Stefanick recalled. After working in both the public school system and the prison system, Stefanick found her calling in women’s reproductive health. She recently has been working as a clinical research nurse in the Gynecologic Oncology and Reproductive Medicine department at The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. Stefanick attributes her educational success to her experiences in BAMBI, noting that Svoboda worked hard to incorporate both clinical experience and education into the initiative for her students. 45

BAMBI/SON project, continued states about BAMBI. Svoboda, Kwarteng-Amaning and Bachynsky have presented their efforts at state and national professional meetings, including conferences of the American Academy of Nursing and the American Correctional Association, among others. In 2020, Svoboda collaborated to create and implement an evidence-based Breastfeeding-Friendly Algorithm for Incarcerated Mothers at UTMB women’s units while completing her doctorate at University of Alabama. Although an approved process was in place at UTMB which allowed in-patient breastfeeding and infant access as a standard of care for the incarcerated mothers, the algorithm sought to strengthen consistent application and use of these institutional policies. “The implementation of the Breastfeeding-Friendly Algorithm for Incarcerated Mothers project served as a template for nursing staff to create, analyze and amend clinical application processes to provide consistent family-centered care for this vulnerable population,” explained Svoboda. “It further strengthened awareness of the ethical and human rights issues and the need to provide process improvement through policy and advocacy for the incarcerated mother.”

Svoboda’s recent work also has the potential to serve as an exemplar for clinicians and breastfeeding champions to use to create and implement a site-specific breastfeeding friendly algorithm for incarcerated mothers.   The core BAMBI Program is now in its eleventh year of reaching offenders throughout Texas who are pregnant or new mothers. “UTMB School of Nursing is grateful for the opportunity to collaborate and to have a part in improving health outcomes for mothers and newborns,” said Svoboda, who continues to serve as the strong faculty lead working with current nursing faculty and students to provide a meaningful and long-lasting service-learning experiences.

Governor’s Award Honors BAMBI The Texas Board of Criminal Justice named Dr. Jacquelyn Svoboda and the BAMBI/School of Nursing Collaborative Project as a recipient of the 2021 Governor’s Criminal Justice Volunteer Service Award, established in 1995 to annually honor “the exemplary service and volunteerism of individuals and organizations making a significant impact in communities across Texas.” A virtual award ceremony hosted by the Texas Board of Criminal Justice on April 16, 2021, recognized the recipients and formally presented the prestigious award.


Camp Blessing Affords Students “Non-traditional” Clinical Experience For the past 10 years, BSN students from UTMB School of Nursing have fulfilled their pediatric nursing clinical hours at Camp Blessing, a summer camp for children with physical, developmental, or intellectual disabilities. During the summer, about 20 BSN students – supervised by two pediatric nursing faculty members – assist campers in the barrier-free gamut of activities, including: horseback riding, canoeing, fishing, ropes course, crafts, sports, water games and more. During their pediatric nursing clinical rotation at Camp Blessing, the students were responsible for the physical, social, psychological, and spiritual needs of their campers throughout the week. They provided continuous care for their campers, assisting with activities of daily living, camp activities, and any necessary medical care. They performed clinical skills such as, medication administration, seizure management, g-tube feedings, and administered injections. Students were challenged in their clinical decision-making skills in a fast paced, nontraditional environment. They also served as a medical/nursing resource to non-medical volunteers in their cabins.

“I was a little nervous at first on how to care for children of varying abilities — I wanted to make sure I did everything right,” said Milan Pandey, (B.S.N. 2019). After four weeks attending the required pre-camp preparation sessions, Pandey felt more confident and excited to serve where she was needed. “I was grateful that our faculty members, the cabin leaders and camp administrators prepared us well,” she said.

“During the week, our students were able to creatively negotiate controlled choices with their campers and they navigated through numerous challenging experiences with specialneeds children and teens,” said Assistant Professor Bonnie K. Webster, M.S., R.N., the pediatric nursing course coordinator. Although Camp Blessing is not a traditional hospital-based clinical rotation, the students were able to apply clinical knowledge into practice throughout the week and truly live the ‘art of nursing.’


Camp Blessing experience, continued

“A non-traditional clinical experience is an excellent opportunity for students to showcase their innate abilities to connect with people and each of them rose to the occasion!” Webster reported. “We are so proud of the knowledge and empathy that these students attained at Camp Blessing.” The entire cohort of BSN students supported the efforts of those attending Camp Blessing— by writing encouraging letters to their classmates, helping to collect donations for the camp, and raising $3,300 for camper scholarships.

“The Camp Blessing experience was so much more than I imagined, and I feel more prepared now to work in pediatrics, which I have always wanted to do,” said UTMB SON’s Lexie Virgadamo, 2019 BSN graduate. “This was the most empowering and challenging thing I have ever done!” Upon returning from summer camp, the students delivered their evidence-based practice presentations covering topics such as: the use of homeopathic supplements in children with chronic illness, the impact of non-medical interventions on children, and the psychological impact of a child who has a special need. “The students used their experiences at Camp Blessing to integrate their coursework with their clinical experience to educate their peers on the topics,” said Webster. “The entire semester was very inspiring.” UTMB School of Nursing continues to partner with Camp Blessing each summer, as one of a variety of high-impact learning opportunities that shape the educational experience of UTMB nursing students and later inform their nursing practice.

“We felt really proud to be from UTMB. Everyone there at Camp Blessing knew that we were nursing students and that we were learning. They taught us the best communication styles, and we provided a valuable perspective from a healthcare lens. It was a collaborative effort and we felt so grateful to help in any way we could.” –2019 B.S.N. grad Milan Pandey


RISE Center: Primed for Discoveries UTMB SCHOOL OF NURSING’S RESEARCH INNOVATION AND SCIENTIFIC EXCELLENCE CENTER PROVIDES PLATFORM FOR SCHOLARSHIP The Research Innovation and Scientific Excellence (RISE) Center supports and facilitates the development of nurse scientists and the success of their research. The RISE Center offers support to faculty in all stages of the research process, from conceptualization of research design through obtaining funding, implementation of the research project, data analysis, and publication of findings. Also, mentorship available at the RISE Center provides opportunities for students to engage in research and scholarship. “These priorities guide the development of a sustainable research infrastructure within UTMB School of Nursing dedicated to the generation and translation of evidence that promotes research innovation and scientific excellence,” said Dean Deborah J. Jones. The RISE Center team includes: Associate Dean of Research and Scholarship Lorraine Evangelista, Ph.D., R.N.; Grants Management Director Bridget E. Hawkins, Ph.D., M.B.A.; Associate Professor Hoang Nguyen, Ph.D.; plus a grants administrator and an administrative assistant. From January 2019 through the end of March 2021, the SON faculty has submitted 65 research grant proposals. Clearly, the school’s research enterprise is growing, as it submitted eight grants in the calendar year 2019, 52 grants in the calendar year 2020, and produced 33 publications from January 2019 to December 2020.

Lorraine S. Evangelista, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN As a researcher, Professor Lorraine Evangelista is recognized nationally and internationally for her investigation into the care of patients with heart disease and the effects of this disease on the patients and their family members. She has conducted high-profile, federally funded research among adults suffering with chronic heart failure for more than two decades. Her research covers the biobehavioral, psychosocial and biological aspects that impact psychological well-being, functional health, quality of life and clinical outcomes in adults diagnosed with chronic heart failure — a population that represents the highest number of hospital admissions among Medicare beneficiaries. She joined the UTMB School of Nursing faculty in July 2019 and holds the Lena Finke Distinguished Chair for Nursing Arts. Evangelista has more than 100 publications in medical and nursing journals on adherence, self-care, psychological distress, quality of life and health literacy. She has sustained NIH funding as a PI or co-I with a number of R01- and R21-level grants. Her current NIH funding is focused on promotion of healthy living using remote technology in older adults. As an educator, Evangelista is dedicated to using innovative educational techniques to enhance the utilization of nursing knowledge and promote the legacy of nursing to the next generation of scholars in creative and exciting ways. She has received numerous awards throughout her career, and in 2019 was inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (FAAN). Dr. Evangelista will be inducted into Sigma’s 2021 International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. 49

RISE Center and research, continued Evangelista used a UT System Star Award received in May 2019 to renovate existing SON space for the RISE Center. Completed in November 2020, the Center encompasses about 3,500 square feet and features a reception area, four offices, one large conference room, a consultation and examination room, and a small room for family teaching and counseling or for instructing patients. The RISE Center Biobehavioral Lab includes resources to design, conduct and evaluate innovative biobehavioral projects that address health concerns and test outcomes of interventions. The Lab was designed for intervention studies involving exercise, nutrition, health education, and complementary and alternative medicine such as yoga, meditation and mindfulness. UTMB SON’s RISE Center focuses on six key areas that concentrate on optimizing health across the discovery to translation spectrum. These areas of research excellence are: Innovative Interventions (Digital Health Technology): Research that deploys rare and novel strategies for understanding, interpreting, translating, gathering or otherwise using data and information to draw conclusions and ask important questions. Innovative interventions include big data analysis, new tools and technology, and utilizing established concepts in new ways. Population Health/Health Disparities: Research that examines the differences in quality, outcomes and access of health and healthcare across populations. Areas of study include health inequities in vulnerable populations, social injustice, underserved populations, global health, and environmental influences. Chronic Disease, Disability, and Self-Management: Research that examines lifestyle, environmental and/or genetic factors that lead to chronic disease (e.g., diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pain management, cancer fatigue, and childbearing recovery) and disability to develop improved, personalized strategies to treat and prevent adverse symptoms and enhance self-management across diverse populations and settings. Precision Health Care: Customizing evidence-based approaches to health that incorporate genomics, environmental factors and lifestyle.

Integrative Health Across the Lifespan: Research that focuses on the whole person and the entire community. It is informed by scientific evidence and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic, preventive and research approaches with the goal of optimal health and wellness across the lifespan. Nursing Education: Research that is faculty-and-student- centered. Education research focuses on the science of learning and the science of teaching. The outcome is related to how well the educational approaches and assessments resulted in nurses providing excellent patient care. Each of these six areas of excellence provide a platform for building research profiles and connectivity within a scientific community. UTMB SON researchers will use resources from each to augment their expertise. Essential underpinnings of these areas include the exploration of science across the age continuum and the quest for knowledge that must be explored in populations, both well and ill. 50

RISE Center and research, continued “Our research areas of excellence will support the overall synergy of research initiatives at the School of Nursing,” said Dean Deborah J. Jones. “They build on existing faculty strengths as well as future potential, they are conceptually broad to allow multiple opportunities for researchers to develop and grow collaborative partnerships, and they will guide efforts for recruiting researchers.” Faculty may participate in the activities of all six areas during the evolution of their individual research programs. Research projects like the following at UTMB School of Nursing may soon help improve and even save lives. Nurse researchers and collaborators are: •

Unraveling the role of host-microbiome interaction and genetic predisposition in patients with heart failure and noncardiac comorbidities

• Utilizing school nurses as agents to prevent suicidal behavior among adolescents • Establishing vision screening considerations during the COVID-19 pandemic for schools, Head Start, and early care and education programs •

Testing of a just-in-time adaptive intervention to promote physical activity in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction: impact on self-care, fitness, metabolic profiles, and quality of life

Creating emergency preparedness awareness using telehealth for vulnerable populations

Developing multidisciplinary walk and talk videos to increase physical activity among diverse older women

• Promoting Socialization, Mindfulness, Accord, Recreation, and Tranquility using M-health during the COVID-19 crisis among seniors residing in Long-Term Care Facilities •

Developing and testing personalized risk models for the likelihood of hospitalization, recovery, and death due to COVID-19

Elucidating clock gene expression mechanisms among Type 2 PreDiabetics: self-management using mobile health technologies

Using telehealth for early identification and symptom management of patients at high risk for contracting and succumbing to COVID-19

• Reducing 30-day readmission rates for nursing home residents •

Improving understanding of prediabetes awareness and screening in underserved Hispanic communities


RISE Center and research, continued Professor Huey-Ming Tzeng, PhD, RN, FAAN used funding from a UT System Rising Star Award to renovate existing space in the School of Health Professions-School of Nursing Building. The new area encompasses 837 square feet, including a mobile classroom, a reception lobby, a multipurpose room, an office, and storage space. The Community Space for Health and Wellbeing, in partnership with the RISE Center, will support and facilitate patient-centered outcomes research, guided by patients, caregivers, and the broader healthcare stakeholder community. It will employ an approach that values engagement with community stakeholders (such as older adults, patients, family caregivers, healthcare providers, and policymakers) while also highlighting collective analysis and testing based on experience and social history. This community space will also be the site of the home technology lending library partially funded by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine South Central Region Technology Enhancement Award (June 2020-April 2021).

Dr. Huey-Ming Tzeng Tzeng, who joined UTMB SON’s faculty in 2019, currently holds the Odelia Brown McCarley Endowed Professorship in Nursing, which supports the scholarly activities of nursing faculty. Her own research focuses on patient safety and quality of care for adults, specifically fall prevention and patient engagement towards self-care. She uses both quantitative and qualitative research designs to address patient safety issues in clinical settings. Tzeng frequently has been published as lead author in peer-reviewed journals and is co-author of Patient Unit Safety and Care Quality: Promotion of SelfHealing Systems During Hospital Stays (Nova Science Publishers, 2008).


Faculty Accolades and Scholarship Dr. Lorraine Evangelista, Professor and Associate Dean for Research and Scholarship, was selected for induction into Sigma’s 2021 International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame. Evangelista and other esteemed nurse researchers from throughout the world will be inducted at Sigma’s 32nd International Nursing Research Congress, to be held virtually July 22-26.

Dr. Kristen Starnes-Ott, Professor and Vice Dean for Academic Affairs has been inducted as a Fellow of the National Academies of Practice. NAP is an interprofessional association dedicated to supporting affordable, accessible, coordinated quality health care for all. Distinguished practitioners and scholars are elected by their peers from fourteen different health professions.

SON Faculty Endowments


Did You Know? The SON’s faculty retention rate was 100% for three consecutive years, 2018, 2019, 2020.


Faculty Accolades, continued Assistant Professor Juan Feng, was honored with the Alice Caroline Brown Endowment for Nursing Research, which was created to support nursing faculty researchers. An educator in the B.S.N. program, Feng (pictured at right with Dr. Kristen Starnes-Ott, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, and Dr. Deborah Jones, Senior Vice President and Dean) has clinical and research interests in chronic disease management. – March 2020

Assistant Professor Dr. Jacquelyn Svoboda, center, with benefactors Andy and Bev Odom, was appointed to the Odom Endowment for Nursing Research. This endowment was established to advance continued excellence. Dr. Svoboda has previously earned the School of Nursing’s Betty Lee Evans Nursing Excellence Award and the Good Samaritan Foundation’s Excellence in Nursing Bronze Award. – March 2020

Dr. Kristen Starnes-Ott, Vice Dean for Academic Affairs, at the 2020 Faculty Awards Reception last March was named as the inaugural holder of the Betty P. Akins Endowed Chair in Nursing. This endowment supports cutting- edge research, patientcentered care, new nursing technology development and programs that link UTMB with the community. Dr. Starnes-Ott has extensive teaching experience in master’s and doctoral programs, with a specialty in Nurse Anesthesia education. – March 2020 54

Faculty Accolades, continued The Eisenhauer Biegert Faculty Award was established to recognize faculty members who provide an innovative, caring, humanistic approach to nursing education. The 2020 recipient, Assistant Professor Morgan Cangelosi, champions mobile technology in the classroom and creates active learning opportunities for her students. – April 2020

Dr. Suzanne Alton, associate professor, was a UT System 2020 Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award recipient. This outstanding honor recognizes extraordinary performance and innovation in education at the 14 UT System academic and health institutions. In addition to teaching in the School of Nursing’s Family Nurse Practitioner track, she also serves as a member of the Academy of Master Teachers and Academy of Master Clinicians, and is a past chair of the UTMB Faculty Senate. She holds the Sterling-Turner Endowed Professorship for Teaching Excellence. Alton also serves on the Doctor of Nursing Practice Council, the group that oversees the DNP program and is responsible for admissions, curriculum, and academic policies. – July 2020

Dr. J. Michael Leger, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean for Organizational Effectiveness and Evaluation, was appointed to the John P. McGovern Chair in the Healing Practices of Nursing. This endowed position is a five-year appointment. – August 2020


Faculty Accolades, continued Dr. Cheyenne Martin has been reappointed to the Rebecca and Edwin Gale Endowed Distinguished Professorship in Nursing for a five-year term. Her research has focused on ethical decision-making among nurses and physicians with regard to the treatment of vulnerable populations, as well as the roles of nurses and physicians in resistance activities from World War II to present day. – September 2020

Drs. Cheryl Juneau and Maureen Biggs have won funding of their UTMB ITS Community Health Program grant. Their project, “Telehealth for Vulnerable Populations,” works with patients at St. Vincent’s Clinic to identify and explore issues surrounding the use of telehealth. “As providers and patients have become more reliant on telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, vulnerable populations that already face many barriers to health care have encountered additional obstacles,” Juneau said. “Many of the non-English-speaking patients preferred not to utilize video during their telehealth visit. The reasoning is not clear, thus we felt it imperative to assess further,” she said. “Failure to capture these issues will lead to more barriers and lack of access to health care, which is of concern, especially during a pandemic.” – October 2020

Three SON faculty members - Dr. Shinu John, Kimberly Rumsey, and Meredith Ford have received the Texas Organization of Baccalaureate and Graduate Nursing Education Research Award. They are planning to develop and implement a gamified course for second-semester B.S..N students, seeking to improve engagement and critical thinking skills. The award will support the purchase of software to begin developing the course.


– March 2021

Faculty Accolades, continued Dr. Hoang Nguyen, Associate Professor and Biostatistician, has been appointed to the executive committee of the American Statistical Association (ASA) Consulting Section as a Webmaster. The Statistical Consulting Section of the ASA represents all ASA members involved in the practice of statistics. Its membership embraces statistical practitioners who apply methodology to solve challenging questions within and across a wide array of disciplines. – February 2021

Dean Deborah J. Jones was elected to serve a two-year term as a Board Member at-Large of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN). Votes were cast by member deans from the nation’s nursing schools having baccalaureate and higher degree programs. – February 2021

Dr. Andrea Colburn will serve as a new member and APRN representative from the Society of Vascular Nurses to serve on the Population Health Taskforce of the Society of Vascular Surgeons (SVS). This is the first time the SVS has opened this taskforce to a member of the nursing profession. The group will explore the strategic role and position of vascular surgery in achieving patient-centered, value-based, team-based, multidisciplinary delivery systems, which address disparities, explore innovative payment models, and improve population level vascular health delivery and outcomes. Her goal is to show the value APRNs bring to the table in which innovative solutions to vascular health disparities, value-based care models, and population health curriculum will be investigated. – February 2021




Alumni Making Their Mark ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: CAMILLE PHAM For someone who thrives on peer relationships as much as Camille Pham, completing her last two months of nursing school online and missing an in-person graduation due to COVID-19 were major challenges. But now that she has earned her BSN and is starting her first nursing job, she understands that she is coming into the profession at a critical time. “I know this pandemic isn’t ending soon, and this will be a unique time to learn and take care of patients who need us most,” Pham says. Pham has accepted a position at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, MD as a Neurosciences Critical Care Nurse Resident. The unit where she will be working is the hospital’s COVID-19 ICU. She says she is going into the experience ready to learn as much as possible about neuro and critical care nursing, while building on the knowledge she gained as a student at UTMB. Outstanding faculty members who were invested in her success, peers who were equally committed to achieving their goals, and exposure to unique learning opportunities characterized her UTMB SON experience, something she appreciates greatly. She says experiences like working at St. Vincent’s Clinic, the Hands and Feet Medical Mission to Peru, clinical work at Hospital Galveston, and BAMBI (Baby and Mother Bonding Initiative) taught her about working in interprofessional teams and gave her skills that will be valuable anywhere she goes to work. Pham hopes to become a preceptor and clinical instructor, and has her sights set on earning her DNP. Eventually, she would love to become a professor or hospital educator, instilling in others the same meaningful lessons she learned in nursing school. “Simply put, I hope to teach the young minds of nursing that it is a privilege to take care of others and doing it with empathy will always get you furthest,” she says.

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: JASON WEST Congratulations to SON alum Jason West on his outstanding distinction from the DAISY Foundation! Jason, a graduate of our BSN program, was recognized for delivering outstanding care in his position in the Cardiovascular Intensive Care Unit at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: IVET GAYTAN Diverse educational and clinical experiences are the foundation of the BSN program at UTMB School of Nursing. The opportunity to explore so many aspects of a nursing career is one of the reasons Ivet Gaytan, B.S.N., R.N., knows UTMB was the best place for her education. “My education at UTMB School of Nursing definitely helped me find out what type of nurse specialty I’m interested in,” says Gaytan, now an RN at Shriners Hospital for Children in Galveston. “If it wasn’t for my education at the SON I would not have been exposed to Shriners; it paved my nursing career path.” Gaytan, who graduated in Spring 2019, completed her pediatric clinical rotation at Shriners. The experience allowed her to discover a passion for helping pediatric burn patients, which led her to a position in Shriners’ pediatric burn intensive care unit. 58

Alumni Making Their Mark ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: MEG BAERTL BROWN BSN alumna Meg Baertl Brown was selected by the Better Business Bureau as a “Southeast Texas Woman of Integrity.” BBBs throughout Texas, in partnership with Lamar Institute of Technology, recognized the four 2020 “Woman of Integrity” honorees during the BBB Texas Professional Women’s Conference, held virtually on October 22. Brown has been a nurse for 14 years in the pediatric, obstetrics and gynecology, and hospice fields. She earned her M.S.N. in Nursing Administration at Lamar University, and is completing her post-master’s Family Nurse Practitioner certificate from West Coast University. Involved in many local civic organizations, she set up the PeriodPower Pantry in the Beaumont/ Orange area to provide menstrual period products to girls and women in need in Southeast Texas. She has delivered over 200 packs (each contains an inspirational card) to local high schools and nonprofits, as well as distributing packs to aid in the Hurricane Laura relief. Meg was born in Lima, Peru and raised in Fawn Grove, Pennsylvania. She made her way to Southeast Texas with her family in 1995. – October 2020

ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: The UTMB School of Nursing Alumni Association Hall of Fame honors graduates who have made significant contributions to nursing through commitment to excellence in patient care, community service and nursing leadership. The following new Hall of Famers were honored in October 2020: •

Dr. Safa’a Al-Arabi

Dr. Steven Branham

Dr. Allison Edwards

Dr. Safa’a Al-Arabi, a 2003 graduate of the Ph.D. in Nursing program, has worked in several nursing specialty areas including medical, obstetrics, pediatrics and community health. She has held leadership positions in UTMB SON, currently serving as CNL track administrator in the M.S.N. program.

• Dr. Steven Branham was a member of the inaugural graduating cohort of the Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program at UTMB SON in 1996. He has over 39 years of progressive health care delivery experience, and has provided instruction to over 500 acute care nurse practitioners as well as many other practicing nurse practitioners. • Dr. Allison Edwards (B.S.N., 1987), is an assistant professor at UTHealth Cizik School of Nursing, where she established the Joan and Stanford Alexander Fellowship in Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in 2017. A long-time supporter of her alma mater, she serves on the UTMB Development Board. First appointed in July 2015 by Governor Greg Abbott, Edwards now is vice president of the Texas Board of Nursing.


Alumni Making Their Mark ALUMNI SPOTLIGHT: KOURTNEY DEROUEN The hands-on experience that students obtain in the baccalaureate nursing program is a critical part of their training. Spring 2018 graduate Kourtney Derouen, B.S.N., R.N., knows this well. As a member of her hospital’s Hurricane Laura ride-out team in southwest Louisiana, she drew on all her skills to ensure her patients’ safety. “Being a part of the ride-out team during Hurricane Laura was an experience like no other. You train and go over protocols for what to do when disaster strikes, but it is nothing compared to the real thing,” Derouen said. Derouen is an R.N. on the cardiac/telemetry floor at CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick’s Hospital in Lake Charles, an area left devastated in the Category 4 storm’s wake. Working collaboratively with colleagues from all areas of the hospital, she was committed to help keep patients safe throughout the harrowing ordeal. Although a hurricane of Laura’s magnitude is a unique experience, Derouen had a strong educational foundation to prepare her. A native of Orange, she chose UTMB after speaking with several B.S.N. alumni who gave high recommendations. She also appreciated that many of the clinical training sites are in the Texas Medical Center, where there would be opportunities to work on and learn from a wide variety of cases. “My education at UTMB prepared me for this role by providing that core foundation of nursing knowledge and skills,” Derouen said. “Obviously there is still a lot to be learned in your first job as a graduate nurse, but the education I received from UTMB helped make it an easy transition from student to practicing nurse.” Now that Derouen has been in her professional role for a while, she looks back on nursing school recognizing the experiences that have been most valuable to her in her career. She encourages those who are entering nursing school to take advantage of every learning opportunity that comes their way. “Be as hands-on as you can in your simulation labs as well as clinical rotations. Don’t be afraid to speak up if you need extra practice or to ask to perform a skill in clinicals,” she said. “Every experience you can get while in school and in clinicals will help you that much more with your first real nursing job.” – September 2020


Congratulations to Zachary Carson, APRN, AGNP, recipient of a 2020 Gulf

Coast Gerontological Advanced Practice Nurses Association scholarship! The scholarship recognizes his outstanding achievements in geriatric nursing. Zach is a graduate of our MSN program and is currently completing his DNP at our UTMB School of Nursing! We are proud to have him as part of our SON community.


ACKNOWLEDGMENTS Over 130 years, UTMB School of Nursing has transformed in unprecedented and meaningful ways. This Magazine was created both to honor the legacies established and to ignite the future of our school. It is a privilege to recognize the individuals who have influenced our education and to highlight the frameworks that have created the SON that we know today.


Our faculty, staff, and students Our supporters, community members, donors, and alumni Our leaders, those who have come before us and those who will carry this legacy forward

The inaugural edition of our UTMB School of Nursing Annual Magazine publication recognizes our history, achievements and strategic priorities. We thank the contributors for their collaboration and creativity.

UTMB Leadership Ben G. Raimer, MD, MA, FAAP President ad interim Charles P. Mouton, MD, MS, MBA Executive Vice President, Provost and Dean, School of Medicine Thomas N. and Gleaves T. James Distinguished Chair Deborah J. Jones, PhD, MSN, RN Senior Vice President, Dean and Professor, School of Nursing Rebecca Sealy Distinguished Centennial Chair

Writing, Editorial and Design Support Bates and Company Communications, LLC Cortney Martin Senior Communications Specialist Office of the Provost Holly Rocha Senior Graphics Specialist Graphic Design and Printing Services Academic Resources Samantha Seale Miro Program Manager School of Nursing Dora L. Turner Senior Administrative Manager School of Nursing

130th Commemorative Section Contributions Darlene “Cheyenne” Martin, PhD, RN, FAAN Rebecca and Edwin Gale Distinguished Professor Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences and School of Nursing Ernestine “Tina” Cuellar, PhD, RN, PMHCNS, BC UTMB School of Nursing Distinguished Alumna