Hayes Scholar Tamryn Fowler Traveled to Seattle for Unique Educational Opportunity


Tamryn Fowler

Last November, Tamryn Fowler, BSN ’09 and a current student in the MSN program at the SON, traveled with Dean and Alumni Distinguished Professor Kristen Swanson, PhD, to the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, WA. Her trip was supported by the Hayes Fund, a fund created by Art Odom in memory of his mother Annie Lathan Odom Hayes. The fund is unrestricted and can be used at the discretion of the School of Nursing Dean. Tamryn has generously shared some reflections with us from her experience in Seattle.

Traveling to Seattle as a graduate student was a dynamic, once-in-a-lifetime experience. To be able to fly across the country to embark on a new learning opportunity was incredible. When I first arrived in Seattle, I remember riding in a ferry boat, saying to myself, “It is late at night, and I am riding in a ferry boat with the Dean. This is surreal!” It is difficult to explain the extent of gratefulness that I have toward Dean Swanson and my UNC School of Nursing family. I have only rode in a plane a handful of times in my life, but flying to Seattle last November changed my perspective of myself, my goals, and the meaning of investing in others.

The Dean saw this trip as an opportunity for me to learn more about the role of clinical nurse leaders at the Virginia Mason Medical Center. My academic pursuits in the graduate program are focused on being a nurse educator as well as a clinical nurse leader. Dean Swanson knew that Virginia Mason is a pioneer in executing the clinical nurse leader role in healthcare institutions. I learned how Virginia Mason recognized breakdowns in a patient’s healthcare experience, care fragmentations, and uncoordinated care, and how, in 2004, they began enhancing the effectiveness of front-line nurses, preventing redundancy in clinical practice, and promoting efficiency in coordinating patient care by introducing clinical nurse leaders at Virginia Mason.

I visited Seattle for three full days in November. I first attended the Virginia Mason Model of Care Inpatient Services Retreat, at which I had the privilege of hearing Dean Swanson speak about her theory, the Swanson Caring Theory, in front of hospital employees, including social workers, nurses, clinical nurse leaders, nurse manager, and patient care technicians. As a group, we talked about the organizational context for caring, recalled the five principles of the Swanson Caring Theory, described the phenomenon of compassion fatigue and associated coping strategies, and thought about ways to foster actions of caring on a unit-level.

This retreat reminded me that I am a part of something greater. Nurses have moments when we are hard-pressed from caring for severely-ill patients, but we must remember the beauty of connection and the privilege we have in being able to care for others every day. Dean Swanson emphasized the importance of believing in yourself, trusting your teammates, and honoring each individual you encounter. Listening to the staff’s personal patient stories and the Dean speaking about her theory, I was reminded that I have a purpose to care for others, advocate for them, and figure out what patients need and what they are going through. The Dean demonstrated how we are all the faces, hands, heart, and head of the hospital’s mission. I talked with several clinical nurse leaders at the retreat and learned firsthand what it means to be the keepers of a patient’s story. Patients rely on clinical nurse leaders to tell their story, their struggles, their needs, and promote a continuity of care for them.

On the last day, I met with Kelsey Rounds, a wonderful clinical nurse leader at Virginia Mason. He allowed me to shadow him to learn what a typical day is like for him.  It was a post-surgical floor, and we encountered many different patients with various needs. Kelsey mirrored confidence, resourcefulness, strong listening skills, problem-solving capabilities, creativity, and translated information effectively for all team members to understand the patient’s care. His role focused on ensuring safe verbal hand-offs among staff, making recommendations, organizing team rounding, demonstrating critical thinking, clinical judgment, as well as good follow-up and note-taking. He recognized the importance of listening to various perspectives while keeping the patient’s needs in the forefront.

I am incredibly thankful to the family of Ms. Annie Lathan Odom Hayes for providing me with the Hayes Award.  As the first recipient, I am very appreciative and absorbed everything during my visit to Seattle. I am grateful for the UNC School of Nursing family for organizing this trip, advocating on my behalf, and investing in me. This experience outlines the importance of constantly bringing your best self forward in all situations because you never know how your purpose in life will help someone else.

Thank you!

UNC Provides Care, Supplies on Service Learning Trip to Honduras

A group of 22 students and volunteers from UNC School of Nursing and UNC School of Pharmacy went to Honduras on a service learning trip during spring break 2012. The group joined the efforts of Compassion Med International in providing medical screenings, care, and supplies to local populations.

The group was led by SON’s Jean Davison, clinical assistant professor and family nurse practitioner. Volunteers included SON’s Rhonda Lanning, clinical instructor and nurse midwife, Elizabeth Prata, family nurse practitioner from UNC Center for Latino Health, and Christine Walko, PharmD from the School of Pharmacy.

The group conducted over 100 health screenings on local children before seeing over 150 patients per day at four different clinical sites. In addition, triage staff cared for minor complaints and handed out anti-parasitic treatments and vitamins. All told, the group saw more than 1,000 patients over the course of their trip, and distributed 20 food packets that could feed a family of five for one week.

UNC’s MedWorld helped provide the group with medical supplies to distribute to local hospitals and clinics. One hospital received endotracheal intubation equipment while its pediatric ward received beanie babies and toys.  Other supplies and medications were donated to Dr. Elmor Mejia, who is the only doctor with a hyperbaric chamber for treating injured Miskito lobster divers.

Before leaving Honduras, the group met with US Attorney David Arizmendi, vice consul of the US Embassy, who expressed appreciation for the group’s service.

View photos from their trip here.

Watch the “I am a Carolina Nurse” Video

Share the link to the video with your friends: http://wp.me/pb6Ou-oS.

Being a “Carolina Nurse” has many dimensions.  This 7-minute video tells the story from the perspective of students, alumni, faculty, SON and hospital leaders who all experience the quality, energy and emotion of being connected to one of the leading Schools of Nursing in the United States.  Unrestricted private gifts made this video possible and we are grateful to our alumni and friends who provide on-going support to the School.  For giving opportunities, please contact Director of Advancement Norma_Hawthorne@unc.edu

Endowed Merit Scholarship Created by Tom and Landon Fox

We are so pleased to tell you that Tom and Landy Fox created the J. Thomas Fox, MD `60 and Landon Lewis Fox, BSN `56 Undergraduate Nursing Merit Scholarship Fund.  This endowment fund will begin to support our students in 2011.  The Foxes want to have a relationship with student recipients during their lifetime and believe that by establishing the scholarship now, rather than leaving a bequest, their desire to experience “the joy of giving” more personally would be fulfilled.

Landon entered the School of Nursing in 1952 as part of the second BSN class in the state.  When this group of outstanding students graduated in 1956 they were at the vanguard of nursing education in the State of North Carolina.  They set an example and became role models for future Carolina nurses.

Over the years, Landon has enjoyed the camaraderie and friendships with her classmates that could have developed only through the shared experiences of living and studying together in the nurse’s dorm, guided by Dean Elizabeth Kemble.  After graduation, Landon worked in pediatric nursing.  She married Tom Fox, a graduate of the UNC School of Medicine.  They lived in Charlotte, NC, where Tom practiced psychiatry and Landon volunteered at family-oriented, non-profit organizations.  The Foxes have three married daughter.

Now, the couple has retired to Chapel Hill and enjoy many University alumni and athletic activities.  Tom serves as a Director of the School of Nursing Foundation, Inc. and Landy volunteers in the community.

When you see Tom and Landy, please give them your heartfelt thanks for their love and support of our School.

Ready To Eat…Now, All Done

Assistant professor Eric Hodges is currently conducting research into the ways mothers respond to the hunger and fullness cues their infants and toddlers present. The goal of his study is to determine whether a mother’s response plays a role in childhood obesity as the child ages and to identify ways to change those behaviors, if needed.

Hodges conducts his research in the recently-completed behavioral observation laboratory in the School of Nursing’s Biobehavioral Laboratory. Housed inside Carrington Hall, this space gives study participants a relaxed environment in which to interact and allows Hodges to observe their behaviors in a non-invasive way.

The School of Nursing has produced a documentary, highlighting the benefits and unique nature of this lab. With Hodges’ research as a backdrop, you will be taken into this new facility to see how nurse researchers develop knowledge that translates evidence into practice.  Enjoy!

Kristen M. Swanson, SON’s Sixth Dean, Takes Helm on Aug. 1, 2009

Karen M. Swanson, RN, PhD, FAAN, is Alumni Distinguished Professor and Dean of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing. She is renowned for developing the Swanson Theory of Caring – a theory that names and defines five characteristics of caring. She is also an active Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Nurse Fellow and is a member of the American Academy of Nurses, the American Nurses Association, the Council of Nurse Researchers and Sigma Theta Tau International. Before coming to the SON, she pursued research and academic interests at the University of Washington Medical Center in Seattle for 25 years.

Kristen M. Swanson, PhD, RN, FAAN, began her term as the sixth dean for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing on Aug. 1, 2009

Kristen M. Swanson, PhD, RN, FAAN, began her term as the sixth dean for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing on Aug. 1, 2009

“I came to the School of Nursing because I saw the commitment of administration, faculty, staff and students to ‘getting it right.’ There is clear evidence of integrity, a passion for excellence, openness to collaboration and a sense of pride in knowing that the work here makes a difference,” Swanson said. “The School’s values and mission match my personal and professional beliefs about nursing education, clinical research and the delivery of care.”

Swanson earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Rhode Island and continued with her academic pursuits, culminating with a master’s degree in adult health and illness nursing from the University of Pennsylvania and a PhD in psychosocial nursing from the University of Colorado. She completed her postdoctoral work at the University of Washington. In addition to holding a faculty position at the University of Washington, she taught at Trenton State College, the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing and the University of Colorado School of Nursing.

Swanson’s particular area of research interest is in miscarriage and early pregnancy loss. She began this work with her dissertation, “The Unborn One: A

Profile of The Human Experience of Miscarriage,” and has continued studying this area both as an investigator and as a consultant to other researchers’ works. She has been the principal investigator or co-investigator on 10 grants dealing with early pregnancy loss, caring and related topics since 1985. It is during this time that she developed the Swanson Theory of Caring. Since developing the theory, she has consulted with and guided 20 healthcare institutions on the proper way to implement her caring theory in clinical practice.

In recognition of her work, she received an Outstanding Researcher Award from Sigma Theta Tau and has been an invited speaker or visiting professor on multiple occasions, most recently at the National Cheng Kung University in Tainan, Taiwan in 2007. In 2002, she was awarded the University of Rhode Island College of Nursing Distinguished Alumni Award. She is also on the editorial board or serves as a reviewer for the Journal of Nursing Scholarship, Nursing Outlook, Research in Nursing and Health and the International Journal of Human Caring.

Give Us Your Thoughts!

We need your help! The School of Nursing Office of Advancement is looking for the best way to describe the School and what it provides for its students and healthcare, and we want to know what you think. Please take a few minutes to answer the questions below. Your answers don’t need to be lengthy. You can leave your comments here or e-mail them to whitney_howell@unc.edu.

We thank you in advance for your assistance!

  1. What does Carolina Nursing mean to you?
  2. When you think of the School and your education here, what one word pops to mind?
  3. What is the most important thing you learned here?
  4. What difference has the School made in your life?
  5. What is the one thing you always wanted people to know about the School?
  6. If you had to describe nursing in one phrase, what would it be?

Follow the SON on Twitter!

The School of Nursing is now on Twitter! For quick updates about news concerning students, faculty, research, clinical experience, global study, alumni or development activities, go to www.twitter.com and follow UNCSON. We’ll be tweeting you!

Carolina Spring Interdisciplinary Service Learning Project 2009

Day 1 – Service Learning Project 2009 Community Health Survey

On Monday our group which was comprised of 19 students and faculty from the Schools of Nursing, Public Health, Social Work and the Division of Physical Therapy gathered at the United Church of Chapel Hill to embark on our 5 day Service Learning Trip. We all piled into 4 vehicles and drove to Greensboro to the Gateway Center where we had our “just-in- time” training for the 2009 Community Health Survey (CHS). The CHS is a face-to-face health needs survey sponsored by Guilford County Healthy Carolinians and the Guilford County Department of Public Health. The data being collected assesses health status, access to care, social support and the need for service.

After some intense training, an “in-depth” interview between two members of our group, Christine and Travis, lunch and an interview with News 14, we set off to thump the streets dressed in our beautiful Duke blue and gold vest we set off in groups of 3 to interview residents in high risk areas in Greensboro and High Point. Our survey was designed to randomly select households in the highest poverty census tracks of Guilford County. We used handheld computers with GIS overlay to guide us and we entered data directly into the computers.
Most people were very willing to participate and be interviewed. After the interview they continued to share their concerns, frustrations and hopes with us. A major theme echoed by the residents of Greensboro and High Point was the need to “clean up the drugs” off the streets. In hind site, our first day of interviewing was a humbling experience, essentially we were strangers trying to quickly understand the lives of others—we were given the opportunity to be a part of private and personal experiences. We all agreed with the words of one sage resident who commented during her interview, “If all of us are going to be healthy everyone has to have a chance to be healthy.”

After our assignments were completed for the day we drove to beautiful YMCA Camp Weaver. We ate dinner, watched the DVD, Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making us Sick?, and discussed and reflected on the day. We all turned in fairly early knowing that we would have a very full day of interviews on Tuesday.

Day 2- Service Learning Project 2009 Community Health Survey

After a simple but lovely breakfast at Camp Weaver we set out for our staging area at the Guilford County Cooperative Extension on Burlington Rd. Our group arrived there around 8:30 a.m. where we were met by the staff of the Guilford County Dept. of Public Health. After a brief update and some debriefing, our 10 teams set out in separate cars to continue the interviews we started on Day 1. We interviewed more residents and learned more about their plight, struggles, hopes and fears. At the end of the day we completed a total 86% of the 210 surveys–way to go!!!!!!!!!!

One memorable interview was a mother of 2 small children living on the edge; her husband made too much money to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford private insurance. She spoke of her frustration of not being able to seek medical care for herself, lack of affordable childcare options and affordable fresh produce. These same concerns were voiced by many in this community.

We headed back to Camp Weaver for dinner and a grand camp fire. We ate smores, sang songs and played games under the clouds and stars at Camp Weaver.

Day 3- Service Learning Project 2009 Community Health Survey

We packed up, ate breakfast, checked out of Camp Weaver and drove to the Gateway Center to receive final instructions for our last 4 hours of interviews. In the end we were able to complete all 210 household surveys. As we reflected on the past 2 ½ days, we were able to identify common themes among the communities: crime, drugs, lack of affordable fresh produce, access to quality healthcare, and the need for more safe parks. By identifying these concerns the Guilford County Department of Public Health together with Healthy Carolinians hopes to develop, implement and tailor programs to address them.

We said good bye to staff of the Guilford County Department of Public Health and headed to Columbia, NC, located in Tyrell County which is the most sparsely populated county in NC. Our first stop was the Cypress Grill in Jamesville, a popular local restaurant and eastern NC landmark that is open a few months of the year when fresh herring is available. We all enjoyed dining at this unique herring shack before heading to the 4H Center in Columbia where we had a large cabin reserved for our group.

Day 4 – Service Learning Trip/Alligator Community

Our group had a mouth-watering breakfast at the 4-H Center and then headed out to the Visitor Center in Columbia where we met our partners from the Conservation Fund, Buck and Justin. We followed them to one of the more than 800 Rosenwald Schools in NC.

This one was located in the Alligator Community of Tyrrell County. There is an amazing history behind the Rosenwald schools. In a nut shell, Chicago philanthropist Julius Rosenwald, CEO of Sears, Roebuck and Company financed the building of over 5000 school houses in black communities from the early 1910s into the early 1930s. Today some of these schools are being identified and restored, which was one of our assignments during this trip. Our group gathered into the small, one room Rosenwald school house in which a large blackboard spanned one of the walls, there were several church pews inside and several other dusty nick knacks being stored. Justin and Buck gave us a brief orientation of the school and noted that the school was used to educate the white children of the community–not the black children, which was Rosenwald’s vision. This was confirmed by several older members of the community who told us that the black children were schooled in one of the local churches. I was taken aback by this revelation and it forced me to think of the history and events of that time period.

After the orientation we were given our assignments for the day. Because of the weather forecast the decision was made to first work outside in the Palmetto-Peartree Preserve and then come back to the school house. We left the school house and made our way to the preserve. Our assignment was to clean up the area of trash and CRABPOTS!! These large wire boxes had become tangled up in the brush and forested area after being blown ashore from Albemarle Sound to the shore. At the end of the day we removed enough crab pots and trash to fill 2 large dumpsters. We have pictures!!!

During our cleanup we found 2 voter boxes with sample ballots from the late 1800s and early 1900s!! We also found several books and magazines from that time period. Within an hour the place was cleaned up and made ready for our community meeting and cookout. Our group greeted the residents of Alligator community as they strolled into the school house. We inquired about their experience of rural living, asked about any issues or concerns they had and suggestions for future service projects, while eating hamburgers and hotdogs. I spoke to one resident who was a fisherman by occupation, who recently returned to Alligator community after a few years up North. He said he enjoyed rural living and the outdoors. What I found interesting was that he was able to name everyone who was in the school house that night, a testament to what a close-knit community Alligator is.

Day 5 – Service Leaning Trip / Alligator Community

We started our last day of the trip with another wonderful breakfast at the 4-H Center and made our way to the Visitor Center in Columbia

We were able to do a little shopping before heading to the auditorium to watch “Unnatural Causes”. After the movie we each reflected on our trip. For me, as a graduate nursing student, the week’s events led me to be more aware of the social determinants of health, like employment and housing. The face-to-face surveys allowed me to get a first hand, up close glimpse of the lives of those who are underserved and how their health is being determined, in part, by the social factors around them.

After our reflection we had lunch at one of the local restaurants in Columbia and then headed off for a tour of Somerset Place. Somerset Place is a state historic site that offers a view of antebellum plantation life.

Our tour guide led us through a typical day of plantation life as we walked in the rain between various buildings on the plantation, including a hospital with intriguing and somewhat horrifying instruments and tools. The tour cumulated at the Great House of the planters, which was furnished with original pre-civil war items some of which were donated by the original family.

After the tour we got into our vans and drove back to Chapel Hill. It was an amazing trip of learning, discovery and full of new experiences. We visited places and people we would have never crossed paths with. All in all I can say with confidence that we all had a good time and it was a life changing experience in some way.

Colette Allen, BSN, CCRN

Graduate Nursing Student, FNP Program

Not Fiction: The Nursing Shortage Results From the Nursing FACULTY Shortage

We recently heard Dr. Beverly Malone of the National League for Nursing talk about the direct correlation between the shortage of nurses at the bedside, the qualified applicants being turned away from most nursing schools around the country and the shortage of nurse faculty. In baccalaureate nursing degree programs, such as the one we offer at UNC-Chapel Hill, our faculty are educated at the doctoral degree level, qualifying them as nurse educators who also are knowledgeable about nursing research. Leadership, scholarship, providing excellent direct patient care at the bedside, creating innovative approaches to managing patient care and health outcomes are linked to the quality — educational background and experience — of a nursing school’s faculty.

Yet, we have a huge gap that continues to widen. There are not enough doctoral students who will become the faculty to teach our current and future nurses. Why? One reason is support. At a public university like Chapel Hill, we are only able to provide support to doctoral students IF we have T-32 government training grants tied to our research projects that offer stipends to students. But, this support for nursing is decreasing nationally, and our only other option to be competitive with other universities vying for the same doctoral candidates, is to offer private scholarship support. To date, there is ONE privately funded doctoral scholarship in our School. It takes $26,000 per year to support one doctoral student. A $100,000 investment in an endowed scholarship fund will guarantee that support and the continuity of faculty to teach students to become nurses. We raise this issue because public institutions of our caliber must be responsive to public needs, yet without these key resources, it will be impossible to meet these needs.

Our Doctoral Education Committee told me yesterday that they are concerned that the public does not understand why it is necessary and important to educate doctorally-prepared nurses. What do you think?

Here, I am attaching a Wall Street Journal article about the economy, the nursing shortage and how critical it is for us to have qualified nurses giving us care. Imagine the risks, then think about the link between the nursing shortage and the faculty shortage and what you might possibly do to help.



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