SON Marks Year of Self Study, Accreditation and Program Review

The SON’s baccalaureate, master’s, PhD and continuing education programs each conducted rigorous self study reviews and underwent external reviews over the last academic year. As a result, the School’s baccalaureate and master’s programs were reaccredited for ten years by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). The PhD program received a positive review by UNC-CH Graduate School representatives and external reviewers from other Schools of Nursing, and the Center for Lifelong Learning was re-accredited as a provider of continuing nurse education for four years.

“We should be very proud of meeting this challenge with such great success. Accreditation is a wonderful opportunity for self-assessment of our programs, structure, practices and processes and the thoughtful identification of areas for growth and change,” said Dr. Beverly Foster, director of undergraduate programs.

A key component of the BSN and MSN accreditation process was the self-study report the SON completed in 2011 and presented to the CCNE. Dr. Maggie Miller, assistant dean for operations and strategic initiatives, headed the faculty steering committee for the self-study report, which documented that the School met or exceeded the CCNE standards related to program quality and effectiveness.

The four-chapter self study spoke to the history and mission of the School and University, resources available to carry out the programs, development of curriculum and program outcomes. With faculty input, the study assessed the School’s administration, philosophy, curriculum, facilities, faculty, staff, students and more, using the process as an opportunity for quality improvement.

The CCNE self-study was also used as a basis for the North Carolina Board of Nursing’s decision to continue the baccalaureate nursing program on full approval status.

“Our national accreditation in nursing is built on a quality improvement model so that we are encouraged to constantly assess how well we are doing. We have now looked carefully at ourselves, and from these findings have identified some areas of focus to move forward into the future. It is an exciting time as we build on our solid foundation to be a pace setter in nursing education,” said Dr. Gwen Sherwood, associate dean for academic affairs.

PhD program faculty completed a self study for a Graduate School Program Review, assessing the program’s strengths, areas for improvement and future directions. The preparation of the self-study report was led by Dr. Suzanne Thoyre, director of PhD and post-doctoral programs. A team of UNC and external reviewers conducted a site visit and provided a highly favorable written report to the Graduate School detailing their findings and recommendations.

The SON’s Center for Lifelong Learning also underwent an accreditation review this year. The Center staff completed a self study in fall 2011 and submitted it to the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC). The ANCC then conducted a virtual visit, interviewing CLL staff as well as past participants and presenters. The CLL was granted full accreditation by the ANCC through March 2016.

“The accreditation process helped our unit think about our many strengths and identify ways to improve so that we can continue to provide high quality CNE that’s relevant, cutting edge, and will ultimately help improve client care,” said Dr. Sonda Oppewal, director, Center for Lifelong Learning.

Dean Kristen M. Swanson expressed her congratulations for the School’s earned approvals.  “I’m very proud of the collective efforts of our faculty, staff, and students who came together for a successful year of programmatic self study, external review and accreditation,” said Dean Swanson. “It is a worthwhile pursuit to thoughtfully assess how well our actions measure up to our vision, and to identify ways to take that vision further.”

SON Nursing Education and Simulation Expertise Utilized in Kitui, Kenya

Patient safety and quality are at the core of healthcare education across the globe. Over the past year, School of Nursing faculty and Kenya Medical Training College (KMTC) health professionals focused on these concepts in the enhancement of a skills lab at KMTC Kitui’s Centre of Excellence for Family Planning and Reproductive Health Training in Kitui, Kenya, Africa. The skills lab was recently upgraded by Capacity Kenya to include state-of-the-art teaching tools and simulation equipment. UNC SON faculty lent their nursing education and simulation expertise to a skills training program in collaboration with KMTC faculty at the upgraded lab.

Carol Durham, director of the Education-Innovation-Simulation Learning Environment (EISLE), Darlene Baker, assistant director of ,  Sonda Oppewal, SON clinical associate professor, and Gwen Sherwood, associate dean for academic affairs communicated regularly via Skype with faculty in Kitui to develop the training program’s educational goals and discuss logistics. Darlene Baker and Sonda Oppewal then traveled to Kitui, Kenya, April 27– May 12, 2012 to assist in the implementation of the program.

Capacity Kenya and KMTC Kitui received USAID funding to create the Centre of Excellence for Family and Reproductive Health Training. The Centre aims to improve health outcomes in Northern Kenya in women’s health, reproductive health, and decreased maternal and infant mortality through strengthening the healthcare workforce. Capacity Kenya was created by IntraHealth International. Its mission is to improve healthcare in Kenya by enhancing the quality of training for healthcare workers in public, private, and faith-based organizations.

SON’s involvement in the project included assistance in outfitting the lab as well as facilitating a two-week training session for nurse lecturers at KMTC. Prior to the visit, UNC’s EISLE researched and made recommendations on simulation equipment to match the needs of the local constituency. IntraHealth purchased equipment including simple contraceptive displays, task trainers, and complex birthing simulators. The equipment was grouped into five categories for training: childbirth, maternal, infant, physical exam, and patient care skills.

The most complex piece of equipment new to the skills lab was Noelle, a human patient birthing simulator made by Gaumard Scientific. Noelle is used at UNC SON and other schools and hospitals to train nursing and medical students as well as professionals. The simulator connects wirelessly to a computer that can be programmed to take students through a range of scenarios that could accompany normal as well as complicated childbirth.  At KMTC Kitui, Noelle was renamed Mwende which means “loved one”. Mwende was accompanied by a newborn baby simulator that enabled students to practice newborn resuscitation, a skill which was impossible to practice before the simulator’s arrival.

Darlene Baker led the equipment training, guiding KMTC staff through all stages of use. The local staff helped open the boxes, gaining familiarity with the equipment before learning utilization procedures. To complete the learning cycle, the team went over storage and cleaning, or what Baker called, “long-term considerations for the sustainment of the equipment.”

“I went there to be the boots on the ground,” Baker said.

“My role was focused on facilitating the training process,” Sonda Oppewal said. “This included helping the group identify training expectations and guidelines, facilitating the faculty members’ involvement in developing simulations, and helping them consider ways to integrate the new equipment and simulations into the curriculum.” Dr. Oppewal also helped evaluate the training, and assisted faculty members in identifying ways the project could be evaluated over time and outcomes could be reported to Capacity Kenya. They also developed models to summarize their learning over the two weeks for the faculty to use as a resource.

Dr. Oppewal also followed up on work she and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Gwen Sherwood did in 2010 with Capacity Kenya on creating an AHEC-like model for improving the healthcare workforce in Northern Kenya.  Dr. Oppewal met with the Nursing Council of Kenya and reported that a steering committee and subcommittees had been formed, and partnerships were being investigated to establish the Kenyan AHEC model.

About 15 KMTC Kitui nurse lecturers attended the sessions taught by the UNC team. The training schedule included time for each lecturer to practice using the simulators and to develop and practice teaching simulations. Next, lecturers practiced using the simulators and the simulations they developed as teaching tools with students. Thirteen students were arranged into groups for simulations the lecturers identified as having high priority for student learning: family planning, normal newborn delivery, newborn resuscitation, and normal newborn assessment.

For the lecturers, “It was an opportunity to provide hands-on experience with key patient care skills which previously had only been taught theoretically,” Baker said.

It was a collaborative experience, with KMTC lecturers coming up with their own ideas for simulation training. Baker said of the experience, “It opened my eyes to new ways to use equipment here.” Some of the equipment had never been used before by either UNC or KMTC instructors; these provided new learning experiences for the entire cohort.

Dr. Oppewal said the UNC team benefitted from seeing KMTC lecturers interact with their students. She noted the effectiveness of the Kitui lecturers’ method of having each student demonstrate and verbalize what they were learning, and the students’ recognition of the need for continual practice. “The lecturers were clearly invested in giving the best education possible to their students and the students were eager to learn all that they could.” Dr. Oppewal also remarked that the Kenyan practice of taking a midmorning tea break made room for spontaneous collaborations among colleagues.

By the end of the two weeks, the KMTC Kitui lecturers formed a Skills Lab Committee with the goal of making the skills lab available to the district hospitals and other KMTC campuses. The Committee expressed a desire to expand the skills lab program so that it could be used by nurses in continuing education.

Overall, Baker said the experience was inspiring. “People were already doing so much with so little, and now they have an opportunity to do so much more.”


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.

Meg Zomorodi selected for Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy

Dr. Meg Zomorodi

SON clinical associate professor Meg Zomorodi, RN, CNL, PhD, was chosen to participate in the 2012-13 Nurse Faculty Leadership Academy. By pairing new nurse educators with mentors and NFLA expert faculty members, this 20-month intensive program seeks to develop leadership skills in new nurse faculty. Dr. Zomorodi will work with Dr. Judith Halstead, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN, from the Indiana University School of Nursing to enhance her leadership capabilities and SON’s Clinical Nurse Leader curriculum.

Dr. Zomorodi chose Dr. Halstead as her mentor because of her expertise in online education. The two will work together to develop ideas for an innovative, engaging online CNL program and revise two core CNL courses. They will receive additional guidance from Dr. Carol Winters of East Carolina University.

“I was so surprised by the first meeting and the wealth of knowledge that was in the room,” Dr. Zomorodi said. “It was in the first 5 minutes of meeting my mentor that I knew I had made the right decision.”

The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International’s Leadership Institute developed the NFLA with a grant from the Elsevier Foundation. The academy promotes faculty retention and high performing, supportive work environments through a challenging learning experience that gives new nurse educators the leadership skills necessary for their transition into the faculty role. The Academy chose 16 fellows from all over the nation to participate in its 2012-13 program.

By participating in the program, Dr. Zomorodi will gain unbiased perspectives from schools that face similar challenges, giving her valuable insight into leadership and course curriculum development. Dr. Zomorodi believes that her participation in the program will benefit not only her but the School as a whole.

“It is an opportunity for us to be seen on the national level and I know I will be provided with many ideas that I will share with the faculty,” she said. “It’s also an opportunity for us to build up the CNL program which will benefit our students, faculty, and the surrounding hospitals who are interested in the role.”

Student Essay: Caring for Children with Developmental Disabilities

I hope you’ll enjoy this essay written by a UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing Pediatric Nurse Practitioner student about caring for children with developmental disabilities.

A journey into refocusing my nursing specialty

By Katie Shattuck

 “So, what do you want to be when you grow up?” We have all been asked this question at various points during our lifetime, in kindergarten during sharing time, in middle school writing class, and then again in high school as we prepare for our entrance into college. I always knew that I wanted to “help people.”  This idea transformed into a solid career path toward nursing after watching my sister go through nursing school and work as a registered nurse in a nursing home.

I applied to graduate school knowing that I wanted to earn my master’s degree in nursing to pursue a career as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. At the time, I would have laughed if you said to me that I would find an interest in children with developmental or behavioral disorders. In the fall of my second year in my master’s of nursing program, I was offered the opportunity to participate in NC Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental Disabilities Fellowship (NC LEND), a yearlong fellowship sponsored by the Maternal and Child Health Branch of the United States Department of Health and Human Services. The purpose of  NC LEND  is to provide training about the complex issues surrounding children with developmental and behavioral disabilities. 

            I started the LEND fellowship unsure of not only what was expected of me but also how I could or would tailor this opportunity to fit in with the care that I was learning to provide as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. I had only a cursory knowledge of developmental and behavioral disorders and very limited experience with the community resources set up for these patients and their families. What I have learned over the past eight months has astounded me and made me realize how truly disadvantaged individuals with developmental and behavioral disorders are in terms of the quality of care that they receive.

            Anne (name has been changed) is a perfect example of how common fragmented and ineffective primary care is for individuals with developmental and behavioral disorders. Anne was ten years old with a diagnosis of severe autism spectrum disorder. Her parents came to the behavioral clinic in which I was participating with the hopes that a developmental behavioral specialist would be able to help them with the extreme tantrum behavior that Anne was exhibiting. They were also looking for ways to deal with her lack of self-toileting skills and her repetitive playing of specific clips of television shows.

Anne was also overweight, had a family history of cardiac disease, and during the visit with the behavioral specialist had symptoms of a cough and runny nose that had been going on for ten days. Her parents had not taken her to her primary care doctor for the cough because they assumed that the specialist could take care of anything that may be wrong with her medically. Unfortunately, the specialist addressed none of Anne’s medical concerns; these would have to be discussed with her primary care provider.

At this point during the exam I realized what is missing in our current system. On the one hand, we have great primary care providers who diagnose childhood illnesses. Top-notch primary care providers acknowledge when a child is overweight and start a discussion with the child and family about how to achieve a normal weight. Excellent primary care providers understand that children with chronic conditions like asthma need to have their seasonal allergies under control to help keep their asthma under better control.

On the other hand, we have specialists that know the ins and outs of developmental and behavioral disorders. These specialists have the education to feel comfortable prescribing psychostimulants, antipsychotics, and antidepressants to children when needed. Specialists know how to navigate the world of community resources that the layperson cannot navigate. What we have are two different sets of providers. While each of them performs a necessary function to treat this special population of children and adolescents with developmental or behavioral disorders, they are doing so separately.

In nursing school we spend a great deal of time talking about how we should treat the whole person – we call this holistic care. After eight months as a LEND fellow, I am dismayed to discover that it is a rare thing indeed to find someone who can or will provide both pieces of the puzzle for this population. Some of the barriers prohibiting primary care providers from adequately treating children with developmental or behavioral disorders include lack of insurance company reimbursements, time constraints in busy practices, and being uncomfortable with using screening tools to help diagnose children with developmental and behavioral disorders.

             In order to provide the quality, holistic care that we as nurses and advanced practice nurses have set as our standard, we need to make sure that we have the knowledge to treat these patients. We need to make sure that we willingly embark upon lifelong learning in the area of developmental and behavioral disorders to make sure that we are fighting against the norm of fragmented care in order to provide quality care to a most underserved population.

If you asked me today what I want to be when I grow up, I would still say that I want to “help people.” However, I would just be sure to state loud and clear that my goal is to “help provide cohesive, comprehensive care to children and adolescents with developmental and behavioral disorders.” I encourage you to do the same.

SON Pediatric Clinical Students Featured

Clinical Assistant Professor Megan P. Williams was excited to see her pediatric clinical students pictured in an article from the N.C. Children’s Hospital. From left to right are Adria Gillespie,  Aaron Parsons, Victoria Neff & of course the star of the show Christian! Read the whole story here:

Posted in Faculty, Nursing Education, Students. Tags: , N.C. Children’s Hospital. Leave a Comment »

2011 SON Global Health Awards

Congratulations to the School of Nursing students and faculty who received global health awards this year. These awards are primarily from the School’s global health funds, which are generated from the Visiting Scholars program. This year $22,000 was awarded.

Applications were reviewed by three teams from the Global Nursing Advisory Council (GNAC) joined by faculty who received awards in previous years. Award amounts are primarily based on airfare to the destination. We were still unable to fund all who applied. Through the GNAC we have focused our areas of support so that students and faculty are helping expand our capacity in global health but also are involved in sustainable work, either through service that can be built on from year to year, or in developing scholarship opportunities. We are particularly pleased to award two Cronenwett Global Awards designated for undergraduate students (see Global Study Award Helps Students Gain World Experiences).

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Global Study Award Helps Students Gain World Experiences

Linda H. Cronenwett (center) with Tina Evans (left) and Rebeca Moretto (right), the 2011 recipients of the Cronenwett Global Study Award.

The Cronenwett Global Study Award was created by a private gift from a SON alumna and her husband to honor the leadership of Linda H. Cronenwett, immediate past dean of the SON, and her passion for improving quality and safety in health care. This year’s recipients are BSN students Tina Evans and Rebeca Moretto. They will both be traveling internationally this summer as part of N489, SON’s Practicum in Nursing Global Health Experience.

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Nursing in the Genomic Era Conference

The Nursing in the Genomic Era Conference was held at the School of Nursing on Friday April 8. During the conference students taking the Family-Centered Genomic Health Care class displayed poster presentations on various genetic conditions.

See a sample of the creative posters from the student in the slide show here.

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Service Learning Trip to Honduras

UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing students and faculty participated in a service learning trip to Honduras during  Spring Break. Before the trip the Association of Student Nurses helped collect vitamin and over the counter medications for the group to take with them.

Clinical Assistant Professor Jean Davison was the SON Course Coordinator and Team Leader for the multidisciplinary group, which included 20 students and nine volunteers who included two doctors, three nurse practitioners and two pharmacists. Nine of the students were from the School of Nursing.

View a slide show of pictures from their trip  here. Read the rest of this entry »


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