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.

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: http://www.ncchildrenshospital.org/calendarkids/christian.

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).

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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 »

RN-BSN and Women’s Health NP Options Suspended as of August

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Nursing will suspend admissions into the Registered Nurse to Bachelor of Science in Nursing (RN-BSN) option of the BSN program and the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner option in the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) program after August 2011.

These programmatic changes are necessary because of ongoing state budget cuts. In January, Chancellor Holden Thorp instituted campus-wide cuts equal to a 5 percent permanent state budget reduction to take effect July 1. That move anticipated expected reductions to the University’s state appropriations that could reach as high as 15 percent for fiscal 2011-2012. These anticipated cuts come on top of almost 10 percent in permanent cuts that the School of Nursing has absorbed over the last two years.

Read the rest of this entry »

Meet Micah McCanna, Nursing Student and Winter Sports Athlete

Senior ABSN student Micah McCanna balances nursing school with serious training for Olympic winter sports in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Micah McCanna is a skeleton slider. He experiences forces up to 5 g while riding face down a frozen track on a small sled.

Micah McCanna says he likes to stay busy, and he certainly does that. The senior accelerated BSN student has figured out how to balance training for bobsled and skeleton winter sports with class, clinical, studying, an honors project, spending time with his fiancé, and working at UNC Hospitals.

McCanna is part of the USA Olympic Elite Developmental Skeleton team. Skeleton is a fast winter sliding sport where the competitor rides face down on a small sled down a frozen track.  People are quite surprised to hear that this North Carolina native who played on the East Carolina University baseball team is competing in winter sports. Ironically, McCanna says he doesn’t even like cold weather. It is the competition he craves.

Read the rest of this entry »


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 96 other followers

%d bloggers like this: