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!

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.

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Students and Faculty Volunteer at Project Homeless Connect

Eric Hodges (left) was one of the School of Nursing faculty members that volunteered at Project Homeless Connect. Photo by Laura Shmania, http://www.butterflites.com

The UNC School of Nursing served the community through Project Homeless Connect on Nov. 4. This one-stop event at the Hargraves Community Center in Chapel Hill provided services such as job-readiness resources, health and dental care, mental health assistance, social services, legal services and  housing to people experiencing or at risk of experiencing homelessness. Project Homeless Connect  is a key initiative of the Orange County Partnership to End Homelessness and has served nearly 600 guests since 2007.

SON Associate Dean for Community Partnerships & Practice, Sonda Oppewal, acted as a Co-Chair for Project Homeless Connect’s Health Committee. She solicited ideas from SON faculty about how the School might be involved, bringing some new ideas and services to the event.  For example, guests were guided to relevant health services using new health intake forms developed by SON. The forms facilitated the use of clinical judgment based on interviews with the guests about past and current health problems.

Oppewal also helped assure there were sufficient health care providers, a need that SON helped meet with three nurse practitioners — Clinical Instructor Carrie Palmer, Clinical Assistant Professor and MSN Coordinator Jean Davison and Clinical Assistant Professor Victoria Cryer. Guests with high blood pressures, high cholesterol or glucose were directed to the nurse practitioners for counseling and referral (if needed).

Clinical Instructor Louise Fleming served as an active member of the Health Committee and recruited students to participate. Other faculty who participated included Clinical Associate Professor Eric Hodges, Clinical Assistant Professor Liska Lackey, Clinical Assistant Professor Diane Yorke, Dean Kristen Swanson, and Clinical Instructor Angela Clark. Clinical Assistant Professor Megan Williams also supported the project as the advisor to ANS.

Before the event SON Association of Nursing Students helped collect toiletry kits that were distributed before Nov. 4 as part of outreach efforts to tell homeless people about Project Homeless Connect.  During the event 27 students assisted with intake forms, providing health information, helping with eye exams, and assisted in escorting guests to various stations. Students also gave manicures this year, which provided a new opportunity for therapeutic communication and health education reinforcement. A health bingo game was another new feature that  reinforced  health education.

Sara Smith, a senior BSN student helped give manicures. She said that the event was a great opportunity to help and volunteer. She had not participated before and was surprised by the number of children and women that made up the the homeless population of Chapel Hill.

UNC faculty and students helped with many of the stations at the Project Homeless Connect event. They assisted with health histories and intake, provided health information, gave manicures, took blood pressure, and assisted in escorting guests to various stations.

Sara Smith, a senior BSN student helped give manicures. She said that the event was a great opportunity to help and volunteer. She had not participated before and was surprised by the number of children and women that made up the the homeless population of Chapel Hill.  She said it was an eye-opening experience.

Sara Smith, a senior BSN student helped give manicures. She said that the event was a great opportunity to help and volunteer. She had not participated before and was surprised by the number of children and women that made up the the homeless population of Chapel Hill. She said it was an eye-opening experience.


UNC School of Nursing Global Health Expo 2010

UNC Global Health Fair

UNC Global Health Fair

The UNC School of Nursing Global Health Expo 2010 will be held September 30th and October 5th from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. in the main lobby and mezzanine of the school’s addition. Come see posters and other visual displays of the school’s global experiences during the last year. Pizza will be served. Posters will remain up until October 8. E-mail songlobalhealth@unc.edu for more information.

Amy Davenport Named to NC Great 100 Nurses by NCNA

 Amy Davenport has been selected to receive a scholarship from The Great 100, Inc., RN Nursing Excellence Organization of North Carolina for the year 2010-2011. Davenport is a senior nursing major at the UNC Chapel Hill School of Nursing who has already completed the Master of Public Health degree at UNC Chapel Hill. She was chosen by the school faculty to receive the scholarship from The Great 100, Inc

Amy Davenport

She and the other scholarship recipients, along with The Great 100 Award recipients for 2010, will be honored at a black-tie Gala at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex in Greensboro, NC on September 18, 2010. 

The Great 100, Inc. is a grassroots peer recognition organization honoring the nursing profession in North Carolina by recognizing the importance of Registered Nurses in diverse practice settings, positively impacting the image of nursing and nursing as a profession, acknowledging 100 North Carolina Nurses annually who demonstrate excellence in practice and commitment to their profession and contributing funds for scholarships for Registered Nurse education. 

Read more about Amy here

Trip to Vietnam Lets Student Practice Nursing in the Real World

Minh Nguyen and Dr. Linda Cronenwett

Minh Nguyen has just returned from a summer trip to Vietnam that was part of the UNC-Chapel Hill School of Nursing’s .  He was the recipient of the Cronenwett Global Study Award, created by a private gift to honor Dean Emerita Linda H. Cronenwett.  Read about his experience:

Prior to the trip, I knew there was a big gap between the health care systems of Vietnam and the US. Among the differences, the lack of infection control posed the biggest threat to the health and safety of the patients. The hospitals in Vietnam are overcrowded and lack resources, and overuse of antibiotics has increased infection rates.

Because of these problems I wanted to do a project to reduce the infection rate by increasing hand washing compliance since hand washing has proved to be the most effective, and simplest, method. My plan was to spend a week observing at a hospital in Vinh city, another week for planning the interventions and the rest of the time implementing and evaluating those interventions.

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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!

SON Faculty Receive Awards From Graduating Class

Clinical assistant professor Donna Helen Crisp and clinical associate professor Theresa Raphael-Grimm both received awards from this year’s graduating class. Students awarded Crisp the Award for the Most Influential Leader, recognizing her outstanding guidance, inspiration and nursing excellence. Raphael-Grimm received the Excellence in Teaching Award, highlighting her outstanding teaching, merit and mentoring. Congratulations to both faculty members!


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