News and Events

SON DNP program in planning phase

November 15, 2012 | In Dean Kristen Swanson, Education, Faculty, News, Students Tags:

The School of Nursing has requested permission from the UNC System General Administration and the Board of Governors to establish a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) program. Graduates of the DNP program will be prepared for careers as health care practitioners, nursing administrators and executives, and clinical faculty members. 

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First Post-MSN Informatics Graduate takes CHIP training into the Workplace

July 16, 2012 | In Education, News, Students

Stephanie Johnson Stephanie Johnson-Dean

Stephanie Johnson-Dean graduated with a Post-Masters Certificate in Health Care Systems- Informatics in May 2012. Johnson-Dean, who began the post-MSN program in Fall 2011, was the first SON student to complete the new certificate offered by the SON in collaboration with the Carolina Health Informatics Program (CHIP).

CHIP is an interdisciplinary collaboration between SON and the School of Information and Library Science, the School of Medicine, and the School of Public Health. The program was created to provide an information technology background to professionals who are interested in improving health care from a systems approach.

“We prepare nurses with enough background in IT so they can collaborate with technical programmers and database managers to select and improve systems and ultimately improve patient care,” said Dr. Debbie Travers, SON assistant professor and CHIP instructor.

“That’s what we’re driving toward with meaningful use of IT. We’re overwhelmed with data in clinical settings, but a computer can help organize data to support clinical decisions.” Dr. Travers said. “Having clinicians with backgrounds in IT is a good thing for patient outcomes.”

Johnson-Dean completed her CHIP training with funding from the United States Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC). UNC worked together with Duke University to secure funding from the ONC’s Program of Assistance for University-Based Training, an initiative that seeks to increase the number of professionals available to serve in health IT roles.

At UNC, nurses in the CHIP program take courses in health care informatics, systems analysis, database systems and health outcomes. Building upon their prior clinical experience, these courses prepare graduates to fulfill one of the roles identified by the ONC: the clinician leader.

Completion of the pMSN certificate in HCS-Informatics puts nurses in an ideal position to make leadership contributions. The program prepares them to manage the successful deployment and use of health IT to make transformational improvements in the quality, safety, outcomes, and overall value of health services.

Johnson-Dean is applying her informatics education to her new role as principal trainer at Cone Health based in Greensboro. Of the CHIP program, Johnson-Dean said, “It was my ticket to expanding and exploring another road on my nursing journey.”

Stephanie Johnson-Dean was recently credited with leading an effort to help avoid the risk of bacterial infections at Duke Raleigh Hospital. Read more here.

SON’s First Student Fulbright Scholar

July 2, 2012 | In Education, Global Health, News, Students

Stephanie Sun Stephanie Sun

Stephanie Sun embarks this week on a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Award in South Korea. Sun, a May 2012 BSN graduate, will spend July 2012 – July 2013 in Korea, acting as an English teacher and cultural ambassador. She is the School of Nursing’s first student Fulbright Scholar.

Sun’s award was bestowed on behalf of the Korean-American Educational Commission and the J. William Fulbright Scholarship board. She will spend her first six weeks in a training and orientation program in Goesan, Chungcheongbuk-do, Korea. From there she will be assigned to an elementary school where she will begin her teaching post.

Sun chose Korea for her grant year for the opportunity to explore a new culture. “I was looking for an immersion experience in a different culture. I chose Korea because I want cultural competency and more growth in that area.” Sun had considered Taiwan, her parents’ country of origin, but ultimately chose to challenge herself in a less known location.

“I’ve always been interested in being a global citizen, and passionate about being aware of what’s going on in the world. In nursing, I want to work abroad with an organization that’s globally minded,” Sun said.

A global health award enabled Sun to pursue her international interests while still in nursing school. Sun spent six weeks in Kenya learning about community health and assisting in medical clinics as part of Chris Harlan’s N489 course in summer 2011. The experience included work with Moi University and the nonprofit Reach-Out. Sun also helped found UNICEF at Carolina during her studies at UNC.

Sun will stay connected to nursing while in Korea by researching job opportunities and graduate programs for when she returns to the U.S. She is interested in nurse practitioner and midwifery programs.

But for now, “I’m excited for what the grant year has to hold,” Sun said. “I’m focusing on keeping my mind open so the experience can be the best it can be.”

Global Health Scholars Present at Beijing Nursing Conference

June 15, 2012 | In Faculty, Global Health, News, Students

china-students1 Tai, McKenna, Solano, and Jamison in Beijing

BSN students Lauren McKenna, Natalie Solano, Merle Tai, and MSN student Holly Jamison presented an educational paper at the 2012 Beijing International Nursing Conference, June 8-10, 2012. The School of Nursing at Peking Union Medical College hosted the conference, which featured speakers from Australia, China, Hong Kong, and the United States. Associate Dean for Academic Affairs Gwen Sherwood attended as an invited participant.

Merle Tai said she experienced the conference as a great exchange of information. “I found that a lot of struggles we have within nursing in the United States, other countries struggle with, too. I felt more connected to the world of nursing.” The group presented on high fidelity simulation in nursing education.

The conference marked the end of a three-week stay in China for the students, who took part in a learning exchange with the School of Nursing at PUMC. MSN student Margaux Simon also visited PUMC in early May, 2012.

These student visits are part of a growing exchange between UNC SON and PUMC. UNC hosted PUMC PhD student Wang Hui in Spring 2012 while Wang conducted a comparative study on post operative pain management outcomes in China and the U.S., using data collected by SON students. Jamison, McKenna, Simon, Solano, Tai, and Suzanne Riddle participated in the real-world research opportunity, collecting data from 240 patients at UNCH.

SON’s exchange with PUMC will continue this fall, when a small delegation of students and two faculty members from Beijing will visit UNC.

Nakia Best First UNC Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar

May 30, 2012 | In Education, Faculty, News, Students

NakiaBest Nakia Best

Nakia Best, an SON clinical assistant professor, was selected as the School’s first Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar. Best, MSN, BSN, will be provided with financial assistance, leadership development, and mentoring support as she pursues her PhD in Nursing at UNC beginning Fall 2012.

Best joins a national cohort of 142 PhD and Doctor of Nursing Practice students for the 2012-2014 Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholar Program. The program seeks to increase the number of advanced practice nurses available for roles as faculty, primary care providers, and health care leaders by supporting both research-focused and practice-focused doctoral nursing students.

The Barbara and Donald Jonas Family Fund started the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence in 2006 with the goal of deploying philanthropy to improve healthcare through nursing. The Jonas Nurse Leaders Scholars program was started in 2008 and uses the largest share of the center’s resources. $2 million will be provided for the 2012-2014 cohort through institutional grants, with another $1.5 million to be leveraged by participating schools. The program is administered by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing.

As a Jonas scholar, Best’s course of study will have increased emphasis on leadership and education. She will complete a project on leadership and take part in the Jonas Center for Nursing Excellence/AACN leadership development conference in Washington, D.C. in 2013. She will also take part in online program activities and will work under the guidance of a mentor.

“I’m looking forward to learning leadership through mentorship,” Best said of the opportunity. She also expressed her enthusiasm for being counted among the new Jonas Scholars. “It’s amazing to have my name on that roll call,” Best said. “And to be the first one at UNC. I’m very honored.”

Best maintains a clinical practice at WakeMed Heart Center. Her research interests are in informatics, with a focus on improving outcomes, delivery, access, and decreasing health disparities through the use of telehealth. As a doctoral student, she will work with Dr. Barbara Mark on the Institutional Research Training Grant (T32), Research Training in Quality Health Care and Patient Outcomes.