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Midcareer switch to nursing lets Lorie Stucke be ‘part of someone’s story’

Lorie Stucke went back to school at 39 to become a nurse
Lorie Stucke, BSN graduate 2015
By Addy Hatch

Nursing wasn’t Lorie Stucke’s first love. That was journalism, the career where she’d spent more than a decade. But turmoil in that industry prompted her to do some soul-searching.

What she liked about journalism was the chance to build trust with someone, to tell their story and by that action become part of their story in a small way. What other career, she wondered, could make her feel the same way?

Turns out, it was nursing. “I realized that patients need you to help them understand what’s happening, that they can’t always articulate what they need and you need to be their champion,” she said. “That’s where you become part of their story.”

Stucke enrolled in the Washington State University College of Nursing in 2013, when she was 39.

In doing so, she was among a small but consistent group of students at the college who begin their nursing studies after age 35.  Over the last five years, about 7 percent of the pre-licensure students at the WSU College of Nursing were over age 35 when they took their first nursing program class. Ten students were 50 or older when they started.

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Nursing grad shares how sim training can help save lives

BSN grad Jamison Edwards in simulation

Jamison Edwards

“By supporting the simulation program at the Washington State University College of Nursing, you are helping to save lives,” said Jameson Edwards, a recent BSN graduate from the college.

“My training in simulation has prepared me to save patients under my direct care,” Jameson said. “In simulation, I have practiced giving care in unique, and what could be stressful, life-threatening situations, which has directly impacted the way I give care in my current practice.”

Now a Registered Nurse working on the Cardiac Transplant Unit at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, Wash., Jameson has had many opportunities to utilize the simulation training he received.

“One night while I was on break, I heard a fellow nurse call for help,” he said. “I jumped up and grabbed a code cart, just like we are trained to do in simulation. I ran into the room to quickly assess the patient who had a potentially lethal ventricular arrhythmia.” » More …

CougsGive: Couple endowed nursing scholarship after careers in the military and academia

Michael and Carol Huebner

Carol Huebner graduated in 1972 from the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education and went on to notable career successes in both the military and academia. But she never forgot her “very, very warm feelings” for her alma mater, so in 2014, she and her husband Michael Huebner created an endowed scholarship to benefit students at the Washington State University College of Nursing.

“We just wanted to pay it forward so other students could benefit from some financial support,” Carol said of the couple’s $25,000 gift.

She retired from the U.S. Army Nurse Corps in 2001 as a Colonel, with her last job being Chief Nurse of the Army hospital system.  Carol Huebner, PhD, RN, FAAN, also is Professor Emerita from the University of Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio after serving on the faculty for 12 years. » More …

Display in St. Luke’s traces history of nursing education in the state

Janet Holloway stands in front of a display of nursing memorabilia at St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute
Janet Holloway stands in front of a new display of nursing history.
Janet Holloway helped create a display tracing the history of nursing education in the region at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute.

Standing in front of a photo of a brick building, Janet Holloway, WSU Associate Professor Emeritus, points to a window and says, “my room was right in the corner.”

Holloway, 83, is showing where she lived as a nursing student in Spokane in the mid-1950s, when then-Washington State College joined with St. Luke’s Hospital to offer a Bachelor of Science in Nursing – a program truly ahead of its time.

Nursing students spent their first two years in Pullman, as many students in the WSU College of Nursing do now. They moved to Spokane to spend their final two years at St. Luke’s Hospital and other agencies, but unlike present-day students, the nurses lived together in Finch Hall on North Summit Boulevard. There, students’ room, board, and even laundry were provided. » More …

WSU Nursing teams travel to Peru in May with the launch of a new project in Chiclayo

WSU team in Peru
WSU team in Peru

WSU Nursing students will travel to Chiclayo, Peru in late May to work on environmental health projects with local nursing students and a nonprofit.

The Chiclayo project is the second for Washington State University College of Nursing in that South American country; WSU nurses have been part of the nonprofit People of Peru Project for more than a decade.

Vicky Sattler, a PhD alumna from the WSU College of Nursing, is leading the Chiclayo project. She’ll take about 10 students from the school’s undergraduate and graduate programs. They’ll work with nursing students from Chiclayo’s USAT – the Universidad Católica Santo Toribio de Mogrovejo – and with the nonprofit Centro ECO. » More …

PhD to Policy Change: How one Scholar’s Research Informed Policy Change in the U.S. Air Force

Nicole Armitage


By Alli Benjamin

Following childbirth, many new moms are advised by their doctor to take one year to heal and return to pre-pregnancy weight. For active duty women in the U.S. Air Force, this wasn’t an option until March 2015, when the policy changed that required new mothers returning to work to pass a rigorous fitness test just six months after giving birth.

This policy change was informed by data gathered and published by Nursing alumna Nicole Armitage, PhD. A women’s health nurse practitioner in the U. S. Air Force, she was interested in women’s experiences when returning to active duty following childbirth. Over her years in practice, she observed that these women were consistently overwhelmed while training to pass their fitness assessment.

“While most women can and do pass the fitness test, it puts a huge amount of pressure on them during an already emotionally charged time,” Armitage said. “They are balancing a new baby, professional commitments, and preparing to return to work. They feel vulnerable and it’s a stressful time; postpartum depression is also common.” » More …

Bedside After Battle

Arlyn Medendorp Headshot

By Sarah Schaub

“Lieutenant Dela Pena! Lieutenant Dela Pena! I have my legs,” yelled a young officer from down the hallway. Army ROTC Nurse Arlyn Medendorp (Dela Pena) looked for the man who was shouting her name. There stood a soldier she once knew, one she had cared for. But there was something different about him now. No longer in a wheelchair, he was instead standing on his own.

“He ran across the room and wrapped his arms around me,” Arlyn said. “I couldn’t stop the tears.”

Arlyn had spent nearly one month caring for this young infantry officer at the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. after he returned from war. It was 2008—the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—and he had just undergone a bilateral above the knee amputation after surviving an explosion. Though she was new to her nursing career, she understood the importance of providing her patient with holistic care so that he could heal not only his body but also his mind. » More …

Thank a Preceptor: Nursing Alumna Jennifer Fletcher

Jennifer Fletcher, Active Family Healthcare


WSU College of Nursing alumna Jennifer Fletcher is advancing the delivery of healthcare in North Idaho and mentoring WSU nursing students along the way at her clinical practice, Active Family Healthcare.

Jennifer knew she wanted to open her own clinic early in her career. Her biggest goal was to spend time with her patients, teaching them about overall wellness and how to prevent disease.

“At Active Family, we focus on educating our patients in health promotion and disease prevention,” she explains. “It’s our passion to cover diet and exercise in detail with our patients and teaching them healthy lifestyle habits.”

In addition to teaching patients, Jennifer also educates nursing students by having them complete required clinical hours in her practice. She has been a preceptor for approximately 20 nursing and physician assistant students over the last 18 years—Many who were WSU College of Nursing students. » More …

WSU Nursing Grad: ‘You Always Remember Your First Code’

WSU College of Nursing-Ashley Ormsby nursing alumna

Ashley Ormsby nursing alumna

By Alli Benjamin

Ashley Ormsby, RN, BSN, ’13, (pictured above) a Spokane native, was eager to begin her first job at Harborview Medical Center, a level one trauma facility serving Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska and Wyoming.

“I was prepared to face some difficult traumas and patients in the operating room; poly traumas, brain bleeds, full body burns,” she said. After completing a six-month nursing residency, she was ready to join her colleagues on the floor.

It was a Friday evening and Ormsby was finishing up her final shift for the week. An elderly male patient she was caring for was brought in for a wound VAC (vacuum-assisted closure). This routine surgical procedure paled in context to his injuries he had sustained: an orthopedic trauma, a collapsed lung, and a crushed pelvis. Though he was a stable patient, he had issues with his blood coagulating days earlier.

The procedure was uneventful and physicians began signing off for the night. Ormsby finished her shift as the patient began quickly regaining consciousness from anesthesia. » More …

Women are More Likely to Talk About Pain, Study Finds

Marian Wilson

Marian Wilson

WSU researchers say new approach reduces pill use

By LeAnn Bjerken – originally published in the Journal of Business
Dr. Marian Wilson, a second-year assistant professor at Washington State University Spokane, found in a study on chronic pain that women seem more open than men to participating in studies and sharing their symptoms.

“To me, it’s a very positive thing, seeing this amount of women who are willing to participate in open discussions of chronic pain,” says Wilson. “At the same time, it makes me worry about the men, as they don’t seem to be as receptive to this kind of thing.”

She completed a doctorate in nursing at WSU in July 2013 and published her dissertation, a research study titled, “Empowering Patients with Persistent Pain Using an Internet-based Self-Management Program.” » More …