Russell Michaelsen didn’t graduate from the WSU College of Nursing until he was nearly 50, after working as a medical lab tech, logger, commercial fisherman, hunting guide, and builder.
As a nurse, he added inventor to that list of vocations.
Michaelsen, now 78, co-founded Hyprotek, Inc. in Spokane in 1994 to develop medical devices and products that reduce the risk of patient infections. The product line grew out of his work as a nurse at a Spokane hospital. That’s also where he met Dr. Patrick Tennican, a board-certified internist and infectious disease specialist in Spokane, and together, they launched Hyprotek with L. Myles Phipps, Ph.D. » More …
Small rural hospitals face pediatric emergencies less frequently than their urban counterparts. That creates a host of challenges, from staff not being familiar with pain-control protocols, to not having appropriately sized supplies and equipment, to seemingly little things, like not having toys on hand to distract young patients.
That’s why the WSU College of Nursing teamed with Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital in a pilot project to improve pediatric care at Coulee Medical Center in Grand Coulee, Washington.
Cory Risse, a nursing instructor at the WSU College of Nursing, was paired with Dianne Molsberry, pediatric outreach coordinator at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center, to work with nurses at the 25-bed, Level IV trauma hospital.
They began by reviewing data and surveying the medical staff to gauge their comfort level in caring for pediatric patients, then pinpointed needs, Risse said. Working in collaboration with nursing leaders and administrators at the hospital, Risse and Molsberry decided to offer an education day for nurses, plus information on best practices for pediatrics policies and procedures.
“We taught them respiratory, pain management, and general approaches to working with kids,” Risse said. Nurses were tested before and after the training, and their scores improved, she said.
To help sustain the changes, two nurses were designated “peds champions.” They came to Spokane to shadow pediatric nurses at Sacred Heart Children’s, and will be in charge of continuing education efforts at Coulee Medical Center.
Charlotte Wilson, nurse educator at the hospital, said the project helped increase staff comfort levels in working with pediatric patients. “It was a good program,” she said.
Now the WSU College of Nursing and Providence will take the lessons learned in the pilot project and try to expand the program, said Wendy Buenzli, clinical associate professor at the College of Nursing. The Collaborative Pediatric Outreach Program could be offered throughout the Northwest, she said, with rural hospitals and clinics choosing from a menu of options. That might include consulting on needed equipment, training, a quality improvement project, or help finding resources.
Buenzli noted that WSU is a land-grant university, with a mission rooted in public service and outreach. The pediatric program “is a great opportunity to partner with Providence in serving rural areas,” she said.
The call went out to the day room at the Union Gospel Mission men’s shelter in Spokane on Wednesday morning: “Hey, we need somebody who can butcher up some animals.”
WSU College of Nursing student Mike Mosier was in the day room checking on shelter residents as part of his clinical rotation at Union Gospel Mission. None of the about 30 men in the day room raised their hands, Mosier said. “I’ve been hunting my whole life, so I said, ‘If you really need someone, I can do it for you.’”
That’s how the senior nursing student ended up butchering a deer – and part of a moose – on Wednesday.
The game was road-kill, donated to the mission by the Washington Department of Fish & Wildlife, said Lynn Yount, spokeswoman for UGM. The mission is a regular recipient of such donations, but the person who regularly butchers game for UGM wasn’t available that day.
Mosier said he’s butchered both deer and moose before. “I’ve been hunting since I was 7,” the Spokane Valley native explained. “I got the deer zipped up for them, then started on the moose. I got the two front shoulders done on the moose,” then had to leave for another clinical site, he said.
Was he surprised to be doing that as part of his nursing education?
“It was a pleasant surprise,” Mosier said, and one that complemented his nursing studies because he took the opportunity to give his clinical partner and a handful of others at the shelter a tutorial. “I showed anatomically where the muscles are on an animal, which is obviously different than a person. It was neat.”
Mosier graduates from nursing school in December, as does his wife Kelsey Mosier. The two received bachelor’s degrees from Eastern Washington University, then several years later returned to school to study nursing at Washington State University. “We both decided we want to do something to help people,” Mike Mosier said.
Said Yount, at Union Gospel Mission, “Mike was in the right place at the right time, as far as we’re concerned.”
For information on Union Gospel Mission, visit the nonprofit’s website, at https://www.uniongospelmission.org/
There are more than 800 nursing programs in the United States and more than 400,000 nurses who’ve earned masters or doctoral degrees.
So it’s notable that the National League for Nursing (NLN) honored both the Washington State University College of Nursing and one of its faculty, Executive Associate Dean and Professor Renee Hoeksel, at the organization’s 2017 Educational Summit this past weekend.
Dean Joyce Griffin-Sobel accepted a certificate naming the WSU College of Nursing a Center of Excellence in Nursing Education in a ceremony Saturday evening. She was joined on the stage by Associate Dean Anita Hunter; Hoeksel; and Senior Instructor Laura Wintersteen-Arleth.
Moments later, Hoeksel was inducted as a Fellow of the NLN Academy of Nursing Education. In announcing Hoeksel’s fellowship, Karen Pardue, Chair of the Academy of Nursing Education Review Panel, lauded her work in establishing new RN-BSN pathways across five western states.
The 14 new fellows and one honorary fellow “have contributed above and beyond the responsibilities associated with their employment, made contributions to nursing education that have been broad in scope and not limited to their own classrooms or schools,” Pardue noted.
Gloria Jacobson, chair of the Centers of Excellence review panel, told conference attendees that the program recognizes schools of nursing and health care organizations that set high standards, are committed to continuous quality improvement, and demonstrate sustained, evidence-based, and substantive innovation. The WSU College of Nursing was among 15 universities and health care organizations recognized, and the only school in the Pacific Northwest.
“The school started out as the first intercollegiate nursing program in the nation, and now has a full range of undergraduate and graduate degrees, a multimillion-dollar research portfolio, and courses offered at campuses statewide,” Jacobson said.
Other universities receiving the Centers of Excellence designation are: Ball State University, Duke University, Emory University, Indiana University, Kent State University, Purdue University, Rush University, Samford University, University of Alabama at Birmingham, University of Kansas, Villanova University, and Widener University.
The heart of a nurse isn’t bound by the hours of a work shift.
Julie and Barbara both know that.
Julie Postma is a former ICU nurse who’s now an associate professor in the WSU College of Nursing, teaching in Puyallup, Washington. Barbara worked as a nurse for decades in California and North Carolina, but at 90, she’s in an assisted living facility in Seattle.
The two connected through ElderFriends, a program in Seattle and King County that matches isolated older adults with volunteers who provide companionship. Postma visits Barbara twice a month and takes the older nurse on drives to explore the Puget Sound region, or just to people-watch.
The two share a love of national parks, travel, and dogs. “Sometimes we’ll go to a dog park – Barbara really misses a little dog she had,” Postma said. “She just lights up.”
After spending about two years together, Postma said she couldn’t imagine a more perfect match than Barbara.
So she worried about her friend when she was making plans to be out of the country for six weeks earlier this year. “I thought, that’s such a long time to be gone,” Postma said. “That’s when I had the idea of taking Barbara on a fun metaphorical road trip.” Using photos and interesting facts, Postma created an armchair trip through the Pacific Northwest. She asked a friend to mail the travelogues to Barbara each week.
Postma said she signed up for ElderFriends because she missed the meaningful interactions she used to have with patients. “That’s a big part of nursing,” she said. “It was a big part of my enjoyment of the profession.”
Seeing Barbara brings that back, Postma said.
“This is connecting with another person in the way I used to connect with seniors in the hospital,” she said. “My favorite part of this experience is when I drop her off and she turns around and gives me a big smile.”
For more information on ElderFriends, a program offered by Full Life Care, visit their website at www.fulllifecare.org/we-can-help/by-service/elderfriends/
Research scientists with disabilities are underrepresented in the health sciences, yet such scholars bring needed perspective to understanding and improving health policies and services for people with disabilities.
A new federal grant will help WSU hire three post-doctoral students with disabilities to become academic researchers, with the goal of having them go on to faculty positions at major universities or leadership roles in federal research agencies and nonprofit foundations.
The five-year, $750,000 award from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research will provide a competitive salary, full benefits, and support for any needed workplace assistance or adaptive technologies.
Called the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living Fellowship (CHRIL-F), the positions “will bring new scholars with disabilities to the table, and provide them the skills and support they will need to enlarge the policy debate,” said Jae Kennedy, principal investigator, professor and chair of the Department of Health Policy and Administration in the WSU College of Nursing.
The three fellows will be hired by WSU in staggered terms over the five-year grant, and will spend 18 months taking graduate courses, working on research grant proposals and journal manuscripts, and developing individual plans of research. They can spend three to six months of the fellowship at one or more affiliate sites, including Washington DC, Houston, or Lawrence, Kansas.
Grant funding can also be used for conference travel, which typically is more difficult and costly for people with disabilities, but which is critical for networking and presenting research work. The specific uses of support funds will depend on the needs of the fellows hired, but could include office space reconfiguration, or hiring a personal aide or interpreter.
With this grant, “We propose building a small but sturdy pipeline for disability researchers with disabilities by designing postdoc positions specific to their needs,” Kennedy said.
Besides Kennedy, the project team includes Roberta Carlin, director of the American Association on Health and Disability; Lex Frieden, a professor of bioinformatics and rehabilitation at the University of Texas in Houston; Jean Hall, a professor and director of the Institute for Health and Disability Policy at the University of Kansas; and Elizabeth Wood, a research associate in the Department of Health Policy and Administration at WSU.
The same team makes up the Collaborative on Health Reform and Independent Living (CHRIL), established by Kennedy under a $2.5 million federal grant to bring together disability advocates and researchers to investigate how the Affordable Care Act and related legislation affects the lives of adults with disabilities.
“The members of the CHRIL have personal, professional, and political experience with disability, and many contacts throughout the research and disability communities,” Kennedy said. “We are not just advocates and researchers who happen to have disabilities: disability is central to what we do and why we do it.”
Emilie Kimball’s nursing degree will take her across the globe later this month to volunteer for Mercy Ships in Africa.
Kimball said she views it as her third “career” in nursing in the six years since she graduated from the WSU College of Nursing. She worked in the surgical unit at Seattle Children’s, then in the pediatric intensive care unit there.
She’ll be a ward nurse on the Africa Mercy, the largest civilian hospital ship in the world with five operating rooms and 80 patient beds, docked for 10 months in Douala, Cameroon. Mercy Ships, a faith-based nonprofit, provides surgery and dental care and trains local doctors and nurses in specific areas of expertise.
Kimball heard about Mercy Ships a few years ago and was intrigued, she said. Then she discovered her employer, Seattle Children’s, offers sabbaticals after just five years of service.
“I decided it was time, applied for sabbatical, applied for Mercy Ships, and here I am one month out” from her Sept. 30 departure, she said recently. She’ll work on the ship for 10 weeks, then plans to travel before returning to Seattle.
That’s the kind of flexibility and adventure a nursing career can offer, said Kimball, 28.
“Nursing is such a great career,” she said. “It fits my personality to a T. I love the science behind it, I like the critical thinking, I like caring for people. It’s fun to see how nursing can be used in different ways.”
Kimball came by the profession naturally. She jokes that she graduated nursing school twice, since her mother was pregnant with Emilie in 1988 when she graduated from the Intercollegiate Center for Nursing Education. ICNE eventually became the WSU College of Nursing.
“I knew I wanted to be a nurse since I was 3,” Kimball said, and she always knew she wanted to attend WSU for nursing school. She spent her first two years at Whitworth University.
She added, “I don’t know who I would be if I wasn’t a nurse. My roommate works for (a major Seattle-area employer), and being in the business world is not who she is. But for most nurses, being a nurse is who you are.”
Two ROTC nurse cadets from the WSU College of Nursing took top honors at Cadet Summer Training in Kentucky.
Koby Binks, BSN ’17, and Candace Madriaga, a junior in the nursing program, were both honored with the Norton Healthcare Award during different sessions of the summer training program. The Norton Award is given to the nurse cadet who best demonstrates the ability to perform under stress and to apply critical thinking skills when making decisions.
Both Binks and Madriaga entered the WSU College of Nursing from Eastern Washington University’s ROTC program. The College of Nursing reserves seats in each new class for Army ROTC nurses from WSU and EWU.
Binks said the lessons he learned at the WSU College of Nursing helped him help his platoon during the month-long summer training program at Fort Knox.
He told them, “Let’s talk about how important it is to change socks” as they went through training exercises in 95-degree heat with 100 percent humidity, he said. “I talked about the science of electrolytes, I talked about hydration and what that means to the body,” said Binks, 28.
After completing a nine-week Basic Officer Leadership Course, Binks hopes to work in Spokane and fulfill his military service through the Army Reserves.
Madriaga, 22, said she’s “97 percent certain” she’ll become active-duty military after she graduates from the College of Nursing.
“I want to care for those who are fighting for our country,” she said.
Some 8,200 cadets went through basic and advanced camp at Fort Knox this summer, events designed to help ROTC cadets improve their skills and leadership qualities.
With undergraduate students beginning their nursing studies this week, we asked WSU College of Nursing alumni and the larger nursing community what they wish they’d known then. Here’s what they said:
It’s OK to say, “I don’t know.”
As a student and as a newly minted nurse, it’s easy to get caught up in the belief that you need to know everything right now. Don’t be afraid to say you don’t know the answer and to ask questions. Eventually, your patients will trust and respect you more for saying, ‘I don’t know the answer to that question, but I will find out for you.”
Take care of yourself while you’re in school.
Though you’ll definitely think you don’t have the time, it’s important to exercise, eat right, rest, and make time to do the things you enjoy. Which brings us to…
Managing your time is essential.
Time management will be one of the most important skills you’ll learn in nursing school. Whether you use an old-fashioned planner or an app, block out times for focused study, self-care, work or family time. Mark down important due dates as soon as you get your syllabus.
Protect your body.
Nursing is a physically demanding job – lifting or moving patients, awkward positions and constant standing. Nurses as a group experience as much back, shoulder and neck injury as construction workers. So start off right – learn good body mechanics. Buy and wear compression socks to save your legs and veins. And invest in very good shoes.
Don’t be too hard on yourself.
You got into the WSU College of Nursing, so you’re smart and driven. Check. But it’s a safe bet that you’re going to fall down at some point. You’ll get a B (or a C). You’ll feel lost/unsure/incompetent in clinicals. Here’s the important thing: don’t let it derail you. Talk to your instructor. Practice positive self-talk. Nursing school is tough – but so are you.
Create a study group.
It’ll help you process and prioritize the loads of information coming at you. Just as importantly, you’ll be with a group of people who know exactly what you’re going through.
Start using your stethoscope as soon as you have it. Listen to lung sounds on anyone who will stand still long enough, because the sooner you know what normal sounds like, the easier it will be to identify abnormal. Take full advantage of your clinical time to see and do all that you can.
Build your critical thinking skills.
Nursing school is going to be different than many of your previous college classes. You can’t just memorize a fact and dredge it up on a test. You need to fully understand why that’s the case and be able to explain it to someone else.
Effective communication is a vital part of patient safety, so start practicing those habits in nursing school. It can be scary to speak out, yes. Tips to help: don’t accuse, explain. Back up your case with facts and data. And assume that others share your desire to improve patient care.
Recognize that even when you finish school, you’ll still have a lot to learn. Be open to advice from more experienced people.
The WSU College of Nursing has been named a Center of Excellence by the National League for Nursing, an honor given to only 15 schools and health care facilities nationwide in 2017.
The award recognizes the College of Nursing’s statewide programs, innovation, research, community outreach, and its commitment to diversity.
The National League for Nursing is a professional organization with 40,000 individual members and 1,200 institutional members. It provides professional development, testing services, research grants and public policy initiatives on nursing education and research.
“Expert faculty create expert nurses. The WSU College of Nursing has been producing the finest nurses in Washington for close to 50 years,” said Dean and Professor Joyce Griffin-Sobel, PhD, RN, ANEF, FAAN. “Being named a Center of Excellence, the only college in the Northwest to be honored in this manner, recognizes our innovative, learner-centered teaching, enhanced by a sophisticated simulation program for hands-on, experiential learning.”
The WSU College of Nursing graduates more nurses with bachelor’s degrees than any other university in the state, is a leader in education using simulation, and had research and grant funding of more than $7 million last year. By bringing a diverse student body into health care and serving disadvantaged communities, the College of Nursing helps WSU continue to fulfill its land-grant mission in a modern world.
Anne R. Bavier, PhD, RN, FAAN, and president of the National League for Nursing, notes that Centers of Excellence “help raise the bar for all nursing programs.”
The WSU College of Nursing was named a Center of Excellence for “Enhancing Student Learning and Professional Development,” one of four categories for which honors are awarded. Other nursing schools recognized in the same category include Rush University, Purdue University, Ball State University, and the University of Kansas.
Among the achievements highlighted in the College’s Center of Excellence application were:
The College has statewide reach, offering degrees on WSU campuses in Spokane, the Tri-Cities and Vancouver, Washington, and at sites in Yakima and Walla Walla.
Since 2005, the College has increased its research capacity by 400 percent.
The student body is both ethnically and demographically diverse. From 2013-2016, the WSU College of Nursing’s undergraduate enrollment included 43 percent first-generation college students, and 30 percent non-white. Over the past decade, the College tripled the number of under-represented minority students, rural, and first-generation students who received bachelor’s degrees in nursing.
The Program of Excellence in Clinical Performance and Simulation operates a state-of-the-art Simulation Lab that serves students from many WSU health-sciences programs. The College also trains community partners there, including the 141st Air National Guard, students from Spokane Community College, the Washington Association of Nurse Anesthetists, and the University of Washington’s MEDEX Physician Assistant program.
Students, under the guidance of College of Nursing faculty, have staffed first aid stations at sporting events, conducted children’s health and sports physical screenings, and offered free clinics for uninsured and undocumented people.
Dean Griffin-Sobel said of the honor of being named a Center of Excellence, “Our faculty ensure that our graduates, at the entry and advanced levels, are prepared to meet the health care needs of our citizens, to reduce the significant access problems that exist in our state, and to increase primary care practice. As a land grant institution, there is no higher calling.”