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WSU nursing student pinch-hits as a butcher for Union Gospel Mission

Mike Mosier with a knife and piece of deer meat.
Mike Mosier with a knife and piece of deer meat.
Mike Mosier, a senior WSU College of Nursing student, volunteered to butcher a road-kill deer and moose for the Union Gospel Mission in Spokane on Wednesday. Photo courtesy Union Gospel Mission. 

By Addy Hatch, WSU College of Nursing

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

College of Nursing professor bonds with retired nurse through ElderFriends

Julie Postma, left, a faculty member with the College of Nursing, has been a volunteer companion to Barbara, right, through ElderFriends.

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.

Julie Postma, left, a faculty member with the College of Nursing, has been a volunteer companion to Barbara, right, through ElderFriends.
Julie Postma, left, a faculty member with the College of Nursing, has been a volunteer companion to Barbara, right, through ElderFriends.

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

Meet a preceptor: Kathryn Brault, ARNP

portrait of preceptor Kathryn Brault
portrait of preceptor Kathryn Brault
Kathryn Brault

Kathryn Brault loves her job, and that’s why she’s a preceptor for the WSU College of Nursing and other schools.

As a preceptor, she’s one of the many experienced practitioners who volunteer their time to instruct and supervise nursing students during clinical training. Brault is a Family Nurse Practitioner who runs a specialty clinic in the Tri-Cities for diabetes patients, and also precepts students at Grace Clinic, which provides free health care to people in need.

Why does she do it?

“Medicine in general is something we learn best by doing,” said Brault, who earned her RN-BSN and MN degrees from the WSU College of Nursing. She believes mentoring students helps her continue to hone her clinical skills, because “when you have to explain and teach something, you become more aware.”

Also, it’s important for practitioners to give back to the profession. “That’s what makes medicine good, that we all collaborate,” she said.

Nursing students appreciate the time Brault spends with them. Said one student, “Kathy has a great way of explaining information so it makes sense.”

Brault said her work as a volunteer preceptor is satisfying. “I love what I do, and I want other people to see how rewarding it can be.”

Visit our Preceptor Portal for information on being a WSU College of Nursing preceptor. 

Thank a Preceptor: Sue Neal, Battle Ground Healthcare

Portrait of Sue Neal, a preceptor for the College of Nursing at Battle Ground Healthcare
Portrait of Sue Neal, a preceptor for the College of Nursing at Battle Ground Healthcare
Sue Neal, Executive Director, Battle Ground Healthcare


Sue Neal wants student nurses to see how much community is involved in community health.

That’s why the Executive Director of Battle Ground Healthcare, a nonprofit, faith-based clinic near Vancouver, Washington, often takes nurses she’s precepting to meetings of committees and stakeholders.

“I like students to go to meetings so they get a feel for all of the different things going on in terms of providing care and services for populations,” said Neal, who’s been a WSU College of Nursing preceptor for four years. “I want them to get a big picture of what’s happening in the community, because that’s where nursing is really going.”

Neal mostly precepts RN-BSN students at Washington State University, though she has worked with a student getting her Master of Nursing degree. She serves as a preceptor one or two times a year.

The secret to a good preceptor experience is the match, she said. “It’s really taking a look at what the student’s background is, what their interests are, and letting them know about the experience you have available for them.”

She added, “I always find out what their objectives and expectations are, and work with them to help them meet their objectives. Giving them time and investing in the student is essential.”

While nursing preceptors are volunteers, Neal said that for her, it’s time well-spent.

“I love being a preceptor, and I’ve gotten great students. I just continually think wow, what great nurses are coming out of WSU.”

For information on becoming a preceptor for the WSU College of Nursing, visit the Preceptor Portal on our website

Actors play a role in health education as ‘standardized patients’

Mike Munoz sits on an exam table in the WSU College of Nursing's Simulation Lab.
Mike and Stacey Munoz, standardized patients for the WSU College of Nursing
Mike and Stacey Munoz, standardized patients for the WSU College of Nursing. Photo by Cori Kogan.

By Addy Hatch, WSU College of Nursing

As acting jobs go, this one’s not typical.

Rather than being handed the role of “ingenue” or “nosy neighbor,” people who are hired by the WSU College of Nursing might be asked to play “chest pain” or “depression,” or “degenerative joint disease.” They’re called standardized patients, or SPs, and they help teach nurses and other health-science students skills in communication and clinical treatment.

The WSU College of Nursing has had a standardized patient program as part of its Simulation Lab for three years, said Kevin Stevens, Director of the Center for Clinical Performance and Simulation.

“Most schools will use standardized patients for things they can’t do with a mannequin,” Stevens said, referring to the high-tech mannequins used in the Simulation Lab. For instance, unlike a mannequin, a standardized patient might pace the room, jump out of bed or interact aggressively – all scenarios that nursing students could face in their careers.

Standardized patients also give students feedback.

“Sometimes students don’t use good eye contact, or they’re looking down at a paper the whole time,” said Stacey Munoz, a standardized patient at the WSU College of Nursing and before that, in Arizona. “Sometimes they’ll tell a joke that doesn’t translate well.”

That’s the exception, however, said Mike Munoz, Stacey’s husband and a fellow standardized patient in Spokane. “I would say 99.9 percent of the time the good outweighs the bad. These students are being trained very well.”

The WSU College of Nursing launched its standardized patient program using actors hired through a Spokane talent agency. The pool of SPs has expanded to include non-actors like Mike and Stacey Munoz – people who have some interest in health sciences and want to help train the next generation of care providers. Mike Munoz had 35 years of experience with emergency medical services as a firefighter in Arizona, while Stacey Munoz worked at a health-sciences university there.

» More …

Camp Stix offers a ‘powerful’ lesson for nursing students

Group of nursing students standing arm in arm at Camp Stix.
Group of nursing students standing arm in arm at Camp Stix.
Some of the WSU College of Nursing students who are volunteering at 2017 Camp Stix. From left: Daniel Lyakhov, Lauren McClanahan, Brian Sandvig, Sarah Gibson, Jenny Irish, and Lauren Gerty.

By Addy Hatch

CUSICK, Wash. – The kids at Camp Stix make arts and crafts, swim, and play AWOL, a camp-wide game of hide-and-seek. It’s like any other summer camp, and that’s the point.

Most of the nearly 200 campers have Type 1 diabetes. It would be hard, maybe impossible, for them to go to summer camp if not for Camp Stix and its large medical team, specialized menus and 1-to-1 camper-to-staff ratio.

WSU nursing and pharmacy students were among the medical volunteers at the camp held in mid-July. The students worked in interdisciplinary teams with medical professionals in a gym that was renamed MASH during Camp Stix. There were tables where campers had their blood sugar tested before each meal and snack, and MASH volunteers made nightly rounds of cabins to monitor kids whose blood sugar has been trending lower, said “Jackpot” Jacob McGowan, director of Camp Stix (where staff all have camp names).

Photo of Lauren McClanahan with a bright vest that says MASH
WSU College of Nursing student Lauren McClanahan is working in the medical building at Camp Stix, called MASH.

Many of the College of Nursing students who were volunteering at the week-long camp say they got experience in patient care, communications and teamwork that would be hard to replicate in the classroom.

“It feels like I’m out there in the RN world,” said “Sourpatch” Sarah Baker.

Students were eased into their roles during the week-long camp, noted “Langerhans” Lori Parisot, a College of Nursing instructor who was spending her second year at Camp Stix.

“By the end of the week they’re making a lot of decisions about how to treat children with diabetes,” she said. “Their confidence will be so much bigger. It’s one of the best medical experiences you can have.”

College of Nursing faculty and students have a long connection with Camp Stix, which is in its 17th year. In recent years it’s been held at the Riverview Bible Camp on the Pend Oreille River near Cusick, Wash.

“We always hear about how powerful this camp is,” said “BOHB” Brian Sandvig, a senior nursing student.

“Electric” Emma Trayte, 21, was a camp counselor this year, but she first attended Camp Stix as a teenager with Type 1 diabetes. “The most important part is the normalcy, being able to see and connect with kids who have the same struggles,” she said.

Photo of two boys at Camp Stix.
Hunter, 13, and James, 12, met at this year’s Camp Stix. Both have been to camp in the past.

Hunter, 13, is from Walla Walla, and was spending his fourth summer at Camp Stix. He said he feels comfortable there, “because everybody has diabetes.” Elizabeth, also 13, is from Orofino, Idaho, and it was her first time at camp. “Everybody has a good time, singing songs, the skits are hilarious,” she said. “Everybody has a blast.”

The MASH volunteers gathered as a group in the morning for updates and announcements, and to “shout out” to their colleagues. They ended the session with a group huddle. “Why do we do this?” yelled MASH medical director “Bronco” Bill Martin, a physician assistant who specializes in pediatric endocrinology.  “BECAUSE WE CARE!” the group responded.

Said Parisot, of the WSU College of Nursing, “People have a real heart for this. The motto here is, “Until there’s a cure, there’s camp.”

View photo album»

About Camp Stix: The camp is held for a week in July, and there’s a related day camp for younger kids, Camp Twigs, held at Dart-Lo Day Camp. Both are run by Camp Stix Diabetes Programs, a 501(c)3 nonprofit . The camp is funded by camper tuition, and public and private donations. For information or to donate, visit

WSU College of Nursing students participating in 2017 Camp Stix:

  • “Lavagirl” Lauren Gerty
  • “Lemondrop” Lauren McClanahan
  • “BOHB” Brian Sandvig
  • “Sweetart” Sarah Gibson
  • “Jugular” Jenny Irish
  • “Dawn Phenom” Daniel Lyakhov
  • “Sourpatch” Sarah Baker
  • “Ramble” Rachel Felgenhauer
  • “Bit-o-Honey” Brianna Bartlett
  • “Effervescent” Elyse Beckett
  • “Klickster” Kris Wood

Na-ha-shnee Health Sciences Institute under way at WSU Spokane

A counselor shows a teenage participant in Na-ha-shnee Native American Health Sciences Institute how to measure blood pressure.
A counselor shows a teenage participant in Na-ha-shnee Native American Health Sciences Institute how to measure blood pressure.
A counselor shows a teenage participant in Na-ha-shnee Native American Health Sciences Institute how to measure blood pressure.

By Addy Hatch

For more than two decades, Native American and Alaska Native teenagers have headed to Washington State University in the summer to learn about careers in the health sciences. This year, 24 young women and men representing 20 tribal nations arrived on Sunday for 11 days of workshops, field trips, personal wellness and exercise sessions – all part of the Na-ha-shnee Native American Health Sciences Institute.

Sarah Burke once was one of those students. The member of the Lummi Nation, near Bellingham, attended Na-ha-shnee three times. She’s back as a counselor this summer, after finishing her first semester at the WSU College of Nursing. She wants to go on to get a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree and become a Family Nurse Practitioner.

“I want to go back to my reservation and work at a clinic there,” she said.

Na-ha-shnee participants learn about careers in nursing, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, physical therapy and more. They take classes in writing for college scholarships and in CPR. They learn yoga and Zumba, and take part in circle times, a talent show and counseling sessions.

Talon, 17, is a Na-ha-shnee camper for the second time. He wants to be a biomedical engineer, and said the camp has been “a great experience to learn more about the medical field and what we need to do to get to our goal.”

A male student looks at a human skull.
A student takes part in the Na-ha-shnee Native American Health Sciences Institute on the WSU Spokane campus.

Auriel, 15, wants to be a pediatric nurse or nurse anesthetist. She also is a second-time participant.

Emma Noyes, Interim Director of Native American Health Sciences at WSU, said there are many success stories of campers going on to careers in the health sciences.

The Native American Health Sciences Institute is paid for by sponsors, so participants arrange only for transportation to and from WSU Spokane. The program is open to Native American and Alaska Native students in the 9th-11th grades, who have a GPA of 3.0 or above and an interest in health sciences as a profession.

Noyes said Native American communities in both rural and urban areas are facing health-provider workforce shortages. “Na-ha-shnee aims to inspire the Native American health leaders of the future, who will be committed to improving health and wellness in high-need areas,” she said.

See WSU Spokane staff photographer Cori Kogan’s images of the event on flickr


Thank you to our generous sponsors:

WSU College of Nursing Trude Smith Endowment; WSU College of Medicine; Muckleshoot Indian Tribe; Snoqualmie Tribe; David and Dorothy Pierce Trust; Tulalip Tribes; STCU; Numerica Credit Union; Wells Fargo; and the Kalispel Tribe of Indians Camas Path Behavioral Health Program and Camas Center Recreation & Fitness Program.

Dean’s Excellence Fund 2017 Annual Report

The WSU College of Nursing is grateful for the generous support of donors who help the College of Nursing achieve excellence and reach. The Dean’s Excellence Fund is used at the Dean’s discretion for the College’s most urgent needs in teaching, scholarship, and research. These unrestricted funds enable the Dean to act immediately to meet unanticipated needs or opportunities to promote the health and well-being of individuals, families and communities through education, scholarship, service, and practice.

This last fiscal year (July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017), your gifts supported several professional development activities for faculty and staff, research projects, and student activities that expanded participation and connection to more diverse communities. Funds were also used to celebrate faculty, staff and student success.

Here are a few highlights from FY17:

  • Strategic Planning Day for all College of Nursing faculty and staff – August 17, 2016
  • December Convocation Open House – December 11, 2016
  • Participation in the Western Institute of Nursing Conference held in Denver, Colorado – May 22, 2017
  • Faculty and Staff Spring Appreciation Event and Awards – May 11, 2017

Fiscal Year 2017 Activities

Dean's Excellence Fund, WSU College of Nursing
Student Support$6,083(11%)
Faculty & Staff Support$23,820(44%)
Professional Development & Memberships$23,257(43%)
Total Amount Awarded$54,370

For more information on the Dean’s Excellence Fund, or to contribute, visit Giving Opportunities.

Community fitness program helped overweight teens in Coeur d’Alene

Image of two feet in running shoes.

Image of two feet in running shoes.

By Addy Hatch, College of Nursing

Five years ago, researchers in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, wanted to test whether overweight teenagers would be receptive to a community-based fitness program that included exercise, goal-setting, and nutrition coaching.

As it turned out, finding 20 overweight teens who wanted to take part “was the easiest recruitment I ever had for a study,” said Dr. Marian Wilson, an assistant professor at the WSU College of Nursing. “We had kids lining up to get their BMI measured.”

And it worked – at the end of the 12-week study, the teens showed improvement in blood pressure, they could do more push-ups and sit-ups, they could walk faster on a treadmill, their “screen time” was down and they expressed greater confidence. The results of the study have just been published in the Journal of Pediatric Health Care.

Shawn Burke brought the idea for the community-based fitness program to Wilson when she was clinical research coordinator at Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene. Burke worked as a personal trainer and saw a need, he said.  » More …

Researchers tracking public health impacts of marijuana legalization

A panel of three people
A panel of three people
Dr. Julia Dilley, left; Dr. Ashley Brooks-Russell, center; and Dr. Adam Darnell, right, took part in a panel discussion cannabis legalization outcomes. (Photo by Cori Medeiros)

By Addy Hatch

The number of retail cannabis shops in a location is associated with higher marijuana use among young people there.

That’s just one of the public health-related findings presented Friday morning at the Inland Northwest Research Symposium on the campus of Washington State University Spokane. Panelists shared some of the research and outcomes from Washington, Oregon and Colorado, where marijuana is legal for recreational use.

Nicholas Lovrich, PhD, WSU Regents Professor Emeritus and chair of the WSU Committee on Cannabis Research and Outreach, introduced the panel by noting that marijuana purchases in the three states rival alcohol sales, so tracking, monitoring and documenting public health consequences is “no trivial matter.”  » More …