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DNP student Ebony Blackmon Humphrey awarded Lois Price Spratlen Foundation scholarship

Portrait of Emma Oswald and Ebony Blackmon Humphrey at the Lois Price Spratlen Foundation award gala.
Portrait of Emma Oswald and Ebony Blackmon Humphrey at the Lois Price Spratlen Foundation award gala.
Emma Oswald, a 2016 scholarship recipient from the Lois Price Spratlen Foundation, presented the 2017 award to DNP student Ebony Blackmon Humphrey.

Author, entrepreneur, nurse, and WSU Doctor of Nursing Practice student Ebony Blackmon Humphrey was honored recently by the Lois Price Spratlen Foundation in Seattle with a $2,000 scholarship.

Blackmon Humphrey will graduate from the WSU College of Nursing Vancouver in May with a DNP degree in psychiatric mental health, with the goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. She works at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle in the psychiatric services department.

“I felt that advancing my education would better position me to care for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness,” Blackmon Humphrey said recently. » More …

“Defining Hope” documentary on end-of-life care to be screened in Spokane Nov. 1

A scene from "Defining Hope," a new documentary about the end of life.
A scene from "Defining Hope," a new documentary about the end of life.
A scene from “Defining Hope,” a new documentary about the end of life.

Defining Hope,” a new documentary from the team that made “The American Nurse Project,” will have a special screening in Spokane on Nov. 1.

The film follows eight patients with life-threatening illness, and the nurses who guide them in making critical decisions along the way. It explores what makes life worth living, and what choices people and their families make near the end of life.

The Washington State Nurses Association and the WSU College of Nursing are bringing “Defining Hope” to Spokane for the one-night screening.

Nurses who attend will receive 1.25 free contact hours for watching the film and completing an evaluation, thanks to support from Walden University.

Tickets are $11.35 for adults and $8.85 for seniors, and can be bought on the Regal Cinemas website at or at the box office. The movie will be shown at 7 p.m. at the Regal Spokane Valley Stadium 12 theater located at the Spokane Valley Mall, 14760 E. Indiana Ave.

The nationwide screenings on Nov. 1 are in honor of National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. Said the producer, “Through the stories of patients, families, nurses, and healthcare professionals, Defining Hope brings the conversation around quality end-of-life care to the forefront of our minds.”

Watch a trailer for the film at 

College of Nursing alum helps send pizza to Las Vegas hospital staff

Staff at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas took a picture with the pizzas sent by ER staff at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.

An alumna of the WSU College of Nursing led a drive to raise money to buy dozens of pizzas for the staff of a hospital in Las Vegas after 58 people were killed at a concert there.

Crystal Burris, an emergency department nurse at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, told KHQ-TV that she and a co-worker were watching coverage of the mass-casualty incident and wondering how they could help.

“We like Vegas. We go to Vegas. And we’re also ER nurses. So we thought immediately when we saw the news of the shooting, that could’ve been us,” she told the TV station.

Staff at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas took a picture with the pizzas sent by ER staff at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.
Staff at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas took a picture with the pizzas sent by ER staff at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane.

Burris and her co-worker started a fund-raising drive to collect money to send pizza to the ER staff at Sunrise Hospital in Las Vegas, which is the closest trauma center to the Las Vegas strip. Sunrise treated 199 patients after the Oct. 1 shooting at a country music festival in the city, 16 of whom died. More than 50 patients had undergone surgery at the hospital within the first 24 hours after the shooting.

Burris said she and her co-worker were surprised at the number of donations they received – $1,200 in all. They sent more than 20 large pizzas, sandwiches, and salads to the ER staff at Sunrise Hospital, according to KHQ.


Nursing grad Megan Ludeña chosen by WSU Vancouver as “Notable Alumna”

photo of Megan Ludena, notable alumna WSU Vancouver
Group photo of nurses gathered around a table, one of whom is Megan Ludena, WSU Vancouver Notable Alumna 2017.
Megan Ludeña, shown in glasses at left, reviews a policy change with colleagues at Kaiser Westside Medical Center in Hillsboro, Oregon. Photo by Jennifer Perez.

Reprinted with permission from Northwest Crimson & Gray, WSU Vancouver

Megan Ludeña considers it “a surprise and honor” to be chosen for WSU Vancouver’s 2017 Notable Alumni Award

The award is the latest in a string of accolades she has received in the last five years. As meaningful as these awards are to her, however, she said that “really, my biggest achievements have been caring for my mom at the end of her life, and raising my two girls.”

Caretaking is Ludeña’s life purpose. That is a major reason why she is increasingly recognized for the careful, conscientious work she does as a nurse and nurse educator. Currently she is a nurse educator with Kaiser Westside Medical Center. Although she sometimes fills in for clinical nurses attending to newborns or patients in early labor, she spends most of her time helping her fellow nurses to maintain their specialized skills and work at the top of their scope of practice.

“The majority of my time is spent on orientation and onboarding of new hires, reviewing and updating our policies and procedures, teaching some of Kaiser Northwest’s regional nursing classes, and planning and executing our staff education throughout the year,” Ludeña said.  » More …

WSU College of Nursing expanding online offerings to better serve all nurses

Dr. Wendy Buenzli of the WSU College of Nursing talked about continuing education during an event with WSU Extension in Island County; here she's shown on a monitor used to link up the Spokane campus with the office on Whidbey Island.
Dr. Wendy Buenzli of the WSU College of Nursing talked about continuing education during an event with WSU Extension in Island County; here she's shown on a monitor used to link up the Spokane campus with the office on Whidbey Island.
Dr. Wendy Buenzli, of the WSU College of Nursing, is shown on a monitor as she takes part in an event with WSU Extension in Island County, Washington in October 2017.

Nurses in Washington need 45 hours of continuing education every three years to maintain their licenses, but that’s not easy to achieve for nurses working in rural or remote locations.

That’s why the Washington State University College of Nursing is working with WSU’s Academic Outreach & Innovation group and WSU Extension to make continuing education more accessible to nurses everywhere.

Using a mix of online course work and traditional classes that are offered through interactive video technology, the College of Nursing “sees a real possibility to expand our reach and better serve the nursing profession,” said Wendy Buenzli, Ph.D., Director of Professional Development at the college.

The College of Nursing, for example, is in the early stages of a partnership with Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, to offer online continuing education for nurse leaders there. A pediatric outreach program piloted in Grand Coulee, Washington in conjunction with Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital could be moved mostly online. And the College of Nursing’s RN refresher program, required by the state of Washington for nurses who have let their license lapse, has been reworked and moved online in a project headed by Vicky Sattler, Ph.D., clinical coordinator of that program.

Most recently, Buenzli joined a group on Whidbey Island via interactive video to celebrate the opening of a relocated WSU Extension office that could offer new possibilities for continuing education there.

Tim Lawrence, Island County director of WSU Extension, said the nurses who staff Whidbey Island’s two hospitals and many medical clinics don’t have good options for fulfilling their continuing education credits. “Generally they have to leave the island” for continuing education classes, he said.

Now, the College of Nursing could link to the Whidbey Island Extension office to offer continuing education that requires some in-person participation, or can offer online-only courses to nurses there, Buenzli said.

Buenzli said the College of Nursing has worked closely with the university’s Academic Outreach & Innovation group, which includes WSU Global Campus, to retool its continuing education program.

Said Kelly Newell, director of outreach and program development at Academic Outreach & Innovation, “I think the potential is huge, honestly. I do a lot of market research on what occupations are growing and in need of continuing education, and nursing is always at the top. This partnership is timely – it broadens the reach of what is already happening at the WSU College of Nursing.”

Janet Katz inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing

Dr. Janet Katz is inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing on Oct. 7, 2017.
Dr. Janet Katz is inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing on Oct. 7, 2017.
Dr. Janet Katz, right, is inducted as a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing on Oct. 7, 2017.

Dr. Janet Katz, professor at the Washington State University College of Nursing, on Saturday was inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing at the organization’s annual meeting in Washington D.C.

The academy’s more than 2,500 fellows worldwide are nurse leaders in education, management, practice, policy, and research. Fellows are selected for their significant contributions to nursing and health care, and the impact of their career on health policies and population health and well-being.

Dr. Katz was the only inductee this year from Eastern Washington, and one of just three from the state.

Her work has focused on diversifying the nursing workforce. Dr. Katz is currently principle investigator on a federal grant to increase the number of disadvantaged, Native American and Hispanic students from rural areas who choose health sciences for their careers. She is also principle investigator for a project focusing on preventing substance abuse and suicide among young members of the Spokane Tribe of Indians. In addition, she coordinates nursing programs for the annual Na-ha-shnee Native American Health Sciences Institute held annually at WSU Spokane, and teaches community health at the WSU College of Nursing.

Study: 12-hour night shift can affect a nurse’s performance


Working a 12-hour night shift affects a nurse’s performance more than working a 12-hour day shift does, according to a recent study by Marian Wilson, Ph.D., an assistant professor at the WSU College of Nursing.

Most hospitals in the United States operate on 12-hour nursing shifts now, because they’re easier for administrators to manage and nurses like them, research has shown.

But Wilson’s study, which will appear in the journal “Accident Analysis and Prevention,” shows declines in alertness and performance during a 12-hour night shift that could have implications for both patient and nurse safety.

Strategies to address the discrepancy between day-shift and night-shift performance could include sanctioned napping in the workplace, or a return to 8-hour shifts at night, the paper concludes.

Wilson’s co-investigators on the study were Hans Van Dongen, Ph.D., director of the Sleep and Performance Research Center at the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, and Regan Permito, research assistant at the Sleep and Performance Research lab, plus registered nurses Ashley English, Sandra Albritton and Carlana Coogle, of Kootenai Health in Coeur d’Alene. Kootenai Health also supported the research with a grant and their staff donated time to assist with data collection.

The study tracked 22 nurses at Kootenai Health, 11 on the day shift and 11 on the night shift. The nurses took a brief test before, during, and after their shifts to measure behavioral alertness and sleepiness using validated tools. In addition, they wore activity trackers on their wrists to measure sleep duration and kept sleep diaries.

Dr. Marian Wilson
Dr. Marian Wilson

The dayshift nurses’ performance was relatively good and stable across their 12-hour shift. But the performance of nurses working the night shift gradually degraded as their shift wore on, the study found. Both groups slept about the same number of hours per day – 7.1 – and both had roughly the same workload.

“Because 12-hour shifts are becoming the popular norm for nurses, it is critical that organizations consider the potential risks to patients, particularly with regard to night shift employees,” the study concluded. The study also has implications for nurse safety, with nurses whose performance has declined driving home after a night shift, it said.

Added Wilson, “The bottom line – night shift nurses are fighting their natural biological drive for sleep and need more help in maintaining performance and alertness during 12-hour night shifts.”

“Performance and sleepiness in nurses working 12-h day shifts or night shifts in a community hospital” –  Accident Analysis and Prevention. Marian Wilson, Regan Permito, Ashley English, Sandra Albritton, Carlana Coogle, Hans P.A. Van Dongen.

Julie Postma of the College of Nursing honored for public health work

Portrait of Julie Postma
Portrait of Julie Postma, who specializes in environmental health and asthma
Dr. Julie Postma

Julie Postma, associate professor at the WSU College of Nursing, will be honored with the Public Health Leadership Award by the Washington State Public Health Association at the organization’s annual meeting this month.

The award conferred by the statewide organization recognizes a person who’s demonstrated sustained leadership in public health advocacy, research, education, or equity and social justice.

Postma teaches population health courses in the WSU College of Nursing graduate program and serves as clinical faculty in the Puget Sound region for the college’s undergraduate program. Her research and expertise focus on environmental health, especially asthma.

“The impact of Dr. Postma’s work to reduce the burden of asthma through asthma management is truly impressive,” wrote Janet Primomo of the University of Washington Tacoma, one of two people who nominated Postma for the award.

Patricia Butterfield, associate dean of research at the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, wrote of Postma, “She effectively works alongside parents who are new to this country and may not speak English, public health professionals, clinicians and asthma researchers.”

Among Postma’s many activities, she led a successful three-year community engagement project to increase parent participation in the Puget Sound Asthma Coalition. She convened both a parent advisory group and a research advisory network, and has served as chair of the asthma coalition’s research and evaluation subcommittee since 2014.

Wrote Primomo, “She has demonstrated expertise in a range of public health issues, worked with many collaboratives and partnerships throughout the state, and applied her outstanding research and advocacy skills to address health inequalities and improve health.”

Cleveland police department to test simulator developed by College of Nursing professor

Portrait of Lois James
Portrait of Lois James
Lois James stands in front of a screen showing one of the simulations featured in CBTSim.

Two hundred patrol officers in the Cleveland police department will undergo training to recognize their subconscious biases using a simulator developed by an assistant professor in the WSU College of Nursing.

The large-scale training is part of a $750,000 research grant awarded to Lois James, Ph.D., by the National Institute of Justice, the research and development agency of the U.S. Department of Justice.

Lois James and her colleague Stephen James, Ph.D., assistant research professor in the WSU Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine, developed Counter Bias Training Simulation (CBTSim), a portable simulator that presents officers with realistic scenarios in which they are required to make shoot-or-don’t-shoot decisions. The scenarios are based on 30 years of data on police use of force, and repeatedly expose officers to simulations where the suspect’s characteristics, such as age, gender or race, aren’t predictably related to the outcome.

No comparative evidence yet

Such training is a response to national concerns about bias in police decision-making that arose following the 2014 shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo.

Implicit-bias training has become common in law enforcement agencies nationwide. So far, however, there has been no evidence on whether simulation-based training, traditional classroom lectures, or a combination of the two is most effective in changing police behavior.

“Rigorous, randomized controlled trials such as the one proposed are desperately required to inform policy and practice at the national level,” Lois James wrote in her grant application to the National Institute of Justice.

Four participant groups

James’ study will randomly assign 400 patrol officers with the Cleveland police department to one of four groups:

  • One will receive classroom training in implicit bias.
  • Another group will be trained using the CBTSim simulator.
  • A third group will be trained using both methods.
  • A fourth control group won’t receive any additional training.

Results will be measured by scoring body-camera footage, the number of citizen complaints received, police surveys and focus groups, and surveys of people arrested to see whether they felt they were treated fairly. The goal is to identify best practices for reducing unconscious or subconscious bias, leading to improved police decision-making and enhanced citizen trust.

Police welcome study

The research study is supported by both the Cleveland Division of Police and Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission.

The three-year research project will begin on Jan. 1, with police training beginning in the spring of 2019. James is principal investigator, with co-investigators Stephen James and Elizabeth Dotson, M.S., research assistant, WSU Sleep and Performance Research Center. Also on the research team are Renee Mitchell, Ph.D., of the Sacramento Police Department, who’s an evidence-based policing consultant, and Mary Davis, executive director of the Ohio Peace Officer Training Commission.

Davis said in a letter of support for the project that the research is “of critical importance to the future of implicit bias training.” And Calvin Williams, chief of the Cleveland police department, wrote, “We understand the commitment required to participate, and are excited to play a pioneering role in the evaluation of implicit bias training for improving police decision-making, promoting public perceptions of police legitimacy, and enhancing the outcomes of police-citizen interactions.”

Creative, multisensory teaching techniques tested at WSU College of Nursing in Vancouver

Portrait of five women.
Portrait of five women.
Faculty at the WSU College of Nursing in Vancouver tested creative, multisensory teaching techniques in nursing classes; a paper on the experience will be published in the Journal of Nursing Education. Left to right: Lida Dekker, Melody Rasmor, Andra Davis, Connie Kim Yen Nguyen-Truong, and Cassius Spencer. 

Research has shown that students learn better through interactive, multisensory education, using some combination of sound, touch, vision and movement.

An associate professor at the WSU College of Nursing in Vancouver wanted to know whether that same multisensory approach could help prepare nursing students for the challenges of an intense, fast-paced profession.

Connie Kim Yen Nguyen-Truong, Ph.D., and three colleagues offered creative teaching techniques in nursing classes, then documented students’ reactions. The paper, “Techniques to Promote Reflective Practice and Empowered Learning,” will be published in the Journal of Nursing Education. Nguyen-Truong’s co-authors are Andra Davis, Ph.D., Assistant Professor; Melody Rasmor, Ed.D., Clinical Assistant Professor; and Lida Dekker, Ed.D., Emeritus Clinical Associate Professor, all of the WSU College of Nursing Vancouver; and College of Nursing alumna Cassius Spencer, DNP. Davis, Spencer, and Rasmor led the creative techniques in classes, along with Nguyen-Truong.

“While upholding the standards of nursing education, we strive to dismantle teaching approaches that constrain learning environments,” Dr. Nguyen-Truong and her colleagues wrote.

The creative techniques used in the classroom were poetry-reading, mindfulness, making string figures, and cartooning difficult subject matter. Each had a different goal. In the case of the poetry-reading, for example, students listened to recitation of a poem about nursing, written by Nguyen-Truong, then were encouraged to discuss their feelings about the profession and managing challenges on the job. The string-figure exercise had the students learn together how to loop and weave string, teaching them teamwork, cooperation, and the importance of listening.

The exercises were offered to RN-BSN students, who responded with rich discussion, thought-provoking comments, insights and humor.

“Nurse educators have exciting opportunities to enrich their teaching-learning toolkit in ways that activate individual and collective learning outside of a traditional… format,” concluded Nguyen-Truong and her colleagues. “Multisensory training in education may enhance learning as well as support development of a successful career in complex work settings.”