University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing

University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing

Welcome

Welcome to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing.  Professional nursing continues to be a rewarding lifetime career with many opportunities for advancement. As the challenges and demands in health care intensify, the demand for an educated nursing workforce increases. Since 1950, the UAB School of Nursing has been building on a vision to sustain nursing leadership worldwide.

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Welcome to the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing.  Professional nursing continues to be a rewarding lifetime career with many opportunities for advancement. As the challenges and demands in health care intensify, the demand for an educated nursing workforce increases. Since 1950, the UAB School of Nursing has been building on a vision to sustain nursing leadership worldwide.

CONTACT
1720 Second Avenue South
Birmingham, AL 35294-1210
Phone: 205-934-5428
School Type

BS/BSN School

Class Room Settings

Campus and Online

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  • Mental health graduate students earn scholarships

    Posted Dec 15, 2017 by Jimmy Creed

    By Laura Lesley

    Mental health scholars insideThree University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) students in the Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Specialty Track have earned scholarships from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    Tajuan Richardson, RN, CRT...

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    By Laura Lesley

    Mental health scholars insideThree University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) students in the Psychiatric/Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Specialty Track have earned scholarships from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

    Tajuan Richardson, RN, CRT, has been awarded a 2017-2018 Veterans Affairs Health Professional Scholarship from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, which is designed to provide veterans with specialized care by increasing the supply of qualified health care professionals.Richardson is a scholar in the Veterans Affairs Nursing Academic Partnership in Graduate Education (VANAP-GE) program, a joint effort of the UAB School of Nursing and the Birmingham VA Medical Center offering psychiatric nurse practitioner students focused didactic and clinical experience in the psychiatric care of veterans.

    Karen Rigsby, BSN, RN, and James Porter, BSN, RN, each have received scholarships from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services National Health Services Corps Minority Fellowship Program. The purpose of the program is to provide scholarships to students pursuing primary health professions training in return for a commitment to provide health services in a medically disadvantaged area.

    The UAB School of Nursing is ranked 13th in overall graduate programs, among the top five public schools of nursing in the country by U.S. News and World Report, and offers innovative bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs, including the state’s only PhD in Nursing degree and a DNP degree offering BSN, MSN and Nurse Anesthesia Pathways; more than 10 specialty nurse practitioner tracks, advanced nursing executive majors in administration and informatics, and an Accelerated Master's in Nursing Pathway (AMNP) for students who already have one degree.

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  • Seven from School recognized by NPAA

    Posted Dec 12, 2017 by Jimmy Creed

    By Laura Lesley

    Seven members of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing family have been recognized by the Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Alabama (NPAA) for their exceptional work and were recently honored at the 2017 AAOHN NPAA Conference in Birmingham. Receiving awards were five alumni and two members of the UAB School of Nursing Board of Visi...

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    By Laura Lesley

    Seven members of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing family have been recognized by the Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Alabama (NPAA) for their exceptional work and were recently honored at the 2017 AAOHN NPAA Conference in Birmingham. Receiving awards were five alumni and two members of the UAB School of Nursing Board of Visitors.

    John Beard, who is chairman and president of Alacare Home Health and Hospice and a member of the UAB School of Nursing Board of Visitors, has demonstrated a lifetime commitment to health care, particularly palliative and hospice care. He received the NPAA Advocacy Award in recognition of his contributions to the profession of nursing in Alabama. Beard was influential in Alacare’s gift to the UAB School of Nursing Building Fund to name a laboratory for simulating home health care visits in the School’s building expansion and renovation, which will open in Fall 2018.

    Alumnus and Board of Visitors member Eileen Meyer, DNP, CRNP, received the NPAA Outstanding Nurse Practitioner Regional Award for Central Alabama. She earned her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees from the School in 1997 and 2017, respectively. Her husband, Bruce Burns, MD, who is also a member of the Board of Visitors, endowed a scholarship in Meyer’s name in the UAB School of Nursing in 2014.

    Also receiving awards at the NPAA conference were: Steven Galvez, MSN (1998), FNP, Outstanding Nurse Practitioner Regional Award for West Alabama; Cheryl Emich, MSN (1995), CRNP, Outstanding Nurse Practitioner Educator Regional Award for North Alabama; Kristi Acker, DNP (2009), FNP-BC, Outstanding Nurse Practitioner Educator Regional Award for West Alabama; Patsy Riley, (BSN 1974, MSN 1997), PhD (1988), FNP-BC, Outstanding Nurse Practitioner Educator Regional Award for the River Region; and Traci Wells, (BSN 1995), MSN, Outstanding Nurse Practitioner Student of the Year Award for Alabama.
    The UAB School of Nursing is ranked 13th in overall graduate programs, among the top five public schools of nursing in the country by U.S. News and World Report, and offers innovative bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs, including the state’s only PhD in Nursing degree and a DNP degree offering BSN, MSN and Nurse Anesthesia Pathways; more than 10 specialty nurse practitioner tracks, advanced nursing executive majors in administration and informatics, and an Accelerated Master's in Nursing Pathway (AMNP) for students who already have one degree.

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  • Expanding opportunities for international scholars

    Posted Dec 6, 2017 by Jimmy Creed

    By Jimmy Creed

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing, as part of a new partnership with Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand, is hosting two second-year Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) students for six weeks to help expand their knowledge base, and improve nursing knowledge, education and care globally.

    Wipada Sangnimitchaikul and...

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    By Jimmy Creed

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing, as part of a new partnership with Thammasat University in Bangkok, Thailand, is hosting two second-year Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) students for six weeks to help expand their knowledge base, and improve nursing knowledge, education and care globally.

    Wipada Sangnimitchaikul and Atchanat Wangsom are working with Assistant Professor Sigrid Ladores, PhD, RN, PNP, CNE, who is serving as their co-advisor to refine and complete their dissertation proposals.

    “The goal of their visit is for them develop a well-written proposal to take home with them to Thammasat University and present to their advisor,” said Ladores, who also will be part of the students’ dissertation committees. “To accomplish that goal, I am working with them very closely in each of their areas of focus, which align with my expertise in lung disease and Cystic Fibrosis.”

    Wangsom’s focus is on Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) and Sangnimitchaikul’s is on pediatric asthma.

    Ladores meets with the students face-to-face and online to assess their progress and give them feedback and direction, and connects them with other resources at UAB such as the Lister Hill Library and the University Writing Center. Sangnimitchaikul and Wangsom have attended classes in philosophy and statistics and had a consultation with the School’s biostatisticians, Assistant Professor Dheeraj Raju, PhD, and Associate Professor Andres Azuero, PhD, MBA.

    As part of their visit, they also are engaged in cultural experiences. Sangnimitchaikul and Wangsom attended a show at the Alys Stephens Performing Arts Center, a UAB Blazers football game and the annual State of the School presentation.

    Both students, away from Thailand for the first time, have found the UAB School of Nursing to be a wonderful place to study and learn.

    “UAB gives me opportunities to learn a lot of things,” Sangnimitchaikul said. “I even attended a dissertation defense to see an example of what I will need to do when I return home. These experiences are very good for my proposal.”

    An added challenge for both is that the Thammasat University PhD program requires that they write their proposals in English. It is a challenge both have readily accepted.

    “I want to improve my English language skills so I welcome this opportunity,” Wangsom said. “I am also thrilled by the opportunity to work with Dr. Ladores, who is an expert in her field. We have a lot to do in a short time, and I am very excited to be at UAB.”

    Both are also excited by the lasting connections they have made, including Thammasat University alumna Aoyjai Prapanjaroensin, BSN, RN, currently a student in the School’s PhD program, the only one in the state.

    “I have met many people here who have been helpful to me, and I think I will stay in close touch with them for a long time,” Wangsom said.

    Ada Markaki, PhD, Deputy Director of the School’s Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization (PAHO/WHO) Collaborating Center for International Nursing, said the program is working as it was envisioned when the new partnership with Thammasat University was formed.

    “We are making sure that the education they receive at the UAB School of Nursing will greatly compliment their education at home,” Markaki said. “From the feedback we have received, their experiences here have been very positive.

    “This is a long-term relationship we are developing. We hope there will be many more PhD students from Thammasat University coming to study with us in the future.”

    The School has a long history of collaboration with nursing schools in Thailand, dating back to the early 1990s. The School, under the leadership of then-dean Rachel Z. Booth, PhD, worked with the faculty of Nursing at Chiang Mai to increase its ability to obtain research funding, develop its first international master’s program in nursing and develop a doctoral program in nursing. For her work there, Booth was awarded an honorary doctoral degree in nursing by the King of Thailand, His Majesty Bhumibol Adulyadej—making her the first foreign nurse ever to receive such an honor in Thailand. She also received an honorary lifetime membership in the Chiang Mai University Alumni Association.

    In addition, approximately 30 alumni hail from the country or are living there. UAB School of Nursing alumni are among the faculties at Boromarajonani College of Nursing, Khon Kaen University Faculty of Nursing, Mahidol University Faculty of Nursing and Chiang Mai University Faculty of Nursing where Wipada Kunaviktikul, PhD, RN, FAAN, who earned her PhD from the School in 1994 and is one of its Visionary Leaders, is Dean of Faculty of Nursing.
    From having one of the leading VA Nursing Academic Partnerships in the U.S., and Nurse-Managed Clinics providing community-based primary health care services to vulnerable populations, to Faculty Practices that support its teaching, research, and service missions and Rural Health Initiatives that are providing health care and providers to Alabama’s medically underserved, the UAB School of Nursing is a leader in in establishing pioneering transitional care clinics to take care of the most vulnerable populations across the health care continuum, forming policy to guide national health care practice, creating program innovations to improve care practices nationally, conducting novel research to reach rural populations facing the greatest effects from chronic or preventable conditions, and finding new and creative ways to educate students to be the future leaders who will shape coordinated, proactive and superior patient care.

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  • Wells transforming heart failure care

    Posted Nov 21, 2017 by Jimmy Creed

    By Jimmy Creed

    Rachel Wells, MSN, RN, CNL, a second-year student in the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) program and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar, has received four major awards in 2017 that will support and enhance her development as an early career nurse scientist devoted to t...

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    By Jimmy Creed

    Rachel Wells, MSN, RN, CNL, a second-year student in the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) program and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Future of Nursing Scholar, has received four major awards in 2017 that will support and enhance her development as an early career nurse scientist devoted to transforming care for heart failure patients and their caregivers.

    Wells, whose dissertation focus is “Exploring the Dose of An Early Palliative Care Intervention for Advanced Heart Failure Patients and Caregivers,” was named one of the 2017 Emerging Leaders in Heart Failure by the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) and a Nursing Investigator finalist at the organization’s 21st Annual Scientific Meeting. She also received the Meharry Translational Research Center (MeTRC) Travel Award given by Meharry Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee, and the UAB Center for Palliative and Supportive Care Director’s Award.

    “The UAB School of Nursing uniquely positions me to learn about these opportunities and take advantage of them,” Wells said. “I am also seeing more and more as I go to these national conferences that there is tremendous name recognition that goes with being a student here. People recognize the UAB School of Nursing for the center of excellence that it is.”

    For the first time, nurses and pharmacists were invited to join physicians at the Heart Failure Society’s Future Leaders in Heart Failure Symposium to discuss the state of the science, encourage interdisciplinary mentorship with senior clinicians and researchers, and establish a network of new practitioners devoted to heart failure care. An invitation to the event signified the HSFA believes Wells is someone who will be influential in the heart failure field in the next decade and allowed her to interact with experienced leaders who have changed the face of heart failure care over the last 30 years.

    The significance of being one of the first 13 nurses invited to participate in the three-day event in Miami, Florida, resonated with Wells.

    “Being invited to the Symposium in one of the first nurse cohorts gave me a sense of purpose, not only for the mentorship and research development, but to also represent nursing as a profession and demonstrate the importance of nursing in heart failure care,” Wells said.

    At the HFSA Annual Scientific Meeting, Wells presented her research to an audience of patients, clinicians, and researchers on palliative care research implementation challenges in the Deep South, based on her involvement as both a nurse coach and novice nurse scientist with the National Palliative Care Research Center (NPCRC) funded single-arm clinical trial of Educate, Nurture, Advise, Before Life Ends: Comprehensive Heartcare for Patients and Caregivers (ENABLE: CHF-PC).

    While she was not chosen the overall winner, Wells counts her experience at the Annual Scientific Meeting in Dallas, Texas, as a career highlight.

    “It is a significant honor to be considered a finalist with some of the most up and coming early career nurse scientists in the heart failure community,” Wells said. “The opportunity to present and speak about a topic I’m passionate about and invested in was amazing, not only because of the honor related to the presentation but also because of the critical feedback I received and networking opportunities related to the conference.”

    The MeTRC grant was awarded to 10 finalists as travel support to present their research at the Addressing Health Disparities: The Role of Translational Research Conference hosted by the Meharry Translational Research Center in Nashville.

    It was an opportunity for Wells to learn more about regional differences that exist in the approaches to early palliative care for heart failure patients and their caregivers and a more in-depth exposure to health disparities and strategies to address them through intervention design.

    The Director’s Award provided financial support for Wells to present a paper on her research at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine/Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association in Phoenix, Arizona. Wells’ presentation described protocol-driven outpatient palliative care consultations for heart failure patients.

    “The fact that I am having opportunities as a doctoral student to work in a meaningful way with experts in the field is unique to the UAB School of Nursing and should be a huge draw to anyone considering where to pursue their post-baccalaureate studies in nursing,” Wells said. “With opportunities like these, you can make a huge impact in your field from the moment you step on campus.”

    Wells, a 2010 graduate of the School’s first Accelerated Master’s in Nursing Pathway (AMNP) class, previously worked in heart and lung transplant, cardiac ICU, outpatient cardiology and psychiatric settings throughout Alabama. Prior to starting the PhD program, she worked as a research nurse coordinator/nurse coach in the ENABLE: CHF-PC study under the guidance of her now mentor, Professor and Marie L. O’Koren Endowed Chair Marie Bakitas, DNSc, CRPN, NP-C, AOCN, ACHPN, FAAN, with a focus on palliative care.

    She was chosen to represent the School, which holds the highest overall national ranking in the state and is the most affordable highly ranked school nationally, in its second cohort of RWJF Future of Nursing Scholars in 2016.
    The UAB School of Nursing is ranked 13th in overall graduate programs, among the top five public schools of nursing in the country by U.S. News and World Report, and offers innovative bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs, including the state’s only PhD in Nursing degree. Based at the state’s flagship Academic Health Science Center with the third largest public hospital in the nation, the School is a leader and trendsetter in collaborative science and home to the state’s only nursing-specific research initiative with a diverse funding portfolio, including more than $9.7 million in NIH research funding, supporting scholarship in oncology, international nursing, HIV/AIDS, pediatrics, occupational health, aging, among others.

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  • Combs examining truck driver health

    Posted Nov 17, 2017 by Jimmy Creed

    By Jimmy Creed

    University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing Instructor Bryan Combs, MSN, CRNP, FNP-BC, CNL, ATC, has received the Nan Hilt Writers Award from the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON) for a manuscript examining shoulder injuries in commercial truck drivers.

    Combs' manuscript, "Shoulder Injuries in Commercial Truck Drivers: A...

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    By Jimmy Creed

    University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing Instructor Bryan Combs, MSN, CRNP, FNP-BC, CNL, ATC, has received the Nan Hilt Writers Award from the National Association of Orthopaedic Nurses (NAON) for a manuscript examining shoulder injuries in commercial truck drivers.

    Combs’ manuscript, “Shoulder Injuries in Commercial Truck Drivers: A Literature Review,” which was co-authored by his mentor, Associate Professor Karen Heaton, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC, FAAN, was selected by the Association’s editorial board as the publication that made the most significant contribution to orthopaedic literature in 2016. Combs is co-coordinator of the School’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) Specialty Track, and Heaton is coordinator of the Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) Program – the only one in Alabama.
    The manuscript was initially published in the September 2016 issue of the Orthopaedic Nursing Journal.

    “The second-most common area of injury in truck drivers is the shoulder,” Combs said. “They miss significantly more time with those types of injuries than almost any other, but there has been very little research into the subject.

    “This manuscript was my first step in creating a foundation and better understanding for my doctoral work.”

    Combs, who is currently pursuing his PhD in the School, said the manuscript also serves as the basis for his dissertation focus, “The Prevalence, Mechanism, and Prevention Strategies with Shoulder Injuries of Long-haul Truck Drivers.”

    Combs is a former athletic trainer for the football teams at Louisiana State University (LSU), UAB and Birmingham-Southern College. He earned his Master’s as a Clinical Nurse Leader in 2010 through the Accelerated Master’s in Nursing Pathway (AMNP). He earned a second Master’s as a Family Nurse Practitioner in 2012, and has served as a full-time faculty member in the School, which holds the highest overall national ranking in the state and is the most affordable highly ranked school nationally, since 2013.

    The Nan Hilt Writers Award is named in honor of Nancy Hilt, first editor of the Orthopaedic Nursing Journal.
    The UAB School of Nursing PhD Program, the only one in Alabama, prepares nurses as researchers, faculty and leaders who will make substantive contributions to education and science in nursing with the goal of becoming independently funded investigators whose work will ultimately improve health care outcomes for all patients.

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  • Impacting Alabama's health care

    Posted Nov 16, 2017 by Jimmy Creed

    By Jimmy Creed

    Nurse practitioners are a vital part of health care teams providing quality patient care in Alabama whose role has increased significantly over the past two decades, with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing on the forefront of this expansion.

    With many of its faculty and alumni providing leadership and key insights, nursing...

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    By Jimmy Creed

    Nurse practitioners are a vital part of health care teams providing quality patient care in Alabama whose role has increased significantly over the past two decades, with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing on the forefront of this expansion.

    With many of its faculty and alumni providing leadership and key insights, nursing leaders from the School have been instrumental in advocating for expanded scope of practice for nurse practitioners in the state and in helping to develop organizations and initiatives dedicated to this advocacy.

    As a result, the School’s presence at the national level has also increased substantially. Its faculty and alumni hold leadership positions among organizations such as the American Association of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) and the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties (NONPF), shining a national spotlight on the School.

    “Our efforts to improve access to primary care nurse practitioners for patients in Alabama have had a far-reaching effect,” said Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN. “I am proud that so many from the UAB School of Nursing have worked so hard and contributed so much to effect change in our state and nationally.”

    To mark National Nurse Practitioner Week 2017, we reflect at how the School has helped advance the nurse practitioner role in Alabama and how it will impact the nurse practitioner role in the future.

    A STATEWIDE VOICE

    Assistant Professor Joy Deupree, PhD, MSN, RN, WHNP-BC, recalls the day in August 2006 when a meeting at the Civic Center in Fairfield, Alabama, significantly changed the path for nurse practitioners in the state. That day, approximately 150 people gathered and a steering committee was formed that eventually led to the creation of the Nurse Practitioner Alliance of Alabama (NPAA), an established voice to advocate for nurse practitioners and patients across the state.

    Eleven years later, the Alliance counts more than 3,000 nurse practitioners across Alabama as its members.

    “The work that has transpired since then is just amazing,” Deupree said, who earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the School in 1994 and her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in 1997. “I knew we needed to organize and have one voice as we advocated for increasing the scope nurse practitioner practice in Alabama. Since that day, the number of nurse practitioners in Alabama has grown exponentially.

    “It is all about the patients and how we can improve access to care for them, especially in rural and underserved areas, and that is what we have done.”

    Along with Deupree, retired Associate Professor Jean Ivey, PhD, RN, APRN, PNP-PC, alumna Cindy Cooke, DNP, FNP-C, FAANP, immediate past president of the AANP, alumna Nancy Turnham, DNP, FNP, NP-C, and Visionary Leader Jim Raper, PhD, CRNP, JD, FAANP, FAAN, are founding members of the Alliance. Cooke earned her DNP from the School in 2013 and Turnham her DNP in 2009. Raper, a Professor in the UAB School of Medicine, holds a primary faculty appointment in that school.

    Cooke served as the organization’s first president in 2006-2007, and Deupree served as president in 2012-2013.

    The current Alliance leadership also has strong ties to the School. Retired Assistant Professor D’Ann Somerall, DNP, CRNP, FNP-BC, is president-elect and Associate Professor Shannon Morrison, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC is treasurer. Alumna Eileen Meyer, DNP, ACNP-BC, is vice president for policy, alumni Ian Burge, MSN, CRNP, vice president for membership and alumna Lindsey Harris, DNP, CRNP, secretary. DNP student Crystal Nwagwu, MSN, CRNP, and DNP student and Instructor Clare Kranz, MSN, RN, CPNP-AC, are students at large.

    Deupree, who spent several years laying groundwork even before the Alliance was formed, says it has been worth all the time and effort.

    “It’s been worth it because you see patients in rural areas who don’t have to drive three hours to get a tetanus shot or get a prescription for chronic pain that can be easily treated and managed by a nurse practitioner,” Deupree said. “I think nurse practitioners are a substantial component for team-based care in the state.”

    Associate Dean for Clinical and Global Partnerships Cynthia Selleck, PhD, RN, FNP, FAAN, noted that many associated with the School are now having an impact at the national level as well.

    “The UAB School of Nursing is highly visible in organizations such as the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties and their national conference each year,” Selleck said. “We are viewed by that organization as a top program in the country in the preparation of nurse practitioners.”

    500 STRONG AND GROWING

    When she first went to work at UAB Hospital in the early 1990s, Meyer, a two-time graduate of the School and current Assistant Director of UAB Medicine’s Office of Advanced Practice Providers, recalls that “there were only a handful of nurse practitioners here.”

    Now Meyer, who earned her Master of Science of Nursing (MSN) degree from the School in 1997 and her Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) in 2017, and Associate Vice President, Advanced Practice Providers Catherine Brown, CRNP, MSN, provide dedicated leadership to approximately 500 nurse practitioners serving in more than 60 unique service lines throughout the UAB Health System. Brown earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from the School in 1995, her MSN in 1998 and is currently a student in the post-MSN to DNP Pathwaywww.goo.

    According to Brown, UAB’s Office of Advanced Practice Providers, which helps grow service lines and individual practices, provides oversight and supervision of scope of practice, and supports recruitment, quality, credentialing and privileging, is currently the only one of its kind in Alabama.

    “When we started, there were no real defined practice models for using advanced practice providers,” Brown said. “You just got thrown in the deep end of the pool and had to figure it out for yourself. Now we have defined practice models and a formal structure here at UAB for how to use this really strong workforce to the full extent of our licensure in the state, and it is working well.”

    The Office, which has been in place for two years, is also a key component of the UAB Nursing Partnership, a formal partnership between the UAB Health System, the School and UAB Hospital that aligns critical resources to provide outstanding patient care, invest in teaching and training for interprofessional collaboration, and partner in research and scholarship.

    The elite collaboration, which places added emphasis on lifelong learning, professional development and innovation, especially in the areas of safety and quality, benefits UAB’s own nursing population and its patients, and enhances its standing as a champion of excellence in academic nursing and clinical practice nationwide.

    The Partnership has proven its worth in many areas, said Brown, who cited a recent collaboration with Department of Acute, Chronic and Continuing Care Chair and Professor Maria Shirey, PhD, MBA, MS, RN, NEA-BC, ANEF, FACHE, FAAN, and Associate Professor Rebecca Miltner, PhD, RN, CNL, NEA-BC.

    Brown asked Shirey and Miltner to help her develop leadership training for her Advanced Practice Provider leads, a group of supervisors and managers who don’t get formal training in the area otherwise. The program they developed and instituted was received with great enthusiasm.

    “They brought their expertise over to partner with me, and the feedback was phenomenal,” Brown said. “Everybody who participated felt like it was incredibly valuable. We did a survey, and the results were almost 100 percent positive. We take a lot of pride in that.”

    Meyer credits Harper, UAB Hospital Chief Nursing Office Terri Poe, DNP, RN, NE-BC, and other UAB administrators, and its physicians with recognizing the impact of nurse practitioners and advocating for them.

    “Dean Harper has helped create a bridge between the School and the Hospital,” Meyer said. “The people she has on her staff that we have been collaborating with extensively, like Joy Deupree and others, have been very engaging with us and vice versa. They have done a lot to incorporate us, and we have done a lot to incorporate them on our committees and in addressing practice issues. This collaboration has been highly successful.”

    COMMITTED TO INCREASED ACCESS

    The School, which holds the highest overall national ranking in the state and is the most affordable highly ranked school nationally, has also led the way in increasing access to nurse practitioner care for medically underserved patients statewide through the administration of several important grants.

    In 2017, the School received a two-year Advanced Nursing Education Workforce (ANEW) grant totaling more than $1.3 million allowing it to expand and enhance its commitment to increasing primary care for rural and medically underserved populations by integrating behavioral health care training into three existing and two new academic practice partnerships across the state.

    Building on a three-year, $1.9 million Advanced Nursing Education (ANE) grant received in 2016 and leveraging financial support from The Daniel Foundation of Alabama for the successful Graduate Nursing Education Primary Care Scholars (GNEPCS) initiative, the School is expanding partnerships with the Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) Quality of Life Health Services Inc., Christ Health Center in Birmingham, and Aletheia House, Inc., which operates the Bessemer Neighborhood Health Center and establish new partnerships with Cahaba Medical Care and Capstone Rural Health Center.

    “Increasing patient access to behavioral care through primary care in medically underserved populations is important because, in many instances, these patients are not receiving treatment for these issues,” said Assistant Dean for Graduate Clinical Programs and Associate Professor Ashley Hodges, PhD, CRNP, WHNP-BC, who serves as the ANEW grant’s program director. “We are pulling together all the resources from those avenues to continue leveraging these academic practice partnerships to the maximum.”

    The School is also helping to train nurse practitioners though collaborative efforts with the UAB Health System and UAB Hospital in the HRTSA Heart Failure Clinic and the Providing Access to Health Care (PATH) Clinic.

    The HRTSA Heart Failure Clinic is a nurse-managed, interprofessional transitional care clinic for heart failure patients recently discharged from UAB Hospital. The PATH Clinic is a nurse-managed clinic that utilizes an interprofessional, team-based model to provide diabetes care at no cost to uninsured patients recently discharged from UAB Hospital.

    All of the School’s programs have experienced great success in terms of patient outcomes and in helping to create a sustainable pipeline of primary care providers to address health disparities in Alabama.

    “We are excited to see an increased number of nurse practitioner graduates in primary care who want to go back to serve in their hometowns and other rural communities,” said Selleck, who sits on UAB Hospital’s Advanced Practice Providers Executive Council. “And of course, we always welcome more students and more providers and clinics who want to partner with us to continue to make a difference in Alabama.”

    PROCLAMATION SPEAKS VOLUMES

    The proclamation of Nurse Practitioner Week in Alabama by Gov. Kay Ivey reads in part: “Whereas, better utilization of nurse practitioners through modernized state laws and improved system policies creates better health through a more accessible, efficient, cost-effective and higher quality health care system…”

    It has been coming for several years now, thanks in part to the efforts of Deupree and others who want to see nurse practitioners impact the state’s health care to the fullest extent possible. It is not lost on Deupree that just a few years back, receiving such a proclamation would not have been possible.

    “Getting that proclamation from the governor each year says a lot about how far we have come,” Deupree said. “We still have work to do, but if we can continue to make the same strides we have over the past 15 years, Alabama could someday be a leader in the access to primary health care for all its populations.”
    The UAB School of Nursing is ranked 13th in overall graduate programs, among the top five public schools of nursing in the country by U.S. News and World Report, and offers innovative bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs, including the state’s only PhD in Nursing degree and a DNP degree offering BSN, MSN and Nurse Anesthesia Pathways; more than 10 specialty nurse practitioner tracks, advanced nursing executive majors in administration and informatics, and an Accelerated Master's in Nursing Pathway (AMNP) for students who already have one degree.

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  • Recognizing, preventing child abuse

    Posted Nov 16, 2017 by Jimmy Creed

    By Jimmy Creed

    University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing Professor Patricia Speck, DNSc, CRNP, APN, FNP-BC, DF-IAFN, FAAFS, FAAN, and eight other School faculty have contributed their expertise in the areas of domestic abuse, public health, trauma and more to a publication to better prepare professionals across multiple disciplines to respond to cases...

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    By Jimmy Creed

    University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing Professor Patricia Speck, DNSc, CRNP, APN, FNP-BC, DF-IAFN, FAAFS, FAAN, and eight other School faculty have contributed their expertise in the areas of domestic abuse, public health, trauma and more to a publication to better prepare professionals across multiple disciplines to respond to cases of child abuse.

    Speck, coordinator of the School’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN), Advanced Forensic Nurse Subspecialty Course, and an internationally recognized expert and researcher in forensic nursing in primary care, wrote several chapters and served as senior co-editor of the third edition of the book Child Abuse Quick Reference 3E: For Health Care, Social Service and Law Enforcement Professionals.

    Other UAB School of Nursing faculty who contributed to the publication include: Assistant Professor Sylvia Britt, PhD, RN; Instructor Karen Coles, DNP, RN; Instructor Melanie Gibbons Hallman, DNP, CRNP, CEN, FNP-BC, ACNP-BC, FAEN; Assistant Professor Aimee Holland, DNP, CRNP, WHNP-BC, NP-C, RD, FAANP; Instructor Karmie Johnson, DNP, CRNP, PMHNP-BC; Assistant Professor Steadman McPeters, DNP, CRNP, CPNP-AC, RNFA; Instructor Shannon Polson, MSN, MSW, RN, CWCN, CFCN, PIP, CNL, LCSW; and Assistant Professor Sallie Shipman, EdD, MSN, RN, CNL.

    The text takes the expertise of the contributors to the local setting, where professionals without experience in the field such as medical practitioners, social workers, attorneys and law enforcement are being required more and more to provide real-time responses to child abuse situations.

    “Child Abuse Quick Reference allows the local provider to quickly access the knowledge of our UAB School of Nursing contributors and other professionals recognized as experts in their fields,” Speck said. “The text has a strong evidence base to support policies and procedures in institutions that are being asked more frequently to address child abuse, domestic abuse and other issues at the local level, regardless of the setting or institution. This pocket-sized, easy-to-use quick reference guide will prove invaluable to professionals who identify and work with abused children.”

    The revised third edition details new and emerging science for the multidisciplinary response to child abuse, features updated models for its investigation, diagnosis and treatment and includes three new chapters.

    Speck thanked the UAB School of Nursing faculty who accepted her invitation to contribute to the publication.

    “I feel blessed to be around the nursing expertise we have here at the UAB School of Nursing,” Speck said. “The process of sharing knowledge through writing is a challenge, but these faculty took the extra time to meet that challenge. They are to be commended for their efforts in contributing to this impactful project.”

    Speck is a board-certified family nurse practitioner and funded researcher, who focuses her current funded research on postcoital DNA recovery and health influences of trauma. Her clinical practice occurs globally with local communities and countries experiencing the aftermath of violence.

    She is the former president of the International Association of Forensic Nurses and former Chair of the American Public Health Association’s Family Violence Caucus. She currently leads the policy initiative to address human trafficking with members of the American Academy of Nursing Global Expert Panel.
    The UAB School of Nursing is ranked 13th in overall graduate programs, among the top five public schools of nursing in the country by U.S. News and World Report, and offers innovative bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs, including the state’s only PhD in Nursing degree and a DNP degree offering BSN, MSN and Nurse Anesthesia Pathways; more than 10 specialty nurse practitioner tracks, advanced nursing executive majors in administration and informatics, and an Accelerated Master's in Nursing Pathway (AMNP) for students who already have one degree.

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  • Caring for America's heroes

    Posted Nov 10, 2017 by Jimmy Creed

    By Jimmy Creed

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing trains compassionate, highly educated nurses to meet the health care needs of the nation's Veterans and their families through the VA Academic Nursing Partnership, a formal partnership with the Veterans' health care community and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

    That partnership ha...

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    By Jimmy Creed

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing trains compassionate, highly educated nurses to meet the health care needs of the nation’s Veterans and their families through the VA Academic Nursing Partnership, a formal partnership with the Veterans’ health care community and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

    That partnership has been expanded for the third time to now include a Post-Baccalaureate Nurse Residency Program.

    Designated one of 15 original VA Nursing Academy undergraduate education sites in 2009, the School and the Birmingham VA Medical Center (BVAMC) have successfully worked together for the past eight years through their academic partnership that today is the only one nationwide made up of all four prongs available through the VA Academic Nursing Partnership — an undergraduate component (VANAP), a graduate component (VANAP-GE), a primary mental health nurse practitioner (VANAP-PMHNP) residency and now the post-baccalaureate nurse residency.

    With the addition of the post-baccalaureate residency — one of only 17 in the country and designed to smooth and increase the transition of entry level nurses in the VA system to competent professionals providing safe, quality health care — the School and the BVAMC are now even better positioned to prepare the next generation of nurses to care for America’s Veterans.

    “Our Veterans have unique health issues, and this is just one more way we can provide the most highly trained nurses possible at the bedside and in communities to care for them and their families,” said Assistant Professor Randy Moore, DNP, RN, who served as VANAP-Undergraduate co-program director from 2010 to 2017 and is now program director of the new post-baccalaureate nurse residency. “There has already been a tremendous amount of collaboration between the UAB School of Nursing and the BVAMC, and adding this fourth component to our VANAP initiatives strengthens the preparation of nursing graduates and their transition to care for Veterans with complex health conditions.

    “This innovative model of nursing education is providing the building blocks for the future VA nursing workforce, and we are honored to be a part of that effort.”

    Veterans and their families have long held a special place in the hearts of those in the UAB School of Nursing. Moore, a retired U.S. Navy lieutenant commander, and 11 other faculty and staff who are retired Veterans or currently serving in active duty reserve roles are a source of great pride, as are the other faculty and staff who count Veterans among their immediate families.

    The School is also proud that approximately 18 percent of the undergraduate nursing students enrolled for the Fall 2017 semester are active service, reserve, Veteran or Veteran-dependent students.

    “Veterans Day is certainly an appropriate time to acknowledge how much we value all our Veterans and their service,” said Associate Dean for Clinical and Global Partnerships and Professor Cynthia Selleck, PhD, RN, FNP, FAAN. “Our relationships and partnerships with them, inside and outside of the School, have allowed us to better prepare nurses to care for Veterans and their families because we are able to focus on their health issues like very few other institutions in the country can.

    “The vision we share with our partner, the BVAMC, to transform the health care of Veterans is built on a strong foundation, and the addition of the post-baccalaureate nurse residency only strengthens that foundation.”

    Over the course of the year-long, full-time residency, the “VHA trainees,” as they will be called, will receive training in four phases: two months in a primary care setting; six months in a medical-surgical setting; 10 weeks in a specialty care setting such as an Intensive Care Unit or Emergency Department; and six weeks in a leadership setting with nurse managers, clinical nurse leaders and others.

    “This will help them develop effective decision-making and clinical leadership skills, as well as strategies to incorporate research and evidence into practice,” Moore said. “It also allows them to practice as members of an interprofessional health care team. We hope this helps them formulate an individual career plan committed to life-long professional nursing.”

    The post-baccalaureate nurse residency will support six residents per year for three years, with the full complement of six residents for the first year expected to be in place at the BVAMC by January 2018 and is open to new baccalaureate nursing graduates.

    The residency is the latest chapter in a long history of the School partnering, formally and informally, with the Department of Veterans Affairs to positively impact health care for Veterans and their families.

    The School's VA Nursing Academic Partnership undergraduate program, which originally began as the VA Nursing Academy in 2009, provides compassionate, highly educated baccalaureate-prepared nurses to meet the health care needs of America’s Veterans. As that program grew, the School and the Birmingham VAMC expanded into graduate education with the VANAP-GE, which is designed to place new psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners into the VA workforce to address the mental health needs of a growing Veteran population.

    From there the partnership grew again to become one of only four sites in the country that has a graduate residency program for psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners, offering a year-long paid residency within the BVAMC for recent mental health nurse practitioner graduates who have already passed their national certification exams. The goals of the Primary Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Residency include placing more psychiatric mental health nurse practitioners into the VA workforce, and providing a range of opportunities for recent nurse practitioner graduates to continue their training in a paid professional setting, preparing them for future success on the job, offering a pathway to the Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree and improving care for the patients they serve.

    The VANAP-Undergraduate, VANAP-GE, the mental health nurse practitioner residency and now the post-baccalaureate nurse residency are just a part of a full complement of programs designed to improve patient and family-centered care for Veterans that also include:

    The Veterans Career Advancement in Nursing Program (Veterans CAN!), an initiative through the Health Resources & Services Administration (HRSA) to help Veterans who served as a LPN or medic/corpsman in the military transition into a professional nursing career and earn a baccalaureate degree in nursing.

    The Birmingham VA Medical Center is one of eight VA National Quality Scholars Program (VAQS) sites in the U.S. Rachel Z. Booth Endowed Chair in Nursing Pat Patrician, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Carlos Estrada, MD, MS, serve as senior scholars for the Birmingham site. VAQS promotes leadership in quality improvement research and emphasizes interprofessional learning. The program offers fellowships to pre- and post-doctoral nurses.

    Caring for America's Heroes is a distance-accessible elective course designed to increase students understanding of long-term and high-acuity internal and external environmental variables which affect the health of and veterans within the Veterans Healthcare Administration (VHA). Knowledge gained in this course can be applied to the care of Veteran patients across a variety of care settings.

    The Birmingham VA Medical Center and the UAB School of Nursing have developed a video which contains three clinically relevant mental health scenarios. The nurses care for Veterans experiencing depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and other mental issues on a typical VA medical-surgical floor.

    The UAB School of Nursing has also joined the ranks of hundreds of nursing schools and organizations dedicated to educating nursing students on Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), and other unique health care needs of Veterans and their families.
    As partners in the VA Nursing Academic Partnership the School and the BVAMC are focused on working jointly to increase nursing student enrollment and recruitment and retention of VA nurses as the result of enhanced roles in nursing education, expand faculty and professional development and provide opportunities for educational and practice innovations.

    Moore credits the leadership of Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN, and BVAMC Associate Director for Patient/Nursing Services Cynthia Cleveland, DNP, RN, NE-BC, as a key component in sustaining the focus on this mission.

    Moore also complimented the UAB School of Nursing Board of Visitors for endowing the Veterans Care Nursing Scholarship with more than $143,000 and awarding more than $51,000 to 25 students enrolled in VA Nursing Academic Partnership components.

    The tangible results of the VA Nursing Academic Partnership are impressive across the board.

    The VANAP-Undergraduate Program, which Instructor Shannon Polson, MSN, MSW, RN, CWCN, CFCN, PIP, CNL, LCSW, will now lead as co-program director, has proven to be a good pipeline for the development of VA Nurse Scholars and faculty and as a cost-saving tool for the BVAMC. Since its inception in 2009, 110 VA Nurse Scholars have graduated from the VANAP program and 22 have been hired by the BVAMC or other VA Medical Centers at an estimated $1.2 million savings to the BVAMC in recruitment and retention costs.

    Since January 2014, 12 residents have completed the year-long VANAP-Primary Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Residency in four cohorts and three are currently enrolled in Cohort 5. Five residents have been hired by the BVAMC and all 12 have been certified in telehealth.

    Since August 2014, 27 Master of Science in Nursing (MSN)-prepared students graduated in the first three VANAP-GE cohorts and eight of those were selected to the VANAP- Primary Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Residency. The most recent cohort of 11 students, which graduated in August 2017, provided 3,400 mental health visits across several facilities, including the BVAMC and six satellite clinics in central and north Alabama. Currently, 12 students are enrolled in Cohort 4.

    The numbers show that this important partnership between the BVAMC and the School is having the impact envisioned for it, Moore said.

    “Our Veterans and their families need more nurses who want to dedicate their careers to serving our heroes, and we need them to be as well prepared as they can be to care for this important population,” Moore said. “Through the new post-baccalaureate nurse residency and all the VA Nursing Academic Partnership components, the BVAMC and the UAB School of Nursing are making every effort to ensure that goal is met. There are some great outcomes and some remarkable accomplishments coming from our students, faculty and staff involved in these programs.”

    Moore, Selleck and Polson are all graduates of the UAB School of Nursing. Moore earned his Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) in 1993, his MSN in 2004 and his DNP in 2012, Selleck earned her Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) in 1987 and Polson her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) in 2011.
    From having one of the leading VA Nursing Academic Partnerships in the U.S., and Nurse-Managed Clinics providing community-based primary health care services to vulnerable populations, to Faculty Practices that support its teaching, research, and service missions and Rural Health Initiatives that are providing health care and providers to Alabama’s medically underserved, the UAB School of Nursing is a leader in in establishing pioneering transitional care clinics to take care of the most vulnerable populations across the health care continuum, forming policy to guide national health care practice, creating program innovations to improve care practices nationally, conducting novel research to reach rural populations facing the greatest effects from chronic or preventable conditions, and finding new and creative ways to educate students to be the future leaders who will shape coordinated, proactive and superior patient care.

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  • Patrician named Booth Endowed Chair

    Posted Nov 9, 2017 by Jimmy Creed

    By Jimmy Creed

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing has named Patricia A. Patrician, PhD, RN, FAAN, the second holder of the School's Rachel Z. Booth Endowed Chair in Nursing.

    Patrician is nationally recognized for her expertise and leadership in the areas of patient safety, quality care and nursing practice environments and has an on-going...

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    By Jimmy Creed

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing has named Patricia A. Patrician, PhD, RN, FAAN, the second holder of the School’s Rachel Z. Booth Endowed Chair in Nursing.

    Patrician is nationally recognized for her expertise and leadership in the areas of patient safety, quality care and nursing practice environments and has an on-going program of funded research focused on improving those areas within our nation’s military hospitals. Since joining the UAB School of Nursing faculty, she has sustained a record of extramural funding of $2.5 million as a principal investigator and has served as co-investigator on an additional 11 grants from TriService Nursing Research Program, Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the VA Health Services Research and Development Program.

    The Booth Endowed Chair was named in honor of Rachel Z. Booth, PhD, the School’s third dean, upon her retirement in 2005.

    “Pat Patrician exemplifies all of the requirements for the Rachel Z. Booth Endowed Chair, including a distinguished record of external funding, evidence of research and scholarly achievement, consistent record of publication, experience in mentoring, exemplary professional and academic citizenship, documentation of outstanding teaching performance and national professional recognition,” said Doreen C. Harper, PhD, RN, FAAN, Dean and Fay B. Ireland Endowed Chair in Nursing. “Our School is fortunate to have an individual with Pat’s experience and abilities as a faculty member and researcher, and we are thrilled she has been named the second holder of the Rachel Z. Booth Endowed Chair in Nursing.”

    Patrician, a retired United States Army Colonel and 26-year veteran of the U.S. Army Nurse Corps, recently received a two-year, $400,000 award from the TriService Nursing Research Program for her study “Impact of Nursing on Readmissions, Failure to Rescue & Mortality in DoD Hospitals.” She is one of two senior scholars for the VA National Quality Scholars Program site at the Birmingham VA Medical Center (BVAMC) and one of only six people nationwide to serve on the Strategic Advisory Panel of the national Quality and Safety Education for Nurses (QSEN) Institute.

    Patrician earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) from Wilkes University in 1982, received her Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with an emphasis in Critical Care Nursing from the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio in 1988, her Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing (PhD) from the University of Pennsylvania in 2002, and her Master of Strategic Studies (MSS) from the U.S. Army War College in 2005.

    After earning her doctorate, Patrician served as Chief, Nursing Research Services at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and then as Chief, Department of Nursing Science and Consultant to the Surgeon General for Nursing Education and Enlisted Training at the Academy of Health Sciences at Fort Sam Houston, prior to joining the UAB School of Nursing in 2008 as Associate Professor of Nursing and holder of the Donna Brown Banton Endowed Professorship. She was promoted to Professor with tenure in 2013.

    In addition to her appointment as Senior Nurse Scholar for the VA National Quality Scholars Program at the BVAMC, Patrician has held numerous leadership positions within UAB, including Scientist for the Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Education, Scholar for the Lister Hill Center for Health Policy, Scientist for the UAB Comprehensive Arthritis, Musculoskeletal and Autoimmunity Center, Professor for the UAB School of Health Professions, and Associate Director for the Center for Outcomes and Effectiveness Research and Education.

    Throughout her career, Patrician has received numerous honors and awards from professional organizations such as Academy Health, Academy for Healthcare Improvement, Army Medical Department Center & School, Association of Military Surgeons of the U.S., U.S. Army Medical Command and Walter Reed Army Medical Center. She also is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing (AAN), and one of fewer than 2,000 nurses admitted as a Fellow from among the nearly 3 million eligible.

    Senior Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and Professor Linda Moneyham, PhD, RN, FAAN, was the first holder of the Rachel Z. Booth Endowed Chair in Nursing from 2007 to 2011.

    “Dr. Patrician is a nationally recognized expert in nursing quality and safety and will continue to be a tremendous asset to the School in this new role,” Moneyham said. “I am confident she will utilize the Booth Endowed Chair of Nursing to its fullest extent to impact the mentoring of young researchers, advance knowledge development and initiate continued improvement in health care.”

    Patrician is pleased that her life’s work has been recognized with this appointment.

    “It is a dream come true to be named to this prestigious post that honors one of our pioneers and an architect of one of the nation’s top nursing schools,” Patrician said. “I have been engaged in the quality and safety aspects of nursing for a large part of my career. I will rely heavily on that background as I strive to maintain the high standards Dr. Booth set for us.”
    The UAB School of Nursing is ranked 13th in overall graduate programs, among the top five public schools of nursing in the country by U.S. News and World Report, and offers innovative bachelor's, master's, and doctoral programs, including the state’s only PhD in Nursing degree and a DNP degree offering BSN, MSN and Nurse Anesthesia Pathways; more than 10 specialty nurse practitioner tracks, advanced nursing executive majors in administration and informatics, and an Accelerated Master's in Nursing Pathway (AMNP) for students who already have one degree.

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  • Partnering for a healthy future

    Posted Nov 8, 2017 by Jimmy Creed

    By Jennifer Lollar

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing has received more than $1.7 million in philanthropic grants from a number of community partners to bring a Nurse-Family Partnership(R) program to Jefferson County.

    The Nurse-Family Partnership(R) is an evidenced-based national community health program that has specially trained registered nu...

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    By Jennifer Lollar

    The University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Nursing has received more than $1.7 million in philanthropic grants from a number of community partners to bring a Nurse-Family Partnership® program to Jefferson County.

    The Nurse-Family Partnership® is an evidenced-based national community health program that has specially trained registered nurses regularly visit low-income, first-time mothers-to-be at home — ideally starting in the first trimester of pregnancy — and continuing through the child’s second birthday. This allows for critical behavioral changes needed to improve the health and welfare of the mother and child.

    The program is designed so the nurse and mother develop a strong relationship over the course of up to 64 in-home visits during the more than two-year period that focuses on the first-time mother’s personal health, quality of care-giving and life course development — inspiring long-lasting change that benefits both the mother and child. It has been used around the country for nearly 40 years, including in Montgomery and Tuscaloosa, with great success.

    “This program has the potential to significantly improve birth outcomes in Jefferson County,” said Cynthia Selleck, Ph.D., associate dean for Clinical and Global Partnerships. “As it is the most populous county in the state, and has pockets of infant mortality rates greater than 15 per 1,000 live births, this will fill a tremendous need for maternal health and early childhood intervention in Jefferson County.”

    The school has focused for a number of years on improving the health and quality of life for all Alabamians by partnering with community organizations to create innovative, targeted clinical programs to increase access to quality health care for vulnerable patient groups. The school has worked with new and existing community partners over the past two years, including The Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, Jefferson County Department of Health, the Mike and Gillian Goodrich Foundation, The Daniel Foundation, and Blue Cross Blue Shield to make the Nurse-Family Partnership® a reality.

    “These partners are all interested in improving access to health care and optimizing birth outcomes, so coming together to bring NFP to Jefferson County made a lot of sense,” Selleck said.

    Mark E. Wilson, M.D., health officer and chief executive of the Jefferson County Department of Health, says the Nurse-Family Partnership® can have positive impacts on short-term outcomes and long-term trajectory for babies and their families.

    “I am really excited that the Jefferson County Department of Health has been able to play a major role in bringing this program to our county, and this is a wonderful example of how we can accomplish more through partnerships,” Wilson said. “Concern about the high infant mortality rate — especially in certain parts of our county — led us to make improving birth outcomes and fostering optimal infant development priorities in our new strategic plan.”

    According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, Alabama’s infant mortality rate is the second-highest in the nation and almost 40 percent higher for Medicaid births. Alabama has the third-highest percentage of low-weight births among all 50 states, and nearly a quarter of Alabama mothers receive inadequate prenatal care. These statistics are highest for Alabama babies born to African-Americans, teen mothers, and those with only a high school education or less.

    Specifically, Jefferson County’s preterm birthrate is 11.4 percent. In 2014, Jefferson County births included 3,876 babies born to low-income mothers; 9.7 percent of those were born to girls between the ages of 10 and 19, and 12.4 percent of those were born preterm. According to the March of Dimes, in an average week in Jefferson County, 172 babies are born, 20 are born prematurely, 19 are low-birthweight, and two die before reaching their first birthday.

    “The Nurse-Family Partnership® focuses on first-time mothers because it is during a first pregnancy that the best chance exists to promote and teach positive and enduring behaviors between a mother and her baby,” said Candace Knight, Ph.D., assistant professor and Nurse-Family Partnership® nurse supervisor. “With the partnership, we hope to see positive impacts that range from healthy, full-term babies and children who excel in school, to families who thrive and are economically self-sufficient. All of this begins with a relationship forged between a new mom and her nurse.”

    Specific objectives of this partnership are to improve Jefferson County’s birth outcomes by helping women engage in good preventive health practices — including getting prenatal care from their health care providers, improving their diet, and reducing their use of cigarettes, alcohol and illegal substances. They also will look to improve child health and development by helping parents provide responsible and competent care, as well as improve the economic self-sufficiency of the family by helping parents develop a vision for their own future, plan future pregnancies, continue their education and prepare to find work.

    “I am confident the UAB School of Nursing will make this gold standard of home visitation programs successful in Jefferson County,” said Carol Butler, executive director of the Mike & Gillian Goodrich Foundation. “I am also pleased with the support garnered from other community partners, particularly the Jefferson County Department of Health. I look forward to 2020 when we will be able to fully realize the life-changing impact that the Nurse-Family Partnership® will have on women and children in Birmingham.”

    “If we can promote and teach positive and enduring behaviors between a mother and her baby; help these young women address concerns related to their health, environment, economic status, stability and stress; and help them find available services in our community that will fill these needs, and are accessible, affordable and supportive, then I firmly believe we will be successful."

    The school’s Nurse-Family Partnership® program kicked off in July 2017. Four BSN-prepared registered nurses, called nurse home visitors, will each serve a maximum of 25 families at a time. Knight will oversee their work and provide ongoing consultation and support. Program Administrator Becky Wakefield will work closely with the program to ensure its effectiveness, and a data analyst will collect data to measure outcomes. During the next three years, the program has the potential to impact approximately 750 mothers, babies and family/social network members.

    “For the Nurse-Family Partnership® to succeed, there has to be a source providing a steady stream of clients who are eligible for the program,” Selleck said. “The school has enlisted its on-campus clinical partner, UAB Medicine, to help establish a regular referral base.

    “We are working closely with key staff at UAB’s Women and Infants Center, where Jefferson County Medicaid patients receive care and deliver their babies, to make sure all staff are informed of the program and know how to make a referral,” Wakefield said.
    “We also are creating a streamlined process so that referrals reach us in a timely manner.”

    Knight says that, with nearly 40 years of research showing Nurse-Family Partnership® programs improve health outcomes of mothers and their babies, the partnership has the potential to produce lasting benefits for families and save money.

    “We anticipate positive outcomes, both immediate and long-term,” Knight said. “If we can promote and teach positive and enduring behaviors between a mother and her baby; help these young women address concerns related to their health, environment, economic status, stability and stress; and help them find available services in our community that will fill these needs, and are accessible, affordable and supportive, then I firmly believe we will be successful. We will create marked improvements in prenatal health, birth outcomes, child development, school readiness, academic achievement and maternal employment, as well as reductions in child abuse and neglect, early childhood injuries, mental health problems, drug abuse, and crime for Jefferson County’s most vulnerable citizens.”

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