Under the Microscope:  College of Nursing marks anniversary

Under the Microscope: College of Nursing marks anniversary


Hello, I’m Jeff Gold, and welcome to this very special session of Under the Microscope. Today, I am joined by Dr. Ann Berger, who is the Associate Dean for Research in our College of Nursing, and Dr. Lynnette Leeseberg Stamler, who is our Associate Dean for Academic Programs. Ladies, welcome, and thanks so much for being with us today. Thank you. So this is a bit of a celebratory year. Is that right? Yes. We are celebrating the 50th year, half a century, since the start of our graduate programs and a really intense focus on research in the College of Nursing. And maybe we can start off by just asking, what happened 50 years ago that got people interested in the idea of graduate programs and that nursing schools are more than what I would call trade schools, and really had a major role in research and development of new technologies and advancing the field. Well actually we get to go back a little sooner than that. In 1954, when UNMC was still part of the University of Nebraska, there was a master’s of psychiatric nursing that was available. It was not until UNMC became separate and the College of Nursing became that entity in the mid 60s that they started looking at graduate programs through the college. So in 1969, the very first Master of Science in nursing was started with two specialties: medical surgical nursing or psychiatric nursing. And then more specialties were added and in 1992, the first nurse practitioner program was started. So now we have seven nurse practitioner programs and the nurse executive leader programs. And roughly how many students, just to give our audience a brief idea of that? So in the master’s, the DNP and the post-master certificates, we are looking at about 370 odd. And are these programs that are just here on the Omaha campus, or do they span our 500-mile-wide campus?
Not at all. Yes, they span every campus. We have students for almost every program on every campus. So all of the education is done via distance learning, synchronous and asynchronous, and people participate from right across the state and in fact, beyond. So what is the relationship between the research programs and these advanced degrees? So I would like to say that it’s no coincidence that 1969, 50 years ago, was the same time when the research center opened. And we were one of the very first non-federally funded nursing research centers. So we were trailblazers. And I like to say that we planted the seeds for nursing research, because the master’s program at the same time included a course where they did research with a faculty member. And then I want to point out that in 1988, the center had been called just the Nursing Research Center, but then it was renamed the Niedfelt Nursing Research Center, due to a very large gift by Florence Niedfelt, of the Grand Island area that established the Niedfelt Nursing Research Center and a Niedfelt professorship. And as I understand it, just like the educational programs and the advanced degrees, the research programs are not all based here on the Omaha campus either, but they are widely spread across the state as well. Is that right? Beyond the state. Beyond the state? So we have approximately 25 to 30 Ph.D. students, we admit five to seven each year and hope to graduate five then every year, and we have had students from many other United States than Nebraska, but the majority are from Nebraska. And it was not that long ago that the Board of Regents established a Center of Excellence, is that right? Yes, that’s right. So we have a center for self-management of chronic conditions that is housed at the College of Nursing, but it’s a UNMC center. And its focus is on research studies that focus on patients and families that are dealing with multiple chronic conditions. So let us dig into that just a little bit more, because I know that is an area that you are involved with as well. What do we mean when we say self-management? So, it was not that long ago when, if you asked somebody how were they doing managing their diabetes, they would say, “Well my doctor changed my medication,” or, “My doctor wants me to walk.” Now we turn the table upside down and 95% of managing a chronic condition, like diabetes, is what the patient themself does, in following whatever the recommendations are of their healthcare team. So it sort of set the guide rails and then manage within the guide rails, is what it sounds like. And then giving the patients, and I guess their caregivers, their families, their friends who are involved with them the right knowledge, the right tools so to speak, to help them effectively manage it. Right, so for example, all the grants are required to have an instrument among the measurements that is called activation. So are they activated, do they have the knowledge and the skills to follow the medical regiment that is been prescribed for them. And then do we monitor the outcomes of these? Oh yes. And every study that has been funded so far from the center, includes these same measurements. So we can look at well-being, quality of life, as well as specific things about managing a particular comorbidity. Well, 50 years seems like a really long time, and to have been a real pioneer, way back then, is amazing, it’s just another accolade, it’s another point of pride for UNMC and for our College of Nursing. Clearly one of the jewels in our crown, without a doubt. I want to congratulate you, I want to thank you for being with us today, and I want to thank you so much for being with us today on this very special segment of Under the Microscope.

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