As Allida Williams talks about her 29-year career at Galen College of Nursing, a warm smile lights up her face. In 1990, the alumni records manager began as a receptionist at the Louisville campus when it was above a radio station in downtown Louisville. She laughs as she recalls how much the nursing school has grown in 30 years.
“We used to be a whole lot smaller, of course. We started with just the PN program, and we knew every student. We even knew their personal stories,” she said. “I appreciate the growth and being able to service more students, but sometimes I miss being able to know all of our students personally.”
During those early years, Williams was especially proud of the students during graduations. She also described some of the hurdles that students cleared to make it to the finish line.
“Transportation can be tough for some of our students. One student I knew had to take a bus to every clinical, which were held in a separate location, and every class, even when they were doing 3 to 11 p.m. clinicals,” she recalled. “There was so much pride and excitement just to see them graduate and be able to change their lives and their families’ lives.”
Williams is delighted that she can keep in touch with many of Galen’s graduates across the country. She enjoys traveling to open houses and alumni events to network with recent graduates and learning where they have started their new careers. She also is helping to establish stronger alumni associations on Galen’s campuses.
“I love hearing the things that they are doing now in their careers and where they’ve been able to go once they graduate from Galen,” Williams said. “There’s such a vast array of things they’re able to do with a Galen education.”
Senior Director of Financial Aid Joni Penland has watched Galen College of Nursing grow up. She had a front-row seat to Galen’s humble beginnings in 1989 while she worked for Vice President of Nursing Kathryn Mershon, RN, MSN, CNAA, FAAN at Humana. Penland began working in the Audit Department at Humana in 1980 and eventually became Mershon’s executive assistant.
In 1982, there was a high demand for nurses, and Humana desperately needed to staff its hospitals. Mershon was asked by Humana officials to look for ways they could address the severe nursing shortage, including starting their own nursing school.
“They looked at areas with the greatest shortages with Humana hospitals in the vicinity,” Penland said. “That’s why we created campuses in Tampa, San Antonio, and Louisville.”
Penland began her career as a part-time office manager at the Louisville campus before moving to Galen’s corporate office where she was responsible for accounts payable and receivable. When an opening for a director of financial aid position became available, Penland was thrilled to take the reins in management for the three campuses.
“I’ve always appreciated and thought it gave me a unique perspective going from a part-time office manager to the senior director of financial aid rather than if you come in as a leader, and you haven’t seen the other side of it,” she said. “I was ready to dive in for the challenge to be the director for three campuses at that time, and I have been here ever since. It’s amazing how far we’ve come as a college.”
In the early ‘90s, Galen’s Louisville campus started with just three instructors who taught pre-licensure, vocational and practical nursing programs and the classes were held above a radio station in downtown Louisville.
“Basically, everything outside of our clinicals was held on the third and fourth floors of the building at 4th and Chestnut,” she said. Eventually, parking became a challenge for students. As the school continued to grow, there just wasn’t enough space for parking and more classrooms, Penland said. In 2004, Galen moved its current operations to its four-story Zorn Avenue building.
Three years later, Galen opened its Cincinnati campus. However, before bringing Cincinnati on board, the associate degree bridge programs were established at the other three campuses.
“That was our first nursing degree program and it was a learning process,” Penland said. “Since that time, we have added the online RN to BSN, prelicensure associate, and prelicensure bachelor degrees. In our efforts to continually look for new ways to support the nursing profession. We are all looking forward to enrolling our first group of graduate students in our MSN program. The growth has been amazing.”
And, the numbers continue to rise. When Penland started at Galen, the school’s population was roughly 600 students enrolled in one program across three campuses. Now, there are six nursing programs and upwards of 7,700 students who have received financial aid in the last year.
In 2013, Galen opened its 3,000-square-foot simulation center at its River Green campus in Louisville, which was dedicated to Mershon. And, in 2017, Galen launched a campus in the Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) System Center building in Hazard, Kentucky, offering the associate degree in nursing through a two-year program and LPN to ADN Bridge. Galen and ARH joined together to offer additional nursing education opportunities in the region.
Penland credits Galen’s 30-year success to its ‘forward-thinking’ employees. Each program’s curriculum and faculty have received positive responses, she said.
“We are proud to have strong growth in our student enrollment. Our graduates are well-prepared for the real world and transition into rewarding nursing careers, which helps to change their lives and patient outcomes,” she said. “This couldn’t be done without our forward-thinking employees. Galen’s future is limitless.”
Two student groups from the Louisville campus of Galen College of Nursing recently took their research on the road to the Kentucky League for Nursing’s (KLN) 15th Annual Nurse Educator Conference in downtown Louisville. Brandy Crompton, Taylor Coffman, and Katherine Draper presented their poster titled, “Communication to Prevent Medication Errors,” and Amber Gelnett, Keila Mendez, and Augustina Osei submitted a poster titled, “Promotion of Resurgence in Early Childhood.” Both presentations were accepted at the conference.
Faculty Advisor Dr. Andrea Houser, who teaches a Communications and Teamwork class, recommended that her students submit an abstract to a professional organization’s state conference. Each student is placed on a team of peers, and the team has to create and present a poster presentation. The conference project teaches them critical-thinking and professional skills outside of the classroom, Dr. Houser said. She was thrilled both groups had the opportunity to network with more than 150 nurse educators at the conference.
“It’s that professionalism piece that students do not see by just going to class day after day. Going to a conference is not only the place where networking happens but also role modeling. I feel strongly that students should be included in conference activities,” Dr. Houser said. “In this project, all I did was show them the way, and they took ownership of the project. I could not be more proud of them.”
The two groups were given a selection of topics, and Gelnett, Osei, and Mendez’s poster highlighted an issue that has been making headlines. The group was interested in how measles has returned with “such a full force,” and it was a subject that was discussed in their class for a few weeks, Gelnett said.
“We also wanted to help everybody bridge that gap between theories versus evidenced-based practice, and other beliefs that might deter people from getting vaccinations,” she said. “Our topic was well-received since it’s such a prevalent issue.”
Mendez said the group prepped for three to four weeks in case the questions became difficult. Although she was nervous during her presentation, Mendez said the nurse educators made her feel comfortable during the presentations.
“Many of the nurses asked us several questions, and it forced us to really think about our responses,” she said. “Everybody was really sweet and very helpful. They helped us to learn a lot.”
Crompton, Draper, and Coffman’s group decided to display the seriousness of medical errors at the conference. It was also a “hot topic” discussed in their class, Coffman said.
“Even though it’s a simple, initial task that you learn, it’s something that gets neglected pretty often,” she said. “And in the United States, medication errors are still on the rise despite all the efforts that educators are putting into place, trying to prevent them.”
Crompton and Coffman hope that more nursing students present at conferences similar to KLN. Both students called the daylong presentations “a great experience.”
“I felt proud when Dr. Houser asked us if we would do it. I’ve never written an abstract before, but that was a fun thing to learn well enough to be accepted,” Crompton said. “It was a great experience because we interacted with nurse educators. I took away a lot.”
Once her group’s presentations were completed, Coffman said she was inspired by the advice many of the conference attendees shared with her.
“Everybody there kept saying to us, ‘Make sure you put this on your resume.’ ‘This is amazing! You should be proud of this,’” she said. “And then I remember a few of the KLN board directors kept telling us, ‘This is what separates you from everyone else. This is showing your leadership and power. This is what’s going to take you further.’”
Even though Olukemi Adentan was a web developer and publisher for eight years, she still had dreams of pursuing a nursing career. Her mother, who is a retired nurse and nurse instructor, also encouraged Adentan to become a nurse.
“Growing up, I went to school with my mother. She wanted me to be a nurse, but I didn’t pursue nursing at that time. I went on to get degrees in English and communications,” Adentan said. “But, over the years, I realized I had the qualities of a nurse, and so my mind kept going back to just wanting to be one.”
When Adentan decided to apply to a few nursing schools, she became discouraged from campus representatives who told her she would be placed on waiting lists and needed to complete several prerequisites. Coincidentally, Adentan was helping a friend move from Houston to San Antonio to attend Galen College of Nursing. Her advice inspired Adentan to enroll at the San Antonio campus.
Adentan was so determined to accomplish her longtime goals and follow in her mother’s footsteps that she traveled six hours round-trip from Houston to San Antonio campus every week for both her LVN and ADN degrees.
“I was a good student even though my classes were quite challenging,” she said. “I was coming to San Antonio on Sundays and returning on Fridays, and I did that for the three years. Even though it was a huge challenge, I was able to overcome it because I had great support at school.”
For the past five years, Adentan has been working at Cigna HealthSpring as a nurse case manager senior analyst. She provides patients with medical information and healthcare needs.
“I follow them through the healthcare continuum in a transition of care. When patients are discharged from the hospital, I monitor them, ensuring they understand their discharge instructions, adhere to treatment and medication regimen,” she said. “I encourage patients to follow up with their primary care physicians and specialists. I make sure they have all the tools they need to become independent and healthier at home.”
The proud Galen graduate encourages current students to utilize the resources available to them to help them succeed.
“Many times, students might want to rely on themselves and study alone. But they really should utilize the tools and resources at school, including using the library and participating in study groups. They should also talk to their instructors regularly,” Adentan advised. “Students should try to make themselves dynamic in such a way that they can work into other roles aside from bedside nursing. However, you can do all the bedside nursing you want, if that’s what you love. But the knowledge that you gain in nursing, especially at Galen, will allow you to get into even bigger roles.”
Galen College of Nursing’ Executive VP of Prelicensure Nursing Dr. Audria Denker RN, MSN, DNP, discussed the quality of healthcare and the importance of Galen’s Hazard campus in Eastern Kentucky. She was one of four panelists who addressed the exodus of nurses in the region during the 2019 Eastern Kentucky Leadership Foundation’s conference held recently at Southeast Kentucky Community Technical College in Cumberland, Kentucky.
The biggest concern is the quality of nursing in Eastern Kentucky as hospitals staff their facilities with traveling nurses who come in for just 13 weeks to work and then leave, Dr. Denker said.
“They’re temps,” she said. “A temporary nurse is not going to care at the same level about your patients or outcomes. Also, doctors are less likely to come to an area and work unless they know there are permanent nurses on staff. Nursing can have an effect so many things.”
Galen’s Hazard campus has students that come from 23 counties and three different states: Kentucky, Virginia, and West Virginia. Denker is hopeful that Hazard students who are building a connection with Appalachian Regional Healthcare (ARH) will be encouraged to continue their nursing career in Eastern Kentucky.
“It’s too soon to tell if our students will stay in the area, but they are receiving a great education in Hazard,” she said. “It would be beneficial to everyone if they’ll want to continue to give back to the facility that allowed them to learn how to be a nurse. ARH has facilities all over Eastern Kentucky.”
Galen’s Hazard campus is fulfilling a need in the area, she said. Some students drive more than two hours to attend the College because “we’re one of the best nursing schools in Kentucky,” she said.
“Healthcare organizations acknowledge that continually. That’s the beauty of it,” Dr. Denker said.
The two-day conference’s topics included growing a hemp economy, capitalizing on the economic potential of lakes, using 21st-century technology to build your business, and broadband in Eastern Kentucky.
Photo courtesy of WYMT
Galen College of Nursing Associate Professor Ellen Fulmer had a much different upbringing than most people. She was raised in a home with a blind father and a legally blind mother. Her parents were unable to read traditionally to her, which caused her to struggle in school at an early age. Eventually, she was diagnosed with dyslexia and often transferred from school to school.
“I’ve been to Catholic school, private school, public school, and different kinds of independent schools. I’ve seen a lot of different educational environments even before graduating high school,” she said. “I know what it’s like to feel as if I’m beating my head against a wall and not understanding the content. I know what it’s like to check out in a classroom and not be fully engaged. I know what it’s like to have to push harder than most students in the class.”
Fortunately, The Academy for Individual Excellence helped Fulmer overcome her learning deficits, and she graduated with 16 students in her senior class. Both of her parents are attorneys, so it was expected that she would go to college.
Fulmer attended Bellarmine University. As she participated in study groups, her friends suggested that she become a teacher. She also enjoyed working as a peer tutor, so teaching was on the horizon. Halfway through her studies in the nursing program, she got engaged to her high school sweetheart. He asked her to transfer to Eastern Kentucky University where she completed her bachelor’s degree. She eventually earned her master’s degree from Indiana Wesleyan University.
Fulmer worked as a nurse in various areas such as University Hospital at the University of Louisville and Norton Women’s and Children’s Hospital. Providing precise instructions to her patients on how to care for themselves once they returned home also fueled her love of teaching.
In 2010, Fulmer landed a faculty position to work at Galen. One of the many things the “super proud” associate professor loves about the College is the support it provides to students.
“I love that my students talk to me all the time,” she said. “They know we’re always available to help them. I’m so proud of their hard work.”
And it’s clear that her students are just as proud of her. Fulmer’s photo was recently featured in a Facebook post celebrating National Wear Red Day, and the post received over 200 likes and more than 50 glowing comments from students. Ironically, Fulmer doesn’t use Facebook, so she wasn’t aware of the praise. However, she believes the secret to her success as a teacher is her ability to connect with people.
“My mom always said if you set me in front of a brick wall, I would talk to the brick wall. That is me. I love to get to know people; I like to care for them,” she said.
Fulmer uses different methods to help her students retain information. Some of them include clicker questions, which allow students to answer anonymously, while also testing themselves. Matching cards appeal to students who excel with hands-on instruction. The auditory learners record Fulmer’s lectures, and they frequently tell her she’s “very animated.”
“I’m very loud,” she said, laughing. “They’ve said, ‘I can hear you in my head’ while they are taking their exams.”
When Fulmer teaches her anatomy courses, she reserves the science lab to create different projects. “Sometimes I pull the playdough out, and we make atoms,” she said. “We do a lot of different hands-on activities versus just me being in front of the class reading from a slide.”
Fulmer enjoys teaching a variety of courses at Galen and plans to pursue her doctoral degree at the University of Southern Mississippi.
“I believe God has prepped me for this path,” she said. “My educational background is distorted and as crazy as it was, it prepared me to help our students, and that’s my passion. I love to help them have that ‘aha!’ moment.”
Favorite candy: Kit Kat
Favorite sports team: University of Kentucky Wildcats, all the way. My entire family graduated from UK – my mom, dad, brother, sister, and grandparents all graduated from UK. I did not graduate from UK, so I was the odd man out. But UK is ingrained in my blood.
Favorite food: Ice cream, or any carb known to man! But, yes, I love ice cream.
Foods you hate: Anything pickled, like pickled beets.
Favorite hobby: I love to read and paint.
Favorite movie: Harry Potter, and my favorite books are the Harry Potter series. I also loved The Princess Bride, because it’s fantasy and it’s funny.
Not only do Galen College of Nursing instructors demonstrate the importance of kindness and compassion to their students, but they also practice what they teach outside of the classroom.
In February 2016, Galen College of Nursing Clinical Learning Lab Coordinator Dashanda Stanton learned that she had polycystic kidney disease, a genetic disorder that can cause cysts to develop in the liver and other organs. The disease can cause serious complications, including high blood pressure and kidney failure.
As a result, Stanton started dialysis for several months even while she taught at the Louisville campus. Ultimately, the procedures were only temporary solutions, and it was inevitable that she needed a transplant. Since Stanton inherited the disease from her father, and her mother had donated her kidney to him, Stanton was forced to seek other ways to spread the word.
She connected with an organization called KidneyBuzz, which helped her to share her story on Facebook. KidneyBuzz created her page, and Stanton monitored the photos and other content. Stanton’s Facebook friends also helped to promote her story, and eventually, Associate Director of Curriculum and Instruction Mary Alice Tolbert noticed the post about her colleague’s condition.
Once Tolbert saw Stanton’s story on Facebook, she didn’t think twice about undergoing the tests to see if she was a match. Although she was aware of the risks of organ donation, Tolbert was confident her health background would be beneficial to Stanton.
“I’ve known a couple of people who’ve donated kidneys in the past, so I knew a little bit about it. I thought, ‘You know what? I could do that,’” Tolbert said. “I’m fortunate enough that I have a pretty non-eventful family history. We don’t have any major diseases in my family; my dad lived to be 90 years old, and his mom lived to be 99 years old. We don’t have major cancers, so it’s like I won the genetic lottery.”
According to the University of Kentucky (UK) Health Care’s website, a compatible donor must be at least 18 years old and in excellent health. The donor does not have to be a blood relative; it could be a spouse, friend, co-worker or anyone who is willing to help. Tolbert fit the criteria.
“I was raised with the belief that if you can help someone, you should,” she said. “What I did was a little more unusual, but I understand medicine. I understand health risks, and I’m healthy. I’m not fearful of things like that, so it just suited my personality.”
Tolbert started the process of undergoing the tests in the fall at UK. While she awaited the test results, she notified her supervisors because it would mean two faculty members who would be away on medical leave. After a few months, the hospital called to clear her as a match.
At Galen, Tolbert requested that Stanton come to their program director’s office so that she could share her life-changing news. Stanton said she started nervously thinking, “What did I do?” Coincidentally, it was the holiday season, so Tolbert was even more thrilled to inform Stanton about her special gift.
“It happened to be Thanksgiving week, and I asked to meet with Dashanda in our boss’ office,” Tolbert said. “I said to her, ‘By the way, I’ve been tested and I’m a match for you. Do you want my kidney?'”
Stanton was overwhelmed and speechless. “‘Are you sure? Have you even had surgery before?’ And Mary said, ‘No, just babies. Come on, let’s do it!’” Stanton recalled, laughing. “She seemed more excited about the surgery than I was.” Stanton, who was still on dialysis, had to continue the treatments up until the transplant. Tolbert and Stanton both underwent surgery on February 2, 2017, and the recovery took three months.
Today, Stanton calls her health a “total turnaround.” Because this is a genetic disorder, Stanton has two younger cousins who have the same symptoms as she had in the past.
“After you get the transplant, you’ll realize how sick you were before. The thing about this disease is that it just kind of hits you. There aren’t any symptoms like pain or a runny nose. Instead, you feel tired all the time. A lot of people with this disease might think, ‘I just need to rest’ and never consider seeking medical attention until it’s too late,” she said. “Now, I have so much energy and I’m able to do more. I try to go on vacations at least two or three times a year.”
Stanton also is determined to lose weight to maintain the health of the kidney. Some of her medications’ side effects included weight gain.
She and Tolbert have agreed to participate in the National Kidney Walks in Louisville every year. The pair also were speakers at a 2018 Galen graduation. Tolbert and Stanton’s mom also have developed a special bond because they are both kidney donors.
According to OrganDonor.Gov, more than 113,000 people in the United States are currently on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ transplant, and Stanton encourages people to get checked to help someone in need.
Galen College of Nursing’s Nancy Maebius Recognized as ‘Visionary Leader’ at UT Health School of Nursing
Community Relations Liaison and Education Consultant Nancy Maebius, Ph.D., MSN, BSN, R.N., who has 50 years of experience in medical-surgical nursing, maternal child nursing, education, and clinical research, is among the visionary leaders who were celebrated at the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing’s 50th-anniversary luncheon. The St. Louis native was one of four founding faculty members in 1969 and served on the faculty until 1977.
Maebius was among the 50 honorees who were presented with a crystal award. The winners also were featured in a video and toast at the end of the celebration.
“This award has great meaning. It’s one of the greatest honors that I’ve received,” she said. “Reflecting back on my 50 years in nursing education and research, I appreciate the significance of nursing education’s historic past, our current successes and look forward to the future.”
According to the luncheon’s booklet, Celebrating Our Legacy, Dean of the School of Nursing Dr. Eileen Breslin stated, “What a joy it is to celebrate the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing’s 50 anniversary! The school was founded in 1969 under the leadership of Dr. Margretta Styles and four faculty members. Because of their vision and dedication to the School of Nursing, we now celebrate a half-century of excellence in education, discovery, and care.”
Dr. Breslin continued: “UT Health is celebrating 50 visionary leaders who have made significant contributions supporting the UT Health School of Nursing and advancing health and health care systems in Texas and beyond. The Visionary Leaders represent our alumni, faculty, staff, community leaders, and friends of the school. Their contributions to nursing have propelled the profession and enhanced nursing care.”
UT Health School of Nursing displayed a photo of Maebius from 50 years ago as a faculty member, which is also featured on the university’s website. There’s also a large portrait of her along with four founding faculty members and the dean in the hallway of the school.
“Mainly it’s the idea of nurses honoring nurses who are visionary leaders,” she said. “It was an all-around lovely luncheon with champagne and confetti that was shot up into the air at one point.”
In 1964, the University of Michigan alumna began her illustrious career at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C. Three years later, she and her husband moved to Austin, Texas, where they both worked on their master’s degrees. She was among only four graduates in the inaugural Master of Science in Nursing at the University of Texas in Austin. She then permanently moved to San Antonio.
Maebius said that she loves all things nursing. Even when she took two years off after one of her sons was born, she volunteered as a nurse in the emergency room at Robert B. Green Hospital.
In 1985, she worked at Humana Women’s Hospital in staff development. Maebius, who was then recruited to work at Galen, said some of her greatest work was developing an innovative curriculum and teaching in the Humana Health Institute vocational nursing program. In 1991, her first day at Galen was the graduation of the inaugural class of vocational nursing students.
In addition to her current roles at Galen, Maebius tirelessly serves on the UT Health Center for Medical Humanities and Ethics Advisory Council and is a member of the Advisory Committee on Education for the Texas Board of Nursing.
Galen has opened many opportunities for her, she said. Maebius has written six editions of a medical-surgical nursing guide and authored two nursing textbooks. The Student Success Center and Library was named in her honor in 2012. She also has held “a variety of roles” including teaching pharmacology and anatomy and physiology for 12 years.
“The curriculum at Galen has always been strong. It includes integrity, diversity, and excellence. We’ve adapted to the needs of the community,” she said. “We’re really advancing healthcare because of the growth of our diverse student population and the emphasis on curriculum development and quality improvement.”
Building a new campus has various challenges including staffing the necessary faculty. When Galen College of Nursing set out to develop its Hazard, Kentucky campus in partnership with Appalachian Regional Healthcare, they knew it might be difficult to find enough nursing instructors in the area to meet the demand.
The Louisville campus is the closest campus to Hazard, but with 186 miles separating the two, sharing faculty was not an option – or was it? Offering many of the same courses, Galen was determined to figure out a way to share teaching resources.
In September 2016, Galen started researching ITV solutions as well as examining several distance learning classrooms in Kentucky. A year later, it implemented Interactive Television (ITV) to broadcast its nursing courses as the best way to bridge the divide. The classes are technologically designed to help remote students feel a part of the instruction.
Each of Louisville and Hazard’s two ITV classrooms is equipped with six speakers, four wireless microphones and two cameras. One of the cameras focuses on the teacher at a podium, and the other displays the classroom. These images are projected on two TV screens in each room. Students can view their instructors and classmates on an 80-inch screen in front and a 60-inch in the back of the room. Hazard’s two ITV rooms are slightly smaller with two 70-inch and 60-inch screens.
The rooms also include floor pads, which have sensors that allow the camera to track the instructors’ movements, so remote students can see them, said Duane Hellums, director of Information Technology.
“The original intent of this type of design in most distance learning classrooms is so that you can feel like you know the people on the other side,” he said.
With all these various components, the instructors needed about three hours of training to adapt to the technology. They must be keenly aware of how to operate the cameras and microphones. However, instructors who need technical support can reach out to IT teams at either campus, Hellums said.
ITV classes are the best way to educate Hazard and Louisville students at the same time. There are occasions where the Louisville faculty will visit Hazard to meet with the students and the faculty, and several Hazard instructors have started to teach in Louisville, too, said Dara Lanman, Director of Curriculum and Faculty Development.
“Since the teacher from Louisville is not in the room with the Hazard students, Galen provides access to two different teachers for assistance – their proctor in Hazard and the Louisville teacher,” she said.
ITV classes are comparable to traditional courses because instructors and students can see and interact with each other through two-way, real-time communication. As students and instructors are meeting via live-streaming technology, they quickly forget they are in different locations. With help from proctors at the Hazard campus, Louisville instructors can easily communicate with their Hazard students.
Sandy Harshfield, an assistant professor with Galen for 13 years, has been involved with the ITV courses since its inception in 2017. Harshfield, who teaches pediatrics in the LPN/LVN to ADN Bridge and associate degree programs, believes the classes provide an invaluable opportunity for the College to make a profound difference in Hazard.
“Hazard is in an area where they need nurses, so it helps that we can broadcast the classes to help them become the special nurses that they need so badly in their area,” she said. “For a person who wants to seek a certain profession, but cannot leave the area they’re in, Galen covers that area.”
Instructor Emily Foster teaches an ITV class that focuses on mental health and chronic health conditions. She said this technology allows both classrooms to learn about different cultures, and the communication has been worthwhile.
“The stories that the Hazard students share are different from the Louisville students, and it’s just really nice for everyone to experience it,” she said.
Hazard ADN student Justin Messer said the teachers have gone above and beyond to accommodate them not being physically in Louisville.
“At first, I liked having a teacher in front of me, but the first day of the ITV class changed my mind. I learned a lot, and it has completely changed my perspective,” he said. “Our teacher (Harshfield) makes sure we’re on the same page, and she doesn’t give more attention to one group just because she’s in Louisville.”
Foster and Harshfield commute three hours from Louisville to the Hazard campus once a quarter. Foster also attends their labs and visits with the students to check on their progress.
Both instructors are satisfied with their two class sizes. For example, Harshfield has 30 students in Hazard, and 56 Louisville students. Foster has 24 students in Louisville, and 26 in Hazard. All students can ask questions and engage as they would in a traditional class setting.
“I can hear them over the speaker system, so if they have questions they just ask like anybody else in the classroom. I can also see them on the screen so if they raise their hand I can call on them,” Foster said. “I also try to engage them in the discussion, so I pose questions directly to them or ask everyone in the class, whether it’s in Hazard or Louisville to participate in the discussion.”
Thanks to Hazard’s strong enrollment, Foster and Harshfield expect to continue teaching the ITV classes in the future. The students are doing extremely well in the courses, which is setting them on a path toward a promising future, Foster said.
March 7, 2019 – SAN ANTONIO – One of the solutions to the nursing shortage is educating new nurses. But, unfortunately, there is a lack of qualified faculty and clinical opportunities for students nationwide, said Galen College of Nursing’s Dean Tara Dailey MSN, RN, who was one of four local experts who participated in “A Conversation About Nursing in San Antonio” on February 27 hosted by The Health Cell.
The panel included Catalina Schultze-Kraft, MSN, RN, Methodist Health Care Ministries of South Texas; Lisa Schmidt, RN, WellMed Medical Management, and Jing Wang, Ph.D., MPH, RN, FAAN, UT Health, San Antonio.
Dailey addressed the nursing shortage and cited a study from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which created a model that projected the demand for nurses and health care services through 2030. On a state level, the Texas Center for Nursing Workforce’s data shows even more of a disparity between the supply and demand for nurses in 2030 than the national model, she said.
“It is difficult to find qualified faculty to fill vacant positions and there are many programs competing for limited clinical experiences. Therefore, enrollment capacity is limited,” Dailey said. “According to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, schools of nursing turned away over 59,000 qualified student nurse applicants for the 2017 academic year. Considering the trends in healthcare, programs of nursing need to look to alternative experiences for students as nursing care happens in many different environments.”
The panel also discussed the social determinants of health. Schultze-Kraft, who is a parish nurse, detailed how her group cares for patients in the home or community versus in a hospital setting. Similarly, Dailey shared how Galen students learn how a patient’s environment might affect their health.
“A diabetic person, struggling with disease management, may not have access to healthy foods. Understanding the cycle of poverty and how patients manage their care and daily lives at home will better equip future nurses in their planning and providing of care,” she said.
Dr. Wang, who is the vice dean for research at UT Health San Antonio, concluded the panel’s discussion by describing the technological approach her university is using within the community. Nurses are becoming innovators, Wang said. She explained that diabetic patients can monitor their condition with a phone app. These technological trends enhance nurses’ skills for patient care.
Each leader brought a different set of experiences and perspectives, but they all recognized a common theme of the discussion: ‘community first.’
“What sets San Antonio apart from a lot of bigger cities is the idea of ‘community first.’ Leaders and community members are working on transportation, which will help people access better health care. They are working on educational initiatives such as connecting seniors in high school to colleges,” Dailey said. “The leaders of the city, from the mayor to business and community leaders are coming together to do what is best for the community. … And nursing is a critical part of the team.”
She wants to take what she has learned from the discussion and implement more technological trends into Galen’s curriculum and foster additional community partnerships.