TAG: "Nursing"

Three UC schools receive grants to prepare doctoral nurses


Part of initiative supporting IOM goal to double number of doctorally prepared nurses.

Three University of California nursing schools are among only 14 nationwide to receive the first grants from a new Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) program to increase the number nurses with Doctor of Philosophy degrees.

The recipients of the Future of Nursing  Scholars grants include the nursing schools at UC Davis, UCLA and UC San Francisco. Each UC school will select one student to receive financial support, mentoring and leadership development over the three years of their Ph.D. programs. Some schools will select more than one student, supporting a total of 17 students initially. The Future of Nursing Scholars program expects to support up to 100 doctoral nursing candidates over its first two years.

The Future of Nursing Scholars program is supported by several funders. In addition to RWJF, United Health Foundation, Independence Blue Cross Foundation, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and the Rhode Island Foundation all provide financial support.

“We are honored to be included as one of the first nursing schools to receive the Future of Nursing Scholars grants, especially as a new school that this year graduated our first Doctors of Philosophy,” said Heather M. Young, associate vice chancellor for nursing and dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. “Being a part of the Future for Nursing: Campaign for Action has brought home to me the importance of increasing the number of doctorally prepared nurses in the nation. This effort goes a long way toward promoting that goal. It’s a wonderful way to create community among doctoral scholars who will be our future leaders.”

In its landmark nursing report, the Institute of Medicine recommended that the country double the number of nurses with doctorates; doing so will support more nurse leaders, promote nurse-led science and discovery, and put more educators in place to prepare the next generation of nurses.

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Sen. Boxer highlights efforts to prevent medical errors


She visits UCSF Medical Center.

U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (second from right) tours UCSF Medical Center on July 2 to learn how it is working to reduce preventable deaths. Susan Barbour (left), R.N., talks about pressure ulcer prevention. (Photo by Cindy Chew)

Every year, between 210,000 and 440,000 Americans die as a result of preventable errors in hospitals, according to a special report released at UC San Francisco by Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer.

She presented the updated report detailing the most common and harmful errors at our nation’s hospitals and highlighted what UCSF Medical Center is doing to prevent them.

“We have the opportunity to save not just one life, but to save hundreds of thousands of lives,” Senator Boxer said during her visit to UCSF Medical Center on July 2. “Many people will be shocked to hear this, but medical errors are one of the leading causes of death in America today. These deaths are all the more heartbreaking for families because they are preventable.”

Boxer said she is grateful to UCSF for the steps it has taken to save patients’ lives.

“If we all work together – doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, patients, patient advocates, medical technology pioneers, public health experts and federal officials – we can prevent so much heartbreak for families and stop these tragedies before they occur,” said Boxer at a press conference following a tour of UCSF Medical Center.

Preventable errors in hospitals, such as hospital-acquired infections, adverse drug reactions, patient falls and bedsores, total $19.5 billion annually and that the economic costs of medical errors, including lost productivity, could be as much as $1 trillion a year, according to Boxer’s report.

“We’re one of the nation’s top hospitals,” said Mark R. Laret, CEO of UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals. “But that is meaningful only as it relates to every single patient who walks through our doors, and how we administer their care, follow up and safety. We’re proud of the great strides we’ve made as a leader in patient safety and to partner with Senator Boxer to help all hospitals become places where safe care is offered to every patient, every day.”

While touring UCSF Medical Center, Senator Boxer was shown the interdisciplinary approach UCSF takes to address major hospital issues such as sepsis, ulcer prevention, medication errors and hand hygiene.

As part of its interdisciplinary approach, UCSF creates teams comprised of nurses, pharmacists, doctors and medical center leaders, in addition to staff in medical records and environmental services. Those teams focus on understanding the underlying causes that may have allowed an error to occur and on collaborative problem solving. An open discussion ends with a clear action plan, which might involve implementing a new system, purchasing a piece of equipment, or training doctors and nurses in communication strategies.

UCSF processes and results for sepsis prevention

Sepsis is a potentially fatal, full-body inflammation caused by infection, and one of the main sources of sepsis is hospitals themselves.

“At UCSF we now treat sepsis as a true emergency with a focus on immediate interventions proven to help patients,” said Joshua Adler, M.D., chief medical officer at UCSF Medical Center and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital San Francisco. “This approach has involved innovations in our electronic health record systems, use of rapid response personnel, novel nursing protocols, and continuous evaluation of our performance.”

UCSF’s electronic sepsis surveillance system continuously searches for warning signs, alerts clinicians to the potential presence of sepsis, and provides a means to activate “Code Sepsis”. The Code Sepsis team – a rapid response team, critical care nurse practitioner, and pharmacist – has helped UCSF to treat sepsis as an emergent situation requiring immediate attention and action. “With this approach we have reduced the mortality rate for sepsis by nearly 25 percent since 2012,” Adler said.

Processes and results for ulcer prevention

Ulcers resulting from being bedridden, and thus immobile for a lengthy time, are an ongoing challenge for hospitals. In addition, to training all patient care providers in pressure ulcer prevention, UCSF conducts quarterly pressure-ulcer prevalence study days. On these days, every patient in the hospital is examined for evidence of a pressure ulcer. The total number of pressure ulcers counted is divided by the total number of patients examined to obtain a percentage of patients with pressure ulcers.

UCSF has reduced the rate of hospital acquired pressure ulcers among adult and pediatric patients by 79 percent, from 4.98 percent in fiscal year 2008 to 1.03 percent in fiscal year 2014.

Preventing inpatient medication errors

In 2011, UCSF launched what is believed to be the nation’s most comprehensive automated hospital robotic pharmacy that is designed to prepare and track medications, with the goal of improving patient safety. The pharmacy operation is now linked to the electronic health record system, creating an end-to-end electronic system in which a nurse at the bedside scans the barcode on the patient’s wristband, scans the medication and then scans the bar code on his/her own ID badge. Only after confirming all the information matches is the medication administered. UCSF administers over 10,000 doses of medication daily.

“The barcoding system is a way to minimize the potential for an error at every step of the medication delivery process,” said Laret.

Hand hygiene training and surveillance

Hand hygiene is considered one of the most effective approaches for reducing hospital-related infections. In July 2010, UCSF implemented a hand hygiene education and surveillance program. Since then the rate of hand hygiene has improved from 75 percent to about 92 percent each month. The data are collected and monitored by cameras in some hospital areas, and a daily report is distributed. Some floors even feature real-time monitoring that displays hand hygiene compliance rates.

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Many young smokers aren’t aware of hookah dangers


Survey finds many young adults believe that smoking hookah is not harmful to their health.

In a UCLA survey, 60 percent of respondents said hookah smoking is a trendy way of socializing. (Photo by Fredler Brave)

Despite warnings from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that hookah smoking can be just as dangerous as cigarettes, many young adults believe that using the water pipes is not harmful to their health, according to a UCLA School of Nursing study.

Researchers visited three Southern California hookah lounges and asked patrons between the ages of 18 and 30, “Do you believe smoking hookah is harmful to your health?” Fifty-seven percent said they thought that it was not. When asked why they thought hookahs were not harmful, 47 percent of the participants said they believed that the smoke gets filtered through water, and 35 percent said they thought that fruit used to flavor the tobacco detoxify tobacco’s harmful chemicals. Still others, 16 percent, said they assumed hookahs are not harmful because the tobacco is not addictive and does not contain nicotine.

Unfortunately, none of those beliefs is true.

“With hookah smoking on the rise, particularly among young adults, our goal was to identify factors influencing perceptions, attitudes and preferences toward hookah smoking,” said Mary Rezk-Hanna, a UCLA nursing doctoral student and lead researcher for the study, which was published in the July–August issue of the journal Nursing Research.

Other recent studies have shown that even as cigarette use continues to decline, hookah smoking is increasing, especially among college students. It is the only form of tobacco use that is not regulated in the United States, and its exemption from clean indoor air legislation, such as the California Clean Air Act, is contributing to its rapidly growing popularity. In California alone, there are more than 2,000 shops that sell hookah tobacco and related products, in addition to 175 hookah lounges and cafes, and a disproportionate number of them are in Los Angeles, near universities and colleges.

When asked why hookah smoking is more attractive than cigarette smoking, 60 percent of the participants in the UCLA study said it is a trendy way of socializing. And although 43 percent of hookah smokers said they believe the practice is indeed harmful, “socializing with friends appeared to outweigh health concerns,” Rezk-Hanna said.

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UCSF nursing professor honored by American Heart Association


Barbara Drew named a 2014 Distinguished Scientist.

Barbara Drew, UC San Francisco

The American Heart Association has just selected Barbara Drew, R.N., Ph.D., to be a 2014 Distinguished Scientist. Drew, professor of physiological nursing and founder of the ECG Monitoring Research Lab in the UCSF School of Nursing, will receive the award at the Annual Scientific Sessions of the AHA in Chicago in November.

Of the six scientists selected this year, Drew is the only nurse and the only woman. In fact, this is the first time in the history of AHA that a nurse scientist has been selected as a Distinguished Scientist. The award is recognition of the extensive contributions Drew has made in the care of patients with cardiac arrhythmias.

Drew has taught clinical electrocardiography to medical students, residents, and graduate nursing students for 32 years. She also founded the ECG Monitoring Research Lab in the School of Nursing and mentored numerous graduate students pursuing studies in the field of electrocardiology.

The primary goal of Drew’s research is to improve cardiac monitoring techniques and clinical practices in hospital and pre-hospital settings for more accurate diagnosis of cardiac arrhythmias, myocardial ischemia, and drug-induced long QT syndrome. Drew’s research has shaped the development of commercial cardiac monitors, including the introduction of multilead ECG monitoring, ST-segment and QT interval monitoring, and strategies to reduce clinical alarm fatigue.

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First class of UC Davis doctoral nurses graduates


Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing celebrates 62 graduates.

The Class of 2014 Doctor of Philosophy Class shows their appreciation for the school's namesake, Betty Irene Moore.

For the first time, eight Doctor of Philosophy students collected degrees through the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis this graduation season, along with 24 Master of Science students and six nurse practitioner and 24 physician assistant certificate graduates.

“In a month, or year, or perhaps in a decade, the facts that you learned will have changed. Many will be, frankly, wrong. But your ability to approach questions systematically, to thoughtfully define your objectives, to gather accurate information, to work with colleagues, to apply what you know, will remain with you forever,” said Jill Joseph, associate dean for research who provided the keynote speech at the school’s annul graduation celebration on June 12. “And already, those of us who have walked with you during your time here can see the impact.”

Following the School of Nursing event, the graduates received their degrees at the formal Office of Graduate Studies commencement later that day, which included presentation of more than 1,100 graduate degrees.

According to both Joseph and Dean Heather M. Young, the continued growth and impact of the 5-year-old Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing can be measured by the accomplishments of its students and graduates.

“There are many measures of what we are accomplishing and certainly we should each take great pride in the students who graduate today,” Joseph said. “Equally remarkable, we are also forging, however imperfectly, a culture characterized by respect and collaboration and mutual support, as well as a lot of very hard work.”

Young emphasized this impact is the direct result of the vision of the school’s namesake, Betty Irene Moore.

“Together, we will make certain the next generation of nurses, physician assistants and other health-care professionals are equipped to make a difference in ways that are important to the individuals, families, and communities we serve,” Young said.  “As you will see today, our students are assuring Mrs. Moore’s dream takes shape in very important ways.”

Five students were recognized by nursing faculty with awards of excellence highlighting the school’s five core attributes:

  • Excellence in Leadership Development: Lauren Burke
  • Excellence in Interprofessional Education: Robin MacPherson-Dias
  • Excellence in Transformative Research: Katherine Kim
  • Excellence in Cultural Inclusiveness: Bertha Odhiambo
  • Excellence in Innovative Technology: Deborah Greenwood

The graduation marks the school’s third graduation since the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing was established in 2009 and opened its doors in 2010. The school now boasts 48 alumni.

The Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Degree Programs, which includes master’s degrees in leadership, nurse practitioner and physician assistant studies as well as a doctoral program, are led by an interprofessional team of faculty from across UC Davis. Learn more at http://nursing.ucdavis.edu.

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Telehealth improves forensic exams for sexual abuse


‘With this technology, we can help children who might otherwise not receive this level of care.’

Sheridan Miyamoto, UC Davis

Researchers at UC Davis and other facilities have shown that telehealth consultations for clinicians at rural hospitals improve their ability to provide forensic examinations for sexual abuse. Published in the journal Child Abuse & Neglect, the study showed that clinicians with access to expert UC Davis nurses provided more thorough and nuanced exams, improving their ability to gather evidence and to make an accurate diagnosis.

“Providing telehealth support really improves the quality of these forensic exams,” said first author Sheridan Miyamoto, a forensic nurse practitioner and research nurse at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. Miyamoto is also a 2014 doctoral graduate of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. “With this technology, we can help children who might otherwise not receive this level of care.”

Provided by advanced practice nurse practitioners and sexual assault nurse examiners with more than 10 years of experience evaluating abuse, telehealth consults offer tremendous benefits for rural communities. In addition to improving quality, they ease the burden on families, who no longer need to travel many hours for expert care, and clinicians, who have access to trained mentors when conducting these delicate exams. As a result, these consults provide a safety net for clinicians, patients and parents, ensuring these procedures are both thorough and accurate.

“It’s important that we get this right,” said Miyamoto. “Due to a lack of experience and regular exposure, many examiners are prone to assess normal variations as injuries from trauma. On the other hand, we also want to protect the child. Strong evidence may result in a plea bargain, eliminating the added stress for children of having to testify in court. Telehealth offers support and built-in peer review for nurses, physicians and other clinicians practicing in relative isolation.”

The telehealth network uses secure teleconferencing equipment to link UC Davis nurses with rural clinicians. The systems provide video and audio, as well as images from colposcopes (magnifying devices used to examine genitalia) and other equipment. This advanced technology essentially puts expert nurses in the room with examining clinicians.

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UCLA nursing school names acting dean


Linda Sarna will serve one-year term.

Linda Sarna, UCLA

Professor Linda Sarna, who holds the Lulu Wolf Hassenplug Chair in the UCLA School of Nursing, has been appointed acting dean of the School of Nursing as of July 1, 2014. She will serve a one-year term while Dean Courtney Lyder is on leave.

Sarna served as chair of the UCLA Academic Senate during the 2012–13 academic year, and she chairs the committee that implemented UCLA’s tobacco-free policy.

At UCLA and beyond, Sarna is recognized for her scholarship promoting the role of nursing in tobacco control and for her research on the symptoms and quality of life of people with lung cancer. As the principal investigator for the Tobacco Free Nurses Initiative and through her active involvement in tobacco-control policy efforts nationally and internationally, she has emphasized the need to change expectations for nursing education and clinical practice.

Sarna is the author of more than 200 peer-reviewed articles, books, chapters and other publications. Her numerous honors and awards include election as a fellow to the American Academy of Nursing and recognition as a distinguished research professor by the Oncology Nursing Society.  She has served on commissions and task forces for the National Cancer Institute, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the Institute of Medicine and the University of California, among others. Sarna received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing from UCLA, and her doctorate from UC San Francisco.

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UC Davis nursing leader tapped for White House advisory group


Heather Young is only nurse leader on Systems Engineering for Healthcare Working Group.

Heather Young, UC Davis

Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis founding Dean Heather M. Young serves as the only nurse leader on the 14-member Systems Engineering for Healthcare Working Group of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST). The group, which includes hospital CEOs, health care leaders, physicians and other experts, is developing a report for President Obama that focuses on how to improve quality and lower costs of health care from the management and design perspectives.

“Because interprofessional collaboration is essential to improving health systems,” Young said, “I was honored to be a part of this group and add a nursing leadership perspective. We know that it takes input from all members of the health care team to effect change. To me, this opportunity to participate in a national work group affirmed that our UC Davis programs and research are on the cutting edge of this important area of system improvement.”

PCAST is an advisory group of the nation’s leading scientists and engineers who directly advise the president and the Executive Office of the President. The council convenes a number of work groups to study various issues and report back to the president.

The Systems Engineering for Healthcare project builds on the council’s previous assessment of information technology for health care. The council sought recommendations for improving health care that utilizes systems engineering. The group recently presented its recommendations which include:

  • Accelerating alignment of payment systems with desired outcome
  • Increasing access to relevant health data and analytics
  • Providing technical assistance in systems engineering approaches
  • Involving communities in improving health care delivery
  • Sharing lessons learned from successful improvement efforts
  • Training health professionals in new skills and approaches

The council will use the work group’s study to develop a final report to the president.

You can view a webcast of the group’s report here.

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Cancer care specialist named oncology nurse of year


UC Irvine’s Deborah Boyle is honored.

UC Irvine Health nurse Deborah Boyle, R.N., has received the 2014 Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse of the Year award for her work with cancer patients and commitment to advancing oncology nursing.

The award is bestowed by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corp., a subsidiary of the Oncology Nursing Society, and recognizes nurses who are leaders in patient care, education and research into best nursing practices.

An oncology clinical nurse specialist and palliative care nurse lead in the Chao Family Comprehensive Cancer Center, Boyle’s responsibilities include ensuring adherence to national quality of cancer care standards, leading the nursing component of UC Irvine Medical Center’s palliative care team, patient education and acting as a liaison between inpatient and outpatient cancer care.

“Being recognized by one’s peers is the highest of all accolades,” said Boyle. “I am humbled to receive this honor and do so in acknowledgment of the tremendous contributions made within cancer care by all oncology advanced practice nurses.”

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Sen. Boxer praises UC efforts to prevent medical errors


She tours UCLA, notes its safety measures.

Sen. Barbara Boxer observes two nurses demonstrating a bar code scanning safety procedure at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

Every year, 325,000 patients die in the United States due to medical errors, a number that would fill the Rose Bowl nearly four times, according to a special report released today (April 25) at a UCLA news conference by U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.).

Boxer presented the findings of her report at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and noted steps UCLA already takes to prevent medical errors and that could serve as models for other hospitals around the country. Boxer’s report also highlighted efforts by UC Davis to reduce ventilator-associated pneumonia and by UC San Diego to reduce blood clots and central line bloodstream infections.

“These deaths are all the more heartbreaking because they’re preventable,” Boxer said after she toured the medical center with Dr. David Feinberg, president and chief executive officer of the UCLA Health System, so she could see for herself two systems being used to prevent medical errors. “This is not the time to sit back and do nothing. I will not turn away from this challenge when I have the opportunity to pull back 325,000 people from disaster every year simply by preventing medical errors.”

The third leading cause of death in the country, medical errors can be avoided by something as simple as washing your hands. These errors commonly result in hospital-acquired infections, bedsores, patient falls, adverse drug reactions, sepsis, blood clots, catheter-related urinary tract infections, ventilator-related pneumonias and surgical site infections. In addition to saving lives, preventing medical errors could save up to $19.5 billion annually, Boxer said.

While touring the seventh floor, Boxer was first was shown the bar code technology and electronic medical records system used at UCLA to ensure patients receive the right medications in the right doses at the correct times. The process begins with a medication dispenser that operates much like a vending machine, providing one dose of drug at a time. A nurse logs in to the patient’s medical record to determine what medications are due and accesses them from the dispenser.

Once in the patient’s room, a nurse logs into a bedside computer and scans a bar code on the patient’s armband that automatically opens up his or her electronic medical record. The nurse then scans the medication, which is individually wrapped and bar-coded for that specific patient. If the medication’s bar code isn’t recognized as belonging to the patient’s medication profile, a warning will flash on the computer screen. After giving the patient the medication, the nurse selects the “administer” button, which instantly updates the medical record that the medication has been administered.

UCLA nurses were heavily involved the development of the bar code system, said Renee Appleby, director for the seven west cardiothoracic telemetry unit. The nurses first studied the errors to determine what was going wrong, and then participated in the creation of a safer system.

Boxer called the bar code and electronic medical record system “exciting, an enormous change for the better,” and said it must give the UCLA medical team more peace of mind.

“As a nurse, it makes me feel safe,” nurse Megan Kelly told Boxer.

Prior to the installation of the bar code system, the medical center was making two to four medication errors a month. Since the new system has been in place, no medical errors have been made, Appleby said.

That’s an impressive accomplishment, since the medical center dispenses five million doses of medication a year, said Cathy Ward, UCLA’s chief nursing officer.

“You’re really doing everything you can to save lives,” Boxer said. “Congratulations.”

Boxer then went to the seventh floor ICU to see the medical center’s ultraviolet disinfection system in action. The medical center has two Xenex machines, which can disinfect a hospital room in five minutes. The Star Wars-like robots use a Xenon bulb, a powerful form of UV light, combined with technology that generates high intensity pulses of light that are effective against 22 pathogens, including MRSA.

“The light kills micro-organisms by breaking down the cell walls of bacteria and fungus,” said Dr. Daniel Uslan, assistant clinical professor of medicine in the division of infectious disease.

“This is amazing technology that will help save lives,” Boxer said.

Feinberg said he is proud of UCLA’s commitment to patient safety and he looks forward to partnering with Boxer to find new and effective ways to ensure patients remain safe.

The report was compiled after Boxer wrote to 283 California acute care hospitals asking them to respond with the actions they are taking to reduce medical errors. Of those, 149 hospitals responded.

All of hospitals that responded reported taking at least some steps to address the most common medical errors, Boxer said. The report includes some common approaches to combating medical errors, such as using bar code technology and electronic health records to ensure patients receive proper medications to avoid adverse drug events. This technology is currently in use at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center.

Other common approaches to preventing medical errors in the report included maintaining hand hygiene, using central line anti-microbial port covers, assessing all patients for bedsores prior to and upon admission, assessing patients for blood clot risks preoperatively and elevating the heads of patients on ventilators from 30 to 45 degrees.

Boxer’s report, which will be sent to the 283 hospitals initially queried, made six recommendations to improve patient safety, including:

  • Requiring all federal programs designed to reduce medical errors to work off a single list where appropriate, specifically the Partnership for Prevention’s list of the nine most common medical errors.
  • Having the Department of Health and Human Services report to Congress the time it takes for quality measures to be developed, endorsed and implemented in programs related to medical error reduction.
  • Creating a standard way of reporting medical errors, allowing hospitals and researchers to better collect data on errors, their frequency and where they are occurring.
  • Evaluation of information collected by hospitals when assessing whether medical centers are meeting the requirement to track and report adverse events as a condition of participation in Medicare.
  • Have Congress review the adequacy of whistleblower protections to ensure health care providers are able to report errors.
  • Have the Office of the Inspector General examine the Hospital Patient Safety Initiative’s new surveyor tools and analyze their impact on increasing staff reporting of medical errors.

“If we work together, we can prevent these needless tragedies,” the report states. “If we ensure that doctors, nurses, hospital administrators, medical technology leaders, federal officials and patient advocates are all focused on this common goal, we can make great progress in preventing avoidable deaths and ending the epidemic of medical errors in this country.”

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UC Davis welcomes students to clinical training


Nursing school hosts White Coat Ceremony for physician assistant, nurse practitioner students.

Nurse practitioner and physician assistant faculty Shelly Henderson (left) and Debra Bakerjian (right) help physician assistant student Elizabeth Bradbury (middle) put on her new coat as part of the White Coat Ceremony at UC Davis nursing school.

The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis conducted a White Coat Ceremony on Monday to celebrate the formal transition from classroom education to clinical preparation for physician assistant and nurse practitioner Class of 2015 students.

More than 100 family and friends filled the Robert T. Matsui Lecture Hall at UC Davis Health System’s Education Building to cheer on the six nurse practitioner and 21 physician assistant students as they were presented their first white coats.

Similar to the white coat tradition at many medical programs, the ceremony signifies the completion of the academic year of study and the move to clinical education, where students complete rotations in primary care, inpatient medicine, rural medicine, pediatrics, surgery and other areas. During this time, students experience their first patient interactions.

“In keeping with the concept that medicine, and health care in general, are team sports, this tradition has expanded to a variety of other health professions such as pharmacy, optometry, therapy, veterinary, physician assistant and advanced practice nursing, and is now celebrated internationally,” said Debra Bakerjian, senior director for the nurse practitioner and physician assistant programs.

The event included comments and advice from two program alumni — Karimeh Borghei, a 2006 nurse practitioner graduate and Jeremy Weis, a 2012 graduate of the physician assistant program — as well as a current physician assistant student, Kim Ward, and other faculty.

The UC Davis physician assistant and nurse practitioner programs are the only ones in the nation where the two professions learn together in the classroom. Additionally, the UC Davis programs focus on developing providers to deliver care in areas where it’s needed most, thus expanding access for a growing population. The UC Davis School of Medicine’s Department of Community and Family Medicine first offered a nurse practitioner graduate certificate program in 1970. The physician assistant program was added in 1982.

In 2013, the program was reconfigured into master’s degree programs at the UC Davis nursing school. Over the past 40 years, UC Davis has graduated more than 1,800 nurse practitioners and physician assistants, with 67 percent of graduates working in underserved areas. Additionally, nearly 70 percent of graduates work in primary care, compared to significantly lower national averages of between 30 and 40 percent.

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Nursing school hopes to improve care for cancer patients with social network


Participating patients will use a tablet device as part of UC Davis project.

Several chemotherapy patients at the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center will be invited to use tablets with a unique social networking tool as part of their treatment plan. Researchers at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis hope to prove that mobile health technology improves the care experience for patients as well as the quality of care while also reducing cost.

The project is part of a two-year, $199,854 grant from the McKesson Foundation and its national Mobilizing for Health Initiative. Research on mobile health technology in cancer care is new, said Jill Joseph, the associate dean for research at the nursing school. Other cancer-related mobile applications are available, but are limited to education and awareness and don’t provide disease management tools or real-time communication.

“We have ample evidence that cancer patients often receive fragmented care, experience significant distress, and may needlessly require care in emergency departments or inpatient settings, particularly during chemotherapy,” Joseph said. “Little research and development has focused on providing novel technologies to support cancer care coordination.”

Participating patients will use a tablet device, such as a Google Nexus or iPad, to connect to their unique and private Personal Health Network that includes a nurse coordinator — who manages the their care — along with family, caregivers, clinicians and other desired partners. These people can connect with one another through real-time messaging, video and audio components as well as schedule appointments, assign tasks, store and track information and more.

A nurse coordinator is assigned to support each chemotherapy patient who uses the mobile application. This coordinator monitors the patient’s care plan, triages issues and communicates with caregivers. Unlike electronic health records and other information systems common in hospitals, the social networking platform allows patients, their families and caregivers to not only access information but communicate with another and make decisions about care and health management.

“This is a new tool designed with the patient and family at the center of care,” said Katherine Kim, a recent doctoral graduate of the UC Davis nursing school who is now a visiting faculty member and project director.

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