October 2011 cover SCAN"St. Catherine University St. Catherine University
October 2010
 
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Fresh Perspective

St. Kate's nursing programs bring innovation to the classroom, helping students keep pace with healthcare change.

This fall, nursing students at the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health found something new in their classrooms when they returned to campus.

Faculty in the Department of Nursing and School of Health administrators have worked diligently over the last year to enhance their programs at St. Kate's, bringing innovative teaching models and new technologies into the classroom.

In 2010, associate professors of nursing Susan Forneris, Ph.D., RN, CNE, and Linda Blazovich, MSN, RN, CNE, were named fellows in the National League for Nursing's Simulation Leadership Development Program. Through the year-long fellowship, Forneris and Blazovich built their expertise in simulations and cultivated leadership strategies for nursing education in the 21st century.

Both now have new roles at St. Kate's. Forneris is baccalaureate day section director, and Blazovich, who is completing a Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) at the University, took on the new role of director of simulation for the Department of Nursing. She will work across all nursing degree programs.

Matthew Byrne, Ph.D., RN, will also add rigor to the nursing programs in the new position of informatics coordinator and a member of the graduate faculty. Byrne studied informatics (the science of information processing and engineering) at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee and Aurora Health Systems in Wisconsin. He has been sought out for his patentable ideas on improving patient care through informatics innovations.

Nursing faculty at St. Kate's have paid close attention to The Future of Nursing, a report issued last year by the Institute of Medicine that calls on nurses to assume a leadership role in improving the health of the U.S. population.
Among the changes they have initiated at St. Kate's:

  • Faculty in the pre-licensure programs have strengthened curricula and incorporated Kaplan Integrated Testing to teach test-taking strategies.
  • The nurse-practitioner options within the Master of Arts in Nursing have an innovative new curriculum this fall — preparing students to address not only current-practice needs but anticipate healthcare changes in the future.
  • The graduate nursing education concentration is being redesigned to accept more nurse educators beginning in fall 2012.
  • And the recently accredited DNP is graduating its second cohort of nurse leaders "who are adept at changing systems to improve health outcomes," says Associate Dean of Nursing Margaret Dexheimer Pharris, Ph.D., RN, MPH, FAAN.

"In all four programs," Pharris adds, "we are developing contextualized teaching methods that enhance clinical reasoning and interprofessional leadership."
— Melissa Kaelin

 
From the Heart Clipboard with nursing symbol