School of Nursing Archives - UConn Today https://today.uconn.edu Fri, 09 Feb 2024 15:51:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=6.4.2 ‘Take my Hand’: A Gift to Encourage Health Equity in Nursing https://today.uconn.edu/2024/02/take-my-hand-a-gift-to-encourage-health-equity-in-nursing/ Fri, 09 Feb 2024 14:04:03 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=209528 In just 13 short weeks, the School of Nursing commencement ceremony will occur, and the senior class will be sent off into the world of nursing. During Professor Laura Eiss’s (MSN, RN, ACNS-BC, NPD-BC) Capstone class, students were given the book “Take My Hand” by Dolen Perkins-Valdez. The book not only highlights systemic racism that exists in the health care industry, but it also explores themes of family, community, and the effects of mental health.

UConn student Zaheer Turtem accepts book from Dean Dickson.
UConn student Zaheer Turtem accepts book from Dean Dickson.

Take My Hand has received numerous awards such as the 2023 NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work-Fiction, the 2023 Prize for Fiction from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and the Silver Gavel Award from the American Bar Association. Dolen is a historical fiction writer and currently works as an associate professor at American University.

Copies were gifted by alumna and retired faculty member Lisa-Marie W. Griffiths ’91 MS (MaED, MSN, MPH, WHCNP, APRN/RN) as she was “deeply moved” by the novel.

UConn Nursing Seniors get their copy of "Take My Hand" from Dean Dickson on January 30th, 2023.
UConn Nursing Seniors get their copy of “Take My Hand” from Dean Dickson on January 30th, 2023.

“As a former UConn Nursing Ethics professor and champion for social justice, I felt that every nurse should read this book. My passion has led me to provide you a copy to help you understand the racism that often exists in our Healthcare system,” she writes in her note that was placed in each book.

Dean Victoria Vaughan Dickson (Ph.D., RN, FAHA, FHFSA, FAAN) presented this gift and expressed her gratitude towards the class. “You came to us at a time when the world was in real turbulence, health care was turned upside down, nursing was faced with unprecedented challenges,” Dickson told students. “I know you are the future of health care, and the future of nursing. I look forward to finishing out the semester with you all!”

Dean Dickson addresses UConn Nursing Senior Class.
Dean Dickson addresses UConn Nursing Senior Class.

Students conveyed their enthusiasm and appreciation for the gift. Amber Olgac shared, “I’m so excited to read this book, and I’m so excited to talk about racism in healthcare because I feel like we don’t talk about it.” Neha Biju agreed that, “it’s a good way to get a new perspective on nursing and different issues we’re going to face.”

Throughout the remainder of the semester there will be ongoing discussions of the book through journal clubs hosted by Assistant Clinical Professor MaryAnn Perez- Brescia and Associate Clinical Professor Michelle Cole. The hope is to bring light to the racial imbalance in today’s health care system and allow students to prepare for their roles as nurses in today’s world.

Student Writer Nicole Dobrzanski, contributed to this report. 
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UConn Nursing in the Top 10 of National Online Programs https://today.uconn.edu/2024/02/uconn-nursing-in-the-top-10-of-national-online-nursing-programs/ Wed, 07 Feb 2024 15:00:25 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=209541 The U.S. News & World Report 2024 Best Online Programs rankings have been announced, and we are pleased to report that the UConn School of Nursing has placed eighth in country for its Online Graduate Nursing programs.

UConn is already ranked number one in the New England region for its online nursing master’s programs, so it proves exceptional to be ranked within the top ten of the nation. The 2024 online nursing master’s rankings evaluated 204 programs across the country and evaluated more than 1,800 online bachelor’s and master’s degree programs. The best online programs include rankings of bachelor’s programs and master’s-level disciplines.

UConn’s School of Nursing offers a significant opportunity for online programs in continuing education. This has grown from past years to include family nurse practitioner, adult gerontology acute care nurse practitioner, adult gerontology primary care nurse practitioner, nurse educator, neonatal nurse practitioner concentration, and nurse leader.

The graduate program was established in 1971 and has been accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Its experienced faculty prepares skilled nurse leaders who synthesize the best evidence and translate it into practice to advance health locally and globally. Graduate students are offered flexible online programming, superior clinical experiences, multiple concentration options, and a superior certification pass rate.

“It is an honor to be recognized as a highly ranked nursing program among peer institutions. While only one indicator of success, these top distinctions are a testament to the School of Nursing’s commitment to educational excellence, student success and graduate preparedness.  Congratulations truly belong to our faculty and staff for their dedication and service that has resulted in this incredible outcome.” – Dr. Annette Jakubišin Konicki, Associate Dean of Graduate Studies

As the University of Connecticut continues to grow, the School of Nursing is excelling in enrollment and diversity. The past two years have had the highest applicant number in the school’s history, this year exceeding last year’s application by over 30%. Exceeding enrollment numbers and the high demand for nurses are a part of the school’s growing success and have strongly contributed to the need for a larger school, faculty, and student population- all a part of the plan in the new UConn Nursing Building. The new home of UConn Nursing will continue to pave the path in innovative research, world renowned faculty teaching, and diversified programs with increased enrollment and resources.

“The significant rise to #8 in our national rankings demonstrates UConn Nursing’s outstanding program and the school’s commitment to innovative, high-quality nursing education. UConn Nursing faculty are dedicated to preparing the next generation of advanced practice nurses, nurse educators and nurse leaders. Our graduates are poised to address the complexities of nursing care; advance evidence-based practice that promotes health equity; and be leaders who champion the transformation of healthcare. UConn Nursing is proud to recognize our exemplary faculty and students.” – Dean Victoria Vaughan Dickson, PhD, RN, FAHA, FHFSA, FAAN

To review the complete list of the 2024 U.S. News & World Report Best Online Master’s in Nursing Programs rankings and to obtain ranking standards, please visit https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/rankings.

For anyone interested in applying for the online Nursing Graduate programs, please contact nursingadmissions@uconn.edu.

 

 

Student Writer Nicole Dobrzanski, contributed to this report. 
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Withered Flowers: UConn Nursing Student Travels 3,000 Miles to Document an Epidemic of Underage Pregnancy https://today.uconn.edu/2024/01/withered-flowers-uconn-nursing-student-travels-3000-miles-to-document-an-epidemic-of-underage-pregnancy/ Wed, 24 Jan 2024 12:38:42 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=208541 Kimberly Rosado ’24 (NURS) has never taken a filmmaking class.

She says she’s never been great at talking to people, and she doesn’t enjoy public speaking. A year ago, she didn’t know much about professional cameras or audio recording. She’d only ever made small social media videos for fun.

But none of that stopped Rosado from travelling more than 3,000 miles away from home to make a feature-length documentary film, in two languages, in a different country, and all on her own – with support from a network at UConn through a pioneering program aimed at cultivating courageous leadership in young women.

“It’s just amazing how much I could have accomplished through this process,” says Rosado, who grew up in Danbury, where she completed a certified nursing assistant course while attending Danbury High School.

Kimberly Rosado posing wither a Sony camera that she used to create her documentary.
With help from her roommate, Rosado found a Sony camera that was easy to learn how to use, and found a willing mentor in Barbara O’Neill, an associate clinical professor and Urban Service Track coordinator for the School of Nursing. (Contributed photo)

“I learned that I wanted to pursue nursing,” she says, and she started working as a medical assistant after graduating and before applying to the UConn School of Nursing.

Rosado, whose family is from Guatemala and Mexico, has known for some time that, as a nurse, she wants to help women. Growing up, she saw within her own family how women like her mother and grandmother, who didn’t receive formal sexual and reproductive health education in school, often didn’t know or understand what they were experiencing within their own bodies.

“In Guatemala, a lot of women don’t really like to talk about what’s happening with them,” says Rosado. “I just did a ton of research on things that are happening in Guatemala with sexual and reproductive health, and I found that they are having an epidemic of underage pregnancy.”

Between January and August 2023, the Observatory for Sexual and Reproductive Rights, or OSAR, in Guatemala reported 3,331 pregnancies of adolescents and girls ages of 10 to 19 years old, including 1,589 in girls from ages 10 to 14 – under the country’s law, pregnancies in girls under age 14 are considered to be the result of sexual violence.

Human rights and health care advocates attribute the epidemic to a number of factors, including social and religious stigma, sexual violence and assault, lack of accessibility to health care and contraceptives, lack of comprehensive education, and a patriarchal culture of “machismo” attitudes and norms in the country.

For Rosado, learning about the challenges women, adolescents, and young girls face in Guatemala – where some of her family members still live – felt personal, and she found support for her efforts to raise awareness about those challenges through the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network.

UConn’s BOLD program focuses on facilitating opportunities for women’s leadership on campus through funding, programming, and engagement in service projects. Once accepted into BOLD through a competitive application process, scholars in BOLD cohorts are given funding and support to initiate their own individual student-led projects. They find a mentor and work to refine and execute their project, which is largely implemented during the summer between their junior and senior years.

Rosado and her roommate, Daniela Bedoya ’24 (SFA), were both accepted into BOLD’s fifth cohort.

“My roommate is actually a photography major,” Rosado says. “She’s really great with cameras and stuff, so she actually helped me along the way.

“At the beginning of our junior year, the fall semester was just brainstorming ideas of what we wanted our projects to be. And I was struggling to figure out how I was going to present the project. I’m not great with public speaking. I’m not great with talking to people. So I was like, you know what? Let me just put in a documentary and let it speak for itself.”

With Bedoya’s help, Rosado found a Sony camera that was easy to learn how to use, and found a willing mentor in Barbara O’Neill, an associate clinical professor and Urban Service Track coordinator for the School of Nursing with a background in journalism and filmmaking.

“I told her about my project, and she was 100% for it,” says Rosado, who is also a part of the Urban Service Track/Connecticut Area Health Education Center Network (UST/AHEC) Scholars program at UConn. “She was so interested, and she wanted to be my mentor. She’s been helping me a lot along the way.”

Rosado planned her trip to Guatemala City for the summer of 2023, lining up interviews and planning to stay with family members, but hit an unexpected roadblock when her flight was unexpectedly and abruptly cancelled.

“My flight got pushed back a week,” she says. “So, fast-forward a week, and all those people that I had originally to interview, they couldn’t accommodate anymore.”

When she arrived in Guatemala a week later, she scrambled on the ground to regroup with a new set of interview subjects.

“My aunt – she’s a lawyer there, and she works on a lot of women’s reproductive health and maternal abuse issues,” Rosado says. “So, she helped me find a lot of these interviews, and thank God she did, because they came out perfect. They were the best interviews I could have found, I think.”

A large part of Rosado’s work in Guatemala involved interviewing subject-matter experts – including the program coordinator at OSAR, practicing doctors and midwives, and the executive director of a health center that conducts clinics for women.

Their expertise and perspective helped Rosado to tell a story about the social, cultural, and political factors that often impact the lives of women and young girls in Guatemala. Rosado took a week to teach herself how to use professional video editing software, which she used to compile her work into a 59-minute documentary entitled Una Flor Marchita. She screened her film for the first time at the Student Union in Storrs this past December.

“Una Flor Marchita translates to ‘a withered flower,’” she explains. “I picked the title, because the flower symbolizes innocence and purity, which are qualities that are robbed from these children at a young age.”

Una Flor Marchita provides valuable insight into a subject that is underreported,” says O’Neill, Rosado’s mentor on the project. “Kimberly successfully completed a very ambitious video project. When she approached me with her project I knew, as a former video producer, all the challenges ahead and was impressed by her diligence and the final program. Kimberly learned and performed all the roles that would typically require the expertise of a scriptwriter, videographer, editor, and production team.

“I am very proud of this BOLD, UST/AHEC scholar from the School of Nursing and all that she has accomplished.”

The project was an education for Rosado not just in how to produce and edit video footage but also on the realities of life for women and girls in Guatemala. Her hope is to help educate and advocate for others by sharing their stories.

“We live in the U.S., so we have a different point of view,” she says. “There are countries that are suffering, and they don’t really know what sexual reproductive health is. They don’t know their rights as women, so they don’t seek them. They’re blind to what their rights should be. I just want to advocate and create a positive social change in society, and to offer those who live in the U.S. with a more privileged point of view a different perspective.”

She also says that she thinks that the experience of producing her film will ultimately help her to become a better nurse and a better caregiver and advocate for her patients.

“When it comes to asking sensitive questions to patients, it definitely will help me with that, because you never know what someone is going through,” she says. “A lot of these underage pregnancies are products of rape. So, talking about super sensitive topics, and how to go about it with adolescents, is important. Education is super important as well.

“So, overall, it just helped me become a better nurse, a better educator, and just a better person.”

 

For more information about the BOLD Women’s Leadership Network and BOLD Scholars program at UConn, visit ugradresearch.uconn.edu/bold.

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More than Morning Sickness: UConn Researcher Studies Hyperemesis Gravidarum Survivor Stories https://today.uconn.edu/2023/12/more-than-morning-sickness-uconn-researcher-studies-hyperemesis-gravidarum-survivor-stories/ Wed, 20 Dec 2023 12:30:40 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=207740 Imagine waking up one morning feeling ill, like you’ve come down with an unrelentingly bad stomach bug.

You throw up once, and then again. It continues for hours on end, the whole day long. You’re so ill, you lay down to sleep on the bathroom floor, next to the toilet, so that you won’t wake your partner when you have to vomit throughout the night.

The next day is the same – relentless illness, throwing up all day long. Twenty times. Fifty times. It just won’t stop.

The next day is the exactly same. And the next. And the next.

When you go to your doctor in search of some kind of relief, they don’t believe you when you tell them how awful you feel, how debilitating it is – not just physically, but also mentally – to be constantly sick. They say you need to “suck it up.” Stop complaining. You’re just being negative and lazy. You need to be tougher.

A nurse gives you some IV fluids and sends you home. You come back to the clinic or the emergency room over and over again for more fluids. It continues for months, but no matter what you do, the sickness never goes away.

Until you give birth.

The life-threatening pregnancy condition called hyperemesis gravidarum has gained some awareness in recent years through media attention around high-profile women who’ve struggled with it during their pregnancies.

But hyperemesis gravidarum remains a clinically and culturally misunderstood condition says the UConn School of Nursing’s Cheryl Beck, a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor and certified nurse midwife.

“I have seen clinically with women how devastating hyperemesis gravidarum is,” Beck says. “It’s really misunderstood, and it’s under diagnosed, and many times family and friends or even clinicians will minimize it and say, ‘Yeah, it’s morning sickness. You know, everybody gets it. It’ll go away.’

“This is so different.”

‘Statistics are human beings with the tears wiped off’

A prolific researcher, Beck has spent 20 years studying traumatic birth and its long-term implications. Through her work, she’s uncovered some of the consequences that pregnant people face when they experience trauma during birth – it effects the breastfeeding experience and impacts mother-infant bonding, and can leave survivors panic-stricken about what they might experience in a subsequent pregnancy.

Recently, Beck has turned her research focus toward exploring the impact of specific types of traumatic birth. A qualitative and mixed methods researcher, Beck has published 200 journal articles through her work and developed the Postpartum Depression Screening Scale (PDSS) based on her qualitative studies.

When she teaches qualitative research methods to doctoral students at UConn, she often quotes the science writer Paul Brodeur, who in 1985 wrote that “statistics are human beings with the tears wiped off.”

For hyperemesis gravidarum, statistically 1 to 2% of pregnancies experience the condition.

“But then, what’s the tears?” asks Beck. “You’ve got to put the tears to that 1 to 2%. What are the experiences of the women? Our patients are so complex that to really understand whatever the topic is you are researching, you need both quantitative and qualitative together to really give you the complete picture.”

In her qualitative work, Beck has found “rich data,” she says, in examining blogs written personally by those living with diseases or conditions, which is how she approached her examination of hyperemesis gravidarum.

In a study published in the November/December 2023 edition of the Journal of Infusion Nursing, Beck evaluated 33 blog posts from women in Australia published by Hyperemesis Australia, a nationwide charitable organization dedicated to supporting individuals suffering with the condition, their families, and health care providers.

Debilitating not only physically, but emotionally and psychologically 

In evaluating the blogs, Beck found six consistent themes expressed by survivors of the condition. The women talked about the debilitating physical and mental health problems caused by hyperemesis gravidarum. They vomited 20 to 50 times each day, beginning early in their pregnancies – the condition typically starts before 16 weeks gestation – and continuing until birth.

Their hair fell out, they lost weight, and some even lost teeth. They were constantly in hospital emergency departments seeking rehydration therapy.

They suffered from varying levels of depression, felt isolated, experienced panic attacks, and some even contemplated suicide. They also suffered financial pressures, as many were unable to work, and they struggled to care for older children while in the depths of illness.

They also wrote about the agonizing choices that they faced. Some made the difficult decision to terminate their wanted pregnancies due to the severity of their condition. Others grappled with whether they could endure subsequent pregnancies knowing that they would likely face the condition again – 89% of women who experience hyperemesis gravidarum have a recurrence in their next pregnancy.

In their blogs, the women also described the guilt they felt around their unborn child. They worried not only that their illness would negatively impact the health of the child by depriving the developing fetus of adequate nutrition – studies have shown that women with hyperemesis gravidarum are more likely to experience pre-term birth and low birth weight. But they also feared that they would struggle to bond with the infant after birth, and those fears often proved true postpartum.

The women all consistently described experiencing a lack of understanding or concern from family and friends, but also from their medical providers, who would dismiss or minimize their symptoms. Conversely, women who found support systems in their personal lives and had compassionate caregivers and understanding employers reported better outcomes and expressed high levels of gratitude for that care.

They all expressed feelings of empowerment for surviving hyperemesis gravidarum and a desire to share their stories to support others living with the condition and help them feel less alone.

Attention to detail – and a human touch – are crucial 

The main takeaway for clinicians from the study, says Beck, is to validate that what pregnant patients with hyperemesis gravidarum are experiencing is real and valid trauma.

“Clinicians need to be educated about the high percentage of women who go on to have postpartum depression, who view this pregnancy as traumatic and can develop PTSD,” Beck says. “Women talked about how, while they were going through it, there was no attention at all to their mental health. So, that’s one of the takeaways – even if the clinicians do pay attention to their physical symptoms, there is a huge psychological aspect.

“One woman talked about the ‘death zone,’ the dark days of the pregnancy. Clinicians and family need to realize the depth of the struggle that these women are trying to cope with.”

She also said that little things – like when infusion nurses would warm IV fluids before administering them to try to help prevent further vomiting – meant a lot to the women who wrote the blogs.

While the study focused only on women in Australia, the sample size of 33 blogs was relatively small, and further study is needed, Beck believes the findings would be applicable to individuals with hyperemesis gravidarum anywhere.

For her part, Beck plans to continue researching different types of pregnancy and birth trauma to help shine light on conditions and how they impact patients, families and clinicians, using personal online writing to uncover the experiences of those who live through them.

“There’s been a lot written on blogs regarding illness and how helpful blogs are, because when somebody writes, they write about the meaning of their experience – it helps give meaning to them for their experience,” she says. “There’s a benefit of blogs, because you get connected, like these women with other women who have experienced hyperemesis gravidarum. You don’t feel so isolated. You support each other.”

Earlier this year, she published a study looking at blogs on postpartum preeclampsia.  In 2022, she looked at perinatal obsessive-compulsive disorder, and she examined narratives of postpartum psychosis in 2020.

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Page From Storied Beauvais Missal Added to UConn’s Archives; Donation Courtesy of Professor Emeritus https://today.uconn.edu/2023/12/page-from-storied-beauvais-missal-added-to-uconns-archives-donation-courtesy-of-professor-emeritus/ Mon, 18 Dec 2023 12:33:27 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=207793 Unlike other trinkets one might pick up at an antiques sale, Mansfield resident Thomas Long knew the find he made in the late 1990s was one he probably should shield from the light of day.

In a windowless hallway, situated on top of a bookcase and propped against the wall, it sat in darkness most of the time, save the few instances each year when he’d carefully pack it to bring to class and use as an example of literacy, calligraphy, and literature from the Middle Ages.

Long, a professor emeritus who taught writing in UConn’s School of Nursing, says he’d pass around his framed medieval folio, telling students to admire both sides of the 700-plus-year-old page through the glass that encapsulates it.

“From the first time I saw this beauty, I knew it was a genuine manuscript page because it’s dual-sided,” Long says. “There are irregularities on the surface that indicate it’s lambskin vellum, and the precision of the lettering, the fine decorative marginalia, and the capital letters all tell us this was part of a high-status book.”

He could read enough Latin and had enough life experience to deduce it was part of a Catholic service book. But until just over a year ago, he had no idea he’d been keeper of a page from the Beauvais Missal and inadvertently become part of its storied history that now also includes UConn’s Archives & Special Collections.

In Europe for centuries, brought to America in the 1920s

The story of the Beauvais Missal starts around 1290 when scribes began handwriting its three volumes, one for each of the liturgical seasons of the year, says Lisa Fagin Davis, executive director of the Medieval Academy of America. Upon their completion and the death of the Frenchman who commissioned their writing, they were given to the Beauvais Cathedral in Beauvais, France, in 1356.

A manuscript donated to the Archives and Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center by Thomas Long, professor-in-residence emeritus and director of the Nursing Learning Community, sits in the Dodd Center for Human Rights
A manuscript donated to UConn Library and Archives & Special Collections at the Thomas J. Dodd Research Center by Thomas Long, professor-in-residence emeritus and director of the Nursing Learning Community, sits in the Dodd Center for Human Rights on Dec. 4, 2023. (Sydney Herdle/UConn Photo)

For the next 450 years, Catholic priests flipped their pages as they led services from the Octave of Epiphany in January to the Feast of Saint Anne in July and All Saints Day in November. Missals are still used today and essentially provide the order of service.

When the French Revolution upended France, Huguenots stole the Beauvais Missal from the cathedral, Fagin Davis says, and it disappeared from all historical records. A single volume, though, resurfaced in a personal collection in France many decades later.

It changed hands several times before winding up at auction in the United States in 1926.

American businessman William Randolph Hearst – credited with founding the largest newspaper chain in the country, which still operates today – bought the bound volume and kept it until October 1942 when he sold it for $1,000 to New Yorker Philip Duschnes, Fagin Davis says.

Together, Duschnes and friend Otto Ege of Cleveland, Ohio, separated the pages from the book, selling them individually for $25 to $40 and earning a 10-fold higher profit margin with 300 transactions than a single sale.

“There are hundreds of thousands of medieval manuscripts that exist in the world and many of them are much more elaborate and valuable than the leaves of the Beauvais Missal – but the Beauvais Missal is important because of its story,” Fagin Davis says. “It has become one of the most well-known examples of a manuscript that was cut up and scattered to the winds.”

Over the last decade, Fagin Davis has tracked down 122 of 300 pages of the Beauvais Missal to digitally restore the book. She says that while she’s found just shy of half the full volume, that’s still a fair number of pages.

“Every time we find another, we get more information about liturgical practices, musical practices, book history, and art history of the time,” she says. “Once we can start putting all of these leaves together and study them as a unit, we can draw some conclusions about the original object and its story.”

‘There are manuscripts that are splendid’

The story of Long’s part in all this starts about 50 years ago, when at the Catholic University of America he developed an interest in medieval studies that continued through his undergraduate years and into his graduate time at the University of Illinois.

Even after he returned to the Catholic University of America’s seminary school and was ordained in 1980, he says, “Part of my heart was still in medieval studies, which is not a romantic idea but the notion that in many ways our modern world is grounded in cultural and intellectual ideas that emerged or were formed between 500 and 1500 of the Common Era.”

During his eight years in the priesthood, Long was involved in LGBTQ ministry and worked with people suffering and dying from AIDS, the disease that became a household word in the 1980s. He left church leadership in 1988 and returned to academia in pursuit of his Ph.D., which looked at AIDS and American apocalypticism.

“Over the years, I continued reading and studying the medieval period and every once in a while, when I had an opportunity to buy a manuscript folia relief, I would do so,” he says. “And one day, in the late 1990s, at an antiques show in Virginia Beach, I came across the stall of an antiques dealer where I saw this beauty, what we now know is a page from the Beauvais Missal.

“There are manuscripts that are just kind of serviceable, and then there are manuscripts that are splendid,” Long continues, gesturing to the gold leaf, black scrollwork, and deep blue markings– likely from powdered lapis lazuli – decorating his Beauvais Missal page.

For about 20 years until his retirement, he used the page to help teach.

In late summer 2022, just after he retired, Long saw a news story that circulated around the country telling the tale of a Colby College student who discovered a page from the Beauvais Missal at an estate sale in Maine. He says he chuckled and thought that’s every scholar’s dream, how wonderful for a young person.

“Then something nudged me to look at mine again, and I thought, wait a minute. The lettering. The decoration. The coloring. The fact that this was clearly a ritual service book. I wonder if this is another leaf of the Beauvais Missal,” he says.

Before drawing the conclusion, Long first contacted the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University, which has two authenticated pages, to make sure his was the right size. It was – 290 by 240 mm, or roughly 11.42 by 9.45 inches.

Then he contacted Fagin Davis for confirmation. She gave it.

“I knew I had something that was not only unusual, but also extremely valuable. One leaf at auction can fetch $4,000 to $6,000,” he says, adding that he’d purchased his for less than $150. “I knew I needed to put this somewhere safe. Beautiful and rare things should be in public collections, not in private hands.”

A section written on a leaf from the Beauvais Missal can be seen through a magnifying glass in the Dodd Center for Human Rights
A section written on a leaf from the Beauvais Missal can be seen through a magnifying glass in Archives & Special Collections. on Dec. 4, 2023. (Sydney Herdle/UConn Photo)

UConn in rare company; 1 of 9 in New England

The story of UConn’s Archives & Special Collections’ involvement starts here, with Long’s donation about a year ago of the now authenticated Beauvais Missal folio along with numerous other historical artifacts he’s collected along the way.

“As an agricultural college, the University in its early years didn’t collect rare objects like this for teaching, but students today need to be exposed to original works,” Melissa Watterworth Batt, an archivist at the library, explains. “We use specimens like this in our instruction, programming, and exhibitions. This donation allows us to expose students to original materials even if they come with this story of being disbound.”

Fagin Davis says UConn’s acquisition puts the University in good company, as one of only nine schools in New England to have pages in their collections: UMass Amherst, the Rhode Island School of Design, Harvard and Yale universities, and Smith, Wellesley, Dartmouth, and Colby colleges. The Wadsworth Atheneum in Hartford and the Boston Public Library also have pages.

Without an endowment to purchase such items and with restrictions on how things can be bought, Watterworth Batt says donations like the one from Long are key to helping UConn’s Archives meet its mission.

And in this case, students studying the history of print, the interplay of image and text, among so many other broader subjects, can benefit from seeing the page – due to its fragility, access to the leaf requires special handling by an archivist.

UConn’s Beauvais Missal folio features service entries for the feasts of St. Callixtus and St. Lucian and looks pristine despite its age, with its black ink still dark as night, because, Long says, their pages would have been opened only once a year and only at an altar, through the filtered light of stained glass and away from damaging direct sunlight.

Both the words and musical prompts – black notes on red staffs – would have been for the priest as leader of the service; the choir would have offered its response from an antiphonal, a much larger book shared between several people, Long says.

The 122 pages that have been found are from the same volume, Fagin Davis says, because they’re service pages for the summer feasts, Easter through Advent.

But the Beauvais Missal’s author is anonymous.

“They believed the word of God was literally translated through their hands and onto the page, although the scrolls, the ornamentation, even how the capitals are formed serve as a sort of signature,” Watterworth Batt says. “Still, the writer was meant to be anonymous because scribes weren’t allowed to be vain in any sense. They were a vessel through which God speaks.”

The Beauvais Missal is written in an abbreviated Latin that, Long says, was developed by monks to conserve expensive parchment. Reading it in gothic script might be a challenge, especially for words with a string of similar letters – like the u, m, and n in communium- but individual words can be discerned.

Hallelujah. God. Lord. Holy. Sacrifice. Almighty.

“If you are interested in the European Middle Ages and you live on our side of the Atlantic, you can’t study that time period by looking at the things around you,” Fagin Davis says. “People in Europe walk by medieval buildings every day. For us, being able to see a medieval manuscript like the Beauvais Missal is a magical entryway to thinking about the Middle Ages.”

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Dr. Nancy Redeker, Recipient of the 2023 Katharine A. Lembright Award for Cardiovascular Research https://today.uconn.edu/2023/11/dr-nancy-redeker-recipient-of-the-2023-katharine-a-lembright-award-for-cardiovascular-research/ Mon, 20 Nov 2023 16:16:19 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=207191 The UConn School of Nursing is proud to announce Dr. Nancy Schmieder Redeker, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN, is the 2023 recipient of the Katharine A. Lembright Award. This award is sponsored by the American Heart Association (AHA) Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing (CVSN) and it acknowledges and celebrates the cardiovascular research of established nurse scientists. Kathrine A. Lembright was the AHA assistant director for nursing from 1960-1981, and a nurse scientist who played a vital role in the development and growth of CVSN.

The Lembright Award, is the top award for excellence in research given by the AHA. To be considered you must be an active member of the AHA and in the CVSN and have an established track record in cardiovascular research, which may include national recognition of that research. The Lembright Award has been awarded since 1987, making Dr. Redeker its 37th recipient.

I am honored to receive this award and pleased to see increased recognition of the importance of sleep health to cardiovascular and other health outcomes.” – Dr. Nancy Redeker

Dr. Redeker is a Professor at the University of Connecticut Schools of Nursing and Medicine, Senior Associate Dean for Research and Interim Director of the PhD Program in Nursing. She has spent over 30 years conducting research on acute and chronic conditions and how they are impacted by sleep and sleep disorders. Dr. Redeker recently completed an NIH-funded clinal trial of cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia among people with heart failure. She is Principal Investigator of NIH-funded studies of the effects of sleep apnea treatment on functional outcomes of stroke, the contributions of sleep deficiency to relapse and retention in medication-assisted treatment for opioid use disorder. She is also conducting a study of the contributions of social determinants of health to phenotypes of sleep health among women of childbearing age.

Dr. Redeker is the Editor-in-Chief of Heart & Lung, the Journal of Cardiopulmonary Health and serves on the editorial boards of the Journal of Behavioral Sleep Medicine and Sleep Medicine Reviews. She serves on the Board of Directors of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine Foundation and previously served on the National Advisory Council for the NIH/National Institute for Nursing Research and Chair of the Council for Advancement of Nursing Research, Prior to her time at the UConn School of Nursing, Dr. Redeker was the Beatrice Renfield Professor of Nursing at Yale and Director of the Yale School of Nursing Center for Biobehavioral Health Research.

In 2017, Dr. Redeker was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researchers Hall of Fame, which recognizes nurse researchers whose work has actively influenced the profession. In 2016, she received the Distinguished Contribution to Nursing Research Award from the Eastern Nursing Research Society. These are just a few of the many honors/awards that Dr. Redeker has received.

Dr. Redeker has published over 185 peer-reviewed manuscripts, 145 peer-reviewed abstracts, a book, 19 book chapters, and has served on many scientific review committees at both the national and international level.

“I am thrilled that the American Heart Association has recognized Dr. Redeker with this very prestigious lifetime achievement award.” Said UConn Nursing Dean Victoria Vaughan Dickson, PhD, RN, FAHA, FAAN “Her research has led to an improved understanding of sleep health and the health-related consequences of sleep deficiency across the trajectory of acute and chronic conditions. She is a nurse leader who is deeply committed to improving sleep deficiency in individuals and families who are at risk for poor health outcomes.”

Student Writer Nicole Dobrzanski, contributed to this report. 

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UConn Places Highly In Various National Rankings https://today.uconn.edu/2023/10/uconn-places-highly-in-various-national-rankings/ Wed, 18 Oct 2023 11:30:14 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=205851 The University of Connecticut is considered one of the top public research institutions in the United States and the rankings it has consistently received in the last year only reinforce that point.

*UConn was ranked the 46th best overall university in the country, public or private, according to The Wall Street Journal. That measurement put UConn ninth in the country among all public universities. The publication ranked UConn highly in affordability, the average time it takes students to earn a degree, and the value a UConn degree adds to a graduate’s salary.

*UConn jumped nine spots in its overall ranking in this year’s U.S. News & World Report rankings to No. 58 this year. UConn remained the 26th-ranked public institution in the country by U.S. News & World Report. UConn showed particular strength in timely graduation rates, reputation among peer institutions, and the retention of first-year students in the rankings. UConn’s U.S. News ranking has been steadily improving since 2000, when it was No. 38 among public institutions.

The four-year average for retention of first-year students is 93%, remaining among the highest in the nation and far above the national average of 80% at four-year public universities. A consistent rate of 84% of UConn students earn their undergraduate degrees in six years or less, markedly higher than the national average of 63% among public institutions.

In addition to the overall ranking, several UConn programs were recognized by U.S. News & World Report in the top 50 nationally.

Best undergraduate nursing programs (No. 31)
Best undergraduate psychology programs (No. 39)
Best undergraduate business programs (No. 47)
Best colleges for veterans among national public institutions (No. 33)

*UConn’s doctoral program in the Department of Kinesiology in the College of Agriculture, Health and Natural Resources was recently ranked second in the country by the National Academy of Kinesiology. This ranking is based on the research productivity of tenure-track/tenured faculty and doctoral student outcomes.

*UConn’s online Master of Science in Accounting program in the School of Business is ranked sixth nationally by U.S. News & World Report, up from No. 11 two years ago. The online Master of Science in Nursing program is No. 18 nationally, making it the highest ranked program among nursing schools in New England. The online Master of Science in Engineering program is No. 37 nationally, 10 spots higher than last year, and 25 spots higher than two years ago.

*UConn’s Learning Communities program was recently ranked 25th in the country among public institutions by S. News & World Report, marking the first time the program has received a national ranking. Learning Communities help students transition to a university setting by connecting them with faculty, staff, and student leaders of various affinities and identities.

*In April 2023, UConn’s Neag School of Education appeared for the eighth consecutive year as one of the top 25 public graduate schools of education, tied at No. 22, by U.S. News & World Report. Neag was ranked No. 31 among all graduate schools and its special education program was ranked tied for 17th in the country.

*In May 2023, UConn was ranked among the top 20 public universities nationwide by The Wall Street Journal, in which alumni who built careers in accounting, finance, and law earn more than peers who graduated from other institutions, according to data compiled by an organization that researches employment trends.

The data showed that after 10 years in their fields, UConn bachelor’s degree alumni who work in accounting have the eighth highest average salaries among peers from other public institutions; the 13th highest in law; and the 16th highest in finance.

*UConn was ranked sixth in the country in the Sustainable Campus Index in December 2022 and was first in campus engagement and public engagement, tied for second in water conservation, fourth in food and dining programs, and eventh in curriculum.

*UConn John Dempsey Hospital was ranked among the World’s Best Hospitals in the United States by Newsweek and Statista in March 2023. It was one of only five hospitals in Connecticut to make the 2023 World’s Best Hospitals list.

*UConn John Dempsey Hospital was named among the “Best Hospitals: Produces & Conditional Ratings” for both its heart attack and stroke care by U.S. News & World Report. These ratings are based on each hospital’s patient outcomes as well as other factors that matter to patients, like the quality of their experience.

 

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The UConn School of Nursing and UConn Allied Health Sciences Partner to Get More Nurses Into the Workforce https://today.uconn.edu/2023/10/the-uconn-school-of-nursing-and-uconn-allied-health-sciences-partner-to-get-more-nurses-into-the-workforce/ Thu, 12 Oct 2023 15:31:27 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=205371 The UConn School of Nursing is proud to announce its new collaboration with UConn Department of Allied Health Sciences for students interested in pursuing a career as a Registered Nurse.  Allied Health Sciences within the College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources, offers students on both the Storrs and Waterbury campuses a 3.5-year plan of study with the opportunity [for students] to apply to the Accelerated BS Nursing (CEIN) program in nursing and earn a BSN within 12 months. The accelerated program is designed for those with a bachelor’s degree in a non-nursing field.

A nursing student in the Widmer Wing in the School of Nursing. (Sean Flynn/UConn Photo)

Students who have completed their undergraduate degree and have been accepted into the Accelerated BS Nursing (CEIN) program will have a hands-on learning experience at one of the top research-intensive universities in the country. In 2022, 94% of CEIN graduates passed their National Council Licensure Examination on their first attempt.

The UConn CEIN program is the most affordable, full-time, 12-month nursing program serving Connecticut, with the added benefit of hands-on learning experience at the state’s flagship, research-intensive university. “I am excited about this collaboration and continued partnership,” shares Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Undergraduate Programs, Annette T. Maruca PhD, RN, PMH-BC, CNE, CCHP.

Shea Bridenbeck, the School of Nursing’s Recruitment Coordinator, explains that this one year, three semester long program admits once a year in January. Additionally, students who have already completed the admission requirements but hold a bachelor’s degree in another field are eligible to apply. Through a partnership with CT Health Horizons, UConn CEIN nursing students are eligible to receive up to $10,000 in tuition assistance.

Dr. Maruca praises “the work of Dr. Michelle Cole, Associate Clinical Professor and Shea Bridenbeck, Recruitment Coordinator on the collaboration with Allied Health to offer Allied Health students a pathway into nursing this past academic year.” This partnership further opens up the field of nursing, giving these Allied Health students an opportunity to receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.

“UConn Nursing is dedicated to cultivating the next generation of nurses prepared to meet the healthcare demands of the state,” says Schol of Nursing Dean, Dr. Victoria Vaughan Dickson. “UConn students are exceptional, and this pathway provides the opportunity for students to discover and pursue their interest in Nursing.” She adds that “it is a win-win: for the student, for UConn and for the people of Connecticut!”

“It is partnerships like this that provide opportunities for students while helping to address critical workforce needs,” Justin Nash, Professor and Head of the Department of Allied Health Sciences.

“We appreciate this collaboration with the School of Nursing.  Allied health students will graduate a semester early and immediately start on the path to achieving their professional goal of becoming a registered nurse,” Lauren Wilson, Lecturer, Director of the Allied Health Sciences Major, & Director of the Allied Health Sciences Advising Center.

For more information on the Allied Health to BSN CEIN plan of study, please visit, Allied Health to CEIN Program | Certificate Entry into Nursing (CEIN) Program (uconn.edu)

 

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UConn School of Nursing Receives Largest Gift in University’s History https://today.uconn.edu/2023/10/uconn-school-of-nursing-receives-largest-gift-in-universitys-history/ Fri, 06 Oct 2023 13:42:06 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=205577 Elisabeth DeLuca ’69 (NUR) has made a gift of $40 million to the University of Connecticut—the largest in the University’s history for any purpose—that will position the School of Nursing to be a leader in combating the state and national nursing shortage and will be transformational for the profession.

DeLuca’s gift will provide scholarships and programmatic support for a dynamic nursing education that includes patient-centered practice, interdisciplinary research, and technology-based innovations. It will also support the construction of a new state-of-the-art facility for the School of Nursing in Storrs.

The combination of private and public support will make this effort possible as Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and the General Assembly are united in UConn’s vision to address the critical nursing shortage.

The UConn Board of Trustees at its June 28, 2023, meeting approved the start of planning for the new building, which is supported by $30 million in bond authorizations approved by the General Assembly, with support of Governor Lamont, during the 2023 legislative session. Earlier today, the state bond commission voted to allocate the bond funds to the University. DeLuca’s gift provides additional funds that are critical to the project.

“Here in Connecticut, we strongly value those who enter the nursing profession, and we want to do everything we can to support them as they fulfill their necessary educational requirements,” says Lamont. “By constructing a new, state-of-the-art building for the UConn School of Nursing, we are not only creating a place that can provide nursing students with the latest tools that will serve them well throughout their careers, but we are also showing anyone who may be considering entering this selfless field just how much of a priority nursing is to our state while also taking steps necessary to combat nursing shortages. On behalf of the State of Connecticut, I thank Elisabeth DeLuca for her very generous gift and her commitment to our nursing students. Matched together with state bond funding, these funds will enable this vision to become a reality.”

“The new UConn School of Nursing building is an example of what is possible when state and philanthropic support come together. I am deeply grateful to Elisabeth DeLuca for her vision and generosity in making this transformative gift, and to Governor Ned Lamont, legislators, and the state Office of Policy and Management for their support,” UConn President Radenka Maric says. “When Elisabeth sees a need at her alma mater, she steps forward. Elisabeth supported students in need with scholarships and attended a ‘Shark Tank’-like competition at UConn. She is all about creativity, innovation, and entrepreneurship for nursing students, and she wants them to interact with engineering and pharmacy students and challenge each team to come up with an innovative product or method to improve nursing and then pitch it to the audience. This gift allows the UConn School of Nursing to build on its history of educating highly skilled nurses who will lead and innovate, addressing the nursing shortage while also driving impactful change in health care.”

DeLuca, who is a former nurse, has a keen understanding of the challenges nurses face and the importance of bringing innovation to the profession, according to former UConn School of Nursing Dean Deborah Chyun.

“Elisabeth DeLuca understands nursing and the critical need for well-educated nurses,” Chyun says. “Her extraordinary gift, along with the generous support provided by the University and the State of Connecticut, will enable us to educate more nurses and nursing faculty who are so urgently needed across the state and beyond.”

DeLuca hopes that her gift inspires others to invest in nursing education. She is a longtime donor to the University, providing support that includes the DeLuca Visiting Professor for Innovation and New Knowledge Fund and the Adomat Family Endowed Scholarship Fund at the School of Nursing.

After graduating from UConn, DeLuca worked at Bridgeport Hospital and was promoted to Head Nurse of Intensive Services. She then joined her husband in running his business. She currently serves as president of the Elisabeth C. DeLuca Foundation and the Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation.

A new building for the School of Nursing

The new facility will feature flexible spaces to allow for different setups for various learning modalities and lecture halls to accommodate large gatherings, and will maximize space for student learning through simulations, training, lectures, and studying.

The building’s proposed location on Alethia Drive in Storrs is ideal based on its proximity to several complementary facilities and complexes: UConn’s fMRI (functional magnetic resonance imaging) machine in the Brain Imaging Resource Center building, the Communication Sciences Building, the Wellness Community student housing in nearby West Complex, UConn Health Nayden Rehabilitation Clinic in the Human Development Center, and other sites.

The School of Nursing will continue to have a presence in Storrs Hall for at least the initial time the new building opens.

As part of the planning process, preliminary site and civil engineering investigations will be conducted, followed by the design process. Construction is anticipated to begin in fall 2024 and finish in time for the start of the 2026-27 academic year.

Addressing the nursing shortage

The United States is experiencing a significant nursing shortage, which is projected to continue through 2030. The human costs of the shortage can be deadly, and adequate staffing and college-educated nurses are strongly associated with safer patient care.

The profile of UConn’s School of Nursing continues to rise, including a continuing increase in highly-qualified applicants seeking to enroll in its degree programs — almost 2,900 in 2023, an increase of more than 300 over the prior year. The capacity to enroll more of these qualified applicants was limited by faculty, staff, and space considerations.

DeLuca’s gift sets up UConn to lead change with the necessary resources needed to hire more nursing faculty and staff and a new building will accommodate more students, allowing the School to increase enrollment from its current approximate enrollment of 175 to a minimum of 250 students. The scholarship support provided by DeLuca’s gift will ensure talented students can access a UConn education and complete their nursing degree, regardless of their economic status.

The School’s online nursing master’s program is No. 18 nationwide in the 2023 U.S. News & World Report annual rankings, and its clinical faculty garnered more than $4 million in external research funding in fiscal year 2022.

UConn’s nursing graduates also find themselves to be highly marketable in the competitive health care field, earning an average starting salary of $68,745 and finding jobs throughout the U.S., especially in Connecticut hospitals and health care systems.

Nurses who graduate from the School of Nursing will be well equipped to provide outstanding patient care and serve as collaborative leaders who will shape the future of the nursing profession.

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UConn School of Nursing Faculty to be Inducted to the American Academy of Nursing https://today.uconn.edu/2023/09/uconn-school-of-nursing-faculty-to-be-inducted-to-the-american-academy-of-nursing/ Mon, 25 Sep 2023 13:49:41 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=205042 UConn’s School of Nursing Faculty Ruth Lucas, PhD, RNC, CLS and Louise Reagan, PhD, APRN, ANP-BC, FAANP, will be inducted as Fellows in the American Academy of Nursing next week. The Academy recognizes nursing’s most accomplished leaders in policy, research, practice, administration, and academia. The inductees will be recognized for their substantial, sustained, and outstanding impact on health and health care at the Academy’s annual Health Policy Conference, taking place on October 5-7, 2023, in Washington, DC. This year, the Academy will induct over 250 nurse leaders from around the world.

Induction into the fellowship represents more than just recognition of one’s accomplishments within the nursing profession. Fellows also contribute their collective expertise to the Academy, engaging with health leaders nationally and globally to improve health and achieve health equity by impacting policy through nursing leadership, innovation, and science.

Dr. Lucas’s research and advocacy for lifelong health equity via the foundational behavior of breastfeeding are her primary areas of impact. Dr. Lucas’s work examines the relationship between maternal genetic pain sensitivity, genetic literacy, and unique infant feeding behaviors. By investigating the value and meaning of breastfeeding in a population of African American women the adverse nutritional outcomes for infants with early bottle supplementation were expanded. Through interdisciplinary collaboration and with national funding, she led and advocated for text-based surveillance for breastfeeding pain and atypical infant breastfeeding behaviors, always with the goal of achieving equitable maternal well-being and mental health outcomes.

“Research and advocacy for lifelong health equity via the foundational behavior of breastfeeding will be the focus of my policy and advocacy as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. I will serve on the genetics and breastfeeding expert panels to advocate for text-based surveillance for postpartum health, breastfeeding pain, and atypical infant breastfeeding behavior to be standard of care. My goal will be to be a change agent to achieve equitable maternal well-being and mental health outcomes.” -Dr. Lucas

Dr. Reagan’s primary impacts are research and service, influencing nursing care of persons incarcerated or transitioning to community living. As a leader in national and regional nursing and interdisciplinary associations, she is committed to advancing science and enhancing health equity for those affected by historical and contemporary injustices. Dr. Reagan’s nationally recognized research on improving health outcomes for criminal justice-involved (CJI) individuals led to health equity-focused American Diabetes Association-funded research to increase access to diabetes survival skills and self-management. As an ANA’s Correctional Scope and Standards task force member, she helps set an evidence- and expert-based standard for nursing care of CJI persons.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to serve as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. As a fellow, I will continue to advance science, enhance health equity, and improve access to care for persons with diabetes affected by the criminal legal system. I look forward to contributing to AAN’s expert panels in Health Equity and panel on Building Health Care System Excellence.”- Dr. Reagan

“I am thrilled the Academy has selected Dr. Ruth Lucas and Dr. Louise Reagan as members of its 2023 Class of new fellows,” Dean Victoria Vaughan Dickson says. “Through their research, advocacy and service, Ruth and Louise exemplify the critical role that nurses play in achieving the goal of health equity for all. Their research to date has made substantive and sustained contributions in their respective areas; I am confident they will continue to advance the mission of the American Academy of Nursing in important ways.

Alumnae Lee Galuska ‘79, ‘13, Jenna LoGiudice, ‘14, and Lucinda Canty, ‘20 were also selected as 2023 fellows, following a competitive, rigorous application process. This year, the Academy’s Fellow Selection Committee reviewed nearly 400 applications to select the 2023 Fellows. The 2023 Fellows represent 40 states, the District of Columbia, and 13 countries.

This is a historic year for the Academy as the organization is celebrating its 50th anniversary. Once the newest Fellows are inducted, the Academy will be comprised of more than 3,000 leaders. These leaders are experts in policy, research, administration, practice, and academia that champion health and wellness, locally and globally 10 of whom teach and conduct research at the UConn School of Nursing: Dean Victoria Vaughan Dickson, Ivy Alexander, Cheryl Beck, Deborah Chyun, Annette Jakubisin-Konicki, Jean Sheerin Coffey, Joy Elwell, Wendy Henderson, Kelley Newlin Lew, and Nancy Redeker.

“As a fellow myself, I am pleased to welcome Ruth, Louise, Jenna, Lee and Lucinda to our community of nurse leaders,” Dickson says. “Congratulations to you all.”

 

Learn more about the Academy and visit the policy conference website for more details.

 

 

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RN Residency Positions New Nurses to Thrive https://today.uconn.edu/2023/09/rn-residency-positions-new-nurses-to-thrive/ Thu, 21 Sep 2023 18:27:37 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=204916 UConn Health is onboarding its largest-ever group of recent nursing school graduates, under a new program that runs concurrently with their first six months on the job.

Historically it was uncommon to have more than three or four nurses fresh out of nursing school join UConn Health at the same time. As the numbers grew, an informal series of workshops on topics such as stress and burnout, team building, what it means to be a nurse, and developing a sense of community started taking shape.

We’re putting our new-graduate nurses in a position not only to succeed, but also to want to remain at UConn Health. — Caryl Ryan

It’s led to a more formal program, essentially a residency program for new nurses, with this group of 32, who started July 28, being the first cohort.

“What we’re doing is a new-grad nurse transition to professional practice program,” says Amy Zipf  ’23 (NUR) Ph.D., the clinical nurse specialist who oversees the program. “We’re using resources that are out there; most of the resources are from the American Nurses Association. They’ve been working with these programs for many years.”

group portrait of nurses
UConn Health’s first RN residency cohort includes 32 nurses who recently graduate from nursing school. (Photo by Tina Encarnacion)

Topics include cardiac rhythm, sickle cell disease, palliative and end-of-life care, and critical care skills; broader issues such as diversity and inclusion and bias and microaggression; and workplace-specific matters such as performance evaluations, picking up overtime, and generally, being a nurse at UConn Health.

“The big purpose really overall is to, as a cohort, help them learn and grow and become a UConn nurse, and really see this as a place that they want to spend their nursing career, and a place that takes the effort to create an environment that’s really welcoming, a learning environment where they can grow and thrive,” Zipf says. “We’re trying to give them tools to be healthy, balanced, whole people, so that they can enjoy their profession, and that they can enjoy it for a lifetime.”

Elaine Cournean instructing in a conference room
Elaine Cournean, education and development specialist, instructs during a workshop of UConn Health’s RN residency program. (Photo by Tina Encarnacion)

The other primary instructor is Elaine Cournean ’12 MSN, APRN, an educational and development specialist. Among the portions of the curriculum she leads is resilience training developed by the Massachusetts-based Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health.

“It’s an experiential program that’s facilitated by a certified RISE facilitator, which I am, and it’s based on six core skills for developing behaviors and inner resources to manage workplace stressors,” Cournean says.

RISE is an evidence-based program that teaches strategies for combating stressors that can lead to health care provider burnout, for example.

“One of the things to address burnout is developing a sense of community,” Cournean says. “We’re emphasizing that new nurses who are graduating and starting their new jobs are part of a community, and UConn as a whole, as an organization, is addressing the importance of their employees, and caring for their employees by providing these navigational tools. Perhaps outer systems can’t be changed, but how can we change inner systems or our inner resources so that we’re able to sustain, through not only work, but our lives?”

The instructors emphasize that this RN residency program would not be possible without support from the top. Chief Nursing Officer Caryl Ryan has made it a priority.

“This is an important and worthy investment in our workforce, and by extension, our patients,” Ryan says. “We’re putting our new-graduate nurses in a position not only to succeed, but also to want to remain at UConn Health. This nurse residency program ensures that we are continuing to support our new graduates as they transition into their own professional practice. Due to the challenges throughout the last three years, it is tremendously important that we take the time to continue to educate and mentor our nurse graduates through this crucial time of their learning as they adjust to the start of what we hope will be long careers as UConn Health nurses. Thank you to all of our professional practice staff, along with Amy and Elaine, for the development of this extraordinary program!”

Elaine Cournean and Amy Zipf portrait
Elaine Cournean (left) and Amy Zipf are the primary instructors for UConn Health’s RN residency program. (Photo by Tina Encarnacion)

Larissa Morgenthau ’00 (NUR), ’04 MS, the nursing director who oversees nursing education and professional development at UConn Health, notes UConn Health’s growth has brought increased opportunities for new-graduate nurses.

“These nurses are the future of UConn Health, and we’re thrilled to be part of their lifelong journey and growth,” Morgenthau says. “In proposing the nurse residency program, I was met with strong and immediate support from Caryl Ryan and with passionate support from Amy Zipf, who had previously implemented classes for new graduate nurses’ orientation. The success of our program and nurse residents is also due to the excellent work of our teams of nurse educators, preceptors, nurse managers and nursing directors.”

The nurses’ attendance at these workshops can require staffing adjustments to cover their absence from their work area, but it’s accepted as a sacrifice worth making.

“This is part of their work week,” Zipf says. “We want to be able to give people tools in a program that isn’t extra work. It really serves them better that way. And really, Caryl’s approval of the program and her engagement with leadership to make it happen is a huge part of its success.”

Cournean adds, “Caryl is changing the culture of the organization by letting this program come to fruition.”

3 nurses in front of window showing picturesque campus
Jazmine Kubovcik, Oliva Rosen, and Megan Cabral ’23 (NUR) are early-career nurses who work in the UConn John Dempsey Hospital intermediate unit. (Photo by Chris DeFrancesco)

One of the participants is Olivia Rosen, recent graduate of Goodwin University’s nursing program, who works in the UConn John Dempsey Hospital Intermediate Unit.

“This RN residency program has provided me the educational tools and support, which have enhanced my confidence as a new-grad RN,” Rosen says. “The emphasis on safe and high-quality patient care, in-depth review of policies, and department-specific speakers encourages new-grad nurses to learn different aspects of the hospital while building a great foundation as an RN.”

About one-third of the cohort graduated from the UConn School of Nursing.

Zipf says the nurses have been receptive to the program.

“They ask really good questions, they’re really engaged,” Zipf says. “They’re largely a young group. They keep us on our toes.”

And she says it all goes back to cultivating an environment that attracts and keeps good nurses.

“We really want to do what we can to invest in them as whole people, because, I mean, I’m selfish, I want them to work at UConn Health for the rest of their lives,” Zipf says. “But really, the goal I hope for them is that they find that the profession of nursing, like it did for me, serves them as a whole person throughout their life, regardless of where they work.”

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Schools of Nursing and Engineering Join Together For New Center https://today.uconn.edu/2023/09/schools-of-nursing-and-engineering-join-together-for-new-center/ Thu, 21 Sep 2023 11:25:51 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=204883 The University of Connecticut’s Nursing and Engineering  Innovation Center, one of the first of its kind in the nation, will advance health care, workforce, and economic development through interdisciplinary collaborations, positioning Connecticut to be a global leader in health care technology innovation.

Nurses interact with patients daily and see where there are gaps in care. Nurses are also taught to be problem solvers, adapting as necessary to fix unique health issues. Engineers are technically trained and up to date on the latest technology. Engineers typically also thrive in creating new devices to improve the quality-of-life for end users. 

What happens when you combine the two professions together? UConn’s Schools of Nursing and Engineering believe it will lead to fresh ideas and inventions that will directly impact patients’ lives in a positive way. The four focal areas of the new Center are research, education, community engagement, and technology transfer. 

The Center is under the co-direction of Tiffany Kelley, Ph.D., MBA, RN-BC, Visiting Professor and Director of the School of Nursing’s Healthcare Innovation Online Graduate Certificate Program and Leila Daneshmandi, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Residence in Innovation and Entrepreneurship and Director of the entrepreneurship Hub (eHub) in the School of Engineering. 

“Engineers are trained to solve problems and create solutions. They have the technical knowledge, skills, and abilities to actualize new technologies,” Daneshmandi says. “By partnering with nurses and health care professionals, who have deep contextual knowledge of on-site problems and needs, we can ensure that our innovations are user-centric and designed for unmet health care needs.” 

In its initial phase, the Center includes the creation of joint educational programs for students and seed grants for collaborative research among faculty.  

The deans of the two Schools, who will oversee the Innovation Center throughout its development with assistance from an Advisory Board, expect this first phase to take two to three years. The goal of the second phase is to create a shared state-of-the-art research and teaching facility, which will require major University, state, federal, or donor investment.  

“We are joining forces to not only support our research activities, but to also expand student learning and have a greater impact on patients and employers across Connecticut,” says former School of Nursing Dean Deborah Chyun.

Not only could prototypes be field-tested and exhibited in such a facility, but it would also further integrate established undergraduate- and graduate-level programs at the two Schools, helping to meet the increasing demand for workers in both fields.  

“The School of Engineering has strong connections in health care, especially through our Biomedical Engineering Department operated with UConn Health,” says Engineering Dean Kazem Kazerounian. “With this new Innovation Center, however, we’re investing in patient-focused care at the hands of the talented nurse workforce.” 

The Nursing and Engineering Innovation Center is not the first instance of collaboration between the two Schools. Researchers affiliated with the School of Nursing’s Center for Advancement in Managing Pain belong to both Schools and are actively involved in shared training and research activities. Several interdisciplinary teams have also submitted grant applications for collaborative projects.

Among other collaborations, School of Nursing associate professor Ruth Lucas worked with Engineering faculty to design her Breastfeeding Diagnostic Device, which measures infants’ sucking during breastfeeding. Ellen Quintana ’21 (NUR) worked with engineering students to design the now-patented ReduSeal glove waste reduction system. In the spring of 2022, students at both Schools built hundreds of Corsi-Rosenthal Boxes, which are do-it-yourself air purifiers that aid in filtration during COVID-19.  

“The Nursing and Engineering Innovation Center is a natural progression of ongoing collaborations that have been ongoing for the last several years” Kelley says. “We are excited to see how it will enhance our research and educational programs, help meet the demand for our graduates in the workforce, and provide better care for patients. It is amazing what we can do with a little seed funding, enthusiasm, and determination.”  

The creation of the center was inspired by a bequest from James Belmont ’86 (ENG), who wanted to demonstrate his appreciation for his UConn education and that of his sister, Gail Belmont-Harwood ’81 (NUR). Belmont’s support for the Center’s Program Support Fund stems from the siblings’ understanding that best practices in innovation development indicate the need for end users to be involved in the design of new products. Registered professional nurses are the largest group of health care professionals today, totaling about four million, and 10 times the number of physicians. 

In addition to support from Belmont and Belmont-Harwood, the Nursing and Engineering Innovation Center received supportive funds from both schools, the Provost’s Office, the Office of the Vice President of Research, and a $30,000 VentureWell Courses and Programs grant to support collaborative Nursing and Engineering undergraduate education advancement in this area.  The VentureWell grant was awarded to fund a fellowship program for students from Nursing and Engineering to come together and work on health care technological solutions.

 

Opportunities to support the Center can be made through the Nursing Innovations Fund.   

 

For more information, please connect with Daneshmandi or Kelley. Please visit the new Center website.  

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UConn Holds Steady at No. 26 Rank Among Public Universities https://today.uconn.edu/2023/09/uconn-holds-steady-at-no-26-rank-among-public-universities/ Mon, 18 Sep 2023 11:30:48 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=204730 UConn has retained its impressive No. 26 position among public universities in this year’s U.S. News & World Report rankings, also jumping nine spots overall in the list that includes all public and private institutions.

The annual rankings, released Monday, mark the second consecutive year in which UConn has held the No. 26 spot, with particular strength in critical areas such as timely graduation rates, reputation among peer institutions, and retention of first-year students.

In the overall rankings that comprise all public and private institutions nationwide, UConn jumped nine spots from No. 67 last year to No. 58, affirming its national reputation as a leader in student success and academic excellence.

Students also continue to return to UConn after their first year in numbers much higher than the national average, and the percentage of alumni who leave UConn with federal student loan debt has continued to drop, along with the amounts they owe.

And with students graduating in an average of 4.1 years – tied with four other institutions for the quickest time-to-degree among public universities – UConn continues to provide students with a solid foundation upon which to build careers, and to produce a highly educated workforce for employers throughout Connecticut and the nation.

The U.S. News ranking comes in the same month that UConn was recognized in a separate Wall Street Journal ranking as the No. 46 institution in the U.S., and No. 9 specifically among public colleges and universities.

“While we know that rankings cannot capture all aspects of UConn’s many strengths, we are pleased that the University continues to be recognized so positively and consistently for its indicators of student success,” President Radenka Maric says.

“We want our students to embark on their careers with an education that prepares them to build fulfilling and happy lives through creativity, innovation, entrepreneurship, emotional intelligence, and critical life skills such as financial literacy,” she adds.

“The latest ranking from U.S. News underscores the important work taking place on our campuses every day to help students take full advantage of UConn’s offerings while they’re here, and then to extend their skills after graduation into our communities,” she says.

UConn’s No. 26 ranking among public universities this year comes despite significant financial pressures facing the university, and in the face of fierce competition nationwide for top students as the number of high schoolers continues to shrink regionally and throughout the U.S.

Despite those challenges, UConn drew a record-high pool of more than 48,800 applicants for the Class of 2027, which joined the University this semester. The class also is the largest and most diverse in UConn’s history, with the highest-ever percentage of students from backgrounds that are underrepresented in higher education.

Almost one-third of the Class of 2027 are the first students in their families to attend college – a metric that isn’t tracked by U.S. News, but which helps to provide a holistic view beyond rankings of the ways in which UConn provides access and opportunity to students.

UConn’s U.S. News ranking has been steadily improving since 2000, when it was No. 38 among public institutions, and it spent 10 years in the top 25 before moving to No. 26 last year. It holds the same spot this year, tied with University of California at Merced and Stony Brook University-SUNY.

As was the case last year, UConn’s scores remained consistently high in most areas, particularly in key indicators of student success, and its position just short of the top 25 was not due to a performance dip or other notable declines.

Rather, several other universities have invested in specific areas and made gains over the last few years. That resulted in various moves throughout the rankings that bumped some institutions, like UConn, out of the top 25 despite a strong and consistent track record of success.

For instance, UConn remains number one in the country when it comes to the time in which students earn their degrees: an average of 4.1 years, a place shared with four other public research universities in the country, according to the UConn Retention & Graduation Task Force’s most recent analysis.

Those factors play into attempts to limit graduate indebtedness, a metric in which UConn also performs strongly in the U.S. News analysis.

The average federal indebtedness of UConn graduates dropped by more than $2,000 between fall 2019 and fall 2022, and the percentage of alumni with loans to repay fell during that same period from 55% to 51%.

The U.S. News ranking and other external assessments are among many tools that UConn considers as it engages in new strategic planning to bring the University to the next level.

According to the rankings, UConn continues to show consistently strong performance in several areas:

• The four-year average for retention of first-year students is 93%, remaining among the highest in the nation and far above the national average of 80% at four-year public universities.

• A consistent rate of 84% of UConn students earn their undergraduate degrees in six years or less, markedly higher than the national average of 63% among public institutions.

• UConn’s peer institutions continue to hold a consistently positive opinion of its academic reputation as reported in survey responses from presidents, provosts, and admissions leaders. U.S. News officials say that measuring reputation is important to help capture advances that aren’t otherwise easy to quantify, such as institutional innovation and a range of other areas.

UConn was one of 227 national public institutions that were part of this year’s U.S. News & World Report survey. Overall, the rankings included 439 public and private institutions.

In addition to its positions as the No. 26 public university and No. 58 overall, UConn was recognized for several academic and student services programs that ranked among the top 50 in their realms:

• Institutions with best learning communities (No. 25)
• Best undergraduate nursing programs (No. 31)
• Best colleges for veterans among national public institutions (No. 33)
• Best undergraduate psychology programs (No. 39)
• Best undergraduate business programs (No. 47).

U.S. News has changed its methodology and no longer factors in the percentage of living alumni who donate to their institutions. However, the UConn Foundation recently reported its fourth straight record-setting year; more than 22,500 donors gave $157.9 million in new gifts and commitments in FY22, up from the previous record of $115 million the year before.

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UConn Centers Offer Free Professional Development to Local School Wellness Teams https://today.uconn.edu/2023/09/uconn-centers-offer-free-professional-development-to-local-school-wellness-teams/ Wed, 13 Sep 2023 11:30:21 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=204589 Faculty and staff from the UConn Collaboratory on School and Child Health (CSCH) and the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Health recently worked together to provide a free professional development day for school staff to learn how to strengthen school practices to promote whole child development. The “WSCC Academy” took place on Aug. 21 at UConn Hartford and was cosponsored by the Connecticut State Department of Education.

With participants from six school districts, the Academy was geared to help school wellness teams learn more about the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child (WSCC) model; how to evaluate WSCC-related practices in their own schools; and how to develop a strategy to strengthen those practices.

Attendees learned how to do this by using the WSCC Practice Blueprint, an action-planning tool developed in 2022 by CSCH to help schools assess and strengthen their WSCC-aligned practices. The blueprint is the latest in a series of tools that CSCH and the Rudd Center have worked together to develop over the last several years. The WellSAT WSCC, developed jointly by CSCH and the Rudd Center in 2019, is another tool designed to assist schools and researchers in taking a comprehensive and integrated lens to school policy evaluation.

People sit in a classroom.
(Carson Hardee/UConn Rudd Center photo)

“It was exciting to see school principals, directors of food and nutrition services, and chairs of health and physical education all coming together to work towards a common goal,” says Kate Williamson ’13 MA, ’17 Ph.D., Postdoctoral Research Associate at CSCH and WSCC Academy Coordinator. “They were able to identify opportunities for meaningful and sustainable changes to practices in their schools and districts to strengthen whole child development.”

School districts also learned about putting together effective teams to lead the WSCC work. “The take home message for me was to collaborate with your multidisciplinary school personnel, as everyone’s work is important in supporting the whole child,” says Pamela Neleber, Director of Health Services for the Branford Public Schools and a WSCC Academy participant.

Throughout the day, participants had the opportunity to learn from colleagues across the state, and to collaborate with others within their districts. “We saw connections being made, in which health directors and school mental health professionals were recognizing redundant efforts, and brainstorming about how they could better allocate their resources to promote student development,” says Williamson.

“In some ways, the WSCC Academy felt like the culmination of our ongoing collaboration with the Rudd Center,” says Sandra Chafouleas, Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor and Neag Endowed Professor in the Department of Educational Psychology in the Neag School of Education. “In other ways it felt like just the beginning.”

It was exciting to see school principals, directors of food and nutrition services, and chairs of health and physical education all coming together to work towards a common goal. — Kate Williamson, WSCC Academy coordinator

Chafouleas and Marlene Schwartz, Director of the Rudd Center and Professor in Human Development and Family Sciences were recently awarded a five-year CDC grant to protect and improve the health and well-being of school-age children and adolescents, along with Co-investigators Williamson and Jessica Koslouski, Assistant Research Professor in Educational Psychology and CSCH staff member. The goal of the grant project is to help Connecticut school districts develop and implement coordinated and evidence-based school policies and practices to support all aspects of student health and well-being.

“Because of the CDC funds, this was actually the first of many such professional development days we have planned for Connecticut school wellness teams,” says Koslouski. “We will be providing professional development and technical assistance to support districts across the state of CT with their implementation of the WSCC model over the next five years.”

People interact in a classroom.
(Carson Hardee/UConn Rudd Center photo)

Districts are enthusiastic about the effort so far. “The WSCC Academy provided many tools that will lead my district’s wellness committee’s goals in support of the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child Model,” says Neleber.

“We had an opportunity to collaborate on multiple activities to create our roadmap for wellness over the next few years, identify key members of our district wellness committee, and examine our current practices,” says Jennifer DeRagon ’12 6th Year, principal of George Hersey Robertson School in Coventry. “It was incredibly helpful to hear from other districts for networking.”

“The Rudd Center has been working to support wellness in Connecticut schools in a variety of ways for nearly two decades,” says Schwartz, who has led the Rudd Center’s school nutrition and policy evaluation initiatives since 2004. “We are very excited to be able to provide this type of professional development to districts across the state and support student health and academic achievement.”

Both the Collaboratory and the Rudd Center are part of the Institute for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy (InCHIP) at UConn.

To be kept up to date about future professional development opportunities, school personnel can contact CSCH via email.

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UConn Foundation Announces Fourth Consecutive Record-Breaking Year for Fundraising https://today.uconn.edu/2023/08/uconn-foundation-announces-fourth-consecutive-record-breaking-year-for-fundraising/ Tue, 29 Aug 2023 11:15:57 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=204066 The UConn Foundation achieved an all-time-high fundraising total for the fourth straight year, as donors contributed $157.9 million in new gifts and commitments in the fiscal year that ended June 30, 2023. These funds, which represent a 37% increase over last year’s $115 million total, will support UConn’s academic, research, and public service missions across all campuses and UConn Health.

This record-breaking amount includes a $40 million gift to the School of Nursing, which is the largest in the history of the University. Elisabeth DeLuca, an alum of the School of Nursing, made the generous contribution to increase the nursing class size, and to help address the state and national nursing shortage, the changing nature of health care, and the increasing disparity in health outcomes. The transformational gift will make the School of Nursing a national leader in the future of nursing education.

The fiscal year fundraising total also includes $55.5 million for need- and merit-based scholarships and fellowships, making a UConn education more accessible to undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Donors also contributed $47.7 million to fund academic programs. Support for faculty reached $12.5 million, double last year’s total.

“We thank UConn Nation, who once again stepped up to help advance the University’s top priorities, including fostering student success and supporting the learning and research that will benefit the state of Connecticut and beyond,” says Jonathan Greenblatt, UConn Foundation interim president and CEO. “These 22,541 donors contributed to this year’s success, adding yet another championship to UConn’s string of record-setting performances.”

The celebration of the men’s basketball team’s NCAA title continued as donations for the Division of Athletics totaled $27.9 million. Support for UConn Health reached $15 million in fiscal 2023, providing critical funding to advance patient care, research, and academic programs.

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UConn Nursing Hosts First Annual Early Introduction to the Nursing Profession Program https://today.uconn.edu/2023/07/uconn-nursing-hosts-first-annual-early-introduction-to-the-nursing-program/ Wed, 12 Jul 2023 19:18:39 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=201219 This summer the UConn School of Nursing hosted its first Early Introduction to the Nursing Profession program (EINP) for high school students from June 23 – June 27th. This innovative program was planned and led by the school’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Dr. MaryAnn Perez-Brescia, PhD, RN, and a team that included two student workers along with Aime Liggett, the Pre-Licensure Clinical Placement Assistant.

Summer EINP Students with Dr. Perez-Brescia and Aime Liggett.

This offering was made possible thanks to the support of the Connecticut Health Foundation which provided a grant that was secured by Dr. Perez-Brescia for the first year. The EINP was first discussed with students from Simsbury, Avon, West Hartford, Wethersfield, South Windsor, Hartford, and East Hartford High Schools. Over the course of the academic year, Dr. Perez-Brescia and her team of two undergraduate nursing students visited schools and spoke with students. Students then had to apply to the program making a commitment with their families to secure a space.

This program was a first for the School of Nursing and allowed 20 high school students to come and participate. “The UConn SoN fosters future scholars, clinicians, and leaders. The framework for activities centered around building those three elements,” said Dr. Perez-Brescia when planning the outline of the program.

EINP Students at Hartford Hospital where they shadowed a nurse.

Activities included two days of simulation, CPR and Stop the Bleed certification, followed by one day at Hartford Healthcare, where they followed a nurse. High school students also engaged in learning about health literacy, health disparities, and health equity, and on their last day, presented a project to improve health literacy and health equity. They also heard about the important research Dr. Christina Ross is doing with adolescents. Students also heard from several university departments (financial aid, early college admissions) to learn how to navigate the university system to streamline the application process. Students who participated said the experience was “eventful, insightful, eye opening” and every one of them said that it helped eliminate their hesitancy about college.

EINP Students work in UConn Simulation Lab.

Being at the hospital and seeing sick patients made me think of how I would want my loved ones taken care of. It made me want to be a nurse even more so that I could give good care.” – a student from the EINP summer of 2023 program.

UConn School of Nursing Alumni Board President, Ryan Massicotte and two student facilitators.

UConn School of Nursing Alumni Board President, Ryan Massicotte helped facilitate discussions with students and had the experience to get to know many of them over the course of the week.  “I can rest assured knowing that the future of nursing is in the hands of motivated and capable young adults. As a nurse, I look forward to these students joining our ranks and helping us navigate an increasingly complex and diverse healthcare system. As an individual with loved ones who may become their patients one day, I hope that they are taken care of by these future UConn nurses. The EINP Program has what it takes to both inform and inspire the very people who we will all rely on one day.”

 

Dean Chyun also had an opportunity to meet with the students and answer their questions. “Meeting with these enthusiastic students was so refreshing!” On one of my last days as dean it was very special being able to reflect back on my almost half century as a nurse, as well as to share all that UConn has to offer. I am most grateful to Dr. Perez-Brescia for her hard work in making this important opportunity available to students from the greater Hartford area.”

Dean Chyun speaks with students about her pathway into nursing.

 

This program is a wonderful opportunity for any high school student who is interested in becoming a nurse and wants to take a more in-depth look at the UConn nursing program and all the opportunities it provides. To learn more about the EINP program please contact Dr. Perez-Brescia at maryann.brescia@uconn.edu.

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Jonathan XV has Arrived, and Doggone it, He’s Adorable https://today.uconn.edu/2023/06/jonathan-xv-has-arrived-and-doggone-it-hes-adorable/ Fri, 30 Jun 2023 11:01:58 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=200631

UConn Nation got a doggone great surprise on Wednesday with the introduction of mascot-in-training Jonathan XV, a bundle of soft fur and happy puppy energy who’s learning the ropes from UConn’s resident good boy, Jonathan XIV.

With his ocean-blue eyes and facial markings that mirror the Husky logo, UConn’s 15th canine mascot arrived on campus earlier this month and has been happily settling in with his new de facto big brother.

On Wednesday, he made his public debut at the UConn Board of Trustees meeting with handlers from the co-ed service fraternity Alpha Phi Omega. He’ll soon be a fixture walking on campus with Jonathan XIV, and eventually attending University events as his training progresses and he is ready for the spotlight.

Jonathan XV was part of a six-puppy litter born in Atwood, Ontario, Canada on April 19, and was picked up by handlers on June 17 – which happens to be National Mascot Day -- and brought back to Connecticut.

Currently about the size of a well-fed house cat, Jonathan XV is a fast learner who’s been picking up behavioral queues from Jonathan XIV, though he’s chattier than his big brother. He’s also curious and very sociable, quickly warming up to people and generous with kisses.

Huskies named Jonathan have represented UConn dating back to 1935 in honor of Jonathan Trumbull, the last colonial governor and first state governor of Connecticut. Alpha Phi Omega has helped to care for the Jonathans since the 1970s, including this perky newcomer.

Jonathan XV poses outside of Wilbur Cross on his first trip to the Storrs campus.
Jonathan XV poses outside of Wilbur Cross on his first trip to the Storrs campus. (Sydney Herdle/UConn Photos)
Jonathan XV stands next to the Jonathan the Husky statue at the Wolff Family Park outside Gampel Pavilion
Jonathan XV stands next to the Jonathan the Husky statue at the Wolff Family Park outside Gampel Pavilion on June 20, 2023. (Peter Morenus/UConn Photo)
Jonathan XV walks in front of Gampel Pavilion
Jonathan XV walks in front of Gampel Pavilion on his first trip to the Storrs campus. (Sydney Herdle/UConn Photos)
Jonathan XV and Jonathan XIV playing with a toy basketball in the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center
Jonathan XV and Jonathan XIV playing in the Werth Family UConn Basketball Champions Center. (Sydney Herdle/UConn Photo)

“When I saw him for the first time, he was so incredibly adorable that my eyes turned to hearts, so to speak,” says Jenna Epstein ’24 (CLAS), one of two co-chairs of the APO Husky Committee, which coordinates the dogs’ activities. “He’s such a smart boy. When you talk with him, you can see that the wheels are turning in his head and that he’s very intelligent.”

Epstein and fellow co-chair Laura Centanni ’25 (CAHNR) introduced Jonathan XV on Wednesday at the Board of Trustees meeting, and are building the same bond with him that they’ve long enjoyed with Jonathan XIV.

“Seeing them together is so cute because they look so much alike,” Centanni says. “Jonathan XV really looks up to his older brother, and really seems to watch and learn from him.”

Though he came to UConn at a modest 10 lbs., the puppy’s lineage suggests he’s likely to grow to about 55 to 60 lbs. That’s about the size of the all-white Jonathan XIII who’d preceded the current Jonathan XIV, who weighs in at 77 lbs.

Speaking of Jonathan XIV, no need to fret: He isn’t going anywhere.

As he approaches his 10th birthday in October, he’ll be easing into a mascot emeritus role and continue making appearances with his successor, just as Jonathan XIII did when XIV was introduced as a puppy in early 2014.

Jonathan XIV underwent surgery in January to remove his spleen and a non-cancerous mass that had grown on it, but fully recovered in time to join the UConn Men’s Basketball team in March in Houston, where they won the NCAA Championship.

Like Jonathan XIV, the new puppy is a purebred Siberian Husky, a breed known for its energy and friendly, gentle demeanor. They are most happy when on the move, so Jonathan XV’s sprightly spirit is expected to continue long after he moves past puppyhood.

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11 UConn Students Named Gilman Scholars https://today.uconn.edu/2023/05/11-uconn-students-named-gilman-scholars/ Wed, 31 May 2023 11:30:07 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=199431 The Gilman Scholarship, a prestigious academic award congressionally funded through the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs at the State Department, has been awarded to 11 UConn students for the current application cycle. The funding supports broadening student participation in study abroad programs and encourages travel to diverse locations around the globe, along with intensive language study and internship experiences.

“We are thrilled to see our campus outreach efforts and student advising for the Gilman scholarship result in this level of success,” says Valerie Jenkelunas, Experiential Global Learning (EGL) advisor and community liaison specialist. “We had a total of 26 students apply from UConn, and 11 were chosen for awards between $3,000 and $5,000. This surpasses the statistical average of applicants awarded nationally.”

With more than 13,000 applicants from over 450 colleges each year, the Gilman Scholarship program is a highly competitive scholarship. Approximately one in four applicants are selected to receive the scholarship.

Each Gilman Scholar is also required to complete a service project upon their return from studying abroad in their campus or home community, with the goal of sharing the value of participation in study abroad and promoting the scholarship to prospective students. Applications are reviewed with consideration for the proposed follow-on service project.

Eligibility for the Gilman Scholarship requires undergraduate students to be Pell Grant-eligible, United States citizens who plan to study abroad for academic credit, through a program approved by their home institution. Supporting students with high financial need provides access to students who are historically under-represented in study abroad, including first-generation college students, STEM majors, ethnic and racial minority students, students with disabilities, LGBTQ+ students, and others who experience barriers to participation.

Students from underrepresented areas of the U.S. are also considered during the application process and this year there are recipients from all 50 states.

UConn students are from an area of the nation that is highly represented in study abroad, making their award status even more impressive, considering the many colleges and universities in New England, including the ivy leagues.

The following UConn students were selected as Gilman scholars and they are listed with their proposed follow-on service project:

Rebekah Bacon ’25 (CLAS), a psychology major from Stamford, who will study in the summer of 2023 in the Interdisciplinary Ethnography Field School program in Flic-en-Flac, Mauritius. She will provide outreach to underrepresented students at UConn Stamford.

Zarria Bethea ’24 (CAHNR), an allied health science major, who will take part in the Summer Mediterranean Diet and Tuscan Cuisine program, in Florence, Italy, in the summer of 2023. She will provide outreach to students from the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation Leadership and Academic Enhancement Program.

Kayla Dubbs ’24 (CAHNR), an environmental science major from Fairfield, who will study at the Umbra Institute, in Perugia, Italy, in the fall of 2023. She will provide outreach to environmental sciences majors.

Valerie Duque ’24 (CLAS) a psychological sciences major from Stratford, who will participate in the Neuroscience in Salamanca program in Spain, during the summer of 2023. She will provide outreach to students in UConn’s Community Outreach programs.

Victoria Amy Eweka ’24 (CLAS), a psychology major with a minor in information technology, who will study during the 2023-24 academic year at the University of Konstanz in Germany. She will provide outreach to German language classes and demonstrate the value of studying abroad through art.

Sarah Khouja ’25 (ED), an elementary education major from Stratford, who will study at the Umbra Institute, in Perugia, Italy, in the summer of 2023. She will provide outreach to Stratford-area high school students.

Alexandra Luhrs ’24 (NUR), a nursing major from Bethel, who is participating in the End of Life Palliative Care program in in the spring of 2023 in Ghent, Belgium. She will provide outreach to students in the School of Nursing.

Yelena Muralles ’25 (CLAS), an international relations and French major from New Haven, who will study at Lund University in Sweden for the 2023-24 academic year. She will provide outreach to students in the Academic Center for Exploratory Students.

Patrick Murphy ’24 (CLAS), an individualized major from Manchester, who will participate in the Summer Field Ecology in South Africa program, in the Limpopo province of South Africa in the summer of 2024. He will outreach to students in the individualized majors program.

Kasidy Quiles ’23 (CAHNR), a global studies and allied health major from Shelton, who will participate in the Summer Neuroscience in Salamanca program the summer of 2023 in Salamanca, Spain. She will outreach to students in Bridgeport community participating in the Bridgeport Caribe Youth Leaders program.

Julio Tozetto ’25 (CAHNR), a natural resources major from Branford, who will participate in the Organization for Tropical Studies African Ecology and Conservation program in fall 2023 at Kruger National Park in South Africa. He will outreach to Branford High School students enrolled in STEM courses.

 

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Capital Area Health Consortium Honors UConn Health Nurse, Fellow, Resident https://today.uconn.edu/2023/05/capital-area-health-consortium-honors-uconn-health-nurse-fellow-resident/ Thu, 11 May 2023 16:32:38 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=198992 The Capital Area Health Consortium, the group of Connecticut hospitals that employs medical residents and fellows in UConn-sponsored programs, announces honors for one fellow, one resident, and one nurse.

The consortium presented its Community Service Awards to Dr. Jasmin Hundal, an internal medicine fellow, and Dr. Joselyn Miller, an emergency medicine resident, and its T. Stewart Hamilton, MD, Fellowship Scholarship to Elizabeth Haskell, a quality assurance specialist.

Hundal is a graduate of UConn’s internal medicine residency and is the first to be accepted into the internal medicine fellowship program.

certificate presentation, four people
Dr. Jasmine Hundal, UConn internal medicine fellow, accepts a Capital Area Health Consortium Community Service Award from Dr. Jacyln Cox (left), Dr. Robert Nardino, and Dr. Juan Salazar (right), consortium board chair. (Photo by Michael Tran)

“Dr. Hundal embodies the leadership our community expects from physicians,” according to her nomination, submitted by Dr. Robert Nardino and Dr. Jacyln Cox, who lead the internal medicine residency program. “She serves as a role model for young physicians and medical students. She goes above and beyond to bring together residents and students from different backgrounds to share a common cause of serving our community at a time when it is needed more than ever.”

Her nominators say Hundal has demonstrated leadership in health equity throughout her residency and fellowship, citing examples including educating peers about disparities in medicine, organizing a Grand Rounds on responding to patient bias, and leading efforts to assist the homeless and those struggling with poverty or hunger.

“Receiving this award is an honor that deeply resonates with my commitment to our community, both inside our hospital and out in the wider world,” Hundal says. “This recognition underscores the importance of our work in the health equity track, which I’ve been privileged to steer. I express my profound gratitude to my mentors: Drs. [Kirsten] Ek, [Christopher] Steele, [Robert] Nardino, [Steven] Angus, and [Eric] Mortensen. Their guidance and support from the onset have been fundamental to my growth and achievements. This award not only validates our collective efforts but also renews my dedication to advancing health equity, making a meaningful difference in the lives we touch.”

Miller is credited with sharing her perspective as a Black female physician and mentoring the next generation of residents.

certificate presentation, three people
Dr. Joselyn Miller, UConn emergency medicine resident, accepts a Capital Area Health Consortium Community Service Award from Dr. Shawn London (left) and Dr. Juan Salazar (right), consortium board chair. (Photo by Michael Tran)

“She has visited local magnet schools to help provide guidance to underrepresented students starting their journey towards becoming medical professionals,” Dr. Shawn London and Dr. Cynthia Price, who lead the emergency medicine residency program, write in their nomination. “She is a kindhearted and thoughtful individual who has, in addition to her volunteer efforts in the greater Hartford area and in the medical student realm, dedicated a large amount of additional effort as co-chair of the UConn Resident and Fellow’s Forum in the 2022-23 academic year,”

Her examples of community service include organizing an event for residents and fellows to create toys and blankets for the Animal Foundation, volunteering as a medical support physician at the Connecticut SWAT Challenge, and volunteering on the panel for the America Medical Women’s Association to help female students strategize their career goals.

Haskell is applying the scholarship to her study in UConn’s Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program, which she started in the fall. She’s been a UConn Health nurse for the last seven years, during which time she’s worked in the emergency department, intensive care unit, and cardiac catheterization lab before moving into her quality assurance role, which focuses on sepsis prevention.

portrait in white coat
Elizabeth Haskell is a UConn Health nurse who received the Capital Area Health Consortium’s T. Stewart Hamilton, MD, Fellowship Scholarship. She is enrolled in the UConn School of Nursing Adult-Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program. (Photo provided by Elizabeth Haskell)

“Liz maintains a strong clinician’s perspective, demonstrated by her ongoing review of evidenced based practice related to sepsis, as well as her continual study of sepsis related core measures,” writes her nominator, Michelle DeLayo, director of critical care, advanced practice staff, and patient quality and safety. “The SEP‐1 core measure is challenging and complex, but Liz collaborates closely with our core measure quality assurance nurse to audit patients in the institution in real-time to improve compliance with the metrics. Liz has developed a process to identify and follow patients that present with potential and actual sepsis and works directly with the care teams from admission to discharge to ensure the patients are provided optimal care.”

DeLayo also credits Haskell with being among the first to volunteer to assist with the surge of patients during the COVID pandemic, offering to take additional shifts, and providing critical care education to those who were helping in the ICU.

“I am honored to be a recipient of the T. Stuart Hamilton, MD, Fellowship Scholarship,” Haskell says. “It means a lot to me to be supported as I pursue an advanced degree and overcome the barriers of being a working mother and first-generation college graduate. I hope to inspire others to do the same.”

The six-hospital Capital Area Health Consortium administers the salary and benefits to all the residency and fellowship programs the UConn School of Medicine sponsors. It also provides educational seminars to residents and fellows to help them plan life after residency.

The member hospitals include UConn John Dempsey Hospital, Connecticut Children’s, Hartford Hospital, the Hospital of Central Connecticut, the Hospital for Special Care, and Saint Francis Hospital and Medical Center.

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School of Nursing Graduates 120 Bachelor of Science Students, and Honors 78 Master’s and Doctoral Candidates https://today.uconn.edu/2023/05/school-of-nursing-graduates-120-bachelor-of-science-students-and-honors-78-masters-and-doctoral-candidates/ Wed, 10 May 2023 14:50:18 +0000 https://today.uconn.edu/?p=198933 The UConn School of Nursing held its commencement ceremony at the Jorgensen Center for the Performing Arts this past Saturday, May 6th, 2023. The School celebrated 120 Bachelor of Science graduates, as well as 55 Masters of Science, 15 Doctor of Nursing Practice and 8 Doctor of Philosophy graduates.

Students preparing for Commencement, 2023.

The School’s Certificate Entry into the Nursing Program commencement was held in December with a graduating class of 137 from Avery Point, Waterbury, Stamford, and the Storrs campus.

As the Class of 2023 set the stage to graduate, it was important to reflect back on their incoming to the University. After arriving at UConn, their lives were interrupted by the pandemic, shutting down the University and sending everyone to remote learning or hybrid for the next two years.  Although the pandemic did change the expectations of many, it drastically changed the path for the School of Nursing students. Throughout the spring and summer of 2021, School of Nursing students and faculty participated in over 90 vaccination-related initiatives. The School partnered with community health centers, and assisted in administering nearly 1,600 vaccines. “This is a historic time, and they did not shy away from volunteering to help others become protected from the virus. Communities are safer and healthier now, and I am honored that the School had even a small role in making that happen” Dean Chyun commented in a November 2021 interview. Over 70 School of Nursing students took part in the vaccine clinics, along with 15 faculty members. Many said it was a life-changing experience. At Saturday’s commencement, Dean Chuyn reflected on this time “Today’s graduates have all faced challenges that none of us could have anticipated. They have seen pain and suffering and loss, both in the clinical setting and in their own personal lives. You are all a gift to the world. The gift of giving of self, of caring and of service.”

School of Nursing Class Officers 2023

Despite the disruption to their college experience, these students prevailed. The graduating class of 23’ includes 12 Honors Students, one of which accomplished securing a prestigious recognition for the School of Nursing. Rachel Hage, along with her advisor Dr. Coffey, and seven other chapter members were in attendance to accept the National Student Nurses Association Stellar School Award on April 15th at the SNA 71st Annual Convention in Nashville, TN. Gabby Pawlak, UConn Nursing class of 23’, served as the schools’ delegate at the convention. The NSNA Stellar School Award is a prestigious recognition, one that students and faculty have been working towards for the past few years. Hage reflected “I am excited for the future of our state chapter as well as the big things UConn is going to do as a newly recognized Stellar School.” All of their hard work will remain with the honorary distinction that the UConn School of Nursing will hold for the next five years. This year, out of the 12 Honors Scholar students, we had three who earned the distinction of Honors Laureate: Rachel Hage, Karla Palma, and Megan Russell and one as University Scholar, Leah Graf.

DNP Graduates with Dr. Joy Elwell, 2023.

This year’s commencement honored two commencement speakers, Dr. Cesarina Thompson, PhD, RN, ANEF, FASAHP and Dr. Jessica Alicea-Planas, PhD, MS/MPH, RN, CHES. Dr. Cesarina Thompson is Dean of the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions at the University of Hartford, a position she has held since 2018. She was previously Dean for six years of the School of Health Sciences at American International College (AIC) in Springfield, MA.  Dr. Thompson has been involved in several state and national organizations and task forces focused on advancing nursing and other health professions. She serves as a site visitor/team leader for the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, served on the Board of Directors of the Association of Schools Advancing Health Professions and was inducted as a fellow in the organization in 2021, and is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International. Dr. Thompson holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Bridgeport and earned a Master of Science in Nursing and PhD in Adult Learning from the University of Connecticut. Dr. Thompon is the recipient of the Beverly Koerner Outstanding Alumni Award for Education in Nursing.

Dr. Jessica Alicea-Planas is Associate Professor at the Egan School of Nursing and Health Studies at Fairfield University, where she served previously as Director of the Undergraduate Public Health program. Dr. Aliciea-Planas has a distinguished record of service including being the current President of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses- CT chapter. She has also served as a board member for the Hispanic Health Council and as Communications and Networking Committee Chair for the Latina Researchers Network. She has served on AACN’s Essentials Work Group and their Diversity, Equity an inclusion Work Group. Dr. Alicea-Planas was a past recipient of Fairfield University’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Community Engagement. Dr. Alicea-Planas is the 2023 recipient of the The Marlene Kramer Outstanding Alumni Award for Research in Nursing.

School of Nursing Platform Party, 2023

The Josephine A. Dolan School of Nursing Distinguished Service Award was given to Captain Angela Martinelli who was unable to attend. Captain Martinelli is currently on staff at the Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven, Connecticut. Prior to moving to Connecticut, she was a Science Officer in the Congressionally Directed Medical Research Programs, United States Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, U.S. Department of Defense. As a Certified Operating Room Nurse, Dr. Martinelli has worked in this clinical arena since 1975.   Since 1993, she has been a nurse with Operating Smile International serving in a variety of countries in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, South and Central America, and the Caribbean. In addition, Dr. Martinelli is a nurse with Project Hope and was deployed to Puerto Rico in 2017 in response to Hurricane Maria.  Dr. Martinelli is the author of several papers, textbook chapters, and is a reviewer of professional manuscripts. She is a member of the Connecticut Medical Reserve Corps, Region 5 and represents USPHS nurses on the Military Officers of America Association Nurse Advocates Virtual Chapter (MUSNAVC).

 

Honors Students with Dean Chyun, 2023.

Amongst all of the award recipients the School had two Valedictorians, Jenna Joshi and Isabelle Ranaudo. The Senior Class Officers consisted of Jillian Rogers, President, Megan Mendoza, Vice President, Lillian Satlof, Secretary, Tiana Rojas, Treasurer, Catherine Cantelmo, Community Service Coordinator and Jose Rodriguez Fundraising. Carolyn Ladd Widmer Undergraduate Leadership Award went to Rachel Hage and The Clara Williams Holistic Nurse Award to Jillian Rogers. The Sigma Theta Tau Awards went to Jenna Joshi (UG), Danielle Rosenberg (MS), Thea Vo (PhD), Bliss DaSilva (DNP). The Regina M. Cusson Healthcare Innovations Award to Sandra Osei-Boasiako. Assistant Clinical Professor and Director of the Nursing Leader and Nursing Educator tracks Denise Bourassa was the recipient of the E. Carol Polifroni Scholarship of Praxis Award. The John McNulty Excellence in the Scholarship of Clinical Education Award was givento Laura Eiss, Clinical Instructor at the School of Nursing. All of these award recipients and more can be found on our Commencement website.

Congratulations to all of the graduates at the UConn School of Nursing and the rest of the UConn graduates who walked this past weekend. As Dean Chyun said in her closing remarks “As our ceremony ends and your life of learning continues, take the spirit of inquiry, that has brought you to us and fueled your academic success, out into a world that trusts you and needs you, now more than ever. You are the future. You are our best hope.  I am confident that the nursing profession and the health of the nation and beyond is, indeed, in good hands.”

School of Nursing Graduates and Faculty, Commencement 2023.

“Students Today. Huskies Forever.”

To become a member of the UConn School of Nursing Alumni Association please contact: Becky Salustri, Senior Director of Development, Schools of Nursing and Pharmacy at BSalustri@foundation.uconn.edu

 

*All photography provided by Lindsay Vigue Photography. 

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