Tag Archives: College of Nursing

GHSU awarded nursing scholarships for fifth consecutive year

AUGUSTA, Ga. – For the fifth consecutive year, MSN Clinical Nurse Leader students at Georgia Health Sciences University have received scholarships from the New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program (NCIN).

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), in collaboration with the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, launched the program in 2008 to alleviate the national nursing shortage and fuel the pipeline of diverse nurses. GHSU is the only school in Georgia to receive this funding and has received $430,000 in scholarship funding over the past five years.

“We need a well-educated, diverse nursing workforce to provide quality care for our changing patient population,” said David Krol, MD, MPH, FAAP, program officer for NCIN, RWJF senior program officer and team director of the RWJF Human Capital portfolio. “The News Careers in Nursing Program is strengthening nursing education and helping to fill the pipeline with capable, culturally competent nurses.”

The program has supported 43 GHSU students since 2008, including 10 students receiving $10,000 scholarships for 2012-13:
• Kim Alexander, Warner Robins, Ga.
• James Barry, Atlanta, Ga.
• Cristina Basulescu, Suwanee, Ga.
• Alana Burnett, Sandersville, Ga.
• Philip Kong, Nicolson, Ga.
• Chi Nguyen, Savannah, Ga.
• Malissa Taylor-Thomas, Fort Pope AFB, NC
• Stephanie Varon, North Augusta, SC
• Xuon Vuong, Lawrenceville, Ga.
• Michael (Ty) Wright, Montrose, Ga.

Schools receiving awards through the program provide scholarships directly to students from groups under-represented in nursing or from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Recipients of the scholarships have already earned a bachelor’s degree in another field and are making a professional transition to nursing through accelerated nursing degree programs. These programs prepare students to pass the licensure examine required for all registered nurses in as little as 12-18 months and provide quicker routes to workforce eligibility than traditional programs.

GHSU’s clinical nurse leader program addresses the nursing shortage by allowing students with a degree in a non-nursing field to earn a master’s degree in nursing at an accelerated pace. The 16-month program is the first and only pre-licensure Clinical Nurse Leader program in Georgia.

The scholarship program features a pre-entry immersion program that addresses time management, adult learning, writing and study skills and test-taking techniques.

Dr. Annette Bourgault, Program Director, and Dr. Lovoria Williams, Program Co-Director, work closely with recipients to enhance professional development through monthly professional development sessions, reflective journaling, mentoring and recruitment.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation is dedicated to national public health and health care issues. The independent philanthropy collaborates with diverse organizations to identify solutions and enact comprehensive and timely change.

The 2010 Institute of Medicine (IOM) report, The Future of Nursing: Leading Change, Advancing Health, recommends increasing the proportion of nurses with a baccalaureate degree or higher, and increasing the diversity of students to create a workforce prepared to meet the demands of diverse populations across the lifespan. The mission of the NCIN program is helping to advance those recommendations, enabling schools to expand student capacity in higher education, and encouraging more diversity.

By bringing more nurses into the profession at the baccalaureate and master’s degree levels, the NCIN program also helps to address the nation’s nurse faculty shortage. Data from the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration show that nurses entering the profession via baccalaureate programs are four times more likely than other nurses to pursue a graduate degree in nursing. This trend is reflected in the NCIN scholars, as 91 percent of the students receiving funding in the first three years of the program indicate a desire to advance their education to the master’s and doctoral levels.

For more information about GHSU’s Clinical Nurse Leader program, visit www.georgiahealth.edu/son/cnl.
To learn more about the New Careers in Nursing Scholarship Program, visit www.newcareersinnursing.org.

GHSU nursing student receives national recognition

AUGUSTA, Ga. – Kara Piganelli’s eighth-grade visit to Georgia would make the state her college home and the platform that propelled her to a national stage.

Piganelli, a Georgia Health Sciences University nursing student at the Athens campus, has been selected a Northside Scholar and elected Chair of the Nominating and Elections Committee of the National Student Nurses Association.

The Northside Scholars program identifies high-performing students in a full-time B.S.N. program. The program selects 12 students annually, with participants receiving a maximum scholarship of $10,000 per school year and committing to two years’ full-time employment as a registered nurse upon completion of the internship program.

Participants collaborate with a mentor during the academic year to develop a job-shadowing program and meet regularly with their mentors as they transition into their professional careers. Junior students must work in the paid externship program for a minimum of 24 hours per month and senior students must work at the hospital for at least 48 hours per month.

Piganelli is the fourth GHSU student selected as a Northside Scholar in two years, following 2011 participants Briana Bracewell, Hannah Goldberg and Calli Watson.

Piganelli, who noted that the three of them encouraged her to apply, credited GHSU for preparing her for not only the clinical component of the Northside Scholars program, but also in professional communication and presentation.

This preparation has helped Piganelli in her role on the Nominating and Elections Committee, as well.

Piganelli, an Oakland, Calif.-native, oversees the southern region and serves as the main liaison for the committee’s Executive Director, in addition to serving on the Nominations and Elections Committee of the Georgia Association of Nursing Students.

The National Student Nurses Association, founded in 1952, has 60,000 members nationwide and is dedicated to the professional development of students.

Piganelli plans to pursue her nurse practitioner’s license and values the experiences for the professional and personal opportunities they have provided.

“I have grown so much as a student, a leader, as a professional and as a nurse,” says Piganelli.

GHSU nursing student chosen for Mayo Clinic Externship

Kaelan Woodall’s experience watching her mother battle breast cancer sparked her interest in nursing—but a summer externship at the Mayo Clinic set her dream on fire.

Woodall, a Georgia Health Sciences University nursing student, was one of 111 students nationwide selected to participate in the Mayo Clinic Summer IIII Nursing Externship program in Rochester, Minn. this past June and the first GHSU student chosen to participate since 2009. She was also the only participant from Georgia.

The highly competitive program, in its 46th year, is a 10-week paid externship that challenges rising junior nursing students to expand their knowledge of nursing and critical thinking skills.

Students work alongside clinical coaches to gain experiences in inpatient settings, including post-anesthesia care and operating rooms. The coaches, all licensed nurses, perform the actual procedures but involve the students as much as possible.

Woodall, an Elberton, Ga. native, was encouraged by her mother and uncle, an Elberton, Ga. internist and GHSU alumnus, Dr. R. David Mize, to apply for the externship. She jumped at the chance.

“I knew that the internship program is the best opportunity I could ever get as a nurse,” says Woodall, GHSU nursing senior and class President. “I really wanted to get to see all areas of nursing—the good, the bad, the ugly and get the best possible academic and clinical experience I could. It was absolutely amazing.”

Woodall was pleased with the externship model, which enabled nursing students to participate in the entire patient experience from a multidisciplinary perspective, while still encouraging a healthy work-life balance.

Externs were allowed to participate in 16 hours of observational experience throughout the clinic and educational classes on any advanced topics open to Mayo’s nursing staff. Extracurricular experiences were also available.

“I got to see everything that is involved in patient care, family dynamics, the broader spectrum of what goes on in health care, from what doctors do, what the physical therapists do, what nurse practitioners do,” says Woodall.

Nursing Program Director Rebecca Rule acknowledges Kaelan’s commitment and the College of Nursing’s commitment to preparing students for opportunities after graduation.

“I’m extremely proud of all of our students on both campuses. These are the best of the best,” says Rule.
“They’ve worked long and hard to get here, so we like to work side-by-side with them to facilitate their learning and make sure they get out there and they’re wonderfully safe practitioners.”

GHSU nursing students have been selected to participate in several competitive externships, including those at the Mayo Clinic and Children’s Hospital of Atlanta, as well as being recognized as Northside Scholars. Woodall hopes her experience inspires students to pursue competitive externships.

“I really want to tell [students] that, -‘yes,’- it’s possible,” says Woodall. “I really want to encourage other people to do it.”

While Woodall plans a career as an emergency room nurse, the externship has given her a greater appreciation for the opportunity to interact more personally with patients.

Rule believes Woodall’s empathy is a great strength that will serve her well professionally.

“She’s very inclusive of people in general. I think she can see when [someone] might be struggling with something and is always quick to offer assistance, offer a helping hand. I have no doubt that she’ll be a wonderfully successful nurse,” says Rule.

“I see her making her mark, in some way, shape or form. It’s not the last we’ve heard of her. At all.”