Many registered nurses who have received their ADN are faced with the decision of going back to school to advance their education.
As other nurses may begin to pull back from their professional life after thirty seven years of practice, current RN to BSN student Peggy Dyer has remained fully engaged as an oncology nurse coordinator at Methodist Hospital. In fact, she has been described as reinvented.
Peggy was recently presented the Clinical Excellence award from the March of Dimes. This award recognizes a nurse whose entire career has been spent in direct patient care providing the highest level of care and compassion for five years or more. She also was honored as the Methodist Health System employee of the month in June 2013.
An interest in education has reignited a passion for nursing as she has come to the realization that there is much more that she wants to accomplish professionally.
We took a few minutes to talk to Peggy to get her thoughts on the subject.
It Was All in His Plan
I graduated from St. Francis School of Nursing in Grand Island, Nebraska in 1976 and have worked as a registered nurse ever since. My decision to get my BSN was a hard one to make. I had lots of support and I really believe God puts people in your life for a reason.
I was fortunate enough to attend the AgeWise Summit with [NMC faculty] Deborah Conley and Fran Henton in 2010. The conference was full of well educated professionals and it was then I told my supervisor, Vici Sortino, that I felt like I was the least educated person there. One of the leaders of AgeWise challenged me to further my education.
Being a graduate of the AgeWise program reinvented my passion for nursing, especially the end of life aspect. I learned so much in that program. I voiced interest to one of the nurse practitioners who was developing the palliative care program at the hospital. Her response was "You don't have your BSN."
Then the hospital announced that all core nurses had to have their BSN by 2018 or step down from that position. The following year I attended the AgeWise Summit again and was approached me about my education. I declined the challenge at that time, but God knew what He was doing.
My current supervisor encouraged me as well as the others I mentioned to pursue a BSN degree. She reminded me that I had a lot to offer and other opportunities could open up with more education. After several discussions with my husband we decided continuing my education was right for us.
It's All a Balance
Managing the coursework varies from class to class, but I try to dedicate certain days to homework. I have not missed out on any family functions, but will admit some have been shortened because Grandma has to do homework. I have always studied in late evenings or into the night.
I do not have to take NRS 480 because I am an AgeWise graduate. I will graduate with my BSN in August of 2014.
Nebraska Methodist College’s Professional Development department offers a number of live and online programs in order to help nurses and health professionals grow their knowledge and skills to enhance their careers. NMC’s Professional Development offerings include both Continuing Education and Professional Education programs.
Earning a degree in nursing or Allied Health is a major milestone, but by no means is it the last step in the learning process of your healthcare career. Healthcare is an evolving industry, and staying up to date on the latest research and best practices is important to providing high-quality care and achieving successful patient outcomes.
A few examples of NMC’s Continuing Education programs include:
- Research Day, a day-long conference where nurses present evidence-based practice research findings;
- Lung, Head & Neck Symposium, an oncology symposium providing information on current practice guidelines and outcomes for caring for patients with thoracic, head and neck cancers;
- Basic EFM and OB Fellowship, a three-day event that prepares new labor and delivery nurses;
- A variety of one-hour programs geared toward all health professionals on specific topics, such as the Anticoagulation Update, which is attended by all types of allied health professionals, doctors and nurses.
Through NMC’s Professional Education programs, nurses and healthcare professionals can receive training in a variety of areas specific to their healthcare specialty. NMC offers certifications in Basic Life Support, Advanced Cardiac Life Support and Neonatal Resuscitation, among others.
Other programs teach healthcare professionals everyday skills they will need to be successful in their careers. One example is NMC’s online Excel course, which is for healthcare professionals who utilize Excel in their role but need more advanced skills.
NMC’s Professional Education programs even prepare students to begin new careers. Certificate programs such as Certified Nursing Assistant and Medication Aide offer students the opportunity to quickly jump into the healthcare field with minimal time and financial investment.
Coming in 2014
In 2014, NMC’s Professional Development department will offer high school students a unique opportunity — Healthcare Career Camp. The weeklong summer camp, held on the NMC campus, will allow students to get hands-on experience in all of NMC’s degree programs.
Also in 2014, the Professional Development department will partner with the Wellness Council of the Midlands (WELCOM) to offer the first annual Pathways to Wellbeing Symposium. The symposium, which focuses on the integration of wellness in the workplace and community, will be held as part of WELCOM’s Well Workplace Awards Luncheon on April 2.
With Thanksgiving coming up in a few days, we thought that we would take a break and tell you about all the things we are thankful for. We hope that you are able to spend time with friends and family this week and give thanks to the many blessings in your life.
Assistant Professor, Nursing
I am thankful for times when I get to witness the genuine kind and compassionate care that often occurs in clinical situations. This last week I witnessed student nurses sitting and holding the hands of a dying woman, combing hair while gently speaking to a frail elderly woman, and laughing and reminiscing about life with another patient. These real moments of shared life make me thankful for each precious person that I am blessed to encounter. These are moments that remind me to be thankful.
I am thankful for my team- staff, teachers, volunteers- who truly take pride in working with our students. I’m fortunate to work in an environment where it does not feel like work, rather a place where people come together to inspire and make a difference one day at a time.
Student, Radiologic Technology
I am thankful for my education because it has opened up so many doors in my life - ranging from engaging conversations with others, job opportunities, and having the self-confidence to approach any challenge.I am thankful for my family, who is the best support system anyone could ever hope for.I am thankful for my fireplace - keeps my toes nice and toasty through the winter!
Director of Clinical Education, Respiratory Care
I recently attended a conference at the conference a speaker quoted the following; "if you want to predict the future you have to invent it." I have the job of not only preparing the future RT students, but the opportunity to mold and teach future students. For that I'm truly grateful and humbly honored. The students are now prepared to change the future and jump into the ever-changing healthcare world with both feet.
I think it begins with the attitude of gratefulness my parents lived with, while having a large family. And very little of everything else. I have also been shaped by my Christian faith which challenges me to, ‘…give thanks in all circumstances’. (I Thes. 5:18NIV) Not necessarily for all circumstances, but when one looks for a reason to be thankful, it grows in you. Finally, I am thankful every day for working in a place and in a profession that focuses on helping others and helping students become better caregivers for folks in their time of need.
Director, Center for Health Partnerships
I am inspired by the work that our community partners are doing to improve the health and well-being of their communities. Last Saturday, I had the privilege of having lunch with a group of promatoras who are partaking in a voluntary training program to be health promoters in their own communities. Their passion for their work and the impact they are already having on community health are truly inspiring. Tomorrow I have the opportunity to work with 20 girls from Girls Inc. who are learning to be health ambassadors in their own schools…another example of the ways communities are taking ownership of their own health. I am grateful to have the opportunity in my job to work with and learn from such dedicated people.
Student, Physical Therapist Assistant
I'm thankful for my amazing PTA classmates and faculty. Over the past two years, we have become a family with both ups and downs, but a "family" nonetheless...One that I am proud to be a part of and will never forget.
Associate Professor, Arts & Sciences
I’m certainly thankful for all the goodness I see when I look at NMC: the accomplishments and service of our students, the commitment and innovation of our faculty, and the foresight and integrity of our Administration. I do have to admit that I’m not always thankful, and in fact complain, when I focus on realities in our world such as injustice, selfishness, greed, and judgment. The deeper reality, of course, is that I myself too often give reason for others to complain instead of be thankful. So I’m especially grateful for people putting up with me, and for the realities of forgiveness, reconciliation, acceptance, and healing.
Director, Educational Technology
I am thankful for being thankful. When you think you have nothing to be thankful for, you aren’t giving the process enough attention. The greatest inspiration and compassion comes from a place of gratitude. I am also thankful for the Red Bandit. I have a cardinal that decided to make his home in my bushes. He loves to attack my red truck, peck at himself in the side mirrors, fly into our windows, and poop everywhere. I must accept there are some things I cannot control. I was told I cannot harm him, so I have had to accept the reality that he and his family will leave when he is ready. Until then, I have found a way to enjoy the cardinal sounds and especially appreciate hearing and seeing them in the Winter months.
Program Director, Physical Therapist Assitant
I am thankful for the opportunity to work with students who strive to do their best and be the best health practioners they can upon graduation. My students are very passionate about our profession, they are ethical, empathetic, and want to always do what it best for thier patient. I am also thankful for a work environment that allows me to teach in a way that I feel is appropriate for my profession, and faculty and staff that support me.
We hope everyone has a happy, healthy and safe Thanksgiving holiday!
This week is National Nurse Practitioner Week so we thought we would take a look at the need for the family nurse practitioner, especially in rural areas. In our own state of Nebraska, rural areas illustrate several concerning healthcare trends found in similar communities throughout the nation.
Recent studies indicate that the number of physicians and nurses in Nebraska’s rural areas is shrinking and aging. In fact, according to a 2012 survey conducted by the Nebraska Center for Nursing, 17 rural Nebraska counties have no physicians and nine have no registered nurses.
Another study conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Rural Health found that physicians are unlikely to relocate from cities to rural areas, and current family physicians were concerned about future availability of care after they retired. The study also found a disproportionate demand in rural areas — half of all family medicine practices that are recruiting in the state are in rural areas.
These trends are unlocking opportunities for family nurse practitioners with Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) degrees to fill gaps in care and take on leadership roles in rural areas. In underserved areas, DNP-prepared advanced practice nurses can provide crucial primary care services that otherwise would not be accessible.
“In Nebraska, DNP-prepared advanced practice nurses can practice in underserved areas in collaboration with a physician, but the physician does not need to be physically present,” says Dr. Lin Hughes, Dean of Nursing at Nebraska Methodist College.
“Advanced practice nurses can work together with a physician through communication via phone or internet. In many other states, where demand is critical, advanced practice nurses can practice more independently.”
Meeting the Demand
In response to these growing demands, Nebraska Methodist College recently announced it will offer the Doctor of Nursing Practice with an emphasis in family nurse practice beginning in the fall 2014 semester. The degree prepares nurses to specialize in managing acute and chronic illnesses for patients of all ages in a non-hospital setting.
Nebraska Methodist College’s DNP program is making the education available where it is needed most. The program’s online format was developed to be accessible to nurses nationwide who live in underserved areas. The program blends online learning with clinical interaction.
Christina Alkire isn't your average nursing student at Nebraska Methodist College. Yes, she worries about upcoming tests, studies nonstop and tries to balance school time with family time, like the rest of her classmates.
But Christina -- ahem -- Sgt. Alkire is a proud service member of the United States Army. Serving 13 months in Iraq from December 2007 to January 2009 as a member of the military police providing medical support to detainees.
The experience she gained is one that can't be replicated in the classrooms or labs of nursing school. "Other than one doctor, I was the only other medical professional for more than 500 detainees. I also provided support during detainee transfers on convoys and military flights," said Christina.
Always A Soldier
While Christina originally joined the Army nearly nine years ago as way to pay for college, it has developed in to something more. "As a soldier you are broken down as an individual and then rebuilt to think as a team," said Christina.
"I have to have confidence in those around me as well as the ability to literally risk my own life for my battle buddy. As a soldier, you truly learn to live the Army values in all aspects of your life and even if not in a uniform. You are a soldier, always."
Taking those Army values into the classroom has helped Christina become a leader in the classroom and on campus. From helping a peer in class during a skills lab, her leadership role in student government, to her empathy with patients, she is establishing herself as the definition of an educated citizen.
"After my deployment to Iraq, one of the biggest things I learned was humility. Not everyone asks for the circumstances they are given. This is the same view I give my patients. It is learning to play the cards one was dealt."
Honoring Our Veterans and Active Duty Military
As Veteran's Day approaches, Nebraska Methodist College Student Government is organizing a flag folding ceremony to honor veterans at the College. "This will be a great visual to show faculty, staff and the student body that there is a large military presence on campus," said Alkire.
"I love the idea of being able to display the folded flag in the lobby as a reminder to our campus community that many walking amongst us have risked their lives or have loved ones that have served or currently serving our country."
Flag Folding Ceremony
Veterans and current military members were honored at Nebraska Methodist College. Members of the local VFW posts lowered the flag, removed it from the pole and presented the flag to NMC President & CEO Dennis Joslin to be displayed in the lobby of the Clark Center.
See video highlights:
Note: Christina Alkire is a current student in the BSN program at Nebraska Methodist College and a combat medic in the Army Reserves. She is pictured with her husband, Jonathan Marr and daughter Charlotte Marr. Her husband is also in the Army, stationed in Ft. Sill, Okla.
Last week, we posted on Facebook announcing that Helen Zelfel will be retiring after 30 years of unprecedented service to Nebraska Methodist College. We all know how wonderful Helen is but we were blown away by how many of you commented and "liked" the post wishing Helen happiness in her retirement.
As you know, Helen has been the face of NMC for many years and has taken the concept of customer service to an exceptional level. Over her 30 year tenure, Helen has assumed many roles from Housemother, Receptionist, Secretary in Childbirth Education and has worked in the Registrar’s Office, Financial Aid and our Front Desk to name just a few.
Throughout all of her 30 years and numerous positions her driving passion was to make sure that she knew all of the students and that each guest who entered the doors of NMC felt welcome. Helen never missed an opportunity to make a great first impression with someone new to NMC.
Helen’s last day with NMC will be Friday, November 22, 2013 so if you have a chance, stop by the front desk to wish her well in her retirement.
Because Helen is not on Facebook or Twitter (maybe something she can take up in retirement?), we sat down and showed her all of the kind things you all were saying after her retirement announcement. So she has taken the time to write a thank you in a way that only Helen can. Enjoy...
From Helen Zelfel:
Wow…..I truly have been touched by the many messages sent in response to my retirement from NMC via face book. As November 22nd approaches I am feeling sad at the thought of not seeing the many students, faculty and staff who pass this desk. I have been amazingly touched by the number of people who have blessed my life in the past 30 years.
I’ve heard (and even said) “It’s your family who will remember you, not the people at your work”. After pondering this statement, I will beg to differ (even with myself).
I can go back 30 years and still remember:
Louise James (now retired, former supervisor of housekeeping), Lynn (now retired, the lady who started up the bookstore)
Dr. Roger Koehler (now deceased, former NMC President….walked by the desk with a twinkle in his eyes and would say “Have a nice day” on a daily basis)
Jean Beyer (now deceased, but such an instrumental person in making NMC so people friendly and oh boy was she ever phenomenal with the programs she shared with so many people)
Susan (Bauer’s) Joslin (now at College of St. Mary’s, she was instrumental in helping a former student deal with her blindness and yes helping so many other students)
Cheri Micek (now retired, we worked the front desk together….now we will be visiting via telephone often)
Mark (former student, who came for the kitchen key everyday so he could bake his Totino’s pizza)
Ryan and Beth Barr (former students who are now married…they knew each other before NMC)
Tim and Amber (former students, met at NMC and now married…I loved the story of that proposal)
Doug Warren (former student, loved our mini chats over his cup of coffee and my cup of cappuccino)
Mary Davis (former student who only had two semesters before graduation and lost her vision. She is a true inspiration to me to this very day. Mary, “I LOVE You!”).
I could go on and on and on and on ….my point being people (students, faculty, staff, etc.) are remembered and truly bless our lives and make us who we are. All of the students, staff and faculty here are amazing.
NMC is “My Best Place To Work”.
Thanks for the memories!!!
Tis the season for costumes of all kinds — zombies, vampires and witches, among many others. However, if you have an upcoming job interview, unlike your Halloween costume, it’s important to choose an outfit that won’t scare away your future employer.
Like it or not, an employer’s first impressions of you will be formed within the first minutes of meeting you. What you choose to wear can go a long way toward getting your interview off on the right foot.
Whether you are just starting to apply for jobs or already have one or two interviews lined up, here are a few dos and don’ts to picking out what to wear to make a good impression on your potential employer:
Business dress is best. Choose a business suit, especially when interviewing for upper-level positions. For entry-level positions, women should wear a blouse with dress pants or a tailored skirt, while men should wear a shirt and tie with slacks. Avoid wearing low-cut shirts, tight or short skirts, and avoid dressing too casually.
Think conservatively. Choose clothing in darker colors, like navy, black or gray. Avoid wearing flashy colors. Wear conservative dress shoes that are business appropriate. Make sure to shine your shoes before your interview to get rid of any scuffs.
Leave the bling at home. Little to no jewelry is best. Especially avoid dangling jewelry like earrings or bracelets that can be distracting.
Use makeup and perfume in moderation. Wearing makeup and perfume (or cologne for men) is a good idea, but don’t overdo it. Too much makeup can send the wrong impression, while too much perfume can be annoying to your interviewer.
Careers in medical imaging are great for individuals who are tech-savvy and have a keen eye for capturing the perfect image. Medical imaging professionals use high-tech imaging equipment and computers to produce detailed images that allow physicians to diagnose disease or trauma in patients.
In its first year at Nebraska Methodist College, the Bachelor of Science in Imaging Sciences program is preparing students for advanced careers in medical imaging.
The degree allows students to pursue upper-level positions in high-demand careers such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The degree opens the doors for students to pursue radiologic job opportunities in management, teaching and supervisory roles with a higher base salary.
Nebraska Methodist College’s Imaging Sciences program serves as either a dual degree program or degree completion program. Through the program, students can work simultaneously to earn an associate’s in Radiography and bachelor’s in Imaging Sciences; or students who already have an associate’s degree in Radiography can transfer previous credits toward the bachelor’s degree.
After completion of the associate’s portion of the program, students can apply to take the national registry and become a Registered Radiologic Technologist (R.T.). The majority of the bachelor’s portion of the program takes place online, allowing students to work while completing the degree on their own schedule.
Nebraska Methodist College is proud to announce its newest degree program - the Doctor of Nursing Practice. The new online program is Nebraska Methodist College's first doctorate degree and will prepare nurses to meet the demands of an increasingly complex health care system.
Watch the video for more information about the new program.
Visit the website at www.methodistcollege.edu/dnp for more details.
Dr. Lin Hughes is the Dean of Nursing at Nebraska Methodist College. Hughes has extensive experience in both nursing and education. She has worked for 42 years as a nurse and 30 years as an educator. Hughes took time this week to discuss her career, advice for nursing students and what makes NMC special.
What is your background in nursing, and what has been your career path to becoming the Dean of Nursing at NMC?
Oh my, where to start? My husband was a pilot in the Air Force so we moved about every three years. Nursing is wonderful as a career because of its flexibility. I started out as a surgical nurse in an eight-room operating room in Colorado Springs, Colo., then became the charge nurse on an orthopedic-neurologic unit in Valdosta, Ga. I took critical care courses and next became the charge nurse in the pediatric unit, emergency department and intensive care unit at a rural hospital in Caribou, Maine, for more than three years.
We moved to Rapid City, S.D., where I worked on a progressive step-down unit and started my journey in teaching. I started my MSN (educator focus) and taught at the diploma school associated with Rapid City Regional Hospital, then at the diploma school in Dayton, Ohio. Our next move was to Moreno Valley, Cal., where I taught nursing at Riverside Community College and finished my MSN at Loma Linda University. I also worked supplemental in intensive care units there and became the supervisor at Riverside Nursefinders.
Our next military orders were to Offutt Air Force Base. I started in the MICU at Methodist Hospital and started teaching at Nebraska Methodist College. I continued to work supplemental in the ICU and teaching full time. In 2002, I received my PhD from UNMC. In 2006, I became the BSN Nursing Director at NMC and was mentored by Dr. Marilyn Valerio. In 2012, I became the Dean of Nursing.
You’ve worked both as a nurse and an educator for much of your career. How did you manage to do both?
I have worked for the last 22 plus years in the Methodist Hospital critical care unit and became certified in critical care 20 years ago. About nine months ago, I decided to devote the time to my present role as dean and gave my notice. I worked casual status/supplemental in ICU while teaching at NMC. The critical care supervisor was very flexible with my schedule on the weekends because of my full time position at the college. I thought that it was important to keep my skills current while teaching as an educator.
What is the most common piece of advice you give to your nursing students?
I just spoke to the NRS445 and NRS446ACE classes about the importance of forming a plan for future education and promoted lifelong learning. I stressed the impact that joining professional organizations can have on a career in keeping abreast of best practices, developing leadership skills and networking. The greatest advice for our nursing students would be to keep caring, knowledge and safety at the center of their nursing practice.
What sets Nebraska Methodist College apart?
NMC is special because of our focus on the individual student and wanting to develop every student into the best healthcare practitioner — one with a heart to care for each individual patient.
What do you like to do outside of your job at NMC?
My family of four children, four grandchildren and husband is my main focus outside of NMC. We do enjoy each other — whether playing soccer in the backyard, watching the grandchildren play sports, or hiking at our cabin in Colorado (despite the recent 12 inches of rain and no roads). I love to read, cook, entertain and work out at the YMCA whenever time permits.