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Nebraska Methodist College Holds Unique Perspective in the Wellness World


describe the imageIn an effort to control costs and improve public health, the culture of our nation’s healthcare is changing from one of treatment to one of prevention. That same attitude is being adopted across the country by companies that are feeling the bite of health insurance premiums into their profits and organizations that are seeing preventable diseases taking significant tolls on their communities.

As an organization, Nebraska Methodist College is no different than companies from the corporate sector. We have the same goals to keep our workforce healthy and well. But as a college, we have the opportunity to not only practice workplace wellness but we also educate the future health promotion professionals.

So what is a health promotion manager?

This emphasis on prevention has created demand for health promotion managers who are responsible for designing and overseeing wellness programs and initiatives in corporate, public and nonprofit settings.

In a corporate setting, a health promotion manager might lead an employee wellness program. Wellness programs aim to reduce healthcare costs, improving a company or organization’s bottom line. The programs also work to ensure a happy, healthy workforce, which can have a number of positive effects on productivity.

In public and nonprofit settings, a health promotion manager could be responsible for overseeing a publicly- or grant-funded initiative focused on improving public health in their community. Such initiatives have become common across the nation targeting health concerns such as obesity and diabetes, among others.

How We Do Wellness

Nebraska Methodist College has implemented one of the more successful wellness programs in the country, according to the Wellness Council of America (WELCOA). The WELCOA Well Workplace Awards recognize companies nationwide for quality and excellence in worksite health promotion.

WELCOA designated Nebraska Methodist College a Platinum Well Workplace, the highest level of recognition. Thirty seven organizations earned the Platinum distinction nationwide this year. NMC, the only Nebraska college to earn the platinum designation, was one of the first three in the nation to earn the platinum award with its inception in 2001.

See the video shown during the 2013 WELCOA Well Workplace Awards Luncheon:

Health Promotion Salary

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, health promotions employment opportunities are expected to grow by 37 percent over the next decade, out pacing many other careers. Careers in health promotion range in pay. Here are some examples of average salaries for jobs in health promotion:

  • Health and wellness coaches — $41,000

  • Wellness program consultants — $61,000

  • Wellness program specialists/coordinators — $65,000

  • Wellness program directors — $70,000

Health Promotion Education Options

Nebraska Methodist College’s Health Promotion Management online master’s program prepares students for a variety of careers in health promotion. The program combines health and wellness concepts with theories in business and human relations principles, financial, organizational, management and communications.

health promotion degreeThat’s because health promotions managers need to be well rounded. They are expected to be able to implement wellness programs for both individuals and large groups. They also need an understanding of how their programs affect a company’s bottom line in order to make the case for their work from a business perspective to the CEO.

NMC students who earn a degree in health promotion management learn how to assess wellness situations in any environment. They can implement programs, demonstrate to management measurable and beneficial changes in employee wellness to have a direct impact on an organization's bottom line.

NMC’s Health Promotion Management program is flexible, allowing students to balance education with their personal and professional lives. Courses are five weeks long, with one week off before the start of another course. The program, which requires 33 total credit hours, can be completed in as little as 16 months.

What is a surgical tech?


what is a surg tech imageToday’s surgeons perform advanced procedures that save lives in ways we may have never thought possible years ago. But surgeons can’t do it alone.

So what is a surgical tech?

At the surgeon’s side is the surgical technologist, more commonly known as surgical tech. Surgical techs are the right-hand person of surgeons in the operating room. They set up the operating room for surgical procedures, making sure that all needed tools and equipment are available and working properly. Surgical techs then assist surgeons during surgery, doing everything from handing them instruments to cleaning and closing wounds.

Being a surgical tech can be fun and exciting, but it may not be for everyone. The job in many cases is not for people squeamish at the sight of blood. While some surgeries are routine, others can be stressful situations demanding quick and efficient work in order to help save a life. However, the job is equally rewarding to know that you have helped to make a difference in someone’s life.

“You may be doing surgery on a patient who has a brain tumor, and it is a great feeling when the surgeon is able to successfully remove the patient’s tumor allowing them to lead a normal life,” says Christy Grant, Nebraska Methodist College Surgical Technology program director. “Knowing that you had part in that procedure and made a difference for that patient is amazing.”

Surgical Tech Skills Needed

  • Composure --Working in an OR can be a highly stressful. The ability to maintain  calm and composed in high-pressure environments will help you be successful in this career.

  • Endurance -- as part of a surgical team, surgical technologists need to be comfortable standing on their feet for an extended period of time and have the ability to work quickly and accurately for long hours.

  • Details oriented -- Surg techs need to have the ability to pay close attention at all times to ensure procedures are performed safely and efficiently.

What is a surgical tech's salary?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates that the median surgical tech salary in the U.S. in 2010 was $39,920 per year, with an average projected job growth until 2020 of 28 percent. Demand for surgical techs varies from area to area, but currently, the job is in high demand in the Omaha area with many job postings available.

Nebraska Methodist College’s Surgical Technology program offers students small class sizes that allow students more one-on-one learning opportunities with instructors. The program has affiliations with nearly every institute in Omaha to give students the chance to get a wide variety of experience in surgical specialties.

Nebraska Methodist College’s Surgical Technology program also has a 100-percent employment rate. Students often get jobs either before or soon after graduation.


Nursing Faculty Spotlight: Marla Kniewel


Kniewal, Marla 02Marla Kniewel, EdD, has been at Nebraska Methodist College since 2004. After many years as a staff nurse and then Neuroscience Care Coordinator, she began teaching in the classroom/clinical setting. Dr. Kniewel recently earned her Doctorate in Education. She sat down to answer a few questions. 

NMC: Why did you decide to become a nurse and eventually an educator?

MK: I actually wanted to be a teacher when I was growing up. I decided to be a nurse after I was married and had a couple of children. As a practicing nurse, I enjoyed teaching patients, family members, new nurses and nursing students. I decided to be a nurse educator when Nebraska Methodist College started the MSN program and enrolled in one of the first cohorts of the program.

NMC: You recently earned your doctorate degree, what was your motivation in earning a PhD?
MK: My mother was a nurse educator (Dr. Jean Beyer) and had earned her PhD at an older age, so she was a great role model. I chose to enroll in a doctoral program focusing on education, so chose the EdD (doctor of education) program with a focus for health care professionals offered at College of Saint Mary.

NMC: What was your area of research?

MK: The effect of team-based learning as an instructional strategy on undergraduate nursing students. I compared exam scores between students taught specific content with lecture or team-based learning, plus evaluated students perception of team-based learning at NMC.

UPDATE: We just found out the Dr. Kniewel earned "Dissertation of the Year" from College of St. Mary. Congrats to Marla!

NMC: What is your favorite part of your job?

MK: Working with the students to facilitate their growth and development as a professional and achieve their dream. I also like the freedom of using creativity to help students learn. I also truly enjoy everyone I work with from various departments of the college.
NMC: What one piece of advice would you give to the future nurses you educate?

MK: Become a life-long learner and try new areas of practice to enhance your practice.
NMC: What do you do outside of work?
MK: I love (flower and vegetable) gardening and reading a good mystery book.

See our other Spotlights:


Josie’s Village Accommodates Traditional and Non-Traditional Students


josie's village omaha

Research shows that living on campus positively influences college students in a number of ways. On-campus students tend to have higher grade point averages, more involvement in campus activities, and greater overall satisfaction in their college experiences. Most importantly, they are more likely to stick with college and finish their degree.

NMC housingFor students wishing to live on campus at Nebraska Methodist College, Josie’s Village provides a comfortable home away from home. Josie’s Village is coed apartment-style living with one- and two-bedroom apartments, housing 100 students. Fully furnished rooms spare students from having to lug furniture into their rooms on moving day at NMC. Wireless internet, cable television and all utilities are also provided and included in the housing costs.

NMC’s housing options cater to students of all kinds. Housing options are available for traditional students, married students, married students with children and students who are single parents.

To live in Josie’s Village, students must be enrolled in at least one class within their program of study in the fall and spring semesters.  Students who are working in the Omaha area during the summer but are not enrolled in classes are eligible to live on campus if they are pre-registered for classes in the fall semester. Apartment assignments are made on a first-come, first-served basis.

“At Josie’s Village, your neighbors will be students just like you who are meeting the challenges and feeling the rewards of the college experience,” says Dr. Melissa Hoffman, Dean of Students. “Our housing staff is committed to helping students in their adjustment to college and to meeting other needs as they arise.”

NMC Students Participate in "The Waiting Room" Discussion


The Waiting Room PR Draft resized 600On Tuesday, January 29th, the Center for Health Partnerships collaborated with Film Streams, a non-profit cinema, to present a sold-out screening and discussion of director Peter Nicks’ acclaimed health care documentary, The Waiting Room.

The Oscar-nominated film is an un-narrated, behind-the-scenes look at the emergency department at a public hospital in Oakland, California. Weaving together the stories of multiple people who need a variety of services from an overtaxed and remarkably compassionate hospital staff, the film provides a host of insights into health and healthcare in American society. This collaboration was part of Film Streams’ Community Development Program.

Following the film showing, a panel, made up of representatives from the two trauma hospitals in Omaha, worked to unpack insights the film provided into health and healthcare in Omaha.

Panelists included: MJ Egan, staff nurse, The Nebraska Medical Center; Dr. William Gossman, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine, Creighton University School of Medicine; Rosanna Morris, Sr. Vice President, Patient Care Service/Chief Nursing Officer, The Nebraska Medical Center and Dr. Robert Muelleman, Chair, UNMC Department of Emergency Medicine. The discussion was moderated by Dr. Richard O’Brien, professor at Creighton Center for Health Policy and Ethics.

The discussion that ensued was audience driven and focused on particular challenges faced in providing Omaha emergency and trauma care. It was particularly timely as Omaha works to understand the effects that the Alegent/Creighton merger and the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will have on health care in our community. The audience included representatives from a broad array of healthcare related entities in Omaha and a substantial number of NMC students and faculty.

"This gave our students an opportunity to view a critically acclaimed doumentary about our healthcare system and have a meaningful discussion with local leaders in the field," said Kristin Mattson, PhD, the Director of the Center for Health Partnerships. "We value the opportunities to educate our students outside the classroom and we are proud to have collaborated with Film Streams on this special screening."

About the CFHP: The Center for Health Partnerships was founded in 2007.  Building upon a long history of community involvement and community-based learning, the Center works to focus NMC's community outreach to deepen both community impact and student learning.

What is a Rad Tech?

what is a rad tech?

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words, but for a physician working to diagnose and treat a patient, an image of the inner body is invaluable.

Capturing those images is the job of radiographers. While sonographers use high-frequency sound waves to create pictures of the internal body, radiographers use low-level amounts of radiation — X-rays — allowing them to visualize all parts of the human body. Radiography is much more than X-raying broken bones. X-rays are used to see virtually every body part and system of a patient, including lungs, heart, blood vessels, brain, spine, sinuses, joints, bowels and kidneys.

Like sonography, radiography is for the individual who is tech-savvy and has an eye for capturing images that are useful to physicians. Radiographers are constantly working with high-tech imaging equipment and computers to complete their diagnostic radiographs of patients’ anatomy. Using that equipment, they are responsible for producing detailed images that allow physicians to diagnose disease or trauma in a patient.

Like many other healthcare professions, the job market for radiographers is expected to grow in the coming years as the baby boomer population ages. However, the current outlook is somewhat unclear due to uncertainty associated with the Affordable Care Act. Radiographers have job opportunities in a variety of settings, such as hospital radiography departments, inpatient and outpatient clinics and mobile radiography units (trucks or vans that take imaging equipment to patients in places like nursing homes). A lucky few are even employed as radiographers for professional sports teams or cruise lines.

what is a rad tech?

Experience in imaging also opens doors for radiographers to other career opportunities in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computed tomography (CT), nuclear medicine’s positron emission tomography (PET), radiation therapy, sonography and cardio-vascular interventional radiography. Radiographers also have career opportunities in management and education.

Nebraska Methodist College offers a Radiologic Technology degree program to prepare students to become entry-level radiographers in the field. The program offers hands-on experience at several medical facilities throughout the Omaha metro area and southwestern Iowa. In the program, students learn how to operate a wide variety of radiography equipment and perform an array of radiologic procedures and exams, including pediatrics, geriatrics, trauma, surgery and specialty modalities.

National Public Health Week Observed on NMC Campus


nmc diabetes education

NMC student and faculty assist a community member during a Mobile Diabetes Center outing.

As a nursing and healthcare professions college, next week — National Public Health Week — bears a special significance to us at Nebraska Methodist College.

National Public Health Week, April 1-7, is an opportunity to recognize those who contribute to public health and to raise awareness of health issues affecting our local community, state and nation. This year, National Public Health Week has five daily themes:

  • Monday, April 1: Ensuring a Safe, Healthy Home for Your Family

  • Tuesday, April 2: Providing a Safe Environment for Children at School

  • Wednesday, April  3: Creating a Healthy Workplace

  • Thursday, April 4: Protecting You While You’re on the Move

  • Friday, April 5: Empowering a Healthy Community

The topic of public health encompasses so much of what we do at Nebraska Methodist College. First and foremost, preparing students to make positive impacts on the health and well-being of their communities is at the heart of our mission. Each of our programs equips students with the skills to make a difference in their chosen field, whether as a nurse, educator, administrator, or a professional in an Allied Health career. No matter what field, all healthcare professionals play vital roles in maintaining a high quality of public health through the treatments, tests, knowledge and expertise they provide.

Nebraska Methodist College also works to improve public health in the greater Omaha community through the outreach of our Center for Health Partnerships, including programs such as our Mobile Diabetes Center and Our Families’ Health. The Mobile Diabetes Center provides important diabetes-related health screenings in a variety of urban and rural areas. Our Families’ Health works to provide area Latino communities easier access to healthcare resources and services.

WelcomIn striving to improve public health, we like to practice what we preach as an organization. Nebraska Methodist College is proud to be recognized by the Wellness Council of the Midlands (WELCOM) as a Platinum Level member of its Nebraska Well Workplaces.

The Platinum Level is WELCOM’s highest recognition for workplace health promotion, which only a small group of companies and organizations have achieved. The award is the result of the college’s strong focus on health and wellness promotion in its organizational culture. Nebraska Methodist College has maintained its Platinum Level status for the past six years.

Upward Bound Students Build Lasting Skills through Poetry Competitions


Poetry Contest

Writing poetry is not an easy art form. Now add to that the challenge of performing your poem from memory on stage and in front of a group of your peers. That’s just what a group of students from Nebraska Methodist College’s Upward Bound program will be doing later this month during two Louder Than a Bomb poetry competitions.

describe the imageLouder Than a Bomb (LTaB) originated in Chicago in 2008, but after the release of a documentary in 2011 about the poetry competitions, LTaB poetry groups and events sprung up throughout the country.

About half a dozen students from NMC’s Upward Bound and St Luke Teen Center programs will participate in upcoming LTaB competitions organized by the Nebraska Writer’s Collective. The competitions will take place at Metropolitan Community College’s South Campus Wednesday, March 20 at 6:30 p.m. and at the Fort Campus Wednesday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m.

Sincere Students

The NMC Upward Bound team name for the competition is “Sincere”.  “The students picked this name because they felt that everything they share throughout their poetry comes straight from the heart; their words are sincere,” said Upward Bound Project Coordinator, Nadira Ford-Robbins.   This year will be a first for NMC Upward Bound students who participate, with six students who will actively take part in the competition.

When asked what sparked involvement in the competition, Ford-Robbins cited the students’ interest in LTaB.  The real challenge has been with the weekly practice sessions competing with the various extra-curricular activities and/or school obligations the students are involved in.  

“I enjoy working with the students in LTaB because I get to witness their individual Ford Robbins, Nadira opt 02light bulb moments, when they have discovered a way to express deeply held convictions and fears in a manner that is therapeutic and conducive to the coming of age process.  The growth I get to witness is simply beautiful, and it helps to get to really know who our students are deep down inside.”

Stroll into an LTaB meeting and you’ll hear group members practicing skills to help them recite their poems crisply. Some might be working on drills such as repeating phrases like “toy boat” and “I wish to wash my Irish wristwatch” as quickly and precisely as possible. Others might be practicing volume control techniques using crescendos and decrescendos. Learning these skills helps the students engage the audience while performing their poems.

Building Skills

For many of the students, poetry is an outlet to express themselves, whether writing about life’s joys or frustrations. Through poetry, the students also build skills they will take with them far beyond the competition stage. Students learn how to be outspoken, how to speak in front of others, and how to have stage presence. In addition to categories for individuals, the competition also features a category for four-member teams, which teaches students how to work together as a group.

For more about Louder Than a Bomb, visit To learn more about the documentary, visit

NMC has been a proud partner of Upward Bound since 2007. Upward Bound is a federally-funded college preparation program through the U.S. Department of Education. NMC’s Upward Bound program is made up of students from Burke High School, and partners with the St Luke United Methodist Church Teen Center.

Image is Everything: Sonographers Give Physicians Important Looks Inside the Body


Sonography Explained

Rebecca Matthiasen at NMCSonography, also known as ultrasonography or ultrasound, is the use of high frequency sound waves to build images of body organs and blood vessels.  The images enable medical doctors and other medical professionals to observe, study and diagnose growth and other changes that may occur within an individual’s body.  A songrapher is a professional highly trained in the use of sonography to construct the images needed.

Sonographers are probably best known for providing those first images many expecting parents see of their unborn babies. But the job of a sonographer doesn’t end there. They play an important role in helping physicians diagnose and monitor a variety of medical conditions that otherwise cannot be seen.

Sonographers use advanced sound-wave technology to create images of the body’s internal structures or organs. A sonographer’s job is to capture the best two-dimensional images possible of three-dimensional organs to be examined by physicians to assess and diagnose the patient. To do this, they must have a strong understanding of human anatomy and their sonography equipment to acquire useful images that will allow the physician to make the best diagnosis.

Sonography Degree Programs

Insturctor teaching ultrasound to NMC studentsNebraska Methodist College offers two sonography associate degree programs — Cardiovascular Sonography and Multispecialty Sonography. In Cardiovascular Sonography, students learn how to collect and evaluate images of the heart, the heart valves and related blood vessels throughout the body, aiding physicians in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders affecting the cardiovascular system. In Multispecialty Sonography, students learn how to examine the fetus of a pregnant woman to follow the baby's growth and development, as well as how to create images of a wide variety of organs for diagnosis and treatment, including the aorta, gallbladder, bile ducts, kidneys, liver, pancreas and spleen, among others.

Sonography Career

A career in sonography is rewarding for a number of reasons. Sonographers are the eyes and ears of physicians in diagnosing and treating internal conditions, and as a result, are held in high regard by physicians. Sonographers experience fulfilling patient interaction. The job is also a continuous learning experience, which provides a sense of accomplishment as individuals tackle new challenges daily.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for sonographers in the U.S. is $64,380 annually, with a forecast of faster than average job growth until 2020. Demand for sonographers is high for those willing to travel to other areas. While some regions of the country are saturated with sonographers, others are underserved. Students interested in sonography should consider their willingness to relocate to find a job.

Nebraska Methodist College’s iPad Curriculum

Nebraska Methodist College’s sonography programs utilize an iPad curriculum to prepare students for the field. All coursework, including quizzes, research, clinical documentation and classroom activities, are conducted on iPads. The curriculum includes several apps that help students understand anatomy, create the best two-dimensional images from three-dimensional organs, and draw on and label images.

iPads are an excellent tool for learning, research and administrative tasks, and they are a device that sonographers as well as other healthcare professionals will likely utilize in their daily workplace for organization and continued learning.

The following are example of apps used in NMC’s sonography curriculum:

  • SonoAccess

  • Draw MD

  • Emergency Medicine Ultrasound

  • Echocardiography Atlas

  • IJot

  • Ultrasound Protocols and Image Reference Handbook

  • CARDIO3® Comprehensive Atlas of Echocardiography

For more information on becoming a sonographer, visit Nebraska Methodist College at or contact and admissions representative at 402.354.7200.

Faculty Spotlight: President and CEO Dennis Joslin


Dennis Joslin, PhD, President & CEONebraska Methodist College President and CEO Dennis Joslin recently celebrated his 10th anniversary of leadership at NMC. Joslin has been a part of NMC for a total of 37 years, and he has experienced much change at the college as well as in the healthcare field. Joslin took a moment this week to discuss his passion for healthcare education, his background in nursing and how he likes to spend his time outside the office.

What makes you passionate about Nebraska Methodist College?

Nebraska Methodist College has great people who are committed to making a difference in the lives of our students. We have the opportunity to provide a comprehensive educational experience that results in the transformation of people into well prepared, high quality, healthcare professionals. The culture reflects that NMC is composed of caring and solution-oriented people who are willing to work toward continuous quality improvement in every aspect of our operation.

What is the best part of your job?

The opportunity to interact with outstanding students and great faculty and staff. It is wonderful to be able to facilitate our students’ realization of their dreams to earn their degrees and become the healthcare practitioners they always dreamed of being.  I get to work with incredible faculty and staff who are passionate about their work with students and committed to doing whatever it takes to make sure our students have the best educational experience possible. I am energized when I work with our students and I see and feel the excitement and enthusiasm they bring to campus every day.

What is your background in healthcare, and what was your path to administration at NMC?

I began my career as a registered nurse and practiced in critical care nursing. I had the opportunity to join Methodist School of Nursing as a faculty member with teaching responsibilities in critical care, trauma and neurology. I completed a Master’s of Science Degree in Nursing with emphasis in Education and Curriculum Development. Over the years as a faculty member, I gradually assumed various leadership positions and realized that I enjoyed the administrative aspect of higher education. After a few years in various administrative positions, I decided to earn a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration and Leadership. Various appointments that I held prior to the presidency include department chair, academic dean, vice president for Academic Affairs and executive vice president.  I am completing my 10th year as president and my 37th year with Nebraska Methodist College.

You studied nursing at a time when men in the field were even fewer than they are today. What advice or encouragement do you have to offer men interested in nursing?

I earned my BSN in the mid-1970s at a time when nursing was not a common major for men.  At that time, nationwide, the percentage of men in nursing was less than 5 percent, and today those numbers are still less than 10 percent — overall, a slight gain, but not much of a change from a total numbers perspective. My advice for men who are considering nursing is to “do it!”  The field of nursing is so flexible and provides both men and women a wide range of opportunities. This is especially true for nurses who are willing to earn advanced degrees and expand their knowledge and expertise in advanced clinical practice, education or administration. Today’s society is much more accepting of men in nursing and many of the stereotypes from the 1960s and 1970s are not as prevalent.

What do you do outside of your job at NMC?

I am fortunate to have four grandsons under the age of four and they all live in Omaha. I love spending time with them and watching them grow, learn and develop. I also enjoy boating, waterskiing and camping. When I have time, I enjoy doing small house remodeling projects and have recently tried my hand at stained glass.

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