Around the KU School of Nursing

Graphic of two KU nursing students collaberating.

Nightingale Ceremony ushers in new School of Nursing class

Two nursing students posing outside

With the donning of their new white coats, the presentation of their academic society pins and the recitation of the KU Nursing Oath of Commitment, 126 women and men were officially welcomed to the University of Kansas School of Nursing Class of 2020. Friends, family, peers and faculty gathered on Aug. 17, 2018, in Battenfeld Auditorium on the University of Kansas Medical Center campus to celebrate the annual Nightingale Ceremony, which serves as the traditional start of the students’ nursing education at KU and marks the official beginning of the fall semester for the School of Nursing. Robert Simari, M.D., executive vice chancellor of the University of Kansas Medical Center, welcomed the student nurses and their families and friends to campus, while Jerrihlyn McGee, DNP, RN, CNE, delivered the keynote address highlighting the need for baccalaureate-prepared nurses to be leaders, not only for themselves, but also for their peers and their patients. McGee encouraged the students to become disciplined in their lives, whether it is completing assignments on time or learning to balance schoolwork with other daily responsibilities.

U.S. News & World Report highlights KU School of Nursing programs

Several KU School of Nursing programs were in the top 50 among public universities in the 2019 edition of U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools rankings. The KU School of Nursing master’s degree and Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) programs were among the top five most-improved programs in the rankings for the entire University of Kansas. Nursing climbed from 45th to 32nd and the DNP program rose from 40th to 31st. Nursing-Midwifery ranked at No. 14. The University of Kansas has nine graduate programs ranked in the top 10 and 46 graduate programs ranked in the top 50 among public universities.

KU School of Nursing’s online master’s degree program moves up to No. 18 in latest U.S. News rankings

School of Nursing’s online master’s degree program nudged up one spot to No. 18 in the latest Best Online Master’s in Nursing Program rankings released by U.S. News & World Report. In the latest rankings posted Jan. 9, KU is tied with the University of Missouri-Kansas City, Oregon Health and Science University, Stony Brook University and University of Texas Medical Branch-Galveston. The top three programs overall in the ranking are St. Xavier University, Ohio State University and the Medical University of South Carolina. U.S. News & World Report used five key criteria in creating the list, with student engagement (30 percent) having the greatest influence. The categories include: student engagement; faculty credentials and training; student services and technology; peer reputation; and admissions selectivity. KU began offering online graduate coursework in the late 1990s. Today, coursework for the KU master’s degree program, which is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, is offered entirely online, and completion requires between 37 to 39 credit hours, depending on the emphasis area. There are currently 96 students enrolled in the program, which can be completed in two years of full-time study or three to four years part-time.

KU School of Nursing excels with NCLEX pass rate

Cynthia Teel
Cynthia Teel

School of Nursing spring graduates achieved a 97 percent first-time pass rate on their National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX). The 2018 national average pass rate is 89.55 percent, so this was an achievement worthy of celebration. The NCLEX is a standardized exam that each state board of nursing uses to determine whether or not a candidate is prepared for entry-level nursing practice. This is the highest pass rate the school has achieved since the 1950s.

Two KU School of Nursing faculty receive awards from Midwest Nursing Society

Lauren Erickson and Marge Bott
Lauren Erickson, Marge Bott

Faculty and students from the KU School of Nursing attended the 42nd Annual Midwest Nursing Society Research Conference held in Cleveland, Ohio, in April 2018. Two KU faculty members received special recognition at the conference by the Midwest Nursing Society Research Board of Directors. Lauren Aaronson, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award, while Marge Bott, Ph.D., RN, was honored with the Distinguished Service Award.

KU School of Nursing doctoral student named a Douglas County Health Champion

Melissa Allen Hoffman, a graduate from the KU School of Nursing, was recognized by the Lawrence-Douglas County Health Department as a Health Champion of 2018. Hoffman, a nurse at Lawrence Memorial Hospital, founded a peer support group called Build Your Village of Douglas County for mothers who experience perinatal mood and anxiety disorders. Hoffman also has spearheaded Postpartum Support International of Kansas, which officially became a nonprofit organization, and Hoffman serves as president. The goal is to create resources for women across the state and for agencies to work collaboratively on maternal mental health efforts. During her career, Hoffman has advocated for infant safe sleep practices and mental health screenings and resources. She currently is pursuing a doctorate in nursing practice with a psychiatric and mental health focus at the KU School of Nursing.

Moya Peterson wins a Heroes in Healthcare 2018 award

The editors of Ingram’s magazine have named Moya Peterson, Ph.D., APRN, FNP-BC, clinical associate professor at the University of Kansas School of Nursing, one of their Heroes in Healthcare for 2018. This award recognizes health care providers in the Kansas City area who go above and beyond the call of duty contributing both to their institutions and to the health care industry in general. The award honors Peterson’s work creating and directing the Adults with Down Syndrome Specialty Clinic in the Department of Family Medicine at the University of Kansas Medical Center. With the exception of a Chicago-area clinic that serves only patients in Illinois, Peterson’s clinic is the only clinic in the Midwest for adults with Down syndrome. It’s also the only one created and directed by a nurse practitioner. Peterson, who has a joint appointment in the KU Department of Family Medicine, founded the nurse-run clinic in 2009 in response to a growing need for coordinated primary health care for adults with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes developmental delays and physical abnormalities. Clinics existed for children with the disorder, but very few served adults. Life expectancy for people with Down syndrome has risen sharply, from age 26 in 1951 to age 61 today, but the provision of coordinated care for adults has not kept pace.

Karen Wambach awarded Chancellors Club Teaching Professorship

Karen Wambach
Karen Wambach

Karen Wambach, Ph.D., RN, IBCLC, FILCA, FAAN, a professor in the KU School of Nursing, was awarded a prestigious Chancellors Club Teaching Professorship from the University of Kansas. In her 25 years at the KU School of Nursing, Wambach has taught extensively and across all program levels. Her focus is in lactation research, and many graduate students have come to study at KU because of the opportunity to work with her in the area of breastfeeding and lactation research. She has received worldwide recognition for her teaching and scholarship in this area. Wambach was inducted as a fellow in the American Academy of Nursing in 2015 and as a fellow in the International Lactation Consultant Association in 2012.

KU School of Nursing Student wins Annual Student Leader Award

The University of Kansas Medical Center presented the 20th Annual Student Leader Awards in March 2018. From the School of Nursing, Jeffery John Javier was awarded the Dorothy Knoll Outstanding Student Leadership Award. Javier served as a student leader in multiple roles, both at the KU School of Nursing and the larger KU Medical Center campus. Javier devoted time to mentoring new students and was an orientation assistant on the KU campus in Lawrence. He also served as a nursing ambassador and a formal N3 mentor to the junior class.

Nelda Godfrey named to American Nurses Association Board

Nelda Godfrey, Ph.D., RN, ACNS-BC, FAAN, associate dean of innovative partnerships and practice in the School of Nursing, has been appointed to the Center for Ethics and Human Rights Advisory Board of the American Nurses Association (ANA). This 10-member advisory board makes policy recommendations to the ANA on ethics and human rights issues relevant to nursing practice, education, research and administration. Godfrey was also recently elected to the ethics committee of the American Academy of Nursing.

School of Nursing faculty receive KUMC Alumni Awards

Cara Busenhart
Cara Busenhart
Moya Peterson
Moya Peterson
Noreen Thompson
Noreen Thompson

Three KU School of Nursing faculty were named 2018 KUMC Alumni Award recipients. Cara Busenhart, Ph.D., CNM, APRN, FACNM, was named the Early Career Achievement in Nursing Alumna award. Busenhart is a clinical assistant professor at the KU School of Nursing and program director for advanced practice and nurse-midwifery. Moya Peterson, Ph.D., APRN, FNP-BC, was named the Distinguished Nursing Alumna award winner. Peterson is a clinical associate professor at the KU School of Nursing and director of the Adults with Down Syndrome Specialty Clinic at the University of Kansas Medical Center. Noreen C. Thompson, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, was named Honorary Nursing Alumna. Thompson is a clinical assistant professor at the KU School of Nursing and is a psychiatric nurse specialist at The University of Kansas Health System.

KU School of Nursing student awarded American Psychiatric Nurses Association scholarship

Lori Hart, a graduate nursing student, was one of 30 students named as recipients of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association 2018 Board of Directors Student Scholarships. Each year, undergraduate/pre-licensure and graduate-level nursing students across the nation are invited to either apply for the scholarship or be nominated by a member of their nursing school faculty. Scholarship winners received registration, travel and lodging to attend the APNA 32nd Annual Conference in Columbus, Ohio, as well as a one-year complimentary APNA membership.