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Around the KU School of Nursing

Catch-up on news and other updates you may have missed from the KU School of Nursing.

Graphic of two KU nursing students collaberating.

Ignite Medical Resorts partners with KU School of Nursing

Ignite Medical Resorts in Kansas City announced a partnership with the KU School of Nursing that places an advanced practice nurse and faculty member with Ignite as a consultant. Susan Hoffmann, MS, APRN, clinical instructor at the KU School of Nursing, will join Ignite as part of a professional services agreement. Hofmann will assist Ignite with orientation, training and assessment, while providing consultation on evidence-based approaches for care delivery. Her efforts will be focused within the Kansas City area, but she will have the opportunity to influence the Ignite processes and systems nationwide. Hofmann earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the University of Cincinnati and her Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Kansas. She served as a U.S. Army nurse for 12 years, first as a medical/surgical nurse and then for five years in the emergency department. She has taught in an interprofessional clinic within the University of Kansas Health System and has been an American Heart Association educator teaching Basic Life Support (BLS) and Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) for more than 20 years. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in nursing practice at KU.

Faculty member wins teaching award

Qiuhua Shen, Ph.D., APRN, RN, an assistant professor at the KU School of Nursing, was among four faculty members at the University of Kansas Medical Center recognized as winners of the Chancellor’s Distinguished Teaching Awards, selected by a committee of Medical Center faculty and students. The awards recognize a demonstrated teaching ability of a clearly superlative nature. Shen has served on the KU School of Nursing faculty since 2014 and currently is an assistant professor. She has co-taught graduate-level advanced physiology and advanced pathophysiology courses. In 2015, she started teaching the entry-level graduate research course. She also has co-taught doctoral-level quantitative research methods courses.

Becky Christian joins KU School of Nursing faculty

Becky Christian, Ph.D., RN, FNAP, FAAN, joined the KU School of Nursing faculty as a professor and director of the school’s PhD program. Christian received her bachelor’s degree and master’s degree (family-child nursing) from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and doctorate (nursing) from The University of Texas at Austin. Her research is focused on children and adolescents with chronic illness and how families adapt to and manage their child’s chronic condition. Christian also has extensive experience teaching child health nursing, theory development, research methods and measurement, as well as mentoring students in dissertation research and evidence-based practice scholarly projects and translational research. She most recently served as director of the doctor of philosophy in nursing program at the University of Louisville School of Nursing. Christian is a Distinguished Scholar and Fellow in the interprofessional National Academies of Practice and was inducted as a 2020 Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.

Teri Kennedy expands role at KU Medical Center

Teri Kennedy, Ph.D., MSW, LCSW, ACSW, FGSA, FNAP, has been granted a joint appointment within the KU School of Medicine. She will contribute to joint efforts addressing policy and population health issues in the region and supporting interprofessional education and training programs for graduate students in the School of Medicine’s Department of Population Health. Kennedy will also explore opportunities for interprofessional curricular and research collaborations to benefit students and faculty across programs and campuses. Kennedy joined KU Nursing faculty in 2018 as the Ida Johnson Feaster Endowed Professor in Interprofessional Practice and Education. She serves as the associate dean of interprofessional practice, education, policy and research and is nationally known for her work in interprofessional education, sustainability, policy and geriatrics.

KU Medical Center Alumni Association recognizes School of Nursing awardees

The University of Kansas Medical Center honored outstanding KU School of Nursing alumni during Alumni Reunion Weekend in October 2020. The alumni awards are the highest honors the KU Medical Center Alumni Association bestows upon graduates and those who have made outstanding contributions to health care. The 2020 nursing awardees included:

Kesa Herlihy, Ph.D.’17, N’08, RN —Early Career Achievement in Nursing Alumna
Barbara C. Unell — Honorary Nursing Alumna
Lynelle N.B. Pierce, MS, N’81, CCNS, FAAN — Distinguished Nursing Alumna

Students given leadership roles in AUSN

A number of students enrolled in the KU School of Nursing were appointed to leadership roles in the Association of Undergraduate Students in Nursing (AUSN). AUSN represents undergraduate nursing students through collaboration with faculty and administration at the KU School of Nursing. The organization also seeks to promote the well-being and involvement of undergraduate nursing students. The students who were selected for their positions by a vote of their peers include:

  • Benjamin Fiarkoski: President
  • Ryan Flory: Vice President
  • Frankie Skinner: Treasurer
  • Maddie Seibolt: Interprofessional
  • Kelsie Collins: Events
  • Emma Fear: Salina Representative
  • Blake Harris: Salina Representative
  • Elise Couse: Senator
  • Averi Wilson: Senator

Eighth community college joins nursing partnership program

The KU School of Nursing welcomed Cloud County Community College to the Community College Nursing Partnership, the eighth community college in the state to sign on. The Community College Nursing Partnership allows students to enroll in both community college and the KU School of Nursing to receive both an Associate Degree in Nursing (ADN) and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN). ace-to-face courses with this new partner will be completed on CCCC’s main campus in Concordia, Kansas, a community 50 miles north of Salina. As with the other partners, classes from the University of Kansas School of Nursing will be offered online, allowing students to remain in their home communities for the extent of their enrollment and practice clinical skills in nearby medical centers.

In Their Own Words

A number of longtime KU school of nursing faculty members retired in 2020. Our leadership, faculty, staff and students are grateful for all of their contributions during their time at the school. We caught up with three of our recent retirees to ask them about their careers and their lives since retirement.

Kathy Fletcher, Ph.D., RN
Clinical Professor

Why did you decide on a career in nursing?

As a young child I thought I wanted to be a teacher because I had many teachers in my family. On a trip with a friend I sat beside a young woman who was in nursing school. She talked about how nurses were caregivers, teachers, counselors and advocates for people who can’t advocate for themselves. I was star struck and said to myself that is what I want to be.

Photo of Kathy Fletcher.
Kathy Fletcher

What would you say was your biggest accomplishment during your nursing career?

My biggest accomplishment was working with ― and in some cases leading the faculty ― to design the innovative, concept-based curriculum and the competency-based clinical.

What do you think changed the most in the field of nursing during your time in the field?

Nursing has become a technologically infused, scientific-based discipline. Today we base our nursing interventions on science. We ask if our interventions are really helping our patients. Some actions I once did as a nurse have now proven to be ineffective. For example, many of the IVs that I administered were all gravity based. We would never think of doing that today. All of our IVs are on pumps for accurate administration.

What do you miss the most about being part of the KU School of Nursing?

I miss the collegiality. We were all family. I also miss the students. They kept me learning because they stimulated me with their questions.

What have you spent your time doing since retirement began?

Because of COVID pandemic, I have become a teacher to my six grandchildren. During the time where they had on-line learning, I was the one that made sure they got onto their zoom sessions and helped them with hard assignments. I have had to relearn many language, social studies and math concepts that I had forgotten. I have also spent more time with my mother who moved from Lincoln, Nebraska, to Kansas City. We have become even closer, and she has been able to join in on my family activities.

David Martin, MN, RN
Director of the RN–to–BSN and Partnership Programs

Why did you originally decide on a career in nursing?

I made the decision to become a nurse in college. I was enrolled as a math maajor. But I got to know a group of male nurses while there, and they shared their experiences with me, which I found fascinating. It took a year to complete the prerequisites and complete my economics degree. I applied to the nursing school at Pittsburg State University in Kansas and was accepted. Two years later I graduated and started in an ICU right out of college.

When you look back at your career, do you have an experience that stands out more than any other?

There are several, most of them with patients when I was working in the ICU and in the medical unit. Many of them were very serious, but many are also humorous.

Photo of David Martin with his wife and grandbaby.
David Martin

What do you think changed the most in the field of nursing during your career?

Definitely the technology. At the beginning of my career, we didn’t have computers to collect, retrieve and store data. The other thing is the advancement of nursing and medical science. What we did 45 years ago has been mostly replaced by our knowledge of health, science and caring in today’s world.

What have you been doing since retirement?

My wife and I had planned to travel, but obviously that has been put on hold due to the pandemic. Instead I have focused on projects around the house. I’m also spending a lot of time on our farms in southeast Kansas, where I’ve worked on fence building, bush clearing, mowing and cutting firewood.

Karen Wambach, Ph.D., RN, IBCLC, FILCA, FAAN
Director of the Ph.D. program

Why did you decide on a career in nursing?

Many people choose nursing because of family role models or personal health experiences in which nurses were caregivers and influenced them profoundly. That wasn’t the case with me. I married very young while still a senior in high school. My high school counselor, who was also a mentor to me in my church, urged me to continue my education and encouraged me to consider the health professions. My nursing education at the University of Minnesota was excellent. A nursing instructor there was a great influence on me, and I decided I wanted to go into obstetrical nursing and to teach in nursing at some time in the future.

Photo of Karen Wambach.
Karen Wambach

What would you say was your biggest accomplishment during your nursing career?

It is difficult to single out the biggest accomplishment of my 46-year nursing career! I believe advancing my training and education from LPN to the Ph.D. in nursing was the most profound accomplishment. Following that, I believe it was the development of my research program in breastfeeding/lactation and my teaching leadership and directorship of the Ph.D. program.

What do you think has changed the most in the field of nursing during your time at the school?

For clinical nursing practice, I believe the single biggest change has been the use of research evidence to base clinical nursing practice ―regardless of the setting of care ― at the bedside to advanced practice nursing. In nursing education, I believe the biggest changes have been the broad development and use of technology in educational approaches, allowing pre-licensure and professional nurses to advance their education and training.

What have you been doing since retiring?

I have continued to work with two Ph.D. students in finishing their dissertations, and I have spent considerable time in finishing the final report and preparing manuscripts for my NICHD-funded R21 research (momHealth). But for fun, last fall we left Missouri in our motor home for a road trip to the southwestern United States. The beauty of the mountains and desert are breath taking and we were so thankful to experience it!

KU School of Nursing

University of Kansas Medical Center
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Kansas City, KS 66160