Good story: :: Johnson City Press - News ::
Wendy Nehring never thought she would be heading a nursing program.
She knew she wanted to be in the health care field, preferably involved with intellectual and mental developmental disabilities. But now, nearly 30 years after choosing the nursing profession, she has the chance to direct the ever-changing education of nurses as the new dean of East Tennessee State University’s College of Nursing.
With the health care delivery system constantly evolving, with new medical technologies developing and many nurses nearing retirement, there is plenty of opportunity for ETSU to make substantial contributions to this essential profession.
“So we’re really at a crux in the whole field,” Nehring said. “It’s a great opportunity for us. Nursing affords so many opportunities. You can almost do whatever you want to do. With simulators that is certainly going to bring many opportunities for us.”
Simulators are a fairly new aspect of medical training that could include role-playing activities, video games and high-fidelity patient mannequins. These mannequins offer real-life, heart-pounding, stressful medical situations that students must remedy using training received during the course of their studies.
Child birth and cardiac arrest are two such scenarios offered by simulators, and Nehring wants to bring more of them to ETSU’s nursing program.
These types of activities and technologies are becoming more common at universities across the country. And the military is developing technologies to deliver medical care on the battlefield from drones, eliminating the need to endanger the life of a medic. Eventually, this technology will come to the civilian profession and nurses will have to know how to use it.
“The world of simulation is only going to expand,” Nehring said. “We’re hoping that this will trickle down into the universities.”
Grants to pursue simulation technology and other initiatives are becoming available. Nehring hopes to get some of those grants. In fact, she came to ETSU for the breadth of programs the university offers, the faculty’s desire to pursue simulation education and the rural health mission of the school.
“ETSU has a good opportunity to pursue that,” she said.
But as the technologies become available to educators, professors must be available to instruct students on how to use them. Nehring said that in 11 years, 55 percent of nurses currently working will be retired, magnifying a nursing shortage that began about 10 years ago.
Therefore, nurses must be recruited and those students must be taught. The College of Nursing has about 780 students enrolled in undergraduate, graduate and doctoral programs. Fifty-four full-time faculty instruct them.
“We have to encourage students to be involved in lifelong learning and pursue their doctoral programs,” Nehring said. “I think students today, probably in the last five years, they don’t talk about stopping at the baccalaureate degree.”
Nehring did not stop at the bachelor’s degree, herself. She earned her BSN at Illinois Wesleyan University. Her master’s in parent-child nursing came from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. She completed her Ph.D. in nursing science at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She would not have had the drive to go that far had it not been for encouraging mentors.
“Now as dean I hope to provide opportunity for the faculty and staff I work with,” Nehring said of promoting continuing education, adding that communication is important to advancing the skills of nurses.
“It’s going to be so important for the different generations of nursing faculty to get together, talk and try new things,” she said.
Related story: http://www.ultimatenurse.com/forum/f...program-35650/