The Excited "Pioneers": First Class of DNP graduates at UF are shown before their "hooding" at Commencement.
Back Row L-R Stefanie Coffey, Leigh Baker, Tam Spitzer Johnson, Jane Houston, Berkely Olvera,
Michele Taylor-Caldwell, Karen Theoktisto, Karin Prussak, Melanie Barriger-Wilson, Carolyn Johnson
First Row L-R Megan Weigel Barrett, Michele Vicari-Christensen, Edith Barza Alido, JanMarie Fisher-Griffis
By Tracy Brown Wright, Jessica Metzger contributed to this article
When it comes to UF College of Nursing's first class of Doctor of Nursing
Practice (DNP) graduates, their backgrounds and expertise are as varied as
they come. Among them are a nurse midwife interested in the use of water
in birth and labor; an acute care nurse practitioner studying outcomes of an
outpatient atrial fibrillation clinic; and a pediatric nurse practitioner focusing
on support groups for obese children. But all 14 graduates shared a common
purpose: contributing to knowledge in their profession and advancing standards
of care for patients.
continued on page 2
Marks a Milestone for the
College of Nursing 6
Alumna of the Year Ann
Lurie Inspires Many with
Students Travel to Yucatan
During Spring Break 11
Gator Nurses Party
Like it's 1984! 13
F o UNIVERSITY of
College of Nursing
"pioneers" this spring as they became the first UF
graduating class of DNP students.
"The DNP degree is essentially doctoral educa-
tion for advanced nursing practice," said Karen Miles, EdD,
RN, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs at the UF
College of Nursing. "The focus of the program, which began in
2006 and was one of Florida's first, is on innovative and evidence-
based practice," Miles said.
The DNP's focus on evidence-based practice involves mak-
ing treatment decisions based on the latest clinical research, said
Stefanie Coffey, a nurse practitioner and one of the new graduates
of the program.
"Most of us didn't have sufficient evidence-based back-
ground to be an expert in our field," Coffey said. "This program
helped us broaden our area. We can contribute more to our
The degree was a national initiative led by the American
Association of Colleges of Nursing that called for a transfor-
national change in the education of professional nurses who
practice at the most advanced level of nursing. Universities have
traditionally offered master's degrees in nursing to prepare nurses
for advanced practice.
Megan Weigel Barrett, a nurse practitioner and another new
graduate, said the demand for the degree came from nurse practi-
tioners who wanted more clinical knowledge.
"We wanted to be much better prepared for the complexity of
the health-care system, informatics and patients, nursing research
and political advocacy, such as advocating for patients' needs and
health-care system changes," Weigel Barrett said.
A Level Playing Field...
Karen Theoktisto, a pediatric nurse practitioner and graduate,
also recognized that the DNP degree would facilitate a level play-
ing field with other health care professionals.
"We work more and more in interdisciplinary teams where all
of my counterparts-physicians, audiologists, physical therapists,
pharmacists, to name a few-have doctorates," Theoktisto said.
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THE GATOR NURSE
"I absolutely believe this degree will make a difference for patient care
and for the nursing profession. If nursing wants to be a full partner
on the health care team with other professions, then those of us at
the highest level of practice should hold a doctorate.
Karen Theoktisto, DNP, ARNP
A member of the first class of DNP graduates
"It only makes sense for advanced practice nurses to have doc-
toral level education as well."
As a practice doctorate, the DNP has a clear distinction
from traditional research based doctorates, or PhDs. In fact,
Melanie Barriger Wilson, an adult nurse practitioner working in
cosmetic and laser surgery, had always sought more education
but didn't want to focus primarily on research, as the PhD does.
The DNP was a natural fit.
"The DNP program focused on providing us with more
critical leadership skills to advance our practice, as well as ways
to use research in the clinical setting to improve quality out-
comes," Wilson said.
In addition, a strong focus on health care policy, a closer
scrutiny of professional ethics and an increased emphasis
on nursing informatics enriched the students' experiences,
"One area I learned a lot more about was informatics, which
I think will be extremely valuable and relevant in our practices,"
Theoktisto said. "This absolutely will impact health care in the
future and already has-x-rays, patients' records, even lab results
are all going digital. Nurses have to be at the forefront of this
technology and new knowledge."
Another valuable asset was interacting with her fellow
students who came from such diverse backgrounds, said Jane
Houston, a nurse midwife working at a group practice in
"They were extremely remarkable people with such differ-
ent backgrounds and perspectives. I think that was one of my
favorite parts of the program. I enjoyed discussing issues with
those practicing in different areas of health care."
Applying their Knowledge
As part of the program, students completed a final applied
clinical practice project. Barriger Wilson assessed whether there
was patient demand for a new skin treatment. Coffey replicated
in Florida a Kentucky study investigating how much time it took
nurse practitioners to get physicians to sign off on controlled
substances. Houston investigated the use of water in labors and
births. Weigel Barrett conducted a descriptive study on multiple
sclerosis, doing her own original research. Theoktisto investi-
gated whether peer-support groups for obese children would
impact weight and self-esteem.
Theoktisto can attest to the benefits of a DNP degree.
She believes it helped her obtain her new position as Pediatric
Nurse Practitioner at Shands Eastside Community Practice in
Gainesville. Theoktisto is the first full-time pediatric specialist
at the clinic.
continued on page 4
by the NUMBERS
a20 5 the year that the Doctor of Nursing
2ui 5 Practice (DNP) will be recommended for all
new advanced practice nurses as entry level to practice.
SDNP programs are currently enrolling students at
92 schools of nursing nationwide, and an additional
102 DNP programs are in the planning stages.
number of DNP programs in Florida; 2 number
of those programs offering direct entry BSN to DNP
18 the number of students who were enrolled in the
UF DNP program in Fall 2006
24 the number who will be enrolled in the DNP
1 program in Fall 2009. Of that number, 44 will
comprise the first class of BSN to DNP students.
SUMMER 2009 3
It's Official: DNP graduate Berkley Olvera, DNP, ARNP, is hooded by faculty mentor Dr. Lori Thomas assisted by Executive Associate Dean
Dr. Dee Williams.
practice nurses, at
the doctoral level,
will be prepared to
Karen Miles, EdD, RN,
Associate Dean for Academic
and Student Affairs,
UF College of Nursing.
"I don't think I would have gotten the
position without my degree," Theoktisto said.
"So I absolutely believe this degree will make
a difference for patient care and for the nurs-
ing profession. If nursing wants to be a full
partner on the health care team with other
professions, then those of us at the highest
level of practice should hold a doctorate. It
makes a big difference."
Beyond the tangible benefits, Houston
said the program really brought all the stu-
"The students in the program will be
friends for life," Houston said. "It's a lot of
hard work, but it's really well worth it in the
Weigel Barrett said she got more out of
the program than she expected.
"I feel like I am prepared to accept a
large number of challenges like financial
problems, quality management, and elec-
tronic management. I feel much more capa-
ble and prepared for all levels of problems
rather than just basic, direct patient care,"
Weigel Barrett said.
The Adventure is Only Beginning...
Beginning in Fall 2009, the BSN to DNP
program will begin, which will allow those with
a bachelor's degree in nursing to enter directly
into the DNP program. The Postmaster's
DNP option will continue to be offered.
For the fall semester, 59 students will enter
the DNP program. These include 44 students
in the BSN to DNP program.
Miles said the new education programs,
like the DNP program, are not deterring
people from pursuing careers in nursing, but
rather increasing interest.
"There are so many ways that the DNP
can impact education and practice. The DNP
can help to prepare future faculty members,
who are needed desperately in light of our
growing faculty shortage. Nursing is a vital
part of our growing and changing health care
system, and highly educated advanced practice
nurses, at the doctoral level, will be prepared to
improve practice, educate new clinicians, and
elevate our profession," Dr. Miles said.
For more information on the Doctor of
Nursing Practice (DNP) degree at UF, visit
our Web site at http://www.nursing.ufl.edul
4 THE GATOR NURSE
Commencement Ceremony affirms
"why we do what we do"
Even after almost 14 years as Dean of the College of
Nursing, I never cease to be amazed at the incredible
accomplishments and passion of our students, alumni and
faculty members. Commencement at the College of Nursing
is such a special time of year for all of us in the College.
It simply affirms "why we do what we do." We celebrate
the passage of our baccalaureate and graduate students
through their programs and the achievement of earning
their first (or second, third or even fourth!) degree from
our College. But beyond commencement, we celebrate
their futures and the impact they will have on nursing and
nary, she was given a standing ovation
when accepting her award at the College
ceremony. I was also very honored to
accompany her when she received her
honorary doctorate in public service from
UF at the University's Advanced Degree
It is quite clear that Ms. Lurie's back-
KATHLEEN ANN LONG
ground in nursing and health care has PHD,RN,FAAN
guided her philanthropy, which focuses
on empowering communities and insuring real world
This year's commence-
ment ceremony was par-
ticularly significant because
we recognized some impor-
tant milestones and had the
pleasure of welcoming dis-
tinguished special guests.
We conferred degrees on
our very first graduating
class of Doctor of Nursing
Practice (DNP) students.
These 14 new graduates
are now prepared to practice
I know that each new baccalaureate
graduate, whose hand I shake at
commencement, is well prepared to
improve nursing care and enhance our
profession. Our master's and doctoral
degree graduates will lead in changing
the practice of nursing for the better.
at the highest level in their
specialized areas. It was truly inspiring for us to learn about
their DNP projects that spanned a broad array of interven-
tions to improve patient care.
UF's president, Dr. Bernie Machen, was able to attend
our commencement ceremony this year, and it was very
meaningful for our graduates and their families to have
him welcome and congratulate those receiving nursing
degrees. One of the most remarkable parts of our com-
mencement ceremony was recognizing our Alumna of the
Year, Ms. Ann Lurie, who received her BSN in 1966 from
our College. Ms. Lurie, who currently resides in Chicago,
has since gone on to make an indelible mark on global
health care through her community-based philanthropic
work. (You can read more about Ms. Lurie on page 8). Ms.
Lurie's biography and accomplishments are so extraordi-
results. One of her most
important projects has
been the establishment
of an HIV-AIDS clinic in
Kenya that provides health
care and education to
100,000 Maasai living in
a very rural area. In 2002
the clinic began as one
Airstream trailer towed
by a used Land Cruiser. In
the past six years, African
Infectious Diseases (AID)
Village Clinics has continued its mobile outreach and now
includes a fixed-base compound with a number of varied
services for patients.
In a period of budget cuts and program reductions, some
may think that the job of dean is very difficult. However,
at the UF College of Nursing it continues to also be very
rewarding. I know that each new baccalaureate graduate,
whose hand I shake at commencement, is well prepared
to improve nursing care and enhance our profession. Our
master and doctoral degree graduates will lead in chang-
ing the practice of nursing for the better. Every day, my
experiences with our alumni and faculty remind me that
the UF College of Nursing has been and continues to be a
remarkable institution precisely because of our continuing
tradition of preparing professional nurses who truly Care,
Lead and Inspire.
SUMMER 2009 5
Commencement Ceremony a Day of Milestones and Inspiration
The 2009 College of Nursing Commencement Ceremony graduated one of its
largest groups of students this spring, including a milestone for the College: the
first class of Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students.
Fourteen DNP graduates were hooded and walked across the stage with their
faculty mentor. President Bernie Machen was in attendance and able to shake all the
graduates' hands as their degrees were announced. The ceremony took place May 1,
2009 at the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
An especially inspiring moment came when the College awarded its 2009
Alumna of the Year award to Ms. Ann Lurie (BSN 1966). Ms. Lurie has committed
herself personally to philanthropy focused on improving the health, education and
welfare of individuals and communities across the nation and the world. In addition,
Ms. Lurie received an honorary doctorate of public service from the University of
Florida at the Advanced Degree Ceremony. (For more on Ms. Lurie, see page 8).
At the Curtis M. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts, bachelor's, master's
and doctoral degree graduates walked across the stage to enter the next stage of their
A number of other retired and emeritus faculty members, as well as friends of the
College were also in the audience.
The College honored outstanding students with College of Nursing Excellence
Awards, chosen by faculty members and based on students' performance in the care
of particular patient populations as well as research. In addition, awards were given
by Sigma Theta Tau, Alpha Theta Chapter, and the class of 2009. The Academic
Excellence awards were given to the top scholars from the Generic, Accelerated and
RN to BSN tracks, as well as the MSN, DNP and PhD programs.
Students from the graduating class gave out the Outstanding Faculty Award to
Associate Professor Jo Snider.
In addition, special recognition at the ceremony was given to the VA-UF Nursing
Academy partnership, a national VA initiative addressing the nursing shortage.
Graduating students who had completed the VALOR (VA Learning Opportunities
Residency) program were given special red, white and blue cords to wear with their
caps and gowns.
COLLGE O NURINGI
SPRIN COMENCEMNT 0
201 Bahlo*gScec in usiggadae
(incue aceeae dere suents)
10J atro Scinei usn rdae
Is eh enNrigSiec rdae
j5Dcoro urigPrie gauae
6 THE GATOR NURSE
College of Nursing Excellence Awards
Audrey Clark Quarles Award for Clinical Excellence
in Maternal-Newborn Nursing:
Jennet M. Wilson Award for Academic Excellence
in Maternal-Newborn Nursing:
Excellence in Pediatric Nursing:
Virgie Pafford Award for Excellence in Community
Catherine Bell Award for Excellence in Psychiatric
Theresa Lesniak and Nicole Ritsi
Excellence in Community Service Award:
Excellence in Research Award:
Dr. Mary Elizabeth Hilliard Midwifery Award for
Leadership and Scholarship in Nurse Midwifery:
Excellence in Medical-Surgical Nursing Award:
The Lois Knowles Award for Excellence in
Gerontological Nursing Award:
Uloma Onubogu and Judy Campbell
Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society
Excellence in Clinical Practice Awards
BSN Generic: Rebecca Schwarz
BSN-Accelerated: Lindsey Boegehold
MSN: Andrea Wrassmann
Excellence in Doctoral Studies Awards:
Kimberly Cox (PhD) and Megan Weigel Barrett
Outstanding Faculty Award recipient
(voted by Class of 2009):
Dr. Jo Snider
Nursing College Council Recognition Award:
UFNSA Recognition Award:
Outstanding Senior Student:
Outstanding Senior Mentors:
Courtney Paskiett and Brittany Hamachek
Academic Excellence Awards
BSN Generic Track: Lisa Frier
BSN Accelerated Track: Katherine Baley
RN to BSN: Erin Boyd
MSN: Callie Lenfest
DNP: Megan Weigel Barrett
PhD: Kimberly Cox
SUMMER 2009 7
Standing Ovation Greets Ann Lurie as
"Nurses can do anything."
With these simple words, Ms. Ann Lurie
accepted the award as the 2009 UF College of
Nursing Alumna of the Year. And what followed
was one of the greatest receptions for any alum-
nus given this honor: a standing ovation from
those in attendance at the College of Nursing
Ms. Lurie, a 1966 BSN graduate, has not
only achieved an exemplary career in which public
service has been emphasized, she has continued
to commit herself personally as a philanthropist
whose focus on improving the health, education
and welfare of people has stretched from communi-
ties across the nation to those across the globe. In
addition, the University of Florida lauded her work
with an honorary doctorate of public service at the
Advanced Degree Ceremony.
Ms Lurie is originally from Florida and cur-
rently resides in Chicago where she is president of Lurie
Investments; president and treasurer of the Ann and Robert H.
Lurie Foundation; and president of Africa Infectious Disease
(AID) Village Clinics, Inc., a US-based charity. Following the
death of her husband, Robert H. Lurie in 1990, she devoted
herself to raising their six children while distinguishing herself
as a committed and knowledgeable benefactor to a number of
Before starting a family, Ms. Lurie worked in public health
and pediatric intensive care nursing in Florida and at Children's
Memorial Hospital in Chicago.
"Ms. Lurie's approach to meaningful and results-oriented
philanthropy mirrors many of the values we hope to instill in
our nursing graduates," said Dean Kathleen Ann Long. "She
was a great inspiration to all those attending our commence-
Ms. Lurie has a deep commitment to global philanthropy
including support of the UK charity, Riders for Health, which
creates and sustains health care delivery systems in Africa. She
founded and personally oversees the operation of AID Village
Clinics, a communicable disease initiative offering comprehen-
sive medical clinics for a population of 100,000 Maasai in rural
In cooperation with Save the Children and ONE Love
Africa, she funded construction of 30 rural schools in Ethiopia.
She supports HIV/AIDS initiatives on the Burma/Chinese bor-
der and Rwanda.
continued on page 9
8 THE GATOR NURSE
Record Number of Students
Participate in College's
A record number of graduating baccalaureate stu-
dents took part in a newly honored tradition at the
UF College of Nursing. Hosted by the Nursing
Alumni Council, the pinning ceremony was held on cam-
pus at the historic University Auditorium. One hundred
and forty-five graduating students from the BSN, RN to
BSN and accelerated BSN nursing programs were pre-
sented with their College of Nursing pins to signify their
passage from student to alumnus and professional nurse.
The nursing pin is a tradition that dates back to 1880
when Florence Nightingale chose the Maltese cross as the
badge to be worn by the first graduating students at her
school of nursing. As the nursing profession developed,
each school of nursing developed a pin unique to their Gradu
school for presentation to the graduating students. Nursin
The UF College of Nursing pinning ceremony signifies the her wi
ending of the graduate's time as a student embarking on a career as a
professional nurse and alumnus of the University of Florida.
Bonnie Pepper, UF College of Nursing Alumni Council
President and Dean Kathleen Ann Long welcomed the students
and spoke of the importance and significance of the event. The
ceremony continued with the recognition of the students and
later the pin presentations, introduced by Dr. Karen E. Miles, Associate Dean of
Academic and Student Affairs. The students, pinned by members of the alumni council,
donned their pins attached to orange and blue ribbons.
Florida Hospital, a sponsor of the College of Nursing, gave an outstanding student
award to BSN graduate Nicole Ritsi. In addition, District 10 of the Florida Nurses
Association, which represents the Gainesville and surrounding areas, donated beautiful
white roses to be given to each student.
Jillian Krickovich, graduating senior and President of the UF Nursing Student
Association, spoke on behalf of the student body about the significance of the pinning
and Casey Vera, graduating senior and President of the Nursing College Council, led the
students in the Pledge for Professional Nursing, a revised form of the original Florence
eating BSN student Iicole Ritsi beams as UF
g Alumni Council member Cleo Stern pins
th the official UF College of Nursing pin.
University of Florida
and communicates our
commitment to the
highest standards of
Alumna of the Year continued
In concert with her commitment to medical research and
child related health issues, Ms. Lurie endowed the Robert H.
Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
and committed the lead funding for the Robert H. Lurie Medical
Research Center of Northwestern University. At Children's
Memorial Hospital, she endowed a chair in Cancer Cell Biology;
donated $1.3 million to fund the Adolescent Medicine Trials
Network for HIV/AIDS research; and in 2007, pledged $100 mil-
lion to construct the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital
of Chicago at Northwestern University.
In tribute to her mother, also a nurse, Ms. Lurie endowed the
Marion Elizabeth Blue Professorship in Children and Families in
the School of Social Work at Northwestern.
"Ms. Lurie's gifts have clearly had a major impact on improv-
ing health professions education and research, as well as directly
improving health care at the grassroots level for some of the needi-
est and most vulnerable populations. The UF College of Nursing
is extremely proud to count her as a Gator Nurse alumna whose
compassion and leadership inspires others around the world,"
Dean Long said.
SUMMER 2009 9
College Bids Farewell to Longtime Staff Members
The College of Nursing bid a sad farewell
to two longtime staff members who have been
dedicated and beloved members of the College.
Jean Anderson and Sammie Brooks retired g L
from the University of Florida with more than iI
50 years of service between them.
Jean Anderson served as Senior Clerk and I
has been with the College of Nursing for 25
years and with UF for more than 30 years.
Sammie Brooks was a Program Assistant who
had been with the College for 10 years. Both
were indispensable parts of the College and will
be greatly missed.
Jeanr Arndetr .right, i ,ith hu'-3ran, ulch
Dean tLIrn,7 arid .inine? E.LiOl. :
accomplishments in brief
Associate Professor Bryan Weber, Associate Professor Saun-Joo
"Sunny" Yoon, and Clinical Assistant Professor David Derrico
collaborated on a manuscript about Web-based health information
featured in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.
Assistant Professor Donna Neff was recently appointed as the Co-Chair
of the VANA Advisory Board. The June 2009 Health. 1- pi. i-.lh. ... ii.
featured an article by Dr. Donna Neff in conjunction with others titled
"Nursing: Key to Patient Satisfaction." Dr. Neff also presented her work
regarding "Internationally Educated Nurses in Florida: Practice and
Patient Outcomes" at the February 2009 SNRS conference.
Dr. Sunny Yoon was selected to receive a University of Florida
Research Foundation (UFRF) Professorship award. The term of her
award is 2009-2011. Dr. Yoon was honored by the McNair Scholars
Program with a plaque recognizing her commitment to the McNair
Program and for serving as a Council member.
Assistant Professor and Department Chair Susan Schaffer and Dr.
Yoon, along with colleague Immo Zadezensky, collaboratively pub-
lished "A Review of Smoking Cessation: Potentially Risky Effects on
Prescribed Medications" in the Journal of Clinical Nursing.
Assistant Professor Lori Thomas had an article published in the
May 2009 issue of Applied Nursing Research on "Effective Dyspnea
Management Strategies Identified by Elders with End-stage Chronic
Obstructive Pulmonary Disease."
Assistant Professor Carmen Rodriguez and the University of Florida
College of Nursing were selected as the recipient of the 2008 NIOSH
National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA) Partnering Award
for participation in the safe patient handling and movement curricu-
lum in schools.
Endowed Professor Beverly Roberts has been selected as an
International Career Advisor by Sigma Theta Tau International. Also
under Dr. Roberts' supervision, Ms. Crystal Bennett, a PhD student,
was awarded a UWF SCAC Faculty grant.
Clinical Assistant Professor Cindi Figueroa-Hass's work on
"Psychological Issues Associated with Breast Augmentation" was pub-
lished in the June 2009 edition of Mental Health Nursing.
Clinical Assistant Professor Thomas Bedard, VANA faculty mem-
ber, is an invited member of the VA Central Office Interdisciplinary
Workgroup for the development of simulation learning labs in the VA.
Clinical Assistant Professor Barbara Little, recently appointed as co-
chair of American Community Health Nurse Educator's (ACHNE)
Innovative Teaching Task Force and Education Committee, pre-
sented the plenary session at ACHNE's national meeting. Dr. Little
also presented four regional workshops on Articulating Public Health
Nursing Practice: The Intervention Wheel around the state in part-
nership with the Florida Public Health Nurses Association.
Department Chair and Professor Jennifer Elder recently had an
article published in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing. The article was
titled "Introduction to the Special Series on Child and Adolescent
Mental Health." Dr. Elder also collaborated with a former PhD stu-
dent, Melissa Dodd Inglese, to produce another article, "Caring for
Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder: Part I," for the February
2009 issue of Journal of Pediatric Nursing. In addition, Dr. Elder's
article, "The Gluten-Free, Casein-Free Diet In Autism: An Overview
with Clinical Implications," was published in the December 2008
issue of Nutrition in Clinical Practice.
Clinical Assistant Professor Susan Donaldson and Dr. Elder
had their article "The Development of a Web-based Platform for
Fathers of Children with Autism" published online by Learning
Technology. Donaldson and Dr. Elder also presented two posters at
the International Meeting for Autism Research in Chicago, along
with three undergraduate students, Michele Seranno, Christina Palau,
and Jeffrey Walker. Dr. Elder and Dr. Donaldson are investigators
on a newly funded intramural grant ($78,000) from UF's Center for
Translational Science Institute (CTSI).
Professor Bonnie Carlin had her article "Using Whiteboards: Fixed
Identities" published in American . '\.. ,n November 2008.
Assistant Professor Sandra Citty, VANA faculty member, presented
at the Florida Magnet Nursing Research Conference held in Orlando
Florida. The title of the presentation was "Embedded Clinical Nursing
Faculty: Process and Outcomes from an Innovative Academic Clinical
10 THE GATOR NURSE
Spending Spring Break in the *
by Lindsey Stevens
Jessica Metzger contributed to this article
or many college students, spring break may be
spent lying on the beach, shopping, spending time
with friends or getting away to a tropical destina- 1
tion. Although seven students in the College of Nursing
did travel to a tropical destination, lying on the beach
was not on the itinerary.
These students spent their break at the Universidad
Autonoma de Yucatan (UADY) in Merida. Associate
Professor Sharleen Simpson, PhD, ARNP accompanied ,
students on the trip to the Yucatan as part of an exchange ,
partnership with the UADY. This is the third year that
UF nursing students have traveled to the Mexican state
Although the students may expect a different way of
life than their own, Dr. Simpson noted that students are
always startled when they observe first-hand how people of
the Yucatan culture live and how resourceful they are.
"I think it's really important for them to see how peo-
ple elsewhere are coping," she said. "One of the things we
emphasized is how much they're able to do with so little."
So what was a typical day like for these students?
"Our day was always jam-packed," said Bryce Crouch,
now a senior BSN student. "We woke up at 6:30 a.m. and were
not in bed until midnight. But it was worth it. We were exhaust-
ed, but it didn't make
a difference. We'd start
our day off working with
Ss the community, doing
Health assessments. We
traveled to Succopco
a (a neighboring town)
with the other students
from the area to measure
A height and weight and
to really work with stu-
dents in the classroom.
Students interviewing mothers in the Succopco village Then we were able to
about their children's diets for a nutrition survey. work hands-on with the
Dr. Simpson was glad the students were able to experience
more aspects of the nursing role as Crouch described.
The students recalled a few moments that would leave an
"The most eye-opening moment for me was when we
went to the ER of the local hospital," said now senior BSN
student Courtney Youngs. "We're so used to the ER in the
L I it', . -- ,|'".
h SuNf4' r 'A\ C) a "-"
I S, 14
p rv^j .1- I,.. ."
U -l -l- 1Ar,- Catc i2c c:.r0
.. L -, *_ '
1 ,4 L
Students kept journals of their trip. Pictured are UF nursing students in
front of a clinic in Sucopo, Tizimin in the Yucatan.
United States, where there are individual rooms, it's quiet and
air-conditioned, and all of the patients' charts are confidential.
In contrast, their ER was overflowing. People were lined up
on stretchers in the hallways. Some of them didn't even have
blankets, and if they did, they were dirty or torn. The patient
charts were literally taped to the wall above them. There were
no individual rooms or air conditioning. There were needles
and syringes on the counter tops, and only the most critical
patients had IV's."
Crouch couldn't believe the number of patients the nurses
"I thought it was interesting that the nurses there would
see literally hundreds of patients a day," she said. "Patients
come in the morning and pick a number, and if you got there
at 5:30 a.m. before they opened, and you didn't get a number,
it didn't matter how sick your child was, you would not see a
doctor that day."
Although the trip is in their past, the knowledge gained will
help them as future nurses.
"I think there is a drastically different culture in Mexico, and
it was really great to see those differences," Crouch said. "You
gain experience you're not going to get in the classroom or from
Help Us Honor a
Legacy of Leadership in
Research and Education
Dr. Lois Malasanos, the third
dean of the UF College of Nursing,
made innumerable contributions to
both to our college and the nurs-
ing profession in Florida, nationally
and internationally. She was a lead-
er in academic nursing with a rich
background in nursing science and
practice. Dr. Malasanos oversaw the
College's strengthening of its research
and graduate programs, and in 1984,
she established the state's first PhD
program in nursing. At the time, doc-
toral programs were still very new,
and there were only 24 existing pro-
grams in the country. Many of the
state's most significant nursing lead-
ers are graduates of UF's program.
Help us continue to honor Dr.
Lois Malasanos Fellowship Fund,which
supports graduate students pursuing
their degrees. For more information,
contact Anna Harper at 352-273-6360
UF COLLEGE OF NURSING HONORS ITS HERITAGE AT
Malasanos Lectureship and Research Day
The University of Florida College of Nursing's Seventh Annual Research Day,
held recently in conjunction with its Distinguished Malasanos Lectureship,
featured more than 50 faculty, student and clinical practitioner poster presentations
in areas such as adult, women's and children's health, evidence-based practice and
The Malasanos Lectureship featured keynote speaker Dorothy Brooten, a pro-
fessor of nursing at Florida International University, College of Nursing & Health
Sciences. With funding from the NIH for more than 25 years. Dr. Brooten's research
over the past 23 years focuses on developing, testing, refining, and modifying the
Quality Cost Model of Advanced Practice
Nursing Transitional Care. This research
includes examination of patient problems
that require more advanced practice nurse
time and contacts and documents the
effects of advanced practice nursing care
on patient outcomes.
Top honors for graduate research
went to master's degree student Toni
Glover, MA, RN, for her poster "Gender
Differences in Side Effects of Morphine
Top honors for undergraduate research
went to graduating senior Jillian Krickovich
for her poster "Accounts of the "Disney (L-R) Associate Professor Sunny Yoon, Dean Kal
Effect" in Autistic Children as Described on Long, Keynote speaker Dorothy Brooten and Dr.
the Internet and in Other Public Media." Malasanos, daughter of the late Dr. Lois Malasa
Her faculty mentors were Sharleen third dean of the College.
Simpson, PhD, ARNP and Jennifer Elder,
PhD, RN, FAAN.
Top honors for community/clini-
cal research went to Peggy Guin, PhD,
ARNP, for her poster "Goodbye UTI: .- -__
Nursing Innovations for Reducing
Catheter Associated UTIs." Guin, from L l
Shands at UF, also collaborated on the ;':i
poster with Kathleen Cocking, MSN, a~~
RN; Kathy Gamble, MN, ARNP; Kelly
Jacobitz, BSN, RN, and Rose Rivers, Sydney VandeVeer (R) and now BSN
PhD, RN. graduates, are shown next to their honored rese
The Malasanos Distinguished
Lectureship brings distinguished speakers
to the university every two years to discuss a wide variety of health topics of interest
to clinicians, patients and the public. The Malasanos Distinguished Lectureship was
endowed in 1992 in honor of John Malasanos, husband of former College of Nursing
Dean Lois Malasanos.
12 THE GATOR NURSE
PAST FACULTY MEMBERS
n May, the College held its annual Heritage Faculty Luncheon in the
Dean's Conference Room at the College of Nursing in Gainesville. The
luncheon welcomes back former faculty members providing a forum for
them to catch up with old friends and learn about the College's latest news.
Dean Long was happy to welcome old friends as well as recently retired
faculty members who gathered together. Many of those who attended are
pictured here: Photos clockwise from top (L-R) Dr. Joanne Richard, Linda
Sigsby, Dr. David Williams, and Ann Smith. Right: (L) Dr. Gene Anderson
and Dr. Betty Hilliard. Below: (L-R) Virgie Pafford, Development Officer
Anna Harper, Dr. Karolyn Godbey, Program Assistant Yancy Jones, former
professor Charlotte Spellacy and Dean Kathleen Long
SUMMER 2009 13
Orlando Gator Nurses Reconnect with Friends and College
ator Nurses and friends in Orlando recently gathered for a
reception where they were able to meet with Dean Kathleen
Long, learn about College news and updates, discuss nursing
issues and have fun with old and new friends. Held at the Crowne
Plaza Orlando Downtown, the reception was a great way for these
Gator Nurses and friends to reconnect and network with each other.
If you are interested in hosting a reception in your area, please con-
tact Tracy Wright at email@example.com or call 352-273-6421. r
Pictured with Dean Kathleen Long are (Bottom Row L-R)
Karen Hanson (BSN 1966, MSN 1986), Diana Kizer, Alice Jackson
(BSN 1977) and Kathleen Jones (BSN 1997, MSN 2000). (Top
Row L-R) Debbie Pusateri (MSN 1996), Dean Long, Pamela Dulin
(BSN 1971, MSN 1988) and Susan Stone (MSN 1990).
FOREVER YOUNG: Gator Nurses Honored with Young Alumni Awards
very year the University of Florida Alumni Association recognizes alumni who
are 35 years of age or younger and have already distinguished themselves in their
profession and community. Distinguished Young Alumni Awards are presented
the morning of Spring Weekend, preceding the Orange and Blue Game.
We are happy to recognize this year's College of Nursing recipients, Amy Barton
(BSN 1997) and Beverly Childress Solesky (BSN 1998, MSN 2001, PhD 2004).
Amy Barton, who now resides in San Francisco, has a twelve-year career spanning
from practicing as a registered nurse to various leadership roles in hospital adminis-
tration/management. Currently, she is engaged in consulting where she adjunctively
supports various health care organizations and businesses by analyzing and advising
on strategic marketing, program and business development initiatives, as well as health
Beverly Childress Solesky was one of the first graduates of the college's BSN to
PhD program. She is currently the evidence-based practice coordinator at the Malcom
Randall VA Medical Center in Gainesville and is a faculty member with the VA Nursing
Academy, a partnership with the College of Nursing. She previously served as a post-
(L) Beverly Childress Solesky and Amy Barton.the VA.
doctoral fellow at the VA.
Susan Kohler, BSN 1994, recently relocated to
Boston, MA with her partner of two years. She
is currently working as a VP of Compliance and
Regulatory Affairs for CeltiCare. Her company is one
of five Health Plans providing health coverage through
Massachusetts Commonwealth Care. Although she has
been out of clinical practice for 10 years, she continues
to hold active RN licenses in FL and MA and keeps
up on current political actions impacting nursing and
Connie S. Chapelle, RN, MN (1995), CLNC presented
at the 14th annual National Alliance of Certified Legal
Nurse Consultants conference in San Antonio TX March
12-13, 2009. Her presentation was on how to assist
attorneys in back and neck injury/pain medical cases.
Amanda (Floetke) Elliott, BSN 2001, MSN 2002, PhD
2006, was selected as an ORISE (Oak Ridge Institute for
Science and Education) Fellow with the Vision Health
Initiative, in the Division of Diabetes Translation, of the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta
GA. Amanda and her family, husband Josh and 1-year-
old son Luke, are relocating from Birmingham, AL. Josh
will be doing a Pediatric Ophthalmology fellowship at
the Children's Hospital (Scottish Rite) in Atlanta.
14 THE GATOR NURSE
College Says Goodbye to Dear Friend
The College of Nursing lost a dear friend in Corinne Larson who passed away
this June. A retired nurse, Mrs. Larson and her husband Willard were great friends
and supporters of the College. In 1995, the Larsons gave a gift worth $319,000,
which invested in education, research and practice programs at the College. The
Larsons designated the gift to be used to meet the most emergent needs of the
Mrs. Larson was a 1943 graduate of the St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing
in Marquette, Michigan and had a very rewarding career as a nurse-one of the
main reasons the Larsons decided to give back to nursing.
"Because of Corrine's passion for nursing and she and her husband wanted to
help to continue to advance the profession," said Dean Kathleen Ann Long. "They
put trust in our College leaders to strive for the highest levels of nursing education
and patient care."
Mrs. Larson had resided in Sun City Center with her husband. She is survived
by her husband, and by beloved children and grandchildren.
"We are proud to call her a friend of the College of Nursing, and know that
she will be deeply missed by her family, colleagues and her friends both here at the
University of Florida and home in Sun City Center," Dean Long said. "She was a
very special lady."
Emily Zubiria, BSN 2004, has been working
for the past three years at Miami Children's
Hospital in the cardiac ICU. Emily was named
2008 Nurse of the Year at Miami Children's
Meghan Bullard, BSN 2007, is working in the
Pediatric ICU at Florida Children's Hospital in
Orlando. She is an active member of the Nurse
Practice Council, helping to make positive
changes on the unit and throughout the hospi-
tal. She is now working part-time since her son,
Greyson James, was born November 5, 2008 at
Parrish Medical Center in Titusville. He weighed
61b 9oz. and was 19.25 inches long.
Kristi McWilliams, MSN 2007, is currently
working at North Florida Regional Medical
Center on the labor and delivery/postpartum
unit. She received a gold star within her first six
months at NFRMC, one of the higher awards a
nurse can receive.
Chris Schreier, BSN 2008, is currently work-
ing at Shands as a pediatric nurse. He recently
received a promotion to charge nurse. Look
for him on TV this fall when the new UF and
Shands commercial airs. Chris auditioned and
was selected for the part as the nurse. He mar-
ried his high school sweetheart, Lesley Stevens
on November 8, 2008.
Dear Gator Nurses,
It is rare that I am able
to present an award to
someone who has done so
much for so many around
the globe. As UF Nursing
Alumni Council presi-
dent, I was given just that
honor at this year's Spring
Commencement Ceremony BONNIE PEPPER
when I presented Ms. Ann
Lurie with the Alumna of the Year award for 2009.
Much has been said in this issue of Ms. Lurie's
incredible philanthropy and dedication. It was sim-
ply overwhelming to hear of all of the good works
Ms. Lurie has done (in addition to raising six
I know I wasn't the only one who was inspired
as our audience erupted in applause when Ms.
Lurie was presented with the award. I am so happy
to count her as a Gator Nurse. But what also struck
me was Ms. Lurie's simple statement when she
accepted the award, which you also read in this
issue: "Nurses can do anything." And she is a living
example of it. It made me feel very proud to be a
nurse, most of all a Gator Nurse.
Of course, the commencement activities are
such wonderful events to attend. The UF Nursing
Alumni Council has been sponsoring the College of
Nursing Pinning Ceremony since 2005, and we are
so proud to put on this event for our graduating bac-
calaureate students. Not only does it signify their
entrance as professional nurses, but we also see it
our official welcome as Gator Nurse alumni.
That being said, I encourage all current alumni to
reach out to new Gator Nurses you may encounter
in your practice settings or hometowns. I encour-
age you to utilize the College of Nursing Alumni
Affairs Office as a resource if you want to connect
to more Gator Nurses, both current and newer
alumni. Similarly I encourage all of our newer
alumni to get involved with our Alumni Council,
stay connected with the Gator (Nurse) Nation
and attend our alumni events, like our upcoming
Reunion Weekend, on November 6-7, 2009.
To take a line from UF's famous campaign,
"Gator (Nurses) are everywhere!"
Go Gator Nurses!
SUMMER 2009 15
Summer 2009 1 Vol. XI, No. 4
THE NEWSLETTER FOR THE ALUMNI OF THE OF COLLEGE OF NURSING
College of Nursing
Health Science Center
P.O. Box 100197
Gainesville, FL 32610-0197
The Gator Nurse is produced three times
a year for the alumni, friends, faculty and
staff of the University of Florida College
Kathleen Ann Long,
PhD, RN, FAAN
Director, Alumni Affairs and
Tracy Brown Wright, MAMC
Anna Miller Harper
JS Design Studio
StorterChilds Printing Company Inc.
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2009 University of Florida
College of Nursing
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