This story is part of a series previewing UA commencement May 10-11. The ceremony for undergraduates and master's degree candidates will be held May 10 in Arizona Stadium. The doctoral ceremony will be held May 11 in Centennial Hall.
From its beginnings in 1957 in a conference room of the University of Arizona Liberal Arts Building, with 42 students in its first class, today the UA College of Nursing has its own building, 588 students and ranks among the top 10 percent of graduate nursing programs in the United States.
On May 9, the college will honor 64 graduates at its spring convocation in Centennial Hall; 54 graduates will receive baccalaureate degrees, and the college will award 10 doctoral degrees: five Ph.D. (Doctor of Philosophy in Nursing Science) and five DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice). Awards also will be presented.
"Nursing is a versatile profession that allows one to have multiple varied careers over a lifetime without ever leaving nursing," says College of Nursing Dean Joan L. Shaver. "We are committed to preparing our students to embrace a myriad of opportunities and to ensuring that people have the highest quality health care possible from outstanding nurse leaders."
The UA College of Nursing is recognized for excellence in nursing and health-care education, research and practice, as well as for leading-edge online access to learning (courses that are completely Web-based or blended with intensive face-to-face learning). College leaders are advancing global nursing development through collaborations with universities particularly in Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Asia.
Accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education, the UA College of Nursing offers a variety of nursing degrees, from entry level to advanced, including Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN), Master of Science in Nursing (one for university degree holders who want to enter nursing and another for RNs that is online). The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP), Ph.D. in nursing and dual DNP/Ph.D. degrees, as well as post-MS certificates are online except for short onsite clinical skills intensives.
In the College of Nursing, classrooms provide real-time video conferencing capabilities that reach across Arizona and beyond and allow integration with the Arizona Telemedicine Program statewide network. Resources include the Steele Innovative Learning Center, where students perfect their clinical skills in a simulated environment or engage in research within laboratories for behavioral or biological studies.
The college provides top-notch mentoring of health-care leaders with an emphasis on diversity. The faculty includes professionals with expertise in clinical practice, research and teaching.
Twenty-eight active and emeriti faculty are fellows of the American Academy of Nursing, a national peer-elected group of nursing profession "thought leaders" representing the most accomplished leaders in nursing education, practice, administration and research.
Nine faculty have been elected as fellows to the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, the largest and only full-service national professional membership organization for NPs of all specialties, advocating for the active role of NPs as providers of high-quality, cost-effective, comprehensive, patient-centered health care. Endowed professorships include the William M. Feinberg Endowed Chair for Stroke Research, Gladys E. Sorensen Endowed Professor (diabetes) and Anne Furrow Endowed Professor (pediatric cancer).
The college is aligned with a chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International, the nursing honor society with more than 130,000 members worldwide. The Beta Mu chapter has earned key chapter awards nine times.
The college vision is to be the premier learning community for transforming health care, while valuing excellence, balance, social responsibility and creativity. Faculty envision, engage and innovate in education, research and practice to help people of all ages optimize health in the context of major life transitions, illnesses, injuries, symptoms and disabilities.
They seek discoveries particularly in older adult health; health promotion/restoration, especially in chronic conditions; integrative therapeutics science, symptom science, including cognition and depression; health informatics/systems; and health equity, especially in inner urban and rural/border health.
Inspiring 2013 UA College of Nursing graduates include Helena Haynes, Ariel Good and Zea Navazio:
Helena Haynes, DNP
"What I find most empowering about the field of nursing is the opportunity to continuously grow and develop my knowledge and skills in health-care practice, policy and research and apply it to my community,” says Helena Haynes, 28, previously a registered nurse in the neurological intensive care unit at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital in Phoenix, Ariz. "For example, in my neuro checks, I involve the patient's family in order to help explain the stroke process, the risks of recurrent stroke and the 'how and why' of the way we treat our stroke patients."
Haynes will receive a DNP degree from the UA College of Nursing. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing that she obtained in a one-year accelerated program from Regis University, a Jesuit university in Denver, Colo., in 2008, and a bachelor's degree in integrative physiology from the University of Colorado at Boulder in 2005.
"The UA College of Nursing has amazing mentors and faculty to help support the students throughout the DNP program," she says. "I met my faculty mentor, Dr. Leslie Ritter, prior to applying to the DNP program. She has been an integral part of my success in this program and a role model in terms of pursuing research interest, goal setting and work-life balance. The faculty are quick to respond to questions and have always made themselves available over the phone to discuss any questions I have had. As part of an online degree program, to have verbal one-on-one with faculty is important and I appreciate their willingness to help me succeed."
In the DNP program, her focus was on the stroke patient population. She led a transition-of-care model to support follow-up in the clinic of patients who had a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke, to help ensure that proper measures are taken to prevent a secondary stroke event. "This is extremely important in our aging population, as stroke is one of the leading causes of adult disability," she notes.
In her doctoral practice inquiry project, "A Doctor of Nursing Practice-Led Transitions of Care (TOC) Model for Stroke and Transient Ischemic Attack," Haynes described the impact. "There are gaps in the care of patients who've had a stroke or TIA that occur due to transitions between health settings and/or practitioners, that may contribute to a second stroke or TIA," she says. "The purpose of the study was to identify the key elements of a model that could be used to design an effective TOC program for the stroke/TIA population."
In addition, she worked with her unit at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital to explore the concept of compassion fatigue and job burnout in the critical care nursing population caring for the stroke patient.
"These projects allowed me to explore both patient-centered and nurse-centered outcomes to further develop my research abilities and understanding of how I can further help and advocate for stroke patients and caregivers," she says.
As an undergraduate, Haynes initially pursued physical therapy (PT) and volunteered in a PT clinic. When that rotation ended, she recalls, "The volunteer coordinator placed me in the emergency room, and I fell in love with what nurses do. They truly were the backbone of the facility. As I was nearly finished with my degree, I used it as a foundation to transfer to nursing."
Haynes had several challenges while pursuing her DNP. "After I had my son Liam, I went back to work and was trying to manage school work, working as a nurse, being a mom and my practice inquiry studies," she says. "My son came down with RSV and was hospitalized for a week during the most challenging semester. I said goodbye to bedside nursing to focus on being home with him and devoting more time to my studies. I greatly missed caring for patients in that capacity but am grateful to have cared for so many great patients, families and fellow nurses."
Liam, now 2, was born just before the end of the first year of the DNP program, and Haynes remembers "taking a test the morning I went into labor, and nursing him during a final Skype™ presentation a few days later so that he wouldn’t disturb the class. He has been a trooper and a wonderful distraction from the long hours of studying."
Haynes' family will join her at convocation. She is the second oldest of five children and the only girl in the family. Both parents have master's degrees. "My dad taught each of us a strong work ethic and my mom taught us a love of education and learning. My grandmother was a physician, and helped inspire me to pursue a health-care profession," she says.
She met her husband John during her undergraduate days at CU Boulder, while he went to an all-engineering school a half-hour away. They were married shortly after finishing their undergraduate degrees. "I have been in school since we first met, and could not have imagined a better best friend and support to make it through this experience," she says. "He has picked up the slack when I have needed him most."
Now that she will receive her DNP, she plans to stay in family practice, working in a preventative role providing help and education for patients in a rural family practice office, Deseret Family Medicine, in Gold Canyon, Ariz.
"The patients I will be working with most are the elderly population, who are the largest user of health-care costs at this point," she says. "If we can provide them the tools and strategies to manage their care outside of the acute setting, then they can age comfortably in their homes."
Ariel Good, BSN
"As a bilingual Hispanic-American student, I look forward to meeting and helping the diverse group of people I will undoubtedly encounter in my nursing career," says Ariel Good, 22, who will receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the UA College of Nursing.
Good plans to pursue a career in women's health nursing, working in labor and delivery, or in pediatric nursing, particularly in the neonatal intensive care unit. Her passion for working with children grew out of a summer spent volunteering at Phoenix Children's Hospital, she says. She also is interested in possibly becoming a nurse midwife.
"My passion is to work with moms, their babies and the neonatal population in general. But I will be happy to start anywhere – there is a learning experience in everything we do."
Good has wanted to be a nurse for as long as she can remember, she says, desiring "to help people and spend time at the bedside with patients and also have a career where I get to embrace my love for science.
"My grandfather, a pediatrician, inspired me throughout my childhood as well, most likely without even noticing he was doing it. He had a passion for his patients that I hope to carry with me throughout my entire career." Good, whose mother is Cuban, comes from a long line of college graduates and will be the first nurse in her family.
A native of Mesa, Ariz., Good graduated from Red Mountain High School. At the UA, she was a member of the UA Honors College and wrote her thesis about drug withdrawal in newborns. She was a member of the UA pre-nursing club, Professional Achievements in Nursing, for two years; then became active in Student Nurses at the University of Arizona, or SNUA, the student branch of the American Nurses Association, serving as president of the organization for the past year. (SNUA provides support through fundraising, volunteering and scholarships as well as opportunities for UA College of Nursing students to further their education and participate in experiences that develop leadership and mentoring skills.)
Of her experience at the UA College of Nursing, Good says she most enjoyed "getting to know the people, serving in a leadership role and getting to act as a liaison between faculty and staff and my peers. Spending so much time with the same cohort gave us an opportunity to really develop everlasting friendships, and I am grateful for that."
Good's family will join her at the convocation, where she also will receive the UA College of Nursing Office of Student Affairs Award, given in recognition of exceptional service to the student affairs office in its work with students, alumni and friends of the college (award recipients' names are engraved on a permanent plaque displayed in the Office of Student Affairs), and the AZNA (Arizona Nurses Association) Chapter 2 Award, presented to a graduating nursing student nominated by the student’s faculty according to three criteria: scholastic and clinical excellence; active participation in one or more student, professional or community organizations; and demonstrated leadership abilities among peers and/or within professional or health-related organizations.
Zea Navazio, BSN
"Following graduation, I would like to begin my career working in a New Graduate Nurse Residency Program in an emergency department," says Zea Navazio, 21, who will receive a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from the UA College of Nursing.
"The emergency department is an area of health care where you come in contact with a broad range of patients – different ages, cultures and suffering from a broad range of conditions.” (New Graduate Nurse Residency Programs prepare new nursing graduates as they transition to professional nurse.) Navazio also plans to further her education and pursue a doctorate of nursing practice degree.
"Ultimately, I hope to travel to developing countries and use my nursing skills to provide needed medical attention to underserved and underprivileged populations," she says. "I plan to incorporate my passion for health care and deep sense of social responsibility to improve the quality of life for many individuals, families and diverse populations to aid in building a healthier world community."
In 2011, she volunteered in a small medical center in Valle de Angles, a rural community in Honduras, as a member of the UA chapter of Global Medical Brigades, a student-led global health and sustainable development organization.
"It was a big challenge and proved to be a greater privilege, providing health care to the local population," she says. "This was a life-changing experience and solidified my desire to work with health care on an international scale.
"To me, nursing is the heart and soul of health care. Throughout my clinical training and volunteer work, I have developed meaning and purpose in my life, first through my teachers and mentors, and eventually experiencing for myself through discipline and training how to truly care for others."
She became interested in pursuing a career in nursing after volunteering at a local hospital during high school. She will be the first member of her family to work in the health-care field.
Navazio's family lived in five states before she was twelve due to her father's career as an organic agriculturalist. "This gave me the opportunity to acclimate to new places and different people often," she notes. It "also allowed me to experience a great deal of diversity, living in the rural communities of Montana, Big 10 college towns in the Midwest, the rocky coastal region of the Pacific Northwest and finally the busy suburbs of Detroit."
As a teenager, she lived with her mother in a single-parent household. "My mother understood the value of education and returned to school to improve our lives," she says. When her father was living in the Pacific Northwest and undergoing radiation for colon cancer, she moved in with her aunt and uncle so that she could continue attending and graduate from Walled Lake Northern High School in Commerce, Mich. "It was there that I learned the significance of paying it forward," she says.
Navazio's parents, sister, aunt and uncle will attend the convocation. "My family has been my biggest support system throughout my undergraduate education," she says.
What she enjoyed most about the UA College of Nursing, she says, was "the faculty and students I had the pleasure of working with. The UA College of Nursing is a small, tightknit community. Throughout my education I not only received constant guidance from faculty members and professors but I felt supported by fellow students."
As a UA undergraduate, in addition to serving with Global Medical Brigades, Navazio was a member and served as public relations chair of the UA pre-nursing club, Professional Achievements in Nursing and was elected fundraising chair for Student Nurses at the University of Arizona.
At convocation, Navazio also will receive a UA Foundation Award, presented to outstanding seniors on the basis of scholarship, leadership and citizenship.