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Training for emergencies

Knowing what to do in an emergency can mean the difference between life and death. In April, senior nursing students in a 400-level Family and Community Nursing Clinical course shared lifesaving skills with faculty and staff and several students at UW Oshkosh’s Fond du Lac
and Fox Cities campuses. The presentations on the use of automated external defibrillators and Stop the Bleed tourniquets were designed to provide awareness and the confidence to act in vital initial moments until trained professionals arrive.

DNP students presented research in April.

Sharing DNP research

For the first time, College of Nursing Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students presented their research projects at UWO’s Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity. Forty-six DNP students presented at the April symposium on a wide range of topics, including nursing burnout, mental health, the effects of rising patient volumes, tobacco use by minors and more.

Nightingale award recipients from left: Christa Blohowiak, Elizabeth Kaiser, Sarah Curran, Kathy Mallmann and Lindsay Schehr

Honoring top nurses with Nightingale Awards

Four top Wisconsin nurses and an exceptional nurse leader were awarded for their outstanding service by the UW Oshkosh College of Nursing and Board of Visitors during the annual Nightingale Awards ceremony April 20 at the Culver Family Welcome Center.

For almost 30 years, UWO has hosted this prestigious event to honor individuals who embody the spirit of Florence Nightingale and demonstrate excellence in nursing practice, as well as nurse leaders who work in mid-management or supervisory roles.

One of the Nightingale Award for Excellence in Nursing Practice recipients, Lindsay Schehr, is a UWO College of Nursing alumna. She earned a nursing bachelor’s degree in 2010 and a nursing master’s in 2012. She now serves as a nurse practitioner at Aspirus Divine Savior Hospital in Portage.

In her role, she works within the rural hospital’s busy obstetrics and gynecology department and the women’s health clinic. There, she goes above and beyond to improve patient care, including creating a handcrafted C-section model to better educate and prepare patients, arranging meetings and funding for a freezer so the hospital could use donor breast milk in their labor and delivery department, and fundraising for car seat strollers for patients to use at the clinic and more.

When caring for patients, she is compassionate and takes the time to listen to their needs, making them her top priority. She puts patients at ease with her immense knowledge and wonderful bedside manner, providing the support that every new mom needs during such a challenging and stressful time.

A lifelong learner and teacher, she uses evidence-based practice to guide her medical decision making. Outside of the hospital, she attends community events and visits classrooms, serving as a guest speaker to enhance medical education and spark scientific curiosity.

Additional Nightingale Award for Excellence in Nursing Practice recipients include Christa Blohowiak, of ThedaCare; Elizabeth Kaiser, of Bethel Home; and Kathy Mallmann, of SSM Health Waupun Memorial Hospital. The sole recipient of the Nurse Leader Award was Sarah Curran of Advocate Aurora Health.

Preserving campus COVID stories

The COVID-19 pandemic may one day fade from memory but details from UW Oshkosh’s response are carefully preserved in a 250-page book called Campus COVID Stories.

To process what was happening at UWO and the world, 120 people were interviewed as part of the latest Humans of Oshkosh storytelling project—explaining their experiences living, teaching, serving and learning during COVID. Emelia Smith, a senior nursing major from Oshkosh, was one of four students to present the project in April as part of her Honors College thesis.

Senior nursing major Ashley Klopatek, of Minocqua, shared the story of how she had to move to the COVID dorm when she came down with the virus.

Fellow nursing major Kennedy Rud, a senior from Batavia, Illinois, said her 89-year-old grandmother tested positive in summer 2020 and was hospitalized for two weeks.

“I had my CNA license, and my grandma was my first true patient. When she went home, I ended up caring for my grandmother for three months. I wore an N95, goggles and washed my hands and cleaned her surfaces constantly. Throughout this experience I learned a lot about what kind of health worker I want to be.”

Boosting rural healthcare

A unique 3+1 dual bachelor degree program provides UW-Platteville students with a pathway to earn a bachelor’s in nursing from UW Oshkosh, while saving time and money.

The new program seeks to address the significant shortage of healthcare professionals in Wisconsin and the tri-state region of Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa, which is acutely felt in rural areas.

It will provide a clear nursing professional pathway for UW-Platteville students, many of whom hail from a rural community and are more likely to remain in the region post-graduation.

Through the new program, UW-Platteville students can receive a bachelor’s in biology from UW-Platteville and a bachelor’s in nursing from UW Oshkosh in four years.

UWO Chancellor Andrew Leavitt remarked on the UW System’s ability to identify a problem—in this case, the projected shortage of 20,000 nurses in Wisconsin by 2035—and work together to answer the call.

“This is why we are a system. Two different universities on different sides of the state, coming together to share programmatic talent and resources and make it easier for more well-prepared, caring healthcare leaders to respond to the region and Wisconsin’s needs.”

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