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Kourtney Derouen, BSN, RN
Kourtney Derouen, BSN, RN

The hands-on experience that students obtain in the BSN program is a critical part of their training. Spring 2018 graduate Kourtney Derouen knows this well. As a member of her hospital's Hurricane Laura ride-out team in southwest Louisiana, she drew on all her skills to ensure her patients' safety.

Being a part of the ride-out team during Hurricane Laura was an experience like no other. You train and go over protocols for what to do when disaster strikes, but it is nothing compared to the real thing, Derouen said.

Derouen is an RN on the cardiac/telemetry floor at CHRISTUS Ochsner St. Patrick's Hospital in Lake Charles, an area left devastated in the storm's wake. Working collaboratively with colleagues from all areas of the hospital, she was committed to help keep patients safe throughout the harrowing ordeal.

Although a hurricane of Laura's magnitude is a unique experience, Derouen had a strong educational foundation to prepare her. A native of Orange, Texas, she chose UTMB after speaking with several BSN program alumni who gave high recommendations. She also appreciated that many of the clinical training sites are in the Texas Medical Center, where there would be opportunities to work on and learn from a wide variety of cases.

My education at UTMB prepared me for this role by providing that core foundation of nursing knowledge and skills, Derouen said. Obviously there is still a lot to be learned in your first job as a graduate nurse, but the education I received from UTMB helped make it an easy transition from student to practicing nurse.

Now that Derouen has been in her professional role for a while, she looks back on nursing school recognizing the experiences that have been most valuable to her in her career. She encourages those who are entering nursing school to take advantage of every learning opportunity that comes their way.

Be as hands on as you can in your simulation labs as well as clinical rotations. Don't be afraid to speak up if you need extra practice or to ask to perform a skill in clinicals, she said. Every experience you can get while in school and in clinicals will help you that much more with your first real nursing job.

Extreme Weather Update

Dear School of Nursing Community,

The National Weather Service is predicting with increased confidence that Laura will track to the Texas/Louisiana border, and can impact our region. The City of Galveston has implemented a mandatory evacuation and city services will be suspended today at noon. All SON faculty and staff are expected to work remotely today through Thursday unless you are involved in direct patient care. Please contact your immediate supervisors regarding any questions.

Please note that this system could impact the Galveston and surrounding areas over the next 48 hours, pay close attention to the weather forecast and local news in the coming days. As we learn more about the impact to our area, use your best judgment about traveling. Never attempt to drive on roads that are under water. Refer to the following links for information on weather and travel conditions, as well as UTMB operations updates.

Official UTMB updates will posted to the UTMB Alerts page, on iUTMB and on the I Am UTMB Facebook page.

New Students:

  • SON orientation activities for the entire week of Aug. 24 have been cancelled. Stay tuned for further information on rescheduled orientation activities.

All Students:

  • Evacuation assistance is available for those who need it. If you feel that you may need assistance in getting to the city evacuation site on the island please complete this Evacuation Assistance Form. For questions about the form, please contact Student Life.
  • Watch for notices from UTMB and the City of Galveston in regards to the mandatory evacuation directives. If you are leaving the island, please do so early when conditions are good and streets are navigable.
  • Remember, be safe and do not travel if it is not safe to do so. Do not put yourself in danger.

Please take care of yourselves as we prepare for this storm and continue to monitor your UTMB email for additional updates

Be safe,

Deborah J. Jones, PhD, MSN, RN
Senior Vice President, Dean and Professor
Rebecca Sealy Distinguished Centennial Chair

Teaching in the age of COVID-19 has created a need for educators to innovate like never before. Fortunately, UTMB School of Nursing (SON) faculty members are discovering that critical skills can be taught just as effectively online, when both faculty and students are engaged with the experience.

Online Simulation Lab
Online Simulation Lab

Members of SON's OB nursing faculty — Dr. Jacquelyn Svoboda, Dr. Laura King, Dr. Dora Martin and Ms. Cheryl Day — recently conducted a simulation lab for third-semester BSN students, converting what is traditionally a face-to-face experience into an unfolding high-risk delivery case simulation on Zoom.

Groups of five students per simulation navigated the virtual experience with a faculty moderator and visual prompts. Student participants served as virtual nurses, family members and observers, just as they would in the in-person lab experience.

It was encouraging and enlightening to see that in the virtual environment, students were able to critically apply their knowledge and prioritize nursing assessment and interventions with confidence, despite the lack of face-to-face contact, according to Dr. Svoboda, the course director.

The students were actively engaged in learning and successfully demonstrated development of their critical thinking skills through application of the concepts they have learned in the OB course, Dr. King added.

Dr. Svoboda felt the change to virtual experiences has been just as educational for her as for her students, as she has honed in on qualities that help make her a better educator — such as being well-organized, accessible and a clear, concise communicator.

Most importantly, Dr. Svoboda has witnessed that education does not have to be compromised just because it is delivered in a virtual format — even with a larger cohort of around 120 students.

This virtual simulation format can be extremely engaging and has the potential to apply as much, or even more, critical thinking and prioritization skills than brick and mortar experiences, Dr. Svoboda said.

SON faculty member teaches first semester BSN students medication administration skills

SON faculty member teaches first semester BSN students medication administration skills.

With the recent need to transition mostly online this semester, many elements of our nursing education experience have looked a little different for our BSN students. While the high-quality education and faculty commitment to student success are constant, learning tools like videos, online simulation modules and other remote education platforms have taken on a greater role than before.

When it comes to some skills, however, there is no substitute for in-person learning. That's why SON faculty and staff carefully coordinated an on-campus skills lab experience that would allow first-semester BSN students to practice, demonstrate, and master their medication administration skills on campus this summer with safety as a number one priority.

Nursing is a hands-on profession. It is an expectation that nurses are competent in their skills along with having a strong knowledge base to care for patients, says Assistant Professor Carol Glaze, who teaches Adult Health I (NURS 3631). Hands-on lab practice builds knowledge and confidence in nursing students. It promotes an environment of safe practice where learning is optimized.

SON faculty member teaches first semester BSN students medication administration skills
SON faculty member teaches first semester BSN students medication administration skills

SON faculty member teaches first semester BSN students medication administration skills.

Prior to the pandemic, these skills activities were incorporated into a three-hour weekly scheduled lab experience for the course. Students would practice over several weeks in small groups in the lab, while faculty circulated to assist and offer corrections. Many skills validations would take place over two consecutive weeks.

Closely following UTMB's COVID-19 guidelines, this summer's activities were planned within a two-to-three-day window for students to be on campus. Modifications helped ensure the lab was conducted as safely as possible. For example, only 10 individuals could be placed in the large skills labs, versus the typical 25 to 35. Support staff also were on hand to help to screen students, making sure that no one entering the lab reported symptoms or exposure.

For the students, all the additional planning and measures taken were worthwhile. Videos demonstrating virtual skills and online simulation activities have helped them stay motivated to practice their skills at home and become more confident, but students said they benefited greatly from visiting campus, working alongside their peers and teachers, and getting to practice in UTMB's state-of-the-art facilities.

We were able to practice in front of our professors, who gave us valuable feedback in order to continue to improve, student McKenna Namken said. We were also evaluated in a way that simulated a real-life scenario with our professors asking us questions like actual patients would.

It was also the students' first chance to meet many of their classmates and faculty in person — something that made the experience even more valuable.

SON faculty member teaches first semester BSN students medication administration skills.
SON faculty member teaches first semester BSN students medication administration skills.

SON faculty member teaches first semester BSN students medication administration skills.

It felt amazing to come to campus for the first time and finally meet the people I'd been learning with and learning from! The SON has done an amazing job with the virtual learning, but nothing beats seeing people face-to-face, student Angela Madoux said.

Glaze said it was also an important learning experience for her as an educator, as she is seeing the benefit of delivering information to students in a variety of formats.

The hybrid format has allowed the NURS 3631 team an opportunity to consider many new learning activities that previously had not been considered or implemented. It will affect how we plan for future course activities, she said.

The students who participated say they are looking forward to the continuation of their education. Before starting school, Namken says she spoke to many UTMB SON grads who loved their time at UTMB and felt the school truly prepared them for their careers. She is excited for the opportunity to develop her skills further and hopes for more in-person experiences like this going forward.

Madoux also entered UTMB SON with high expectations for her education, and feels reassured by the investment the school has shown in her success.

We aren't just a number or a face in the crowd, she said. The SON, my professors, my advisor - they really care, and it shows in their accessibility and the ways they teach and reinforce concepts of nursing.

Banner: Nursing Showcase of Excellence E-Poster Contest

Sponsored by the UTMB Health System, UTMB School of Nursing and the Alpha Delta Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society (STTI)

Thursday, October 22, 2020
Health Education Center - Rooms 3.200/3.201

Email Dr. J. Michael Leger
for more information and to register

This activity will provide contact hours to registered nurses.

Event Schedule

9:00 a.m. - 10:45 a.m.
E-Posters on Display/Viewing

10:45 a.m.
Presentation of Winners
co-emceed by
Josette Armendariz-Batise, DNP, RN, CCRN, CENP - UTMB Health System
Dean Deborah Jones, PhD, RN - School of Nursing

SON Shout Outs

Dr. Verklan

​Congratulations on being selected as a committee member for the American Association of Critical Care Nurses 2021 Acute and Critical Care Clinical Nurse Specialist Practice Analysis Task Force to review the roles/responsibilities of the critical care CNS.​

Congratulations to our Nursing PhD students for receiving the following awards: Emily Blumenthal, Doctoral Program of the School of Nursing Scholarship; Angela Mcgaskey, J. Michael Leger, PhD, RN Family Nursing PhD Scholarship; Keili Peterman, Lois E. Nickerson, R.N. Endowed Scholarship; Emily Blumenthal, Mariann Blum, Ph.D. Endowed Presidential Scholarship; Lisa Letz, Marie and Talbert Aulds Scholarship; Megan Steele, Michael Tacheeni Scott Endowed Scholarship; Colleen Villamin, Regina R. and Alfonso J. Mercatante Memorial Scholarship; and Lisa Wagner, SON Alumni Assoc. Fund

Lisa Wagner

Congratuations to Ms. Lisa Wagner on the successful defense of her dissertation titled Planting Seeds: A Naturalistic Inquiry into the Perceptions and Experiences of WIC Peer Counselors as they Interact with Mothers Making their Infant Feeding Decisions.

Dr. Cheyenne Martin

Presented the Sr. Charles Marie Endowed Lecture (virtually) at Incarnate Word University, San Antonio titled Profiles in Courage: An Exploration of Nurses and Physicians Engaged in Resistance Efforts in Europe During Nazi Occupation. This special lecture was given after evacuation from Tropical Storm Beta and severe rainstorms in Wharton.

Dr. Virginia Chandlee

Congratuations on the successfull defense of her dissertation titled, An Exploratory Study of Pediatric Oncology Nurses' Perceptions of and Advocacy Responses to Ethical Issues in Securing Informed Consent in Adolescent and Young Adult Patients..