Rapid Pulse: News and notes

GNLC appoints new program coordinator

The Georgia Nursing Leadership Coalition has named Rebecca Wheeler, Ph.D., RN, as its program coordinator. In this new role, Wheeler will provide support to the GNLC and will oversee the development and implementation of the Georgia Nursing Workforce Center.

“Rebecca is an experienced nursing leader who brings an extraordinary record of accomplishments to this position,” said Aimee Manion, DNP, RN, executive committee member. “She has a demonstrated track record of success in promoting collaboration, leading change and managing data analysis initiatives. Georgia’s nurses will benefit greatly from her energy and enthusiasm to prepare nurses to lead change in our health care delivery system.”

Since 2006, Wheeler has been a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Partners Investing in Nursing’s Future program, which aims to improve nursing work force development across the nation. She has also worked with the Kresge Foundation’s Safety Net Enhancement Initiative.

The Georgia Nursing Leadership Coalition is led by the Georgia Nurses Association and the Georgia Hospital Association. The GNLC is working to increase the number of nurses with baccalaureate degrees to 80 percent by 2020; double the number of nurses with doctoral degrees by 2020; and build an infrastructure for the collection and analysis of nursing work force data.

Wheeler is president-elect of the Georgia Nurses Association. From 2005 to 2006, she was president of the National Student Nurses Association, in which she represented more than 45,000 students.

New college: The Mercer University Health Sciences Center officially launched the new College of Health Professions that consolidates degree programs in physical therapy, physician assistant studies and public health.

The new college is Mercer’s 12th academic college or school and the fourth one focused on health sciences under the Mercer Health Sciences Center. The other units under the center include the School of Medicine, the College of Pharmacy and the College of Nursing.

The formation of the new college brings together programs that were previously housed in Mercer’s School of Medicine (public health) and College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (physical therapy and physician assistant studies). By adding the fourth college, the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has been officially renamed the College of Pharmacy.

The College of Pharmacy and the College of Health Professions are on Mercer’s Cecil B. Day Graduate and Professional School campus in Atlanta. The master’s of public health program in the College of Health Professions is offered on both Mercer’s Atlanta and Macon campuses.

Workplace award: WellStar Health System has been honored with the 2013 Alfred P. Sloan Award for Excellence in Workplace Effectiveness and Flexibility. The award, which is part of the national When Work Works project administered by Families and Work Institute and the Society for Human Resource Management, recognizes employers of all sizes and types across the country.

Workplace flexibility — such as flextime, part-time work and compressed workweeks — has been demonstrated to help businesses remain competitive while also benefiting employees. Flexibility in combination with other aspects of an effective workplace — such as learning opportunities and supervisor support for job success — can have a powerful impact on employee engagement and motivation.
The rigorous, two-step selection process for the awards involves an evaluation of employers’ flexibility programs and practices, and a confidential employee survey on the key ingredients of an effective and flexible workplace. All applicants are measured against national norms from the National Study of Employers.

Beacon Award: The American Association of Critical-Care Nurses has awarded a silver-level Beacon Award to Emory University Hospital’s neurosciences intensive care units for exceptional nursing care through improved patient outcomes and a supportive work environment.

The Beacon Award for Excellence is a significant milestone for hospital units on the path to outstanding patient care through their nursing programs, while providing healthy work settings.

“Emory University Hospital’s neurosciences ICUs have been on a journey over the past few years to achieve this level of excellence through great nursing care,” said Pam Cosper, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, specialty director of critical care at Emory University Hospital. “This silver-level award just validates our commitment toward providing the best care to our patients and their families.”

Excellence in survival outcomes: For the fourth consecutive year, Northside Hospital’s blood and marrow transplant program has been reported as having among the best survival outcomes in the country for related and unrelated bone marrow transplants. The data was reported by the National Marrow Donor Program, the federally funded organization that facilitates most unrelated bone marrow transplants in the United States.

In 2012, 184 transplants were performed at Northside, placing the hospital among the top BMT programs in the nation in terms of volume.  The one-year survival of patients transplanted at Northside was 78 percent, among the best of any BMT program in the country.

Passing with flying colors: The inaugural graduating class of Mercer University’s doctor of physical therapy program earned a 96.3 percent first-time pass rate on the National Physical Therapy Examination, surpassing both statewide and national averages. The NPTE is the licensure examination to practice.

The state average of first-time test takers was 92 percent, while the national average was 90.9 percent. Three Mercer physical therapy graduates received perfect scaled scores of 800/800.

“We are so proud of the first graduates of our program,” said Leslie Taylor, chair and program director of the department of physical therapy.

The physical therapy program, which became operational in 2010, graduated its first class in May. In April, the program was awarded full accreditation status by the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education.

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