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Kimberly Stephens

Waynesburg University's fully accredited Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) Program now offers two degree plans implemented to better accommodate the needs of the working professional.

The University's DNP Program, offering a terminal professional degree that focuses on the clinical aspects of nursing rather than academic research, can now be completed through a three-year or a four-year track.

“The four-year degree plan for the DNP Program was created because we really listen to the feedback that our students give us,” said Dave Mariner, dean of Graduate Studies at Waynesburg University. “Our DNP students are juggling family, demanding careers and school. The four-year option allows students to have a little more time to manage their priorities.”

In addition to a new degree plan, the DNP Program recently named Dr. Kimberly Stephens and Dr. Kimberly Whiteman co-directors of the Program.

“I strive to make our program high-quality and to honor the Christian mission of the University,” Dr. Whiteman said. “I want to help students acquire the knowledge and skills they need to lead in the complex health care environment.”

Dr. Stephens and Dr. Whiteman have been with Waynesburg University since 2008 and 2009, respectively. Prior to transitioning into their current roles, they served as assistant professors of nursing in the University's Graduate and Professional Studies Program. Both are also graduates of the program which they now oversee.

“As nurse leaders, we have a professional imperative to understand systems, system change and how to inspire and lead teams through what will be a pivotal time in transforming health care,” Dr. Stephens said. “I believe we can't miss this opportunity to demonstrate what a DNP-prepared nurse can contribute to our changing health care landscape. I strive to inspire and challenge every DNP student to a life of leadership and purpose for the glory of God.”

Waynesburg University established its DNP Program in 2007 as one of the first 25 DNP programs in the United States.

From 2004 to 2006, Dr. Nancy Mosser, professor of nursing and chair of the Department of Nursing at Waynesburg University, served as a committee member of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing DNP Roadmap Task Force. The committee was charged with examining DNP program development, master's-to-doctoral transition programs, regulations, licensure, reimbursement for advanced practice and other issues.

The Roadmap Task Force worked closely with the DNP Essentials Task Force, whose goal was to develop curricular and content requirements for DNP programs. Dr. Mosser and other committee members from both task forces attended regional meetings across the country to obtain input related to DNP program development from a number of constituencies.

“The exploration and development of the DNP Program at Waynesburg is consistent with the guidelines developed by both committees,” Dr. Mosser said.

Kimberly WhitemanWaynesburg's DNP Programs differs from Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) programs because the focus is on evidence-based practice and systems leadership that has an immediate impact on the quality of health care delivery, rather than on developing programs of original research as traditional Ph.D. program graduates do. According to Dr. Mosser, Waynesburg's DNP Program serves as a natural extension to the University's Master of Science in Nursing degree program with a concentration in administration, but also is appropriate for those with education, informatics and advanced practice backgrounds.

“In this program, students enhance their understanding of principles of leadership and are ready to assume an active role in promoting the highest quality health care delivery from a values-based perspective,” Dr. Mosser said.

Among the students in the University's DNP Program are administrators, educators, executive leaders, certified registered nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists and certified registered nurse anesthetists from all over the country.

With their dedication to leading a quality program and personal experience within the program itself, both Dr. Stephens and Dr. Whiteman are assets to the DNP Program.

“We use a leadership team to manage the operations of the DNP Program,” Mariner said. “Both Dr. Stephens and Dr. Whiteman work extremely well together and have provided great leadership to our faculty and students.”

Before joining Waynesburg, Dr. Stephens served as a professor of nursing at the Community College of Allegheny County and an education and staff development specialist for the West Penn Allegheny Health System. She also worked in a variety of clinical settings including rehabilitation, oncology and home care at major hospitals throughout the Pittsburgh area.

In addition to a DNP degree from Waynesburg University, Dr. Stephens holds a Master of Science in Nursing and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, both from Duquesne University.

Dr. Whiteman served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Nursing and a nurse educator with UPMC Presbyterian prior to joining Waynesburg. She also served in various roles within the Liver Transplantation Intensive Care Unit at UPMC and as a staff nurse at Hershey Medical Center and UPMC.

Dr. Whiteman received a DNP degree from Waynesburg University, a Master of Science in Nursing from the University of Pittsburgh and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Pennsylvania State University.

Waynesburg University's 36-credit DNP Program is offered at one of three suburban Pittsburgh locations, Southpointe, Monroeville or North Hills, determined by the geographic location of admitted students. Each course meets one weekend every other month in the 15-week semester, with learning activities and assignments to be completed between seminars. The program has been approved by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education.

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Communication Specialist
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu


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In an effort to give back to those who defend the freedom of the United States of America, Waynesburg University has participated in the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Yellow Ribbon Program on the graduate and undergraduate levels since the program's inception in 2009.
 
“The Yellow Ribbon Program at Waynesburg University has helped make my dream of graduating from a university possible,” said Thomas Brownfield, a sophomore nursing major in the Air Force Reserves. “There is an annual cap on the amount Veterans Affairs can provide. When my benefits reached that amount, the Yellow Ribbon Program stepped in, enabling me to continue my education.”
 
Between 2007 and 2010, Brownfield deployed twice in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, serving in Afghanistan and Southeast Asia. In 2010, the Uniontown, Pa., native left active duty to continue his career as a reservist at the Pittsburgh 911th airlift wing and to pursue an education.
 
“Waynesburg University's Christian mission was important in my decision to attend,” said Brownfield, who serves as a youth group leader at Abundant Life Church in Uniontown, Pa. “I feel that the University stands for more than just education, based on its mission. And that's also apparent in its decision to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program.”
 
The Yellow Ribbon Program allows Waynesburg University and the federal government to split tuition costs that are not covered by the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill for qualified military personnel and veterans like Brownfield.
 
The G.I. Bill provides individuals meeting the requirements a benefit equal to the most expensive public campus tuition in that state.
 
“The Program provides financial resources to enable our eligible veterans to fulfill their educational goals,” said Vicki Wilson, registrar at Waynesburg University.
 
As the University's certifying official for veteran's benefits, Wilson works with veterans to maximize the benefits they receive.
 
“The veterans at Waynesburg are lucky to have a person who is so proficient at her job,” Brownfield said of Wilson. “Other veterans I've spoken with have had to do a ton of things I have not had to deal with, thanks to her.”
 
The Yellow Ribbon Program is a provision of the Post-9/11 Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2008. This program allows institutions of higher learning (degree granting institutions) in the United States to voluntarily enter into an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs to fund tuition expenses that exceed the highest public in-state undergraduate tuition rate. Waynesburg University waives up to 50 percent of those expenses, and the Department of Veterans Affairs matches the same percentage.
 
Waynesburg University is approved for Veteran Education benefits. Eligible veterans and members of the National Guard may be eligible to use the G.I. benefits. Determination is made by the Veterans Administration.
 
Individuals are entitled to the maximum benefit rate if they served a period of at least 36 months active duty after September 10, 2001; they were honorably discharged from active duty for a service connected disability and served 30 continuous days after September 10, 2001; or if they are a dependent eligible for Transfer of Entitlement under the Post-9/11 G.I. Bill based on a veteran's service under the eligibility criteria listed above.
 
Brownfield has advice for other veterans.
 
“While Veterans Affairs is your number one reference, Waynesburg University is extremely helpful,” he said. “Waynesburg is a challenging school where you will definitely get a concrete education.”
 
For more information related to undergraduate studies, contact the Office of Admissions at Waynesburg University at 800-225-7393. For information related to the graduate program, contact Graduate and Professional Studies at Waynesburg University at 888-481-6029.

 

 

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Dr. Nancy Mosser, professor of nursing and chair and director of the Department of Nursing at Waynesburg University, was one of only 20 nursing deans nationwide invited to attend an April 11 meeting with First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden.

The meeting announced a commitment from nurses across the country eager to serve our veterans and military families as well as they have served their country. In a broad, coordinated effort, more than 150 state and national nursing organizations and more than 500 nursing schools including Waynesburg University have committed to further educate our nation’s 3 million nurses so they are prepared to meet the unique health needs of service members, veterans, and their families.

Led by the American Nurses Association, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Association of Colleges of Nursing, and the National League for Nursing, in coordination with the Departments of Veterans Affairs and Defense, nursing organizations and schools have committed to educating current and future nurses on how to recognize and care for veterans impacted by post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, depression and other combat-related issues, in ways appropriate to each nurse’s practice setting.

“Waynesburg University has been and continues to be committed to the care of our veterans and their families by educating our students with the most up-to-date information to ensure the highest quality care,” Mosser said. “Waynesburg’s Department of Nursing is devoted to educating students using best practices related to caring for all patients, but our curriculum is strategically planned to address unique and challenging situations as well.”

Waynesburg University President Timothy R. Thyreen was pleased with Waynesburg University’s involvement in the day’s event.

“Waynesburg University’s Nursing Program challenges students to be familiar with all facets of an increasingly complex health care system,” Thyreen said. “Our nursing faculty work hard to make certain that our graduates are prepared to offer superior care in an array of situations.”

The invisible wounds of war, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), have impacted approximately one in six of our troops returning from Afghanistan and Iraq – more than 300,000 veterans. And since 2000, more than 44,000 of those troops have suffered at least a moderate-grade traumatic brain injury.

“Whether we’re in a hospital, a doctor’s office or a community health center, nurses are often the first people we see when we walk through the door. Because of their expertise, they are trusted to be the frontline of America’s health care system,” said First Lady Michelle Obama. “That’s why Jill and I knew we could turn to America’s nurses and nursing students to help our veterans and military families get the world-class care that they’ve earned. It’s clear from today’s announcement that the nursing community is well on its way to serving our men and women in uniform and their families.”

Veterans seeking care within the Veterans Affairs (VA) health system are often treated by health care professionals who have received extensive training in mental health issues. But the majority of veterans in the country seek care outside of the VA system – they usually visit their local hospital staffed by nurses and doctors in their communities.

“Nurses are at the center of providing lifesaving care in communities across the country -- and their reach is particularly important because our veterans don't always seek care through the VA system,” said Dr. Jill Biden. “This commitment is essential to ensuring our returning service men and women receive the care they deserve.”

That is why today’s announcement was of the utmost significance for troops and their families. America’s nurses are trusted partners in providing lifesaving and life-sustaining care in nearly every community and every setting where health care is delivered. They can make a dramatic and positive impact on the long-term health of hundreds of thousands of veterans. And they are eager to understand the needs of those who have served, to recognize the warning signs of post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, or suicide, and to know where to send them for help.

Nursing leaders have also committed to disseminating effective models for care and to sharing the most up-to-date information on these conditions across academic and practice settings. By working to expand the body of clinical knowledge in this arena and by partnering with other health care providers and institutions, nursing leaders across the country will continue to advance high quality treatment for these conditions in every community.

The Key Commitments Include:

American Nurses Association (ANA): Commits to reaching 3.1 million registered nurses in America by 2015 to raise awareness of PTSD, TBI and depression among veterans, military service members, and their families. The ANA is coordinating a major campaign involving more than 150 nursing organizations that will reach millions of nurses on health issues relevant to veterans and their families. Partnering organizations include the American Association of Colleges of Nursing, American Organization of Nurse Executives, American Academy of Nurse Practitioners, American Psychiatric Nurses Association, American Association of Neuroscience Nurses, Association of Rehabilitation Nurses, the National League of Nurses, federal nurses of the military and public health services, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

Together with these partnering organizations, ANA will:

  • Educate America’s future nurses to care for our nation's veterans, service members, and their families facing post-traumatic stress disorder, traumatic brain injury, depression, and other clinical issues;
  • Enrich nursing education to ensure that current and future nurses are educated and trained in the unique clinical challenges and best practices associated with caring for military service members, veterans, and their families;
  • Disseminate the most up-to-date information as it relates to traumatic brain injury (TBI) and psychological health conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD);
  • Grow the body of knowledge leading to improvements in health care and wellness for our military service members, veterans, and their families; and
  • Lead and advance the supportive community of nurses, institutions, and health care providers dedicated to improving the health of military service members, veterans, and their families.

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Contact: Ashley Wise, Communication Specialist
724.852.7675 or awise@waynesburg.edu

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A profound, life-changing chain of events reveals that heroes exist amongst us at Waynesburg University.

Nine recent nursing graduates and an associate professor of nursing became heroes in the eyes of many when, after stopping to rescue a man struggling to escape from his overturned SUV as numerous vehicles swerved by him, an unanticipated turn of events forced them to rescue each other.

“The students rose to the occasion and recognized that life is a gift from God,” said Nancy Mosser, chair of the Nursing Department at Waynesburg University. “The experience altered their lives and their outlook on life.”

It all started when the nurses-in-training followed their calling to serve and to heal.

In the morning darkness of February 20, 2012, an SUV come to a stop on its side with its roof facing on-coming traffic, blocking the left lane of I-79S in Perry Township, Pa.

Derek Hartzog, 21, of Washington, Pa., had fallen asleep at the wheel.

On his way to Morgantown, W.Va., for clinical nursing studies, Zachary Sargent witnessed the accident. He immediately pulled over, called 911 to report the accident and ran to Hartzog's vehicle to help. Within seconds, other senior nursing students also traveling to clinical came upon the scene and stopped to offer assistance. Those students included Cami Abernethy, Alissa Boyle, Joshua Brewer, Christina Hecker, Chelsea Knepp, Noah Pust, Clayton Reiber and Rebekah Reyes.

“Derek couldn't get out of his vehicle,” Sargent said. “I had to pull him out through a hole in the windshield.”

After Hartzog was pulled to safety, the students assessed his medical condition.

“I felt relief in knowing that the victim was healthy physically, and all we had to do was calm him down,” Abernethy said. “Unfortunately, at that time, we did not know we were standing on an overpass.”

When associate professor of nursing Dr. Sara Clutter, also on her way to clinical, arrived at the scene, she pulled her vehicle to the right side of the road beyond the accident and the students and she, too, dialed 911.

“I was talking with the dispatcher when I heard someone yell, ‘Get out of the way! The truck is going to hit us!'” Dr. Clutter said.

The students were helping Hartzog contact his family when they heard the same warning that a truck was approaching in the left lane – the lane in which they were standing between the disabled vehicle and the on-coming tractor trailer.

“I saw lights coming right at us, and I was able to see that it was a tractor trailer,” Abernethy said. “The truck was not slowing down, and I knew I would be killed if I didn't move.”

In the seconds that followed, each student had to make instantaneous decisions to save their own lives. Sargent grabbed Knepp's arm and pulled her to safety further down the road past Dr. Clutter's vehicle. Abernethy, Boyle, Brewer and Hartzog jumped over the barrier at the edge of the left lane.

It was not until that moment, in the darkness of the morning, that they realized the accident had occurred on a bridge. Assuming their jump over the cement barrier would land them safely on the shoulder of the road, Abernethy, Boyle and Hartzog instead fell off the bridge some 40 to 50 feet to the ground below.

“The fall felt like forever,” Abernethy said. “I had no idea when I was going to hit the ground since my eyes were to the night sky.”

As Brewer jumped, he realized he was on a bridge and was able to grasp the barrier before falling.

Pust, also realizing he was about to jump off of a bridge, straddled the barrier instead and was then able to pull Brewer back over the barrier to safety. The tractor trailer pushed Hartzog's vehicle about 10 feet, coming to a stop inches from Pust's leg.

“All I remember is that I was about to jump over with the others when something told me to stop and just straddle the side,” Pust said. “I have to thank God for giving me that thought.”

As the shock set in, the uninjured students ran down the steep, muddy embankment to the roadside below on which their friends and Hartzog had fallen. The three were lying in a bed of silt and briars, their limbs tangled with each other's. No one was moving.

“We thought they were dead,” Sargent said.

The students got to work helping Abernethy, Boyle and Hartzog, and after a few seconds that felt like an eternity, Sargent returned to the highway to help Dr. Clutter down the hill.

“Dr. Clutter is a very calming person,” Sargent said. “She had complete confidence in us, and that made us more confident that we could handle the situation.”

After the students gave their professor a quick assessment of Abernethy, Boyle and Hartzog's conditions, Dr. Clutter took the lead and began matching the students' skill sets with the needs of the three injured.

“The students remained calm and filled their roles effectively,” she said. “They used therapeutic communication to keep their classmates calm and unmoving, held their hands and did everything they could to make them comfortable.”

From Reyes' nursing bag, the students distributed gloves and gauze to those working on the injured while residents of a nearby house provided towels, blankets and flashlights.

“Caring for my friends in the freezing cold mud was unlike anything I have ever experienced,” Pust said. “I knew what to do and how to do it. Although I was still in shock and terrified from the whole ordeal, I was able to think clearly, and my classmates and I were able to provide the correct care to the injured.”

When the police and ambulances arrived, paramedics took over the care of the victims.

“I didn't even hear the sirens,” Dr. Clutter said. “I had a mission, and I was completely caught up in that mission.”

Abernethy said she was blessed that her classmates were present.

“They knew exactly what to do to care for us, mentally and physically, until the paramedics arrived,” she said.

Abernethy suffered fractured vertebrae and a rod has been surgically inserted into her back. She is at home recovering from her injuries.

“Right now, my health is better than I could have ever imagined,” Abernethy said. “Faith has played a huge rule in my recovery. It was an act of God that we all lived through the fall, and that made me realize that it wasn't my time to go. I have yet to complete what I was put on this earth to do, and that day proved it to me.”

Boyle suffered a spinal cord injury that has left her without sensory and motor function of her lower limbs. In addition, her fractured vertebrae were stabilized by the insertion of a rod into her back. Following two surgeries and a stay in a rehabilitation facility, she is at home learning to walk again.

“The way we were raised by our parents and then the way we were shaped in Waynesburg University's nursing program helped us to make the decisions we made that day,” Abernethy said. “If I had to relive that day, I would still stop.” 

 


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Vira Heinz

The Vira I. Heinz Scholarship for Women in Global Leadership has awarded four Waynesburg University women the opportunity to fulfill dreams of learning and serving abroad.

In 2012, four women will dedicate their summers to continuing Waynesburg University's mission of faith, serving and learning in faraway cultures: one as an intern, two as young teachers and all as students of new experiences and cultural differences.

Waynesburg University has been awarded four scholarships which will afford the women the opportunity to experience a journey unlike any other. The scholarships offer the recipients a combined total of $24,000 in scholarship money.

Overseen by The Heinz Endowments and administered through the University of Pittsburgh's Center for International Studies, the Vira I. Heinz Scholarship for Women in Global Leadership started as one $1,000 check given each fall to a junior woman at an area university. Today the Vira I. Heinz Foundation offers several $5,000 scholarships to women at 16 local and regional colleges and universities in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Ohio.

The four recipients of the 2012 Vira I. Heinz Scholarship for Women in Global Leadership include Jenna Griffith, Angele Hagy, T'Erika Perry and Hannah Szymanik. Through the scholarship, these women will travel and study overseas through three study abroad programs.

Griffith, a junior nursing major from Cambridge, Ohio, will spend her summer in San Ignacio, Belize. From June 2 to June 30, she will serve as an intern in the San Ignacio Hospital to further the nursing skills she has acquired at Waynesburg University.

“Although Belize has many natural beauties, the country still struggles against poverty, inequality and a lack of opportunity,” Griffith said. “This scholarship will enable me to serve and learn in a country where medical assistance is needed and will help shape my life as a nurse.”

Both Hagy, a sophomore early childhood and special education major from Pittsburgh, Pa., and Szymanik, a sophomore early childhood and special education major from Mount Holly Springs, Pa., will spend the summer in Cape Coast, Ghana, through ProWorld, an international study program. The women will volunteer as teaching assistants at an elementary school for five weeks during the months of May and June.

Through Seattle Central Community College, both Hagy and Szymanik will take courses in international education. For Szymanik, the Vira I. Heinz Scholarship for Women in Global Leadership means a jump start to her future.

“A long term goal of mine is to live in Africa as a missionary, and this scholarship allows me to begin that journey,” Szymanik said. “I am excited to start showing love to underprivileged children in a part of the world that has captured my heart.

Perry, a sophomore international studies major from Baltimore, Md., will study in Barcelona, Spain, May 29 to July 27. She will forever refer to this experience as a cotillion of sorts due to an unfulfilled family tradition.
“In my family we have a tradition of holding a cotillion for the women in the family as they come of age,” Perry said. “During the senior year of high school, the women are acknowledged as adults and given the opportunity to travel to surrounding states.” 

Because her mother passed away during her junior year of high school, Perry never received her cotillion celebration.

“Vira I. Heinz is like a cotillion for me,” Perry said. “It is my opportunity to forge a bond as an adult with the women in my family; this program is giving me a chance to get an experience I thought I missed out on.”
The four women were required to submit an application, academic and personal letters of reference and a proposal for their intended plans. Applicants were also required to explain how the trip related to their academic areas of study and future plans.

Each recipient is required to attend two weekend retreats, one before traveling and one upon return, as well as a community engagement experience with an international focus after traveling. These requirements encourage the women to think deeply about their study abroad experience and apply the world lessons to life at Waynesburg University.


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