Best of Both Worlds

For Beth Mettes, happiness is found in the country, with fresh air, plenty of acreage and beloved animals surrounding her. A circulating nurse in the operating room of University Hospital’s Level 1 Trauma Center, she lives on a farm in northeast Missouri with her husband, Tyler; two Labrador retrievers; goats; horses; chickens; and a wild bunch of barn cats.

“Until a recent tragedy, we had a wonderful pet bull named Franklin who thought he was a dog and was always on our Christmas card,” she adds. “I love spending time outdoors, riding or grooming horses, hunting, gardening, water skiing or driving around in my Jeep with the top and doors off.”

Although Beth, who earned her BSN from Blessing-Rieman College of Nursing in Quincy, Illinois, commutes to Columbia for work from her home in Macon, Missouri, she was searching for a graduate nursing program she could complete from home on her days off. And thanks to the Doctor of Nursing Practice program at MU’s Sinclair School of Nursing, she’s found that living and serving the community she loves while pursuing graduate education are in no way mutually exclusive.

“I was impressed with the idea of an online program that I could complete from home,” she says. “When I started looking at options, the prestige of the Mizzou name was appealing. I chose the DNP program because MU no longer offers a master’s program for nurse practitioners, and I decided that if I was going to jump in, I better jump in the deep end and just go all the way.”

Balance and goals

There’s serenity to Beth’s life on the farm that helps balance her nursing job at MU, where her 12-hour shifts begin bright and early at 6:30 a.m.

“I am blessed to be involved in a variety of cases within the operating room,” she says. “Each day is a surprise when I get to work. I might be doing an ear/nose/throat case, orthopedic (bone) case, neurology (brain or spine) case, abdominal case, gynecological case or urology case.”

For Beth, it’s the variety of procedures and various surgeons that keep her job interesting.

“On rare occasions, I am honored to be involved in organ donation cases where I have cried while watching the miracle of life unfold before my eyes,” she says. “The life-saving trauma surgeries we do are always fast-paced and challenging. I recently participated in a living donor kidney transplant. That means we were in one OR receiving the kidney of the patient next door who donated their kidney to a family member. I love getting to be part of cases like these.”

In addition to her full-time nursing job in the operating room, last spring Beth took a second job as a mental health clinical instructor for SSON undergraduate nursing students.

“Before the operating room, I was a charge nurse in the psychiatric ER,” she says. “I missed the patients at the psychiatric hospital and wanted to share with nursing students that mental health nursing isn’t like the movies and is not as scary as it sounds. I hope to recruit a few of them to become mental health nurses.”

Because of the flexibility of the DNP program, Beth’s graduate courses have fit seamlessly into an already-full schedule. And although the days can be long with so much to juggle, Beth says the online capabilities of the program have proved invaluable in allowing her not only to achieve her goals but also to connect with a variety of instructors with diverse backgrounds and specialties.

“The way the program is designed, you can access your class anywhere you have internet access,” Beth says. “Additionally, the online program allows SSON to employ the best of the best when it comes to instructors. … We had a well-known pediatric ER CNS teaching our pediatric class from St. Louis, we have an exceptional FNP who works full time in an urgent care in Jefferson City sharing her immeasurable wisdom about assessment and diagnostic skills, our mental health leaders are well-known mental health nurse practitioners from St. Louis and my personal mentor is an FNP who practices in Kansas City. She is three hours away from me, yet I’ve learned more than I could ever imagine from her.”

Return to rural

With her May 2018 graduation date quickly approaching, Beth is preparing to transition to being a nurse practitioner, providing primary care for patients of all ages. Demand for nurses with her qualifications is high, particularly in rural settings.

“As I get closer to graduation, I am discussing opportunities with a private practice within my community,” she says. “I hope to work with that collaborating physician, but we have discussed the idea of a satellite clinic in a neighboring town. This community has so many people who could benefit from a primary health care provider. I have a special spot in my heart for the farmers of my community. I would be honored to provide them with resources to remain healthy through preventative health and routine management.”

For Beth, serving the needs of her small town is about more than just providing health care — it’s about continuing her family’s long line of service and giving back to the community that raised her. Beth’s mother provided for the family and community by selling crop insurance to local farmers, and her father, a rural electric cooperative’s lead lineman, provides electricity to the community.

“I want to be part of continuing to provide much-needed services to our area by returning to the region as a nurse practitioner,” Beth says. “There is a need for providers to fill a service in rural areas, and because I grew up appreciating a rustic life, I am incredibly interesting in the peacefulness of remaining in the rural environment. There is an unexplainable calmness of sitting by a fire and listening to the crickets and coyotes.

“The quietness and fresh air of the country is calming and peaceful,” she continues. “I would never want to give that up.”

Click here for more on the Sinclair School of Nursing’s DNP program, including entry pathways and areas of study.

Celebration Held for Dean Judith Fitzgerald Miller

Dean Judith Fitzgerald Miller is set to retire from the Sinclair School of Nursing December 31, 2017, after nearly nine years leading the School. On Wednesday, November 29, leaders from across the campus and the community joined current and former faculty, staff and friends of the School to celebrate her remarkable career.

View the program celebrating her many accomplishments below.

As stated throughout the program, Dean Miller accomplished much in her time at the Sinclair School of Nursing. In her tenure as dean, the school launched its DNP program; student enrollment increased by 400; diversity in the student body increased by 22%; donors gave more than $15 million; the Student Commons was developed and the simulation center expanded with the addition of the safe practices room; the school exceeded all aspirational school benchmarks using the national Educational Benchmarking Incorporated (EBI)too; and nursing researchers experienced an increase in research grants and contracts expenditures from $3.7 million to $6.8 million

Students Present at Health Sciences Research Day

The Sinclair School of Nursing (SSON) was well represented at this year’s MU Health Sciences Research Day. Eight current students presented their research projects, while Poungkamon “Mew” Krisanabud received the SSON Dean’s Award for her research poster, “The Association between Symptom Severity and Physical Activity Interference among Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients: A Pilot Study” November 9, 2017.

Each year, MU Health Sciences Research Day is organized and sponsored by the MU Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, who also partners with the School of Medicine, the SSON, the School of Health Professions and the Harry S. Truman Memorial Veterans Hospital. Each school’s dean selects a student from their school to receive the Dean’s award.

Congratulations to all students who presented! A job well done!

Student Mentor Title
India Bloom, BSN student Maithe Enriquez HIV Preparedness: Measuring Knowledge and Stigma in Nursing Students
Kelley and Kelsey Fitzgerald, BSN students Kari Lane Older Adults and Cochlear Implant coverage
Reem Al Alawi, PhD student Greg Alexander Assessing Competency of Baccalaureate Nursing Students
Rungnapha “Lek” Khiewchaum, PhD Student Vicki Conn Psychoeducational Interventions to Improve Physical and Psychological Well-being in Informal Caregivers of Frail Elderly People with Chronic Illnesses: A Systematic Review
Pongkamon “Mew” Krisanabud, PhD Student Leeanne Sherwin The Association Between symptom Severity and Interference Activity Among Irritable Bowel Syndrome Patients: A Pilot Study
Paul Linneman, DNP Student Carolyn Crumley Treatment of Hypertrophic Granulation in Burns: Review of the Literature
Jennifer O’Connor, PhD Student Deidre Wipke-Tevis Prevalence of Foot Health Problems Among Haitian Sugarcane Workers Living in the Batayes of the Southeastern Dominican Republic
Tipparat “Rose” Udmuangpia, PhD Student Tina Bloom Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) in Ghana, West Africa: A Systematic Review of Recent Literature

American Lymphedema Framework Project Receives Sigma Theta Tau Award

Dr. Jane Armer and members of the American Lymphedema Framework Project (ALFP) steering committee were honored with the Research Dissemination Award at the Sigma Theta Tau International Biennial Convention October 29, 2017, in Indianapolis, Indiana. This award recognizes excellence in improving and disseminating evidence-based practice research.

The American Lymphedema Framework Project was founded in 2008 as the first invited national framework of the International Lymphedema Framework with the mission to improve management of lymphedema in the United States, while contributing to global international advancement. Through a continued partnership of patients, healthcare professionals, researchers, industry representatives, third-party payers, and advocates, the ALFP has established a leadership role in risk-reduction, treatment, education, and research of lymphedema management. ALFP teams published 10 systematic reviews examining levels of evidence for practice. Aggregation of clinical and research data through informatics infrastructures such as the ALFP minimum data set support development of practice-based evidence to guide lymphedema best practices. Innovations such as development and refinement of mobile devices for limb volume measurement and resource retrieval (“Look4LE”) promise to improve management for persons with and at risk of lymphedema. The ALFP has made a major contribution toward moving the lymphedema field forward.

For more information about ALFP, visit or follow them on Facebook or twitter @ALFP_org.

PhD Students Receive Jonas Global Fellowships

PhD student Jennifer O’Connor was selected to receive an MU Jonas Global Fellowship, funded by Jonas Center for Nursing & Veterans Healthcare, which provides global health research experiences for graduate nursing students. Jennifer traveled to the Dominican Republic in October 2017 with Dr. Maithe Enriquez to conduct a study to determine the prevalence of foot health problems among immigrant Haitian sugarcane worker families. Jennifer’s project is believed to be the first to assess foot health in this extremely vulnerable population. Jennifer also assisted with Dr. Enriquez’ ongoing project to evaluate the effectiveness of a mobile hypertension screening and intervention model for sugarcane worker families in the bateyes of the Dominican Republic. Jennifer, an NINRHealth Behavior Science T32 fellow, is mentored by Deidre Wipke-Tevis, PhD, RN, Associate Professor and Nursing PhD Program Director.

PhD candidate Kimberly Hart, MSN, WHNP, was also awarded an MU Jonas Global Fellowship. Kimberly has an interest in global health and completed the graduate certificate in public health at MU. In October 2017, she traveled to the southeastern Dominican Republic with her mentor Dr. Maithe Enriquez to work on an ongoing Sinclair School of Nursing initiative that aims to protect vision health and reduce risk of cataracts among residents in four rural sugarcane villages. Kimberly also assisted with an ongoing four-year project that is examining the impact of a mobile hypertension screening and treatment model. SSON partners with the Light A Candle Foundation, Dominican Republic Medical Partnership and Jonas Center on the batey health projects.