Dr. Marilyn Rantz Receives Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Marilyn Rantz, PhD, RN, FAAN, was recognized by one of her alma maters October 6, 2017. The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Alumni Association presented Dr. Rantz with the Lifetime Achievement Award at their annual Alumni Awards Evening at the Pfister Hotel in Milwaukee, Wis. 

Dr. Rantz has been affiliated with the Sinclair School of Nursing (SSON) since 1992 and is a pioneer in nursing home care. She is a premier international expert in quality measurement in nursing homes and research programs to improve quality care of older adults. In late 2012, she secured a $14.8 million grant from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for their Initiative to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations among Nursing Facility Residents, the largest ever received by the University of Missouri. In 2016, Rantz secured a $19.8 million grant for her team to complete the work in the Phase 1 nursing home and then begin testing a new payment model for management of acute conditions within the facility with the help of advanced practice nurses (APRNs).

In total, Dr. Rantz and her interdisciplinary team have been funded for more that $80 million to conduct research in long-term care, new delivery models of care for older adults, and most recently, for technology development to enhance aging in place of community-dwelling elders. Much of this research is conducted at TigerPlace, a joint venture between the SSON and the American Corporation. Rantz serves as the executive director of aging in place of TigerPlace, which serves as a model of independent housing to enable older to age in place through the end of life, maximizing independence and function. 

Rantz earned her PhD from UWM in 1992 and says the Lifetime Achievement Award means a lot to both her and the nursing profession. 

“It means a lot to me as a professional and as an academic,” she says. “This is recognition from the place where I was educated and where I respect a lot of people. It came with some degree of surprise and astonishment because you don’t expect to be singled out by the entire university.”

Dr. Rantz also says the university choosing a nurse scientist for the award is important for the profession. “I was very honored on behalf of nursing,” she says. “That I was recognized in that way means a lot for our field. I have always viewed nursing as a science-based discipline, and this was very affirming for our discipline.”



PhD Students Inducted into Griffiths Leadership Society

Two Sinclair School of Nursing PhD students have been selected into Griffiths Leadership Society. Tipparat “Rose” Udmuangpia and Reem Al Alawi will be inducted into the leadership society for women.

The Griffiths Leadership Society for Women is a catalyst for connections among diverse and distinguished Mizzou student leaders and alumnae. Through lifelong learning, leadership development and mentoring, members stimulate their potential and that of other MU women, while supporting the best interests and traditions of the University of Missouri. 

Rose is studying prevention of intimate partner violence in Thailand. She is mentored by Tina Bloom, PhD, MPH, RN.

Reem Al Alway is a second-year PhD student studying nursing education in Oman. She is co-mentored by Greg Alexander, PhD, RN, FAAN, and Gina Oliver, PhD, APRN, FNP-BC.

PhD Student Inducted into the American Academy of Nursing

Sharon Ann Van Wicklin, MS(N), RN, CNOR, CRNFA(E), CPSN-R, PLNC, was inducted as a fellow into the prestigious American Academy of Nursing at the American Academy of Nursing fall meeting October 5-7 in Washington, D.C. Sharon is currently pursuing a PhD in Nursing from the Sinclair School of Nursing and is mentored by Vicki Conn, PhD, RN, FAAN, Associate Dean of Research and Professor of Nursing. While several PhD graduates have gone on to be fellows, Sharon is the first active student to be inducted as a fellow. 

Sharon is a senior perioperative practice specialist for the Association of periOperative Registered Nurses. She has more than 40 years of experience as a perioperative registered nurse and has worked in all facets of the perioperative environment from scrub person to director. In her current position, Sharon provides consultative services and authors numerous publications. She has written seven nationally-recognized guidelines for perioperative practice. The guidelines provide a foundation for increasing nurses’ ability to inform health policy at the local, state and national level while transforming the United States health care system to make it more outcome-driven and cost-effective. The guidelines directly influence the delivery of patient care, the practice environment and perioperative nursing practice. Sharon also serves as a perioperative representative on various national panels and committees that direct health policy and affect patient outcomes. Additionally, Sharon is a member of the School of Nursing faculty of Middle Tennessee State University and the University of Phoenix.

Sharon received her BSN and MS(N) from Middle Tennessee State University. She is a member of the Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society of Nursing and Phi Kappa Phi. She holds certification in operating room nursing, as a registered nurse first assistant emeritus, as a retired plastic and reconstructive surgical nurse, and as a professional legal nurse consultant. Sharon was recognized as a recipient of the Outstanding Achievement in the Application of Perioperative Clinical Research Award in 2005.

A Life Changed

April 15, 2012. That was the day that changed the course of Christopher Wilson’s life forever.

As part of the Army National Guard, Chris, BSN ’17, was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. While there, as a member of Missouri Agribusiness Development Team 6, he was the security forces team leader and felt a great deal of responsibility for his soldiers. His responsibilities included the training of security forces and developing missions, organizing teams and detailing routes in order to keep his soldiers safe.

On that fateful day, Chris’ base was attacked by insurgents. Initially, a car bomb went off behind the troops’ sleeping quarters. Insurgents then used the chaos to their advantage and came into the camp. A 30-minute firefight ensued, and while Chris was physically unharmed, in all, 17 purple hearts were awarded from this incident.

After the dust had settled, Chris visited his wounded soldiers at the Army hospital at Jalalabad Airfield. Everywhere he looked, he saw nurses providing the top level of care to his wounded comrades.

“I didn’t see a doctor. It was all nurses,” Chris says. “After I had a chance to process everything that had happened, that was the moment that led me to want to be a nurse. I wanted to be able to provide the care my soldiers received.”

Later that year, Chris returned to the United States and began to think about what his career might hold next. He already held a bachelor’s of science in exercise science/physiology from Truman State University, but wanted to become a nurse.

He needed to take a few prerequisites and then applied to the Sinclair School of Nursing’s accelerated bachelor’s of science in nursing. In 2016, Chris was accepted into the highly competitive program. 

Throughout the rigorous, 15-month program, he had to work to both develop the nursing knowledge and skills he would need to practice as a bachelor’s-prepared nurse after graduation and keep up with his military duties.

“I finished that first summer semester of the program, took my ‘Skills’ final and that immediately led to my wedding day,” Chris says. “I got married and then left for a week from some military training and then came back and started the next semester. That’s pretty much how it went throughout the whole program I would finish one thing, and it was on to the next.”

As the program came to a close in July 2017, if Chris thought his life was going to slow down, he was wrong. Just before his last week of finals, Chris and his wife, Nicole, delivered their first child, Hugh Lawrence Wilson.

Chris spent his first few nights as a new father staying up late, studying for his last round of finals. Managing to pass them all, he now has a little bit of time to think about his future. Through a combination of natural skills and those he developed in the military, Chris has always been a leader. He used those skills in his time at the SSON. 

“i’m not the most outspoken person,” Chris says. “I like to lead by example, but I tried to speak out sometimes, I knew I was one of the oldest ones in the class and wanted to be someone my classmates could look up to.”

Now, Chris is going to use his skills as a nurse in the surgical intensive care unit at University Hospital here in Columbia. He hopes that role will help him to continue acquiring skills and experiences that will help him achieve his ultimate goal. Chris is currently in the process of switching from being an engineer in the National Guard to being enlisted in the Medical Services Corps. He wants to be able to be deployed and be one of the frontline nurses that deal with casualties of war.

“That is the fruition of everything that happened in that attack in 2012,” Chris says. “I just want to be someone that soldiers can rely on and feel comfortable that they are in the best care with me.”

SSON welcomes first Fulbright Scholar to PhD program

The Sinclair School of Nursing (SSON) is pleased to welcome its first Fulbright Scholar to the school. Justina Yevu Johnson comes to the University of Missouri from Tema, Greater Accra, Ghana, where she was a nursing instructor at Central University College. Justina knew she wanted to pursue a PhD, so when the opportunity presented itself to apply to be a Fulbright Scholar, she applied and was accepted.   

With a BSN and MS(N) from the University of Ghana, Justina is interested in researching palliative care. This is her first time in the United States. After three weeks of orientation in Ohio, Justina arrived in Columbia August 12 and began classes this semester. Her husband and five-year-old son are still in Ghana, but will be moving here after Justina completes her first semester.

Justina says she is most excited to work with the faculty and in the facilities in the SSON, but that she will miss her students in Ghana, with whom she had built meaningful relationships. She hopes to earn her PhD degree in four years.