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 Helps Launch New Online Graduate Certificate in Participatory Health Research

The University of Missouri is working to increase the number of researchers who use a patient-centered and community-engaged approach to their work by launching a new online graduate certificate in participatory health research. 

“When researchers, community members, social welfare experts and health care administrators work as partners to conduct research projects, there is an increase in meaningful change and forward progress,” says Maithe Enriquez, SSON associate professor. “Former U.S. Surgeon General David Stacher has said this type of research methodology holds the key for getting to the root cause of health disparities.”

The program will create more health care professionals who are able to not only improve outcomes in their clinical setting, but also influence health care policy, Enriquez says.

MU is now accepting applications for the 100-percent online certificate program and classes begin August 21. GRE scores are not required for application.

In-Demand Skills

The 15-credit-hour program is designed for professionals in social work, nursing and public health who want to acquire research skills to expand and grow their careers.

Students in the online program will apply research methodologies that health care systems and health research institutions value most:

  • Community-based participatory research (CBPR): a partnership approach to research in which various stakeholders contribute expertise and share decision-making.
  • Patient-centered outcomes research (PCOR): a methodology that involves health care consumers and caregivers, helping them communicate and make informed health care decisions together.
  • Clinical effectiveness research (CER): the direct comparison of health care interventions to determine which work best for which patients.

The graduate certificate can be taken in addition to a student’s current graduate program of study in medicine, public health, nursing, social work or other areas. In-service professionals who seek to enhance their skills also can enroll in the certificate program. A bachelor’s degree is required for admission.

“Students are going to pick up valuable skills and expertise in community-based, patient-centered and clinical effectiveness research,” Enriquez says. “They also can grow their professional networks while continuing their education, which is something all licensed health care professionals are required to do.”

 Four MU departments are working together to offer the course work for this online graduate certificate: the School of Medicine’s Family and Community Medicine, the School of Social Work, the School of Health Professions and the Sinclair School of Nursing.

Students who take two classes each semester can finish the 15-credit hour program in one year. 

For more information about the online graduate certificate in participatory health research, visit online.missouri.edu/participatory-health-research-graduate-certificate.

27th Annual Awards Banquet Celebrates SSON

Nearly 250 guests filled the Country Club of Missouri for the 27th Annual Awards Banquet and Alumni Reunion April 21, 2017. Alumni from all over the country joined Sinclair School of Nursing faculty, staff, students and their family gathered to celebrate the best of the Sinclair School of Nursing.

Students were recognized for excellence in the classroom and clinical settings. Faculty were recognized for excellence in teaching and research. The Nursing Alumni Organization recognized five honorable alumni who have spent their careers in the top of the nursing profession. Award winners are listed below.

Award Winner
Overall Excellence by a 7th Semester Student McKenzie Adam
Overall Excellence by an 8th Semester Student Mary-Margaret Washer
Overall Excellence by an Accelerated Student Rebekah Bade
Overall Excellence by an RN to BSN Student Carla Clapp
Overall Excellence by a Master’s Student Courtney Miller
Overall Excellence by a DNP Student Angela Story
Overall Excellence by a PhD Student Ginny Schulz
School Staff Award Sandra Dearlove
Excellence in Teaching Pam Evans-Smith
Excellence in Research Laurel Despins
Betty Crim Award for Faculty Enhancement Michelle Reams
Alumni Achievement Mindy Stites
Humanitarian Award Candy Neuner
Alumna of the Year Cay Casey
Honorary Alumna  Colleen Galambos
Citation of Merit Mei Fu
Distinguished Friend of the School Sandra Gambaro Shelley

Congratulations to all award winners!

Prior to the banquet, members of the Sinclair School of Nursing’s Nightingale Gift Society were celebrated at the annual induction and reception. New members were inducted into the prestigious society, and others were elevated to new levels of recognition. The society honors major donors for their gifts made to the school.

Following the banquet, Sunday, April 22, members of the class of 1967, ’77, ’87 and 2007 gathered for a reunion. They toured the University of Missouri Hospital and the Sinclair School of Nursing and gathered for lunch to reminisce about their time in nursing school.

Thanks to all who attended and helped put the event together. We are looking forward to next year. Be sure to check out facebook for pictures of all the events!

Students Meet With State Legislators

One hundred sixty-eight senior BSN students from the traditional and accelerated options and ten faculty members attended the MONA Nurse Advocacy Day Tuesday, March 7 at the Capital in Jefferson City.  Students and faculty worked across the curriculum to develop advocacy skills and identify evidence to support or oppose upcoming legislation. 

The BSN faculty curriculum committee made the commitment as a faculty to prepare and support nursing students in a nurse advocacy event during their time at the SSON. The students prepared for Nurse Advocacy Day for weeks prior to the event by identifying evidence to support or oppose the upcoming health care bills.

Some of the bills addressed specifically were the Emergency 911 Bill, a texting and driving bill, the MO Health Net Structure bill and the Narcotics Control Act. Advocacy Days was an opportunity for the students to share their evidence and participate in the process of the “big voice.” The students were asked to identify their senator or state representative. In preparation, they were asked to identify an upcoming bill and oppose or support it, identify two main benefits, provide evidence to support their position, discuss the population and request an action.

While visiting the capital, 35 students were waiting for Sen. Caleb Rowden to finish his appointment with newly-appointed University of Missouri System President Mu Choi. Both President Choi and Sen. Rowden met with students for 20-30 minutes.

One Day to Make a Difference

Mark your calendar! The Mizzou family is coming together to make a difference like never before through the first-ever Mizzou Giving Day. From noon on March 15 to noon on March 16, support what you love about Mizzou and help us make our university a better place to learn and live.

You don’t have to wait to donate, though. You can give now to show your support for the Sinclair School of Nursing!