Faculty Member Receives Neonatal Research Award

June 18, 2013

Columbia, Mo. — Assistant Professor Urmeka Jefferson received the Research Abstract Award from the National Association of Neonatal Nurses (NANN) Friday, Oct. 4, at the NANN’s 29th Annual Educational Conference in Nashville, Tenn. Jefferson’s research focuses on breastfeeding knowledge and intentions among blacks and the factors associated with infant feeding methods and impact on infant mortality.

Jefferson’s research abstract was titled, “Contribution of breastfeeding exposure and attitudes to breastfeeding intentions of black college students.” Research shows that black women breastfeed at much lower rates than white women although breastfeeding has been shown to decrease disease rates and mortality for infants. “Black infants may receive a substantial benefit from breastfeeding but are the least likely to receive any breast milk during early infancy,” Jefferson said. Jefferson’s study explored breastfeeding exposure, attitudes and intentions of black college students and found that exposure to breastfeeding, positive attitudes toward breastfeeding and higher educational status contributed to the prediction of breastfeeding intentions.

Graduate Students Attend State Nursing Summit

June 6, 2013

Columbia, Mo. — Incoming and current graduate students in the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing attended the Missouri Action Coalition’s (MOAC) 2013 Teamwork Summit Wednesday, June 5, in Jefferson City. The annual event brings together nurses from across the state. The keynote speaker, Michael Bleich, PhD, RN, FAAN, gave the presentation, “Convergence of the IOM Report with Healthcare Transformation and Expanded Public Expectations in Nursing.” Gov. Jay Nixon also spoke to the assembled group.

MOAC’s stated purpose is “to familiarize Missouri nurses and nurse friends with the recommendations in the [Institute of Medicine’s] IOM Future of Nursing Report and develop strategies on how to make these recommendations a reality in our state, transform the healthcare system, and improve health outcomes.” The coalition works to overcome barriers to nursing practice and help nurses practice to the fullest extent of their education. The IOM report provides four recommendations to help the nursing profession (which makes up the largest portion of health care workers) continue to lead, provide quality care and transform health care. The four recommendations are:

  • Nurses should practice to the full extent of their education and training. 
  • Nurses should achieve higher levels of education and training through an improved education system that promotes seamless academic progression.
  • Nurses should be full partners, with physicians and other health care professionals, in redesigning health care in the United States.
  • Effective workforce planning and policy making require better data collection and information infrastructure.

Incoming graduate students for the master’s, Doctor of Nursing Practice and Doctor of Philosophy programs were on campus for a weeklong leadership and orientation session to kick off their programs.

View photos from the MOAC session.

Nursing Faculty Member Receives UM President’s Economic Development Award

June 5, 2013

Columbia, Mo. — Marilyn Rantz, Curators’ Professor in the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing (MU SSON), was recently recognized with the University of Missouri System President’s Award for Economic Development. The recognition included a $5,000 award.

Robert Schwartz, UM President’s Office chief of staff, surprised Rantz with an award presentation in front of her colleagues. The Economic Development Award recognizes faculty for distinguished activity in meeting the University of Missouri’s goal of serving as an economic engine for the state and its citizens. Awardees demonstrate entrepreneurial innovation in using the classroom, outreach programs or the laboratory as vehicles for increasing or developing new economic activity in the state.

Rantz has spent more than 30 years working with the aging population and conducting research to improve seniors’ quality of life.

“Dr. Rantz’s commitment to improving nursing care for elders resulted in her pioneering the development and testing of alternative models of care for frail elders,” said Judith Fitzgerald Miller, MU SSON dean. “Her innovations have resulted in jobs for hundreds of health care workers and millions of dollars in construction costs invested by Americare for our independent living center, TigerPlace. Her tenacity has had a profound economic impact and improved quality of life for the elderly.”

TigerPlace uses the Aging in Place (AIP) model developed by Rantz and her team. The AIP model focuses on care coordination by nurses to enable older adults to age and receive necessary care in residential care settings. Rantz is AIP director at TigerPlace and MU Interdisciplinary Center on Aging associate director.

Rantz is currently leading a $14.8 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). The project focuses on reducing avoidable re-hospitalizations among residents of St. Louis-area nursing homes. Insights gained from this project could provide a nationwide model for senior care and significantly reduce national health care spending. Rantz was admitted to the Institute of Medicine in 2012.

Nursing Faculty Member Receives UM President’s Inter-Campus Collaboration Award

June 5, 2013

Columbia, Mo. — Debra Gayer, associate professor in the University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing (MU SSON), was recently honored with the University of Missouri System President’s Award for Inter-Campus Collaboration. Gayer shared the award with colleagues at the University of Missouri–St. Louis and University of Missouri–Kansas City Schools of Nursing: Dawn Garzón and Susan Farberman, UMSL, and Diane King and Virginia Rahm, UMKC. Each member of the group received a $2,000 award.

Robert Schwartz, UM President’s Office chief of staff, surprised Gayer with the award in front of her colleagues and students. The Inter-Campus Collaboration Award Gayer received, recognizes faculty who engage in activities that foster collaboration across two or more campuses of the UM System. Their project, begun in 2000, focuses on sharing faculty resources to offer three required core courses through online delivery for each school’s pediatric nurse practitioner program. The faculty overcame various barriers at each campus: differing program curricula, budgeting systems, fee schedules and technology expectations. The quality educational content developed provided a richer learning experience as students benefited from faculty expertise from the three schools and interactions with students from across the state serving varied populations from rural to urban young patients.

“Dr. Debra Gayer has worked diligently to educate pediatric nurses in the state of Missouri and beyond to help meet the growing need for primary health care advanced pediatric nurse providers,” said Dean Judith Fitzgerald Miller, MU SSON dean. “This online pediatric nurse practitioner program addresses the needs of nursing students in rural and underserved communities in Missouri.”

Seniors Who Exercise Regularly Experience Less Physical Decline as They Age, MU Study Finds

June 3, 2014

COLUMBIA, Mo. –The majority of adults aged 65 and older remains inactive and fails to meet recommended physical activity guidelines, previous research has shown. However, these studies have not represented elders living in retirement communities who may have more access to recreational activities and exercise equipment. Now, researchers at the University of Missouri found that older adults in retirement communities who reported more exercise experienced less physical decline than their peers who reported less exercise, although many adults — even those who exercised — did not complete muscle-strengthening exercises, which are another defense against physical decline.

“Physical decline is natural in this age group, but we found that people who exercised more declined less,” said Lorraine Phillips, an associate professor in the MU Sinclair School of Nursing. “The most popular physical activities the residents of the retirement community reported doing were light housework and walking, both of which are easily integrated into individuals’ daily lives, but these exercises are not the best choices for maintaining muscle strength.”

Phillips and her colleagues studied the physical activity of 38 residents at TigerPlace, an independent-living community in Columbia, four times in one year. The researchers tested the residents’ walking speed, balance and their ability to stand up after sitting in a chair. Then, researchers compared the results of the tests to the residents’ self-reported participation in exercise. Phillips found that residents who reported doing more exercise had more success maintaining their physical abilities over time.

Phillips says the national recommendations for exercise include muscle strengthening exercises, such as knee extensions and bicep curls. Most of the study participants did not report completing these types of activities despite daily opportunities for recreational activities and access to exercise equipment. Phillips says muscle strength is important to individuals of this age group in order for them to maintain their ability to conduct everyday activities such as opening jars, standing up from chairs and supporting their own bodyweight.

“For older individuals, walking may represent the most familiar and comfortable type of physical activity,” Phillips said. “Muscle-strengthening exercises should be promoted more aggressively in retirement communities and made more appealing to residents.”

To combat the lack of physical activity among seniors, Phillips says health care providers should discuss exercise programs with their patients and share the possible risks associated with their lack of exercise, such as losing their ability to live independently. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, individuals 65 years of age and older that have no limiting health conditions should do muscle-strengthening activities that work all major muscle groups at least two days a week.

Phillips’ research, “Retirement Community Residents’ Physical Activity, Depressive Symptoms, and Functional Limitations,” was published in Clinical Nursing Research.

Article By: Diamond Dixon, MU News Bureau