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

School confers 113 degrees in May ceremony, recognizes 99 upcoming July graduates

May 20, 2013

Columbia, Mo. — The University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing (MU SSON) celebrated commencement exercises Friday, May 17, 2013. The school awarded 113 degrees and graduated its first class of doctor of nursing practice students.

Fifty-eight graduates received a bachelor of science in nursing (BSN), another 99 students participated in the ceremony and will complete courses for their BSN degrees in July. Graduate-level graduates included 39 master of science degrees, 8 doctor of nursing practice degrees, 2 doctor of philosophy degrees and 6 post-master certificates. May and July graduates.

Dean Judith Fitzgerald Miller presided over the ceremony and gave the main address. Student addresses were given by Jessica Loos, BSN candidate; Liz Demse, accelerated BSN candidate; and Julie Miller, MS(N) candidate. Each graduate received a rose from the Nursing Alumni Organization.

Special faculty and student awards were given during the ceremony:

  • Nursing Student Council Outstanding Clinical Teaching Faculty Award
    • Denice Mendenhall
  • Nursing Student Council Outstanding Classroom Teaching Faculty Award
    • Pam Evans-Smith
  • Nursing Student Council Outstanding Student Award
    • Jessica Loos, May graduate
    • Sarah Tannehill, July graduate
  • Janet ‘Joy’ Thompson Undergraduate Student Award
    • Lindsey Gray
  • Geriatric Excellence Undergraduate Student Award
    • Jennifer Morris

MU Sinclair School of Nursing graduation pictures are available on the school’s Flickr page.

The Sigma Theta Tau Alpha Iota chapter inducted new members prior to the graduation ceremony May 17. Pictures from the Sigma Theta Tau induction pictures are available on the school’s Flickr page.

2013 Award Recipients Announced at Annual Banquet

April 8, 2013

Columbia, Mo. — The University of Missouri Sinclair School of Nursing (MU SSON) celebrated the accomplishments of its alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends during the 23rd Annual Banquet and Awards Ceremony April 5 at Donald W. Reynolds Alumni Center on the University of Missouri campus with about 200 people in attendance. Dean Judith Fitzgerald Miller and Nursing Alumni Organization (NAO) President Terry Jackson, BSN ’78, presented the school and NAO alumni awards.
“This annual event gives the school and the Nursing Alumni Organization the opportunity to recognize outstanding individuals who have elevated the reputation, research, teaching and service of the Sinclair School of Nursing,” Miller said.

The school’s highest honor, the Distinguished Friend of the School, was awarded to Richard G. Miller (no relation) for his ongoing support of the school. Two years ago, he funded the school’s innovative Safe Practices Room where students learn how to prevent injury for themselves and keep patients safe. The room is named in honor of his daughter, Grace, who earned a BSN from the school in 2012. Miller is president and CEO of Miller’s Professional Imaging/Mpix.

The Nursing Alumni Organization presented five awards recognizing the achievements of alumni and friends of the school:

Linda Kovachevich Klein, BSN ’74 – Citation of Merit. Klein is president and CEO of Klein and Company Inc., a multi-million dollar company providing medical education and communication services for the biopharmaceutical and medical device industries.

Mary I. Johnson, MS(N) ’87, CNS ’95 – Alumna of the Year Award. Johnson is a nurse practitioner and clinical nurse specialist at Ellis Fischel Cancer Center. She has been with University of Missouri Health Care for 43 years.

Elizabeth L. Pettitt, BSN ’08 – Alumni Achievement Award. Pettitt is hospitalist coordinator at Lake Regional Health System in Osage Beach, Mo., and works on quality improvement projects in the Lake Regional Clinics. She is currently pursuing a master’s in nursing with an executive focus.

Ursula Adrian Smith, BSN ’80 – Humanitarian Award. Smith worked for just a few years as a nurse before becoming a full-time mother of five, but she has continued to use her nursing skills and knowledge in a variety of volunteer capacities including as a volunteer school nurse at her children’s independent school and as a member of the Community Emergency Response Team in Chesterfield, Mo.

Marjorie Skubic – Honorary Alumna Award. Skubic co-leads the Eldertech research team at TigerPlace where sensor technology is a key component of Aging in Place research. Skubic is an MU professor with joint appointments in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Department of Computer Science.

The school also presented staff, faculty and student awards during the annual banquet. Recipients of the staff and faculty awards were:

Laura Anderson – Staff Award for Overall Excellence

Glenda Nickell – Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching

Marilyn Rantz – Faculty Award for Excellence in Research

Denice Mendenhall – Betty Crim Faculty Enhancement Award

Recipients of the student awards for overall excellence were:

Whitney Hoskins – RN to BSN Award

Abby Kemna – Accelerated BSN Award

Sharon Finn – Seventh Semester Award

Jennifer Movold – Eighth Semester Award

Dyann Helming – Master’s Award

Shelby Thomas – Doctor of Nursing Practice Award

Deidre Bales-Poirot – Doctor of Philosophy Award