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Friday , October 19 2018
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UTEP School of Nursing Interim Dean Appointed

The University of Texas at El Paso has named Professor Emeritus of Nursing Patricia T. Castiglia, Ph.D., as the interim dean of the School of Nursing.

Castiglia returns to UTEP after having served at the University from 1990-2001. She was founding dean of the College of Health Sciences in 1999 and previously served as dean of the College of Nursing and Allied Health (now the School of Nursing) and the College of Nursing and Health Sciences.

“Coming back to UTEP and the School of Nursing is like coming home again,” Castiglia said. “More faces are new than those from my past tenure at the University, but the UTEP spirit and pride remain constant. As interim dean, I hope to maintain the high standards of the School of Nursing and hope I can contribute to its continued success. First and foremost, it will be my challenge to work with students and faculty members to ensure the best educational experience possible.”

At UTEP, Castiglia initiated the highly successful Kellogg Community Partnership Program, which led to the establishment of four community health care clinics in El Paso County. The program enabled nursing and health sciences students and faculty at UTEP and Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso to augment their classroom learning and teaching by providing services to disadvantaged populations in the region.

Under Castiglia’s leadership, the College of Health Sciences established programs in occupational therapy, physical therapy, pharmacology and public health.

During her tenure, the kinesiology and sports studies programs were transferred to the College of Health Sciences from the College of Education.

Castiglia was the first recipient of the Charles H. and Shirley T. Leavell Endowed Chair in Nursing and Health Sciences at UTEP.

Castiglia earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees and a Ph.D. from the University at Buffalo (UB) in Buffalo, New York. She served as assistant professor, associate professor, associate dean and interim dean of the UB School of Nursing before coming to UTEP in 1990.

In recognition of her accomplishments, Castiglia has been inducted into the American Academy of Nursing and the El Paso Women’s Hall of Fame. In 1997, she was named Nurse of the Year by the District I Texas Nurses Association. Gov. George W. Bush appointed Castiglia to the Texas Cancer Council in 2000.

UB honored Castiglia by bestowing upon her the title of associate professor emerita. She also has been appointed dean emerita of the American Association of Colleges of Nursing. She retired from UTEP as professor emeritus of nursing in 2001.

Castiglia is a member of the Hamburg Counseling Board. She is also on the board of Rotary District 7090’s Gift of Life program, an international humanitarian project of the Rotary Clubs of Western New York and Southern Ontario.

Castiglia has served as a consultant for the University of Vermont, The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, the University of Missouri – St. Louis, and the UB School of Nursing.

Castiglia will assume the role of interim dean of the UTEP School of Nursing on Oct. 15. She will temporarily succeed Dean Elias Provencio-Vasquez, who led the School of Nursing for eight years. He has accepted the position of dean of the University of Colorado College of Nursing at the Anschutz Medical Campus.

A national search for a permanent dean will begin this fall.

New NMSU School of Nursing Director Combines Engineering, Nursing Background to Educate Students

Nursing and engineering don’t initially seem like they go hand in hand, but Alexa Doig has combined her experiences in the two fields into a career devoted to research, education and increasing the quality of patient care.

Alexa Doig is the new director of the School of Nursing at New Mexico State University’s College of Health and Social Services, and the Elisa E. and Antonio H. Enriquez Endowed Chair. She started at NMSU earlier this month after spending the last 15 years as a faculty member at the University of Utah.

Doig’s research background includes collaborating on NIH-funded, simulation-based research studies to evaluate the effects of an online training program in moderate sedation and a newly developed ICU display; examining nurse vigilance and decision making during patient monitoring; looking into the effects of work interruptions on novice nurse medication errors; developing and testing technology designed to help nurses triage clinical alarms in the hospital environment; and studying the biomechanics associated with fall risk among older adults with physical impairments.

College of Health and Social Services Dean Donna Wagner said the college is thrilled to have Doig on their team.

“Her background and expertise is an excellent addition to our college and we look forward to her contributions to the college, the university and our community partners,” Wagner said.

While Doig plans on keeping a program of research going at NMSU, her primary responsibility is to lead the School of Nursing.

“I’ve been passionate about helping pre-nursing students achieve their goal of getting into the nursing program and at the University of Utah developed a number of different programs for these students, including a pre-nursing learning community, an honors track in nursing, undergraduate research programs and health policy internships,” Doig said. “What drew me to NMSU is that the university shares my vision and commitment to student engagement and student success.”

Doig said that while attending high school and college, she was interested in medical school but also enjoyed math and physics. She ended up earning a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from McGill University in Montreal, Canada.

After moving to the U.S., Doig discovered the expanded roles nurses and nurse practitioners have stateside and decided to explore her early interest in healthcare. She went on to earn a bachelor’s and master’s degrees and doctorate in nursing from the University of Utah.

Doig said she was attracted to NMSU because of its size, strong faculty and highly engaged student body. While at NMSU, Doig said she hopes to help address New Mexico’s nursing shortage by reaching out to area healthcare partners and community groups, and increasing collaboration with other university departments.

“In nursing we have faculty who are doing cutting edge genetics and other bench research, as well as making important discoveries in public health, health disparities, symptom management, patient safety, informatics and health services delivery, just to name a few areas,” Doig said.

“In addition, there are nurse faculty who are working to translate scientific knowledge through evidence-based practice or quality improvement work where we examine the impact and outcomes of applying the latest research discoveries in the practice setting,” Doig said. “We also have nurse faculty who are taking leadership roles in developing and implementing health and nursing education policy at the local, state and national levels. Through this work nursing plays a leading role in advancing the healthcare of individuals and populations at a national level and within our local communities.”

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UTEP’s Online Program Connects Nurses to Education Goals

Fifteen years had passed since the last time Castillo Rangel set foot on the campus of The University of Texas at El Paso.

When Rangel was a premed and dance student in 1999-2001, Centennial Plaza was covered in asphalt, and tennis courts lined the northeast corner of campus where the Health Sciences and Nursing Building now stands. Rangel left UTEP in 2001 and moved to California.

“We did not have a lot of this!” Rangel said when he visited UTEP a few weeks before he graduated from the School of Nursing’s Registered Nurse-to-Bachelor of Science in Nursing(RN-BSN) online program in May 2016. “The (Bhutanese pedestrian) bridge wasn’t there and we didn’t have this roundabout with the (“Mining Minds”) pickaxe. It’s nice.”

The RN-BSN program enables nurses like Rangel who have an associate degree in nursing (ADN) or a nursing diploma to earn their BSN degree online in as little as three semesters. Rangel received an ADN from East Coast Polytechnic Institute in Virginia Beach, Virginia, in 2013.

The RN-BSN program started in 1972, but has been online since 2004. Students take classes from anywhere in the world where they have a computer and Internet access. More than 700 nurses have obtained their BSN degrees through the 100 percent online UTEP program.

“I believe in the value of continuing education in allowing me to provide the best care for my patients, and obtaining my BSN will enable me to explore better career options,” said Rangel, who earned his BSN while living overseas with his wife, a nurse at the U.S. Naval Branch Health Clinic in Atsugi, Japan. Rangel, who served in the Navy from 2006-10, is a volunteer staff nurse in the medical surgical unit at the U.S. Naval Hospital in Yokosuka, the largest U.S. military treatment facility on mainland Japan.

The RN-BSN’s flexible online learning environment is designed for working nurses who need to balance career and family obligations with their educational goals. The program is ideal for military service members and their spouses who frequently relocate from one duty station to another because they can complete their coursework at their convenience anywhere in the world.

UTEP’s Military Student Success Center estimates that 39 military-affiliated students were enrolled in the RN-BSN program during the spring 2016 semester.

“Online programs are attractive to military personnel and their families because of the accessibility that they can take with them through their military endeavors,” said Nadia Muñoz, director of UTEP’s Military Student Success Center. “Many service members and their families travel to places all over the world, and with online options they can continue to engage with their ambition to learn and succeed.”

UTEP’s RN-BSN curriculum builds upon the education and professional experience of registered nurses. Classes are entirely online and include contemporary professional nursing, informatics, leadership, research and statistics, and community nursing.

“They’re already working as nurses and they know how to take care of patients,” Melissa Wholeben, Ph.D., RN-BSN director, said. “We’re going to expand their knowledge base with leadership qualities and components and concepts that they didn’t learn in an ADN program. We’re also preparing them for graduate school.”

ADN and diploma nurses are generally limited to entry-level positions at hospitals and inpatient care facilities. A BSN not only enhances a nurse’s professional skill set, but it also provides career advancement, graduate school opportunities and better job security. In 2010, the Institute of Medicine recommended that 80 percent of nurses in the United States have at least a BSN by the year 2020. Since then, more health care facilities are requiring nursing candidates to have a baccalaureate degree.

Even though Jenell Denise Lower holds an ADN from Central Texas College in Killeen, Texas, she decided to obtain her BSN to make herself more employable and pursue a graduate nursing degree. She picked UTEP’s RN-BSN program because of its flexible start dates and the ability to take more than one course at a time.

“The program is flexible with a working nurse’s schedule,” said Lower, who lives at Fort Hood in Killeen with her Army husband. She expects to graduate in August 2016. “The most challenging part is finding time to study while working full time, but it’s definitely doable. I read nightly for an hour minimum to keep up with my reading, and on my days off I work on assignments.”

Online education has not only allowed Lower and Rangel to pursue their baccalaureate studies without physically being at UTEP, but faculty can also teach in the program from anywhere in the world. RN-BSN faculty live in Texas, Florida, Virginia and the Middle East.

Posting assignments and responding to student inquiries helped Glenn Barnes unwind after a 12-hour day working as a medic and team leader for the U.S. Consulate’s Emergency Response Team in Basrah, Iraq.

Barnes, a former U.S. Army Green Beret and Navy nurse, started teaching in the RN-BSN program in 2014, four years after he earned his graduate degree from UTEP’s online Master of Science in Nursing program.

“I like the freedom that working online gives me,” said Barnes, who left the Emergency Response Team in December 2015. “I’ve been away from my family on and off for 10 years. Now I can work from home on my own time.”

Barnes said he isn’t surprised when a student in another country is late with an assignment because a power outage disrupted Internet service. The same thing happened to him when he was about to post grades.

While in the Navy, Barnes was briefly stationed at the Yokosuka Naval Base in Japan. He knew his way around the base and was able to help Rangel streamline his project for his community nursing course.

As part of the class, students identify a problem in their community and develop solutions for that problem. Castillo was new to the base, but with Barnes’ guidance, he developed a list of resources to help families living on the naval base cope with the stress of moving to a new country.

“The best part about this job is the interaction with the students,” Barnes said. “I may not know what they look like, but I know their strengths, their weaknesses and their drive. I know which ones will go that extra mile and keep going for their master’s degree.”

For information on how to apply to UTEP’s RN-BSN program, click here.

Author:  Laura L. Acosta – UTEP Communications

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