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Home | Tag Archives: utep nursing

Tag Archives: utep nursing

Lifelike mannequins prepare Nursing Graduate Students for Real-Life Emergencies

A 73-year-old car crash victim lies in the emergency room screaming “No me gusta!” or “I don’t like it!” as students in UTEP’s Adult/Gerontologic Acute Care Nurse Practitioners (AGACNP) program prepare to insert a tube into her trachea to help her breathe better.

The patient’s pulse is weak, her blood pressure is low and she’s bleeding from her arm and leg.

“I see on this FAST (Focused Assessment with Sonography for Trauma) exam, we do have some abdominal blood so she’s bleeding into her abdomen,” said Jill Shaw, the team’s leader, as she examined the patient’s ultrasound on the computer monitor. “Okay, let’s consult surgery.”

In trauma situations, the decisions that health care practitioners make can mean the difference between the life and death of a patient.

That is why The University of Texas at El Paso’s School of Nursing is using high-fidelity mannequins to simulate real-life emergency care situations.

Students such as Shaw in the school’s Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) AGACNP program practice their clinical and decision-making skills through various trauma scenarios in UTEP’s Center for Simulation without putting the patient in jeopardy.

The computerized mannequins mimic the body’s physiology. They speak, breathe, bleed and their chests rise  up and down. The patient monitor also can provide an X-ray, ultrasound, CAT scan, MRI images and lab results.

“The point of the trauma simulations is that we can make the high-fidelity mannequins critically ill to the point of death and the students have to intervene,” said AGACNP program director Kathleen M. Cox, DNP. She said students learn how to do primary and secondary assessments, which enable health care practitioners to identify and treat life-threatening conditions in an efficient manner.

“This is a place that they can be safe, they can make mistakes and they can learn from those mistakes,” she said. “So when they go out into the critical care environment, they have already learned how to do those skills because they practiced on a simulated patient.”

UTEP’s AGACNP program educates nurse practitioners to respond to patients with critical life-threatening illnesses and injuries. Since 2013, more than 120 nurse practitioners have graduated from the program, the only one of its kind in the Paso del Norte region. The program is set to graduate 34 students this December, the largest class in the program’s history.

Although the program is online, students participate in simulation experiences on campus at least once a semester. During October’s simulation exercise, students were divided into teams of four and they participated in two different scenarios: one was a car crash victim and the other involved a 53-year-old man who fell 15 feet from a construction scaffold.

During the car crash scenario, students checked the patient’s vital signs as part of the ABCDE (airway, breathing, circulation, disability, exposure) primary assessment. They followed up with a head-to-toe assessment where they looked, listened and felt the entire body for injuries.

“I’m examining her back,” said Shaw, after she determined the patient’s pelvis was stable enough to turn her on her side. “No injuries, no wounds. Checking rectal tone. We have rectal tone … Prepare her for surgery.”

Shaw first used the technology as an undergraduate nursing student, but this experience was far more intense, she said.

“The simulation models that we used in my undergrad program do not have the computer capability that these do,” recalled Shaw, a nurse for 10 years. “These are able to breathe, they have pulses, they can respond appropriately. They’re miles away from what we used before. It’s like working on a real patient.”

To prepare students to always expect the unexpected in trauma situations, instructors surprised them by having the patient’s son burst through the door and throw himself on top of the patient, accidently pulling an intravenous line out of her arm.

“That really helped because that happens all the time,” said Mustafa Azimi, an intensive care unit nurse for five years. This was Azimi’s first time practicing on a high-fidelity mannequin.

“I was really shocked to see how UTEP was able to include sim technology to help us understand how to run certain codes or certain situations, and how to respond to the patient,” he said. “It was pretty realistic considering everything I’ve seen out in the field.”

After the exercise, students met with faculty members who had observed them on cameras in the sim lab’s control room.

They commended the team on their communication skills, but the group did make one fatal mistake. The students gave the patient vasopressors to raise her blood pressure, which they later learned would not have helped her condition because of the massive traumatic volume loss if she were a real patient.

“I learned a lot from the nurses in the simulation with me and from our educators,” Shaw said. “I learned something brand new about vasopressors and trauma, so I appreciate the lab completely.”

High-fidelity mannequins are just one tool that the School of Nursing uses in simulation-based education. Family nurse practitioner students practice their communication, physical assessment, and documentation skills through digital clinical experiences. Undergraduate students receive hands-on training in a safe environment during simulated Hospital Days.

“Students that want to be the best come to this program because they know simulation sets our program apart from other programs,” Cox said.

Video courtesy UTEP Communications


UTEP Nursing Faculty Member to Study End-of-Life Cancer Care in Latinos

Guillermina Solis, Ph.D., assistant professor of nursing at The University of Texas at El Paso, will serve as the El Paso region’s principle investigator on a national multisite study called, “Coping with Cancer III.”

Led by Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City, the study is funded by the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities (NIMHD). Other sites include New York, Chicago, Florida and Dallas.

Solis will collaborate with Javier C. Corral, M.D., division chief of hematology and assistant professor of internal medicine at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center El Paso.

They will recruit patients, their informal caregivers, and their oncologists for a study to identify beliefs and practices among Latinos that significantly contribute to advance care planning and end-of-life care.

The goal is to gain a better understanding of Latino versus non-Latino disparities in making treatment decisions upon the progress of the disease.

Researchers will look at how Latinos and non-Latinos differ in oncology care, religious and familial beliefs that are related to cancer care in comparison to other ethnic groups, and how those differences contribute to care received.

According to Solis, Latino patients with advanced cancer are more likely to receive aggressive treatment at the end of their lives, which may lead to prolonged suffering and higher health care costs than non-Latino cancer patients.

The data will help determine potential interventions to lessen existing ethnic disparities in advance care planning and end-of-life care in Latino patients, caregivers and oncology professionals.

“The uniqueness of this study is that we will gain the perspective on end-of-life and advance care planning from a comprehensive group involved in the decision-making process that includes patients, caregivers and oncology providers,” Solis said.

Study participants must be 21 or older with certain types of cancer and receiving medical treatment. They must have an adult non-paid caregiver and an oncology provider who are willing to participate in the study.

Coping with Cancer III is a longitudinal cohort study of advanced cancer patients and their oncologists led by principle investigators Holly Prigerson, Ph.D., and Paul Maciejewski, Ph.D., co-directors of the Center for Research on End-of-Life Care at Weill Cornell Medicine.

For more information, contact Guillermina Solis at

UTEP Students Bridging the Gender Gap in Nursing

Wesley Stonell was two semesters shy of graduating from The University of Texas at El Paso with a bachelor’s degree in biology when he switched his major to nursing.

Geovany Ruiz delayed entering nursing school because his friends teased him about his childhood dream to become a nurse.

Jeremy Alexander followed his older brother’s example and enrolled in UTEP’s nursing program.

Tabare Faison was a medic in the Texas Air National Guard when he decided to pursue a nursing career.

They are four out of 19 male students who completed UTEP’s Bachelor of Science in Nursing program in August 2018. The University’s School of Nursing honored the program’s 80 graduates Aug. 15 at the Summer Class of 2018 Pinning Ceremony in Magoffin Auditorium.

According to school officials, males make up 21 percent of undergraduate students and 20 percent of graduate students enrolled in UTEP’s School of Nursing. These numbers are higher than the national average of 15 percent for baccalaureate programs and 13 percent for master’s and doctoral nursing degree programs, reported by the National League for Nursing in 2016.

“I am very privileged to be around some of the smartest, most compassionate, hard-working people,” said Stonell, who was president of UTEP’s Texas Nursing Students’ Association and a 21st Century Scholar. “The majority of them are female, but that makes no difference to me. I am proud to be a male nurse and I hope that more male students want to go into nursing … because myself and my male peers have led by example.”

Stonell and his peers are part of a growing number of male nurses in the United States who continue to expand gender diversity in a workforce historically dominated by women. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that the number of male nurses has tripled since 1970, from 2.7 percent to 9.6 percent.

“We are very proud that our efforts to create a more diverse nursing workforce have resulted in this upward trajectory of recruiting and graduating more male nurses at UTEP,” said School of Nursing Dean Elias Provencio-Vasquez, Ph.D. He was the country’s first Hispanic male to earn a doctorate in nursing and lead a nursing school.

“Our outstanding undergraduate and graduate programs support the development of all nursing professionals who not only provide the highest quality care, but also closely represent the diverse patient populations they serve,” he said.

In “Why the Ratio of Men in Nursing is Growing,” a story published on Nov. 7. 2017, in, Elizabeth Munnich, Ph.D., shared some of her research findings on the topic. Munnich, an assistant professor of economics at the University of Louisville in Kentucky, said some of the reasons behind the increase include a greater high school completion rate, additional access to two-year colleges, more urbanization, and a liberalization of gender role attitudes.

Changing attitudes about gender roles prompted Ruiz to pursue his dream to become a nurse. The Puerto Rican native and U.S. Army veteran used his military education benefits to enroll at UTEP.

“In my neighborhood, especially my old friends, they always thought that being a nurse was a job for females,” said Ruiz, who plans to work as an oncology nurse. “So, I put off being a nurse for a long time. But when it comes down to doing the job, it doesn’t matter if you’re male or female. We can both do the job.”

Alexander echoed his classmate’s sentiments. He said men and women go into nursing for the same reason. They want to help people.

Alexander had just graduated from high school when his older brother earned his bachelor’s degree in nursing from UTEP. He wanted to make a difference in people’s lives so he followed his brother’s path to the University to earn a nursing degree.

“We all want to help people,” said Alexander, a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. “It takes a special person to do this job because we see a lot more than a normal person has seen, and I feel that God has blessed me with this knowledge and skills to do this job.”

While most patients are comfortable with either a man or a woman for a nurse, Faison, who was the only male nursing student in his clinical rotation, said there are times when patients may prefer a nurse that is of their same gender, especially when it comes to treating male and female conditions.

“It helps the patient to have options,” said Faison, who graduated cum laude.

Faison had been a police officer and then a medic in the Texas Air National Guard for 10 years when he decided to expand his scope of practice and become a nurse. He decided to study at UTEP because its School of Nursing has a strong regional reputation, state-of-the-art facilities and an outstanding faculty, he said.

“(As a nurse) society looks at you like someone who can help,” Faison said. “Not every profession is like that where people come to you for help and look up to you. (When I was) in law enforcement, sometimes it was hard to see how I was helping people. Whereas in nursing, especially in the emergency room, everyone that you encounter you’re helping them in some way.”

Jennifer Hernandez, a senior nursing student, agreed that there were not many differences between what male and female nurses could do, but she wished that she had the physical strength of her male counterparts.

“You’ve got to move your patients,” Hernandez said. “You’ve got to turn them and it takes a lot of physical strength and energy, so having that physical ability would be awesome!”

Author: Laura L. Acosta – UTEP Communications

UTEP Nursing Students deliver school supplies

University of Texas at El Paso nursing students, extending their care beyond the medical profession, donated school supplies to Hillside Elementary School.

The Texas Nursing Student Association (TNSA) and Elias Provencio-Vasquez, UTEP Dean of the School of Nursing, collected more than 1,500 school supply items and delivered them to the school on Aug. 19.

“The dean is a Hillside Elementary alum, so it is very wonderful and fortunate for us he wants to help out his community,” principal Cynthia Anderson said.

Photo: UTEP
Photo: UTEP

Nursing student Eileen Boureslan is vice president of the TNSA organization and along with her fellow students helped make the school supply drive possible.

“We put together the school drive so the nursing students could donate the school supplies needed in the community,” Boureslan said. “It’s great to see the kids so enthusiastic and appreciative that we were here.”

The nurses collected notebooks, pencils, glue sticks, backpacks and much more for students.



Photo: UTEP
Photo: UTEP

Pre-K student Raul Diaz will start the new school year on the right foot thanks to the brand new backpack filled with school supplies he received.

“I like the backpack they gave me because it’s really nice,” Raul said.

The nursing students also donated supplies to the Center Against Family Violence and Chaparral Elementary School.

“Anywhere where we can help out in the community, that is where we are involved,” Boureslan said.


Author: EPISD

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