More than Patient Care: Archer Family Health Care Celebrates 20th Anniversary
When the Calloway family moved to Archer, Florida, 11 years ago, mother, Dominique, was on the hunt for a primary care provider for herself and her four children. Thinking there was no closer option than Gainesville, Calloway heard from a friend about a great clinic right in her community.
She decided to check it out. The Calloways have been patients at UF Health Archer Family Health Care, or AFHC, the University of Florida College of Nursing’s nurse-managed practice, ever since.
This year, AFHC is celebrating its 20th anniversary. It was established in 2001 after a resident spoke up about the need for primary care in the community. Instrumental in its establishment were College of Nursing leadership Kathleen Ann Long, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, dean emeritus, and M. Dee Williams, Ph.D., R.N. executive associate dean and associate dean for clinical affairs.
During the first year, a full-time office manager and a full-time family nurse practitioner were hired, and 900 patients were seen in the “little house” — a 1,200-square-foot rental property. Fast forward 20 years and the practice has expanded to about 5,000 patient visits a year, with four nurse practitioners and five staff members in a 5,000-square-foot custom-designed modular building.
While the team and space have grown, the personalized care and feeling of being among family has remained.
“Our team is an integral part of the health care in this community,” said Denise Schentrup, APRN, D.N.P., associate dean of clinical affairs and AFHC practice director. “We have been taking care of the community for many years, and it really shows in the way our staff and providers care for our patients. They remember the patients, they remember details about their family and they really make them feel like they are at home when they come here.”
Calloway feels that she and her family are more than just patients. After going to AFHC for about one year, a staff member approached her near the holidays and asked what her plans were. Dominique admitted she was worried about being able to afford gifts.
“All of a sudden, they come to my house bearing gifts for me and the kids,” she said. “That Christmas, they made it so special because I did not know what I was going to do to fulfill the kids’ wishes for Christmas. It just so happens that they were my little personal angels. I love them for that.”
History in the Making: Gator Nurses Care, Lead and Inspire Throughout COVID-19
In a year of historic firsts, the University of Florida College of Nursing continued to make history, even in the midst of a challenging and disruptive year. Gator Nursing students quickly adapted to changes in their respective nursing programs — running the gamut from fully online classes to coming face to face with COVID-19 patients. Seniors in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or BSN, program quickly learned their clinical experiences would make history.
As the country began to turn the corner on the COVID-19 pandemic, Gator Nursing students lent their hands to assist UF Health’s efforts to combat the pandemic. After the Moderna and Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines received Emergency Use Authorization from the Food and Drug Administration, students were invited to help deliver vaccines to the community. They were later required to volunteer for 16 hours at UF Health vaccination clinics as part of their population health course.
In order to give students firsthand experience in caring for COVID-19 patients on the frontline of care, the College of Nursing offered the opportunity to participate in two eight-hour shifts on UF Health Shands Hospital COVID-19 units 74 and 75. College of Nursing clinical faculty oversaw COVID-19 unit clinicals to help students become more comfortable and prepared caring for this patient population.
And for the first time in the college’s history, students were placed on intensive care units, marking a new chapter in their educational journey that provided diverse and varied clinical exposure and experience. Students participated in three consecutive 12-hour shifts with highly experienced nursing staff in one of several ICU settings, ranging from neurology to the VA. Through these rotations, students were able to practice acute nursing care in a way they had yet to experience, and may not have until entering the health care setting upon graduating.
These clinical experiences were carefully, thoughtfully and safely developed in collaboration with the college’s and hospital’s administrations to prepare well-rounded B.S.N. graduates entering the workforce.
“We think it is crucial that students learn best practices for providing safe patient care in a supervised experience so they will have basic skills to safely practice in the current health care environment after graduation,” said Anna M. McDaniel, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, College of Nursing dean and the Linda Harman Aiken Professor. “Through these clinical and educational experiences, our Gator Nursing students were exceptionally prepared to provide the excellent nursing care that all patients deserve.”
Thinking Beyond Diversity: Nurses Leading Change
Just a little over one year ago, the realities of continued racial inequity took center stage in the minds of millions. Faced with what was unfolding before them, University of Florida College of Nursing students, staff and faculty did not sit back and wait for change. They acted.
In summer 2020, Nurses Leading Change, or NLC, was established as a direct response to the Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the deaths of Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. After noticing their classroom materials did not give a diverse representation of all patients when demonstrating illness and wellness processes, a group of Gainesville and Jacksonville Accelerated and Traditional Bachelor of Science in Nursing, or B.S.N., students began meeting virtually and advocated for a college-wide town hall to break down structural racism that persists in the health care system.
“NLC has shaped my entire nursing school experience,” said inaugural president, Chris Torres, (B.S.N. 2021). “It’s the desire we, as students, have to learn more and continuously educate ourselves that fuels this organization.”
Now over 100 members and a permanent fixture in the College of Nursing, the group aims to focus on health equity solutions and create an inclusive community for all students. Since its first general body meeting, NLC has partnered with faculty and staff to improve inclusivity in nursing courses and has worked to educate the medically vulnerable GRACE Marketplace community about the COVID-19 vaccine.
“College of Nursing students are champions; they saw how the COVID-19 pandemic and past events exacerbated existing social, gender and racial injustices,” said Jeanne-Marie Stacciarini, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, associate dean for diversity, inclusion and engagement. “As a result, they stepped up to demand structural changes in education. They got involved and helped us reimagine the social justice agenda.”
Simultaneously, staff and faculty responded. In July 2020, the College of Nursing’s Social Justice Steering Committee was established to recommend systemic changes toward racial and structural equality.
Initially created for one year, the committee has become a permanent social justice council and plans to continue discussing how intersectional identities influence the health of underserved populations, as well as the role faculty, students and nurses play in promoting health equity.
Already aligned with the National Academy of Medicine’s 2020-2030 framework for nurse leadership, similarly titled “Nurses Leading Change,” in the new Future of Nursing report, the college intends to inspire innovative, socially conscious health care leaders, each day.
When University of Florida College of Nursing researchers work to find new ways to change health care for the better, they shoot for the stars.
And, as her nickname suggests, Assistant Professor Staja “Star” Booker, Ph.D., R.N., is a Gator Nursing research superstar.
An early-career nurse scientist fueled by her passion to understand and reduce chronic pain in older adults, Booker’s significant impact in the college has been felt since her arrival in 2019.
Recently honored with the College of Nursing’s first-ever Diversity and Inclusion Award for faculty, Booker is also proud to have been recognized by her undergraduate alma mater, Grambling State University, with the inaugural Beacon Award for Outstanding Young Alumnus in 2017. She also published nursing recommendations for pain assessment in African American older adults in Geriatric Nursing, the Journal of PeriAnesthesia Nursing — both before completing her Ph.D. — and the Journal of Gerontological Nursing.
Inspired to care for others by her grandmother and sister (who is an occupational therapist), Booker is also driven by her desire to educate the next generation of nurse researchers by helping them learn how to investigate health disparities. She has served as an undergraduate mentor for several collaborative projects on pain-related outcomes, which have been published in Arts & Health and the Journal of Clinical Nursing.
“I’m inspired to continue the pursuit of health equity and to elevate the voices of the unheard,” Booker said. “There’s so much we need to learn from older adults from diverse backgrounds — that keeps me invigorated to conduct research.”
But according to Booker, it was originally her doctoral dissertation and crowning achievement that laid the groundwork for her current research on osteoarthritis pain. From this work, she created seven data-based papers in just four years.
“The stories collected from participants were so rich, and every time I read their transcripts, something new stands out; I think ‘Oh my goodness, how did I miss this? I have to publish this!’” she said.
For Booker, the sky is ‘not’ the limit.
Now settling into her third year, she believes the college’s collaborative environment will help her flourish — as well as take her research to new heights.
“I love that faculty promote and encourage each other,” Booker said. “The only pressure I feel is the pressure I place on myself to do good science and uphold the reputation of both the College of Nursing and the University of Florida.”
The Future is Now: College of Nursing Unveils Leading-Edge Simulation and Learning Lab
Since January, University of Florida College of Nursing students and faculty have been using the latest technology in patient safety and learning assessment, following an extensive overhaul of teaching space at the college to build a leading-edge simulation and learning center.
The renovation to create the 5,639-square-foot Thomas M. and Irene B. Kirbo Innovation and Learning Laboratory at the Iona M. Pettengill Nursing Resource Center was completed in late December. With a total cost of $2.9 million for construction and state-of-the-art equipment, the Innovation and Learning Lab was made possible through lead gifts from the Thomas M. and Irene B. Kirbo Charitable Foundation and The Frederick A. DeLuca Foundation.
“The opening of the Kirbo Innovation and Learning Lab is the culmination of years of extensive planning and development of crucial experiential learning opportunities,” said Anna M. McDaniel, Ph.D., R.N., FAAN, College of Nursing dean and the Linda Harman Aiken Professor. “Gator Nurses are known for being well-prepared, critical thinkers. Now, students and faculty alike can take advantage of the opportunity to expand their skills and collaborate on innovative, interdisciplinary projects.”
High-fidelity simulation provides a lifelike learning experience in a safe environment, minimizing risks to patients and students. The new lab consists of seven simulation rooms that mimic environments students will encounter when they enter practice. There are five patient care rooms for fundamental-based simulations like mobility, patient comfort, hygiene and basic-to-complex medical-surgical care. The remaining two rooms are larger procedure rooms for more complex simulations, like labor and delivery, newborn assessment and carrying out lifesaving procedures.
A central control room houses all of the equipment for simulation scenarios, videotaping and other learning tools.
An important component of nursing education is that each student receives timely, relevant assessments of their progress. In the debrief room, faculty and students will meet either one-on-one or in small groups to reflect on their simulation experiences and clinical performance.
The innovation studio is a multipurpose room for collaboration on interdisciplinary projects that will advance current and future health care environments, improve patient safety through the invention and testing of new products and create synergy across the research-practice divide.
The skills lab allows ample space for students to practice health assessments and fundamental nursing techniques that are the basis and foundation for them to progress throughout their education.
The state-of-the-art educational facility will prepare the next generation of nurses to rise to the challenges of tomorrow’s medical landscape.