Nevada System of Higher Education
Health Sciences System Newsletter 
October 2012
The Health Sciences System (HSS) was established by the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE) Board of Regents in 2006. Its purpose is to address Nevada's community health issues through a system-wide effort to integrate and expand the education of health professionals and to foster collaborative research in health and health care.  Through collaboration among the NSHE institutions and a broad range of external partners, the HSS intends to be a catalyst for improvement in the health and wellness of Nevada.  Visit us at:
Collaborative UNLV and UNR program receives accreditation
Congratulations to UNR, Orvis School of Nursing  and UNLV School of Nursing on the initial accreditation of the collaborative Doctor of Nursing Practice program by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE).

Watch for more information in the November newsletter
UNLV Researchers Find Nevadans More Likely to Contract and Die of Cancer Compared with Southwest States 

Nevadans are more likely than residents of neighboring states to contract and die of cancer, according to a report released by researchers at UNLV and the Nevada State Health Division.

In the report, UNLV researcher and epidemiologist Dr. Paulo Pinheiro argues that Nevada suffers from a lack of screening and less specialized expertise, which forces nearly 10 percent of cancer patients to be diagnosed or treated outside of the state.

This exodus of cancer patients has a substantial impact on patient quality of life and presents a negative financial impact on the state health care providers and private insurance companies, Pinheiro said.

Additionally, survival rates for breast cancer in Northern Nevada are at about 82 percent after four years, which is roughly the national average, but in Southern Nevada they are almost 10 percentage points lower.


"If you are resident of the same state you would expect the same level of care anywhere in that state, but this is not happening in Nevada," Pinheiro said. "This discrepancy does not exist in other states around the nation and points to major differences in access to screening as well as quality healthcare between the two regions."  

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NSC Annual Healing Presence Ceremony welcomes over 100 campus participants 
NSC photo October 2012

The Nevada State College School of Nursing recently held its 9th annual Healing Presence Ceremony. 

A nine-year tradition for the Nevada State College School of Nursing, the Healing Presence Ceremony was held at the Family Justice Park on Monday, September 24, 2012. The ceremony takes place each fall and welcomes current nursing students and faculty, nursing alumni, as well as faculty and staff from across the NSC campus. This year, over 100 individuals participated.


As the School of Nursing's curriculum is based on "caring" as a professional nursing concept and way of being, the ceremony is organized as an opportunity for individuals to reaffirm their commitment to this principle.


"We hold this ceremony to acknowledge the dedication of each student and faculty member to professional nursing," shared Sherrilyn Coffman, dean of the school of nursing at the opening of the event. "This ceremony recognizes the intensive study and personal reflection that are required in the nursing program."


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WNC Nursing Grads Earn a Perfect Score:  100% Pass Rate on National Licensure Examinations 

Western Nevada College's 2012 associate degree nursing graduates have achieved a 100 percent pass rate for students taking the National Council Licensing Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN). Forty-one students completed the two-year nursing program this spring and earned an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Nursing. They were then eligible to sit for the national exam, which confirms a graduate's competencies as a nurse and assistsboards of nursing in making licensure decisions.           

"This accomplishment is not only rewarding to the college, it's also a great achievement for the graduates and their families," said Dr. Judith Cordia, division chair for WNC Nursing and Allied Health.  "Receiving a perfect pass rate on the NCLEX-RN confirms that the WNC Nursing program is successfully preparing employable graduates for a career that sustains families, and offers immense benefit to our community and our local economy."           

Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Connie Capurro also congratulated the graduates and thanked the many supporters who helped them achieve their goals. 


"We are so proud of our nursing faculty and our nursing students," Capurro said.  "I am also thankful to the individuals and the organizations that donate their funds to provide student scholarships for college fees and textbooks.  Without that assistance, many of our students would struggle to pay for this training." Capurro said that local health care facilities donate valuable expertise and time to provide on-the-job training opportunities for WNC students.



Health Sciences Spotlight:  Great Basin College 

GBC nursing students
From left to right, GBC Nursing Instructor Peggy Drussell, first year student Maira Alvarenga administering a flu shot to second year nursing student Christy Parker. 










The central mission of Great Basin College is to enrich people's lives by providing student-centered, post-secondary education to rural Nevada. GBC's programs in nursing, radiology technology, emergency medical services, Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), and human services are delivered throughout the college's 63,000 square mile service area, straddling two time zones and reaching into six of Nevada's largest counties. The main campus in Elko is a comprehensive residential college.


As the primary provider of health services education in rural Nevada, GBC delivers the most diverse course formats in the state, including onsite courses in several counties, online courses throughout the state, and interactive audiovisual courses in many sites. The CNA program is delivered in Elko, Ely, Pahrump, Battle Mountain and Winnemucca. EMS courses are taught online with skills practice and testing at the Elko campus. Human services degrees and certificates are entirely online, with the exception of practicum courses which can be completed in the student's home town. Completing human services courses can lead students to pathways of professional development in careers such as social work, substance abuse counseling, school counseling, and licensed professional counseling by attending UNR or UNLV after completing the AAS degree at GBC.


The radiology technology program is delivered primarily in Elko, but students complete practicum courses in Ely, Winnemucca, Fallon and Pahrump as well. The GBC radiology program is the only Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT) accredited radiology technology program in Nevada. Over 60% of the program graduates have continued their education by becoming certified in other modalities, such as, Computerized Tomography(CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging(MR), Bone Densitometry, Ultrasound, Echocardiography, Mammography and Nuclear Medicine. Fifty percent of the graduates have been employed in rural area career positions.

The accessibility of all these programs, along with GBC's nursing programs, is central to meeting the college's mission of providing rural Nevada with student-centered, post-secondary education.


The associate degree nursing program, based in Elko, has been in existence since 1974. The program currently admits 20 students each fall and has graduated over 325 nurses since it was established. According to researcher John Packham at UNR, the majority of GBC associate degree nursing graduates are rural Nevada residents and about 70% of them enter practice in rural Nevada. His research indicates that more than 50% of the program's graduates work in hospitals with less than 100 beds and other rural health care providing organizations. The importance of nursing education that provides preparation to work with rural populations and health issues is reflected in the fact that in the last two years, 65-75% of GBC's associate degree nursing graduates have gone into the college's RN to BSN program immediately upon graduation.  

GBC first yr nursing
From left to right, Shaela Gage and Jace Johnny, first year nursing students posing on the GBC campus.

GBC's RN to BSN program is entirely online and includes special emphasis on rural populations and nursing leadership in rural health. This program was established in 2005 and has grown from admitting 5 students initially to 20 students per year at present. The need for bachelor's prepared nurses in rural Nevada is growing rapidly, as it is in the rest of the nation. With changes in the health care system and increased emphasis on health promotion, prevention, and rural health GBC's RN to BSN program will be an increasingly important factor in improving the health of rural Nevadans.


Did you know: 
The Nevada System of Higher Education has 150 distinct Health Sciences programs throughout eight institutions with an estimated total of 18,000 enrolled students.
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