Nevada System of Higher Education
Health Sciences System Newsletter 
March 2014
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:
Carson City Dignitaries 'Dance With Stars'

to Help WNC Nursing Students Learn 

WNC Nursing Students and professor_advisor Deborah Ingraffia-Strong (3rd from right in front row) at fundraiser


When the swinging and shaking ceased, the spotlight was shining on Carson City Supervisor Jim Shirk and his dance partner, Robin Kato.


Shirk and Kato won the second annual Carson City version of the Dancing with the Stars at Carson High School. Besides bragging rights for the year, the partners received the highly coveted mirror ball trophy.


The event was a fundraiser for nursing students at Western Nevada College to help them attend the National Student Nurses Association conference April 9-13 in Nashville, Tenn. Co-chairs Rebecca Cornell and Ila Bottoms, WNC's NSNA club president, organized the event under the direction of Nursing Professor Deborah Ingraffia-Strong.


Also impressing the judges were runners-up Jennifer Tartan Wells, a Carson High School math teacher, and partner Bob Truesdale. Placing third were Miss Nevada Diana Sweeney and Andrew Belbin.


Carson City Mayor Robert Crowell, Nugget Casino General Manager Star Anderson, KOLO 8 News meteorologist Jeff Thompson, and Adele's Restaurant & Lounge owner Charlie Abowd were among the other local celebrity participants.


In addition to ticket sales, the students raised money through a silent auction and a 50-50 prize raffle. Ingraffia-Strong  said the students netted about $14,000 toward the cost of the nursing conference.



TMCC 2014-2015 HHMI SEA-PHAGES research group
TMCC students Samantha Romanick, left, and Melissa Test, right, presenting their study on Telomeres at the CCURI conference in Phoenix 


Eight U.S. colleges and universities, including TMCC, have been accepted into the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Science Education Alliance PHAGES project for the 2014-2015 school year.
"We were the only community college to be accepted into the program for the 2014-2015 cohort," said Laura Briggs, Laboratory Coordinator for the biology department at TMCC. 
A phage, also known as a bacteriophage, is a virus that can infect bacteria. "Bacteriophage can kill bacteria and are currently used to treat antibiotic resistant bacterial infections in Russia," Briggs said. "The research we will be doing may provide tools for many potential applications in human medicine as well as veterinary medicine and agriculture." 
During the first semester, "in situ," students will isolate and purify bacteriophages from environmental samples. For the course of the second semester, "in silico," students receive the finished sequenced genome from the electronic microscopy lab, annotate and analyze the data. HHMI will provide laboratory manuals for the "in situ" portion of the course and will furnish access to software that assists students with data compilation and recording during the bioinformatics section. 
"This is an opportunity for our students to work on a national project and publish research in a national database," Briggs said. "We will help identify bacteriophages that have never been found before. TMCC will get credit for that discovery." For more information, contact Dr. Briggs at


Dr. Talley from UNR Orvis School of Nursing named Emerton Orvis Endowed Professor


Sandra Talley, PhD, APRN, BC, FAAN, with the Orvis School of Nursing at the University of Nevada, Reno has been named the Arthur Emerton Orvis Endowed Professor.


Dr. Talley has dedicated her career to practice, education and research in psychiatric mental health nursing.


A UNR graduate ('68BSN), she completed her master's degree at Oregon Health & Sciences University, followed by a Robert Wood Johnson Fellowship in primary care and completion of her doctorate degree from the University of Utah; an educational track that was foundational for studying health problems in psychiatric clients and delivery of psychiatric care in primary care settings.


Talley has been recognized for her work on the integration of psychiatric and primary care nursing, policy and practice guidelines for advanced practice and prescriptive authority for advanced practice nurses.


She has served as president of the American Psychiatric Nurses Association, participated in the development of scope of practice and clinical competencies for the DNP and the psychiatric nurse practitioner roles and was part of an interdisciplinary, NIMH-funded grant on rural mental health care. Talley served as chair and director for Yale University School of Nursing's graduate psychiatric nursing program and consulted on advanced practice nursing in Taiwan, England and China.


She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau and Phi Beta Phi, and she is a Fellow in the American Academy of Nursing.  


School of Medicine's Class of 2014 learns residency match results


The University of Nevada's medical students continued their tradition of placing in some of the nation's most competitive residency programs today when the Class of 2014 learned the results of the National Resident Matching Program.


The 54 students matched with residency institutions across the nation and will enter specialties ranging from anesthesiology to neurology. Twelve graduates, or 22 percent, will stay in the state to enter into residency programs offered through the University of Nevada School of Medicine.


Of note, 22 graduates, or 40 percent, will enter primary care specialties including internal medicine, pediatrics and family medicine. Nationwide, and in especially in Nevada, there is a shortage of primary care physicians.


Residency training location is a strong indication of where physicians will likely set up their practice following completion of residency and has strong implications for the future availability of health care professionals in a given area.


The National Resident Matching Program is a private, not-for-profit corporation that provides an impartial venue for matching applicants' and programs' preferences for each other by reviewing their individualized rank order lists. Each year, approximately 16,000 U.S. medical school students participate in the residency match. Due to the uniform date for decisions about residency selection for both applicants and programs, the National Resident Matching Program eliminates the pressure that might otherwise fall upon applicants and programs to make decisions before all of their options are known.  



UNLV nursing professors share their list of milestones as part of "My Nevada 5" series celebrating the state's 150th birthday 

Nurses have always played a key role in the delivery of quality health care, and their experiences, dedication and leadership continue to reshape and enhance that care in Nevada. Here are five milestones that contributed to the nursing profession and the betterment of the state. 

1. Schools of Nursing

Formal nursing education began in 1956 at the University of Nevada, Reno and in 1965 at University of Nevada, Las Vegas. The initial programs offered associate of arts and baccalaureate programs that prepared nurses for work in local hospitals and clinics and helped bolster the ranks of care providers among the state's growing population. Both schools enhanced their curriculums and offered more intensive programs to position nurses in leadership roles within care centers. Today, UNR and UNLV offer undergraduate and graduate programs, and collaboratively offer a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) degree that trains and educates nurses to become leaders of change. DNP graduates are serving in executive roles within state-appointed boards, medical centers, and regional and national organizations.


2. Clinical Simulation Center Las Vegas

The Clinical Simulation Center of Las Vegas provides high-fidelity health care simulation training to students at UNLV, Nevada State College, and the University of Nevada School of Medicine.

Educational institutions across the country have been integrating simulation, which features animatronic manikins and actors who serve as patients, into curriculums because of its unique learning opportunities.

This training enables students to treat emergent and critical scenarios in a safe learning environment and fosters inter-professional teamwork. Nursing students, medical students, and medical residents are educated together to promote greater collaboration among future health care providers.

The 31,000-square-foot facility opened in August 2009 at the Nevada System of Higher Education Las Vegas Shadow Lane Campus. It has helped more than 2,000 students and community members learn the multitude of skills and has attracted educators from across the country and around the globe. Las Vegas is one of the few cities in the West that has a dedicated simulation center.


3. Dedicated Education Units

A Dedicated Education Unit (DEU) is a first-of-its-kind innovation in nursing education within Nevada, partnering the UNLV School of Nursing with a hospital to offer hands-on training from staff nurses in selected units.

The school's faculty teaches the nurses in the designated units the principles of adult learning. These clinicians then assume a teaching role during the students' clinical rotation component, during which the students work a full shift caring for all patients assigned to that nurse.

These education-trained clinical staff nurses, called clinical dedicated instructors, closely monitor and supervise students, provide a teaching environment that supports a culture of safety, and produces self-directed, critical-thinking, competent student nurses who are able to render care in a variety of acute health care settings.

DEUs enable student nurses to receive a level of hands-on education not easily obtained outside an actual clinical setting, and forge strong ties between the school and hosting facility. The UNLV School of Nursing has DEU relationships with two hospitals in Southern Nevada. 


4. Ph.D. Nursing Program

The need for nurse educators is as urgent as the need for frontline nurses. Without experienced, qualified instructors, the next generations of nursing students may not receive the level of education and guidance they need to be successful practitioners.

UNLV offers the only Ph.D. in nursing program in the state. Those who graduate are prepared as nurse scholars and educators, which Nevada and the nation urgently need. Nursing research and scholarship are critical not only to improving patient care outcomes, but also to promoting the health of the community.  Nurse scientists search for solutions to both persistent and emerging health care issues that confront the patients and communities they serve. They then translate their findings to improve patient care and promote health.


5. Passage of AB 170

Nevada Assembly Bill 170 enables advanced practice registered nurses (APRN) to practice to the full extent of their education and training without formal collaborative physician oversight for practice, and grants APRNs a license to practice as advanced practice registered nurses. 

APRNs are licensed, expert clinicians with advanced education (most have master's and many have doctoral degrees) and are able to provide primary, acute, and specialty health care services. As a part of providing a full range of services, APRNs work as partners with their patients, guiding them to make educated health care decisions and healthy lifestyle choices.

The bill expands access to quality health care for thousands of Nevada residents. APRNs often offer more preventive health care, which, in turn, reduces serious illnesses and reduces time away from work or extended stays in hospitals. Nevada is one of 25 states and the District of Columbia to pass this legislation.


About the Authors

Pat Alpert is chair of the School of Nursing's physiological department. Her research is concentrated in obesity and the alternative exercise effects on balance, memory, and mood in older adults. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners and a certified pediatric and family nurse practitioner.


Michele Clark is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and the  Ph.D. coordinator for the School of Nursing. Her research interests includes Aaron Beck's diathesis-stress model, caregiver depression, and active learning strategies. She has reviewed manuscripts for multiple nursing journals and, serves on the board for the Alzheimer's Association Desert Southwest Chapter, Southern Nevada Region.


Susan VanBeuge works with graduate students in the School of Nursing as chair and membership of capstone committees during their studies in the Family Nurse Practitioner and Doctor of Nursing Practice programs. She was instrumental in the drafting of Nevada AB170, and is working on a National Geriatric Education Consortium grant to enhance care for geriatric patients with type 2 diabetes.



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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