News in Brief: Education Round Up

Spencerian College instructor recognized

Spencerian College’s director of Surgical Technology, Sarah Patsfield, was recognized as the 2017 Instructor of the Year at the Kentucky Association of Career Colleges and Schools’ Annual Meeting. The award is conferred to an instructor whose techniques and innovations best respond to the needs of students in vocational training while using effective and original techniques in the classroom.

In addition to the use of multiple forms of technology in the classroom, Patsfield utilizes innovative techniques in the classroom to reinforce concepts pertaining to surgical procedures. To simulate procedures on anatomical structures, she develops anatomical structures and affixes them to mannequins used in her surgical technology skills lab. She simulates tissue layers for incisions and suturing/skin closure by using a tan foam layer for skin, yellow foam layer for adipose tissue, white felt for fascia, red and pink embossed Vilene fabric for muscle and peritoneal layer. She also simulates structures involved in carpal tunnel release surgery, cholecystectomy surgery, colon resection surgery, embolectomy, biopsies, and more. These practices help build the confidence of students in the lab while also reinforcing processes, procedures and anatomy lessons.

Patsfield has also showed leadership in Academics campus wide with the successful implementation of policy changes pertaining to student attendance. On the occasion a student must miss classroom or lab time, the new policy creates opportunities for students to make up this time. In addition to the benefits provided to the individual student, this practice also reduces interference of regular class time for other students in the class. The obvious success of Patsfield as an instructor is demonstrated by the success of her students. For the past sixteen quarters, students from her surgical technology program have had a 100 percent pass rate on the surgical technology certification exam.

Patsfield participates with her students in a Sunday Surgery event where surgeons, nurses and surgical technologists volunteer their services to provide surgical care for those in need at no cost. Patsfield also volunteers with organizations such as Junior Achievement, Kentuckiana Career Center, Health Career Collaborative and Kentuckiana Works.

Patsfield was also recognized by Spencerian College as Mentor of the Year and she received the Sullivan University System Faculty Technology Award for her innovative use of technology in the classroom.

American National University graduate has special calling

In the Kentucky Appalachians, there are two special kinds of people who hold an almost revered status in the community: coal miners and veterans. Zelma Watson, a registered nurse and home health clinical manager for Pikeville Medical Center, is entrusted with the care of these special hometown heroes through programs administered by the United Mine Workers of America and the Department of Veterans Affairs. With 48 employees under her charge, Watson shoulders a great deal of professional responsibility to go along with her other full-time job as a mom.

“I always wanted to continue my education and obtain my BSN,” Watson said. “It just seemed like every time I got ready to start it was a hassle.”

She spoke of byzantine enrollment processes at other schools she investigated, adding to the challenges of juggling work and family responsibilities. Then a co-worker told her about American National University’s online RN-to-BSN program.

With schools in Danville, Florence, Lexington, Louisville, Pikeville, Richmond, American National University offers credential and degree programs through distance education and blended learning.

“The process was just like water flowing…it was not what I had experienced in the past,” she said. “They were always understanding.” ANU’s online student services and admissions staff helped make the process easier; and being close to a local campus was also helpful as a source of support.

Still, embarking on the program was a big step. She had been out of school for more than a decade, and she had never taken an online class before, much less an entire program. After her first term, however, she learned that her fears were unfounded.

“The online format allowed me to actually do it at home, or on my lunch break, or whatever,” said Watson. “I’ve always done in-class courses, but I really like the online because it lets me be me.” The format offered her time to concentrate on material free of distractions, yet still offered the opportunity for interaction with her classmates. “I really, really love the discussion board,” she explained. “What someone takes from a reading, I might not have taken it the same way.” Group projects also gave her the chance to get to know other students even though many lived far away.

The fact that ANU’s program is accredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education was important as well. “ANU having CCNE accreditation is reassuring to me that I am receiving the best education that I possibly could,” Watson added.

Despite having achieved much in her dozen years as a registered nurse, Watson looks forward to continuing her education with an ultimate goal of becoming a nurse practitioner. She’s one of thousands of students who have found American National University to be the perfect place to continue their career-focused education.

CTE grad finds unique opportunity

“I want to get my foot in the door in the medical field but I just don’t fit into the traditional university setting.” As he began seeking the best option for him, Benjamin Loue found a local opportunity at the College for Technical Education (CTE) in Lexington.

The College for Technical Education, formerly known as the Center for Training and Employment, began in 1997 in Lexington, Kentucky. It is an accredited institution serving the Bluegrass Region with locations now in both Lexington and Winchester, Kentucky. CTE offers a Medical Assistant program lasting 39 weeks, as well as programs for medical billing and coding.

Loue began his post-secondary education right after high school, but soon found that the traditional college/university setting didn’t work for him. He then took a path of auto mechanics where he thought he would find his niche. “I liked being a mechanic and working on cars, but I really felt the call to work directly with people and helping them.” That’s when the exploration of new opportunities began.

“I saw the studies about the growth of the medical field and the future demands of the industry,” said Loue. “I also grabbed the chance of helping others, it was a natural fit.” After looking at what programs were available, Loue found that the answer for him was a nine-month, full-time medical assisting program at the College for Technical Education. The program has proven to be his gateway into the allied health field where he says he has found his calling. “It’s really rewarding when I go to work each day and I am able to care for others, I love that.” He said the future is an open door now and, now that he has discovered the path that is best for him, he may return to further his education through a local university. 

Dr. James Nash joins SUCOP as associate dean Of Experiential Education


Sullivan University College of Pharmacy (SUCOP) has hired James Nash, PharmD as associate dean of experiential education. He is certified by the Board of Pharmacy Specialties in Pharmacotherapy and licensed as a pharmacist in Colorado, Florida and Kentucky.

Nash, who most recently served as the University Director of Experiential Leadership at Regis University in Denver, is not new to Sullivan University. Prior to moving to Denver, he lived in Louisville and worked at SUCOP as an assistant professor and founding director of the Center for Health and Wellness. Nash relocated back to Louisville after being in Denver for six years.

“When I came back to Sullivan for my interview, I was sold,” Nash said. “The program has advanced so much in six years. New leadership is in place, ideas from the past have been implemented and the university was planning to merge all three schools into one institution which I know would offer great professional opportunities not only for me but most importantly for the students.”

At Regis University, Nash held roles including teaching an inter-professional global health course and leading a Leadership Development Institute, which grew into a competitive university-wide offering that helps both faculty and staff develop as leaders.

“With my experiences in managed care, public/global health, military and ambulatory care, I hope to help students find their calling in pharmacy,” Nash said. “The truth is that the profession of pharmacy is constantly changing and most of our students will change jobs multiple times. If I can help them find their niche sooner by getting them into experiential sites and mentoring them along the way their quality of life is improved and they are professionally fulfilled.”

Beyond dental assisting

Not all dental assisting programs are the same. An Expanded Duties Dental Assisting program at MedQuest College, in Lexington, Ky., gives more opportunities than standard programs. Benefits of a comprehensive expanded duties dental assisting program include:

  • More job opportunities after graduation. Dental offices know that our graduates have extensive training on both the business and clinical side of dental assisting, so they’re more qualified for positions.
  • Chance for students to complete a 300-hour externship in a live dental office for hands-on skill development (70 percent hands-on).
  • Preparation for a variety of roles in the dental field, including duties beyond regular dental assisting, such as placing fillings and making temporary crowns.

In the business classroom, students learn how to run a front office, perform patient intake, view electronic records, build a professional resume and practice interviewing skills. MedQuest’s expanded duties dental assistant program is offered in day or night class programs—36 weeks for day classes and 44 weeks for night classes.

College of Nursing celebrates grand opening of resiliency room

College of Nursing students, faculty and staff celebrated the grand opening of the Cultivating Practices for Resiliency (CPR) room in mid-October.

The room will serve as a safe space for mindful meditation and relaxation and has exercise balls, yoga mats and an internet monitor with guided mindfulness imagery. There is also a rocking chair and plants to aid in relaxation.

Developers aimed to address stressful workloads and decrease burnout by providing members of the College as well as other health sciences colleges on the medical campus with an opportunity to participate in resiliency practices.

The College will also partner with UK HealthCare Integrative Medicine to provide free classes, such as a journaling workshop, Jin Shin Jyutsu, art therapy, meditation, yoga and tai chi.

hCATS inaugural trip to Appalachia

Students from the University of Kentucky College of Nursing as well as the College of Dentistry partnered with the Center for Interprofessional Health Education (CIHE) to provide health promotion counseling, health screening and oral healthcare to hundreds of Appalachian children who do not have access to dental healthcare through the hCATS (health Colleges Advancing Team Skills) to Appalachia Program.

The World Health Organization (2010) defines inter-professional education (IPE) as students from two or more professions coming together to learn about, from and with each other to enable effective teamwork and improve health outcomes. Today’s complex healthcare systems require an integrated healthcare team for effective treatment.

Health and instructor Hartley Feld currently serve as co-principal investigators of the program, which is funded by the UK Women & Philanthropy. Working with the “Seal Kentucky” Program, dental students will provide a sealant to prevent tooth decay, while the hCATS for Appalachia students will perform health screenings and provide child-appropriate education activities to promote oral health including how to brush teeth, floss, eat healthy and avoid tobacco.

Culinary medicine program helps patients eat better

The Eat 2B Well culinary medicine program is a new eight-week elective for students at the University of Louisville School of Medicine designed to help future physicians understand the challenges their patients face in obtaining, selecting and preparing foods. Eat 2B Well was conceptualized by Toni Ganzel, MD, dean of the school of medicine, Jon Klein, MD, PhD, vice dean for research and Karan Chavis, the dean’s chief of staff. UofL nutritionist Diana Pantalos, PhD, developed the curricular content. Eat 2B Well was modeled on The Goldring Center for Culinary Medicine at Tulane University, developed by Timothy Harlan, MD.

With increasing evidence that a poor diet causes or exacerbates many chronic diseases, it is more important than ever for physicians to help their patients eat well. However, physicians traditionally learn about nutrition in terms of science and clinical impact, which doesn’t always translate to helping patients eat better. Eat 2B Well is aimed at helping future doctors understand the issues their patients face in terms of resources, time and food preparation skills.