Meeting the growing demands on the nation's health-care workforce

Charley Jonston © UC Regents
UC Davis Medical Center nurse champion Charley Johnston is one of the first 25 graduates from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. Behind him are colleagues Miguel Medina and Emily Torres, who are in the master's program at the nursing school.

Posted Jan. 30, 2013

By the time the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing’s first commencement ceremony took place, more than one-third of the graduating class had already received job promotions or new positions. That included Charley Johnston, who was promoted in January 2012 from staff nurse in UC Davis Medical Center’s surgical intensive care unit to a newly formed Quality and Safety Nurse Champion position in the burn unit, where he acts as adviser to health-care colleagues on how to curb and prevent hospital-acquired infections.

“The graduate program at the School of Nursing strengthened my skills as a leader, a communicator and an educator,” Johnston says. “These enhanced abilities prepared me to act as a multidisciplinary change-agent in my new role.”

First graduates 

In June 2012, Johnston officially received, with 24 other students, the first Master of Science degrees bestowed by UC Davis’ Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Degree Program — one of many educational “firsts” this year for the schools, departments and programs of UC Davis Health System.

The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing was established with a $100 million commitment from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation — the nation’s largest grant for nursing education. The vision is to transform health care through nursing education, research and leadership by preparing nursing leaders who advance health, improve quality of care and health outcomes, and develop bold system change with confidence and creative solutions.

“The commencement ceremony represents the beginning of the exponential impact that the nursing graduates will make on the future of health care, and creates a ripple effect that will influence colleagues, programs, patients and future students,” says Heather M. Young, associate vice chancellor for nursing at UC Davis and founding dean of the nursing school.

Heather Young © UC Regents"The commencement ceremony represents the beginning of the exponential impact that the nursing graduates will make on the future of health care, and creates a ripple effect that will influence colleagues, programs, patients and future students."
— Heather Young

Addressing health-care access

Rural-PRIME (Programs In Medical Education) graduated this year its first students completing the five-year M.D./community advocate program that launched in 2007. A combined M.D. and master’s degree program, Rural-PRIME was developed to address the lack of health-care access and reduce health-care disparities in rural populations. By combining team medical practice and utilizing advanced information and technologies, such as telemedicine, students can provide up-to-date health-care knowledge while preserving the positive attributes of smaller, more remote clinics and their communities.

The 2012 graduates broke further ground with Rural-PRIME’s 16-week immersion program in rural clerkship rotations during their third year of training. The rotations included eight weeks in primary care and four weeks each in obstetrics/gynecology and pediatrics.

“It really took a leap of faith, demonstrating their commitment to rural, underserved populations in California,” says W. Suzanne Eidson-Ton, Rural-PRIME’s program director.

Rural-PRIME’s graduates are matched into residencies in emergency medicine, family medicine, primary care and psychiatry.

Innovations in education

Following the health system’s tradition of innovation, other educational “firsts” include:

  • The Office of Student Wellness, designed to help medical students improve and maintain physical and emotional wellness, developed a program to assist new medical students, families and friends to understand the physical and emotional pressures inherent in attending medical school. Those open channels of communication — such as the program’s first workshop, held after the 2012 induction ceremony and attended by more than 200 people — may especially benefit families of students who are members of communities underrepresented in medicine, who arrive with a diversity of cultural expectations regarding schooling, medicine and family obligations. Almost half of the 109 students in the class of 2016 self-identified as coming from disadvantaged backgrounds, and 42 percent are from populations underrepresented in medicine.
  • The pioneering “Master Clinical Educators” program launched with five inaugural faculty members, who each spend one day a week in assigned teaching activities that emphasize core clerkships and clinical-skills coursework and simulations. Faculty also are planning to focus class time on interactive discussions and problem-solving, while providing instructional lectures on video, available to students 24/7.
  • Students and residents are proactive in reinforcing the health system’s commitment to system-wide quality improvement through identifying and developing opportunities and quality-related practices in education. For example, the Quality Improvement Student Interest Group contributed to the creation of a new interprofessional study module called “Improving Quality in Health Care,” in which medicine, nursing, public health and health informatics students will enhance skills necessary to identify and address health-care quality issues and to improve efficiency, outcomes and satisfaction.
  • Medical residents are standardizing practices for the transition of patient care, to enhance quality and safety by ensuring effective communication during the “hand-off” process.

Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis

For 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matters to California and beyond. The Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis was established in March 2009, UC Davis' first major initiative to address society's most pressing health-care problems in its second century of service. Learn more about the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing.

With 40 years of “firsts,” UC Davis Health System continues to be a leader in new and transformational education and training models to prepare every student to effect real-world change, while remaining true to its core values of academic excellence and improving health for all.

“The interprofessional education that I received makes me feel proud to be a graduate of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis as well as a current employee at UC Davis Medical Center,” says Johnston.

“Working together across disciplines is the future of health care, and the innovative approach to educating future health-care providers at UC Davis helps to make all that possible.”