FEATURE | Posted May 6, 2015

Celebrating nurses and the future of nursing

School of Nursing prepares nurse leaders for evolution of health care

Two nurses training in the UC Davis Center for Virtual Care © UC Regents
School of Nursing master’s degree students Charlie Dharmasukrit and Laura Corson are evaluating the benefits of clinical care simulators in nursing training.

At 3 million strong, nurses represent the largest segment of health care professionals and, polls show, are the most trusted providers of care. National Nurses Week, conducted annually from May 6-12, recognizes the contributions of these dedicated professionals and highlights the evolution of the profession.

“Health care is constantly changing and so are the roles of nurse leaders,” said Heather M. Young, founding dean of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing at UC Davis. “We celebrate our colleagues, who care for people in hospitals, homes and communities; educate future nurses; research innovations to deliver better care and develop policies that transform health systems.”

Charlie Dharmasukrit works as a clinical nurse in the orthopedic trauma unit at UC Davis Medical Center, where he also serves as a facilitator for the New Graduate Residency Program, helping graduates successfully transition from school into practice. He recently earned a master’s degree in nursing science and health-care leadership and, this fall, will pursue a doctoral degree at the School of Nursing.

Learn more about the School of Nursing at UC Davis

Academic excellence is cultivated and societal needs are addressed through five core attributes:

  • Leadership development – build capacity for advocacy and action at all levels.
  • Interprofessional/interdisciplinary education – health professionals learn multiple perspectives to work and communicate as teams.
  • Transformative research – apply the science of nursing to improve health and reshape health systems with emphasis on aging, rural health and diverse communities.
  • Cultural inclusiveness – teach culturally-appropriate approaches to care and involve communities to design and conduct relevant research.
  • Innovative technology – use technology to create an engaged and interactive approach to nursing education, research and practice.

Click here to learn more about our programs.

“While an undergraduate, my education focused on the physiology of nursing. Here, I’ve gained the tools and confidence to change the status quo of health care,” Dharmasukrit said. “I want to be the person who pushes the envelope and educates nurses on the future of the practice.”

Last month, Dharmasukrit and fellow graduate student, Laura Corson, won the Vice Chancellor's Prize for Best Poster at the UC Davis Interdisciplinary Graduate and Professional Student Symposium. Their pilot study, also the basis for their master’s theses, examined how training with clinical care simulators influenced student nurses’ perceptions of their abilities and confidence. The project, required of all master’s-degree students at the School of Nursing, transformed Corson’s perspective on her career.

“This creative way of doing research expanded my thought process and showed me what was possible beyond the bedside,” Corson explained. “It gave me confidence to look outside the intensive care unit and explore other professional options.”

After 11 years in acute care, Corson transitions to a learning and performance nurse specialist in the clinical informatics department at NorthBay Medical Center in Fairfield, California.

A study by the California Board of Registered Nurses concluded that five years ago, more than 80 percent of new nurses moved into hospital positions after graduation. That number has decreased to less than 60 percent with a heightened emphasis on primary, transitional and community-focused care.

“Our programs illustrate transformation in education and practice because we realize health happens everywhere,” Young added. “Acute care is changing to include connection to the community to assure that people leave the hospital equipped with tools for a successful recovery once they’re at home.”

To celebrate National Nurses Week, Young, along with students, faculty and alumni of the school, hosts the Sacramento premiere of The American Nurse on May 7 at the Crest Theatre. The film highlights the men and women on the front lines of health care. Prior to the screening, Dharmasukrit and Corson, along with other students, will showcase their research projects. Immediately following the film, Young will host a brief panel conversation to discuss emerging roles for nurses and innovative research to improve quality in care. The event is open to the public.