School of Nursing

SON professor collaborates on award-winning nursing course

icon of a calendarSeptember 23, 2020

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SON professor collaborates on award-winning nursing course
Joanna Hernandez
OU's Joanna Hernandez partnered with McLaren Oakland Hospital to develop a nursing course that won the 2020 University Professional and Continuing Education Association's Central Region Engagement Award.

Joanna Hernandez, DNP, RN, AGACNP-BC, assistant professor in Oakland University’s School of Nursing, in partnership with McLaren Oakland Hospital, is the recipient of the 2020 University Professional and Continuing Education Association’s (UPCEA) Central Region Engagement Award. 

The UPCEA Engagement Award recognizes an outstanding partnership between a member institution and one or more external constituents such as local communities, corporations, government organizations or associations.

The winning entry had to successfully demonstrate a mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources that resulted in a measurable and sustainable shared impact in areas such as economic development, community development, workforce training or capacity building.

The winning partnership between OU’s School of Nursing and McLaren originated due to the opening of a new unit with a new physician where medical procedures not previously offered would be conducted. McLaren had to prepare a static pool of nurses with the knowledge and skills required to care for fragile, compromised patients pre-op, during surgery, and post-op.

Furthermore, the educational component had to fit the needs of the nurses, taking into consideration their differing schedules, varied knowledge and experience, and the hospital’s limited budget.

Oakland’s School of Nursing Dean, Judy Didion, PhD, RN, recognized the severity of this need and sought out the necessary expertise. Joanna Hernandez, along with Kyra Slaight, BSN, RN, nurse educator from the hospital, stepped up to the task and met regularly to develop a course that would address the intensive and lifesaving educational needs.

“Patients’ positive outcomes rely on excellent nursing care with nurses who understand the complexity of the co-morbidities and potential complications associated with oncological GI surgeries,” said Dean Didion. “Dr. Hernandez created a remarkable hybrid course called “Hepatico-Pancreatico-Biliary (HPB) Education and we are so proud to see her accomplishment recognized.”

Hernandez’s hybrid approach included online content followed by a full day on-campus simulation skills lab to ensure the knowledge could be applied in a simulated setting. The impact and overall success of the course turned out to be much broader than originally anticipated, with 56 nurses completing the course with a 100 percent pass rate; originally, only eight were slated to participate.

Oakland University's office of Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) was also a partner in ensuring the course was a success, and the unit was instrumental with both the registration process and in generally assisting course participants.

The partnership is nominated by the UPCEA Central Region for the national UPCEA Engagement Award.

About the UPCEA
Founded in 1915, the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) is among the oldest college and university associations in the United States. Since its inception, the association has been committed to making higher education available to everyone, as well as to ensure that programs and services address societal needs and economic trends.

About PACE
Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) has a variety of educational offerings that are flexible and innovative to meet local, state, and national needs. In an on campus setting, online, or through in-house custom programming, learners can begin, refocus, or advance their professional or educational careers. Courses, facilitated by Oakland University faculty and business leaders, combine research expertise and real world application to help people gain the knowledge they need to kick-start their lives.

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