Regents approve physiology, nursing programs

by John Keenan and Vicky Cerino | October 12, 2021

Image with caption: From left, Matthew Zimmerman, MD, and Lynnette Leeseburg Stamler, PhD, DLitt

From left, Matthew Zimmerman, MD, and Lynnette Leeseburg Stamler, PhD, DLitt

On Friday, the University of Nebraska Board of Regents gave approval for UNMC to create two new opportunities: a Master of Science degree in medical physiology and an undergraduate certificate in perioperative nursing.

The online MS in medical physiology degree, which will be administered by the Office of Graduate Studies and the UNMC Department of Cellular and Integrative Physiology, is designed to meet the needs of several student populations, said Dele Davies, MD, senior vice chancellor of academic affairs, including students seeking teaching or research positions, as well as students who may be considering medical, dental, physician assistant or other health professional careers.

"We are excited to have the opportunity to offer this new online, distance-learning Master of Science in medical physiology program to individuals across Nebraska and the country who are interested in enhancing their understanding of physiology and applying their new knowledge to their chosen career path," said Mathew Zimmerman, PhD.

Dr. Zimmerman, who is the director of the Integrative Physiology & Molecular Medicine Doctoral Program, will oversee the new MS program. "I look forward to working with colleagues at UNMC and NU Online to implement this new program and welcoming our first class of students in fall 2022," he said.

Merry Lindsey, PhD, said the department was thrilled to have the new MS program approved by the Board of Regents.

"Dr. Zimmerman has worked tirelessly to see this project go from initial idea to fully approved Master of Science degree," she said. "We cannot wait to get started."

The regents also approved the new certificate in perioperative nursing , which will be administered by the UNMC College of Nursing with a planned start of January 2022. The certificate will address a specific aspect of the statewide nursing shortage, college leaders said.

Perioperative nursing is care delivered during the perioperative continuum, which includes pre-operative care, the actual time in the operating room, and time patients spend in post-anaesthesia (recovery room).

"This certificate will encompass all three areas of care delivery but will focus primarily on care delivered in the operating room," Dr. Davies said. "Over the last several years, multiple authors and our clinical partners have documented a looming shortage of qualified perioperative nurses. This one-semester program aims to alleviate this shortage in our state and region."

"We have listened when our clinical partners have expressed concern about the shortage of operating room RNs (registered nurses), as well as the lengthy orientation time required for these staff," said Lynnette Leeseberg Stamler, PhD, DLitt, professor and associate dean for academic programs in the UNMC College of Nursing. "We anticipate this program will give RNs the opportunity to gain skills and knowledge in this specialty area, while offering those same clinical partners an alternative to strictly inhouse orientation. The combination of hybrid instruction and local, precepted clinical practice will benefit all."


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Tanya Custer
October 12, 2021 at 6:47 AM