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Blogs

Nursing News and Stories

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Faculty    Students

Never Too Late to Pursue Your Dreams

Jessica Cumley’s journey to midwifery began 12 years ago with the birth of her son. “It was the most empowering experience I have ever had. I loved my care so much that I wanted to become a midwife and share that with others,” she said. Now enrolled in the University of Colorado College of Nursing Midwifery program and 32 weeks pregnant, Cumley wonders why it took her so long.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date October 07, 2020
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Students

CU Nursing Master’s Student Uses Front Line Experience with Coronavirus as Basis for Capstone Project

“In May and June I felt my whole world tumbling,” said CU Nursing master’s student and nurse manager Stephanie Lee. An iLEAD (Innovation in Leadership and Administration in Nursing Health Care Systems) master’s student, Lee was entering her final course in the specialized track, when coronavirus hit. She didn’t know if she would be able to finish the program or not. Clinicals were up in the air, and graduation did not look promising. The hospital where she worked as Clinical Nurse Manager, based in Brooklyn, was ground zero for COVID-19, and like many hospitals was overwhelmed by patients and struggling. All “extra” initiatives, including affiliation agreements with universities, were on hold. “That affected my ability to complete my capstone project and graduate,” said Lee.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date August 18, 2020
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Faculty    Alumni    Students

Alumna Recognized by National Association of Hispanic Nurses with Latino Legacy Award

CU Nursing alumna Ruby Martinez, PhD, RN, was recently awarded the 2020 Latino Legacy Award from the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN). Each year at the national conference, NAHN recognizes one member who has contributed to the nursing profession with commitment to advancing the health in Hispanic communities and to lead, promote and advocate the educational, professional, and leadership opportunities for Hispanic nurses. Like many national conferences, this year’s NAHN conference was held virtually in July due to coronavirus.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date August 13, 2020
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Students

Business Woman. Entrepreneur. Mother. Active Volunteer. Soon-to-be Nurse.

Volunteering is in Carrie Brouillette’s nature. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the nursing student has marshaled her neighbors to donate fabric and created a mini assembly line to make cloth masks. “My mother is an incredible seamstress. So I measured and cut, and she sewed,” said Brouillette. The two churned out about 600 cloth masks in their makeshift in-home manufacturing facility! And that’s not all. Brouillette also volunteered at a homeless shelter with the intent of learning how to be a better nurse.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date August 10, 2020
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Students

The “Right Stuff”

In 2015, Josh Simpson’s world stopped. Soon after the birth of his youngest daughter, his 33-year-old wife received an earth-shattering diagnosis -- breast cancer. Originally misdiagnosed as clogged milk ducts, the diagnosis came after she switched doctors, and a subsequent biopsy. “I can’t tell you how many times people have said that you don’t typically get breast cancer while breastfeeding. One thing I discovered is that there is no normal with breast cancer,” said Simpson.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date July 16, 2020
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Community    Faculty    Students

White Coats for Black Lives – A Movement, Not a Moment

Since George Floyd’s killing at the hands of police on May 25, and the senseless deaths of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor and others, the country has been struggling with how to support the Black community while demanding change. One thing is clear – something seems different than all the other protests and events that have preceded it. The protests are larger, more vocal, more frequent, diverse, and persistent.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date June 25, 2020
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Students

Grandmother’s prediction puts student on nursing path

As Liz Phelps opened her book bundle from CU College of Nursing, she began to cry. An unexpected gift from the College and the Alumni Association was included with her books – a stethoscope. “When I opened the stethoscope and saw the note I, to be honest, immediately started to cry. The fact that nurses who once stood in my shoes would be willing to lend a hand to their future colleagues made me proud of this profession that I am lucky enough to have the opportunity to enter into,” said Phelps.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date June 17, 2020
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Students

Nursing students address common issues in critical care practice and provide solutions in published articles 

Two students in the University of Colorado College of Nursing Adult Gerontology Clinical Nurse Specialist master’s program, Cailly Haning and Cassie Lang, recently published articles about their experiences addressing commonly encountered problems in critical care settings –  from oral hygiene with stroke patients to controlling postoperative pain. Haning, MSN, RN, ACCNS-AG, CCRN, and a critical care nurse at Swedish Hospital analyzed hospital-acquired infections due to poor oral hygiene after a stroke. Lang, MSN, CNS, ACCNS-AG, CCRN, a critical care clinical nurse specialist at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center looked at harnessing a variety of pain management therapies after surgery (acetaminophen, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, cold and music therapy) to reduce overall opioid consumption.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date June 11, 2020
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Campus Life    Students

Class of 2020 – Coronavirus Impacts Spring Commencement

The impact of coronavirus on our students has been far reaching. Clinics and inpatient facilities where our students typically complete their clinical hours shifted their focus to caring for coronavirus patients and suspended training.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date May 28, 2020
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Students

Congratulations 2020 CU Nursing Graduates!

Twenty-twenty will be remembered for many years to come as a unique time. We know it’s been challenging, but you have much to be proud of, and CU College of Nursing wants to celebrate with you. 


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Students

Out of Africa

Seventeen years ago, Eaba Dechasa arrived in America from Ethiopia with his family. His father was a geologist. His mother a teacher. The Dechasas came to America through the Diversity Immigrant Visa program (also known as the visa lottery), which provides up to 50,000 immigrant visas each year. Drawn from random selection among all entries, the visas are awarded to individuals who are from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States. Distributed among six geographic regions, no single country can receive more than 7% of the available DVs in any one year.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date May 18, 2020
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Students

A Legacy of Caring

Born into a service-oriented family with strong roots in pediatric cardiology, China Opland knew from a young age that her path would focus on giving. Her maternal grandmother Francine Leca, the first female cardiac surgeon in France, founded Mécénat Chirurgerie Cardiaque in 1996 –  an organization well known throughout the world for providing free heart surgery to children in need.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date May 15, 2020
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Students

Student Persevered in Spite of Cancer Diagnosis

Sara Schwartz had a bumpy start to her nursing degree. Notified 14 days prior to the start of orientation that she was accepted into CU Nursing, she drove to Colorado from California. “I was homeless for a week and planned to live in my car,” she said. Fortunately, she met a girl during orientation whose family allowed her to live in their basement. 


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date May 13, 2020
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Students

Adoption Leads to Compassion and a Calling

All he wanted was a plastic toy car. At 4 years old, that was what Josh Harrington wanted and he was going to get it.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date May 13, 2020
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Students

Second or third career, but who’s counting?

For 15 years, Bill Martchenke was a high school and middle school teacher. A devoted teacher, he regularly worked 12-14 hour days. When his wife became pregnant with their first son, he couldn’t justify it any longer and got a job working for Kaiser Permanente in their electronic medical record (EMR) department training nurses on the system. After supporting the hospital for five months, “I recognized nurses had the greatest job in the world and why wasn’t I doing this?”


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date May 12, 2020
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Students

Helicopter Pilot Comes Full Circle to Become a Nurse

Eleven years ago, Erika Vaske was on a two-year waitlist to get into a nursing program. “A lot of my inspiration came from my mom, who has been a nurse’s aid for over 35 years,” she said. For Vaske, the wait was “interminable.” So she chose another path -- changed majors and earned a bachelor’s degree in social work.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date May 12, 2020
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Students

Proud Papa

Originally trained as a physical therapist in her homeland of Germany, Sabs Sheppard chose nursing after moving to the U.S. 12 years ago. After working with nurses for years, she realized that the profession more closely aligned with her goals and ambitions to work in critical care. 


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date May 12, 2020
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Students

Bias Lives Anywhere

Pam:  So, uh, Greg. How’s your job?
Greg:  Um, good, Pam. Thanks for asking. I recently got transferred to triage.
Dina: Oh, is that better than a nurse?
Pam: No, Mom, triage is a unit of the E.R. It’s where all the top nurses work.
Greg:  Well—
Pam:  No, they do.
Jack: Not many men in your profession, though, are there, Greg?
Greg:  No, Jack, not traditionally.
Jack:  Mm-hmm.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date May 12, 2020
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Students

A Dreamer before Dreamers

Arriving in the U.S. at age 4 from Colombia, South America, Kay Maldonado knew when she graduated from high school that challenges would lie ahead.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date May 12, 2020
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Students

Mental Health Struggles Lead to a PhD in Caring Science

Struggling with depression as a teenager, Rachel Johnson came to a pivotal moment in her young life.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date May 11, 2020
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Community    COVID-19    Students

Serendipity

When Captain Taylor Allen, BSN, RN, arrived in Denver in March for an internship with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) before entering CU Nursing’s Master’s program, she never thought her army experience would be in demand. Boy was she wrong.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date April 20, 2020
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Students

Great News for our CU Nursing Students and Alums

With the help of University of Colorado leadership, CU Nursing faculty, lobbyists, and State Representatives and Senators, Governor Jared Polis signed Executive Order D 2020 038 on April 15, 2020 to temporarily suspend State Board of Nursing statutes in order to expand the health care workforce. The Order temporarily suspends some State Board of Nursing rules for nursing programs. This allows our students to complete their programs in a timely fashion to help fight the Covid-19 outbreak, and also addresses the current nursing workforce needs in the state of Colorado.


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Students

Thoughts on Nepal

Combining my passion for nursing with the unreal setting of Nepal -- a place that I have wanted to visit for so many years -- was a dream come true!


Author Guest Contributor | Publish Date April 16, 2020
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Community    COVID-19    Students

Nurse’s Action Gets Results

When CU Nursing PhD student Brittni Goodwin, MSN, RN, realized there weren’t enough N95 masks for her colleagues at area hospitals, she went to work to get the needed supplies. Like many health care professionals, Goodwin felt the need to help co-workers who were being stretched so intensely during the Covid-19 outbreak. “It’s a bit like survivor’s guilt. I felt I wasn’t doing enough,” said Goodwin.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date April 13, 2020
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Campus Life    Students

Celebrating You - Class of 2020

4/10/20 - CU Anschutz Student Parking Refund


Dear CU Anschutz Students,

As the Chancellor’s communication outlined yesterday, the Parking Department will be refunding all students on the Anschutz Medical Campus for any parking permit fees that were paid in advance from March 16, 2020 forward. This process will begin immediately, but will take time to complete as we must review each student account individually to determine the refund amount that is due. All refunds will be mailed to students in the form of a check to the current address on file. In order to ensure the most timely and accurate return of funds, we ask you to review your parking account online and provide the most current mailing address. We know that this pandemic has caused a great deal of change in your world and we are committed to returning funds as quickly as we can.  Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. It is our goal to have all refunds issued by the end of April. If you have an questions regarding this communique and your specific situation, please contact the parking office at (303)724-2555 or by email to CUParking@cuanschutz.edu.


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Faculty    Alumni    Students

Join CU Nursing and Seedworks Films for a Virtual Film Fest

Please join us for a virtual film festival, presented by CU Nursing and Seedworks Films.

Similar to a book club, participants are encouraged to watch one of the following documentaries and then join us via Zoom Sundays at 3 p.m. (MST) for a lively chat hosted by Sue Hagedorn, PhD, RN, FAANP, FAAN. These "fireside" chats will include special guests Drs. Loretta Ford, Ginny Pepper, Jean Watson, Ms. Karen Zink and Dixie Melton, and Daniel Weinschenker. You're not going to want to miss it!


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date April 03, 2020
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Students

The New Normal for our CU Students

We asked our current student workers at CU Nursing how they are handling the new normal. See how a few of our students are making their new normal work for them.


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Education    Students

CU Nursing ranked #8 for Nurse Midwifery program and top 10% for Master’s in Nursing

Aurora, Colo. (March 19, 2020) -- The University of Colorado College of Nursing has received a #8 placement for its Nurse-Midwifery program, and a top 10% ranking for its Master’s in Nursing program, according to U.S. News & World Report. The Master’s program was ranked against 578 programs, while the Nurse-Midwifery program was compared 36 programs throughout the country. In addition, the Doctor of Nurse Practitioner program ranked #48 out of 319 programs, placing it in the top 15% of DNP programs. The 2021 rankings were released on March 18.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date March 19, 2020
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Students

CU Nursing educates tomorrow’s front-line providers en masse in Mental Health First Aid

Like most of her classmates, Emma Bielfeldt struggled to finish her thought as she answered her fellow student’s question. She faltered, tried again and finally gave up, laughing at her inability to speak coherently. It’s hard to think straight when someone is whispering orders in your ear.


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date January 31, 2020
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Campus Life    Students

Nursing student holds unusual side job: She’s a mermaid

She hails from Denver, not Atlantica. She swims in an encased pool, not an ocean. And although she maybe thinks he is, her dad is not a king.


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date January 15, 2020
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Campus Life    Students

From morgue to nursing, student finds true calling

Growing up in a rough Denver neighborhood, Crystal Santos chose forensics as her future profession early on. She wanted to help people find closure after losing loved ones, especially to violence.


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date January 15, 2020
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Students

Colorado Daredevil Graduates

“I grew up racing mountain bikes and cross country Nordic skiing in Eagle,” said Clare Baker. The two sports took their toll on Baker’s body. 


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date January 02, 2020
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Students

Graduate leaves mental health legacy

When College of Nursing student Elizabeth DePalma, (MSN, ’18), graduates with her DNP and takes off into the wild, blue yonder, she will leave behind a potentially life-saving legacy.


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date December 13, 2019
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Students

Nursing fits graduate’s caring nature

On Dec. 14, when Gurpreet Cheema accepts his nursing diploma on the stage in the Colorado Convention Center, it will be his second major life-changing ceremony this year.


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date December 13, 2019
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Campus Life    Students

“The details of my life are quite inconsequential…very well, where do I begin?”

Teacher. Waiter. Insurance Agent. Yoga Instructor. Massage Therapist. CNA. And, soon-to-be nurse. If it seems as if Alex Wilson has led an interesting life, you’d be right.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date December 12, 2019
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Students

Turning Point

“Nursing kept calling me and I finally answered,” said Christopher Heftka. After 13 years as a professional ski patroller and a stint as a firefighter, Heftka made the tough decision to switch to a nursing career.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date December 11, 2019
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Students

CU Nursing takes maternal health researcher to the clinical side

She cannot quite put her finger on why, but Claire Donovan always knew she wanted to help the underserved.


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date December 11, 2019
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Students

CU Nursing students transform health — even before they graduate

Air Force scholarship recipient leaves mental health program behind


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date December 06, 2019
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Campus Life    Students

Luncheon honors CU Nursing scholars, profession

After 27 years with the University of Colorado working on all four campuses, Senior Vice President and Chief of Staff Leonard Dinegar told a group gathered for the College of Nursing Scholarship Luncheon on Nov. 22 that CU Nursing held a special place in his heart.


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date December 02, 2019
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Students

Students find new skills, life lessons during Ecuador clinical trip

Exquisite chocolate, stunning views and comprehensive reproductive health services colored a clinical experience in the lush lands of Ecuador, according to students who took part in the Global Health Nursing program last May. Combined with the intensive work, the cultural immersion made for a life-changing experience, they said.


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date October 28, 2019
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Alumni    Students

Nurse-Midwifery graduate wins Fulbright, studies traditional midwives of Ecuador

For the next 10 months, University of Colorado College of Nursing alumna Heather Mena (MSN, ’18) will roam the jungles and traverse the hills of Ecuador, learning the tricks of her trade from native women intent on saving their ancestral tradition.


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date October 04, 2019
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Research    Faculty    Students

Creepy creatures, dangerous stigmas & deadly oversights

“This is the hardest thing I’ve done in years.”

Those were the words of one of four judges who had the task of perusing, paring and picking just three winners from two dozen posters lining the Education 2 North-South Bridge on Sept. 5.

Bachelor’s, master’s, DNP and PhD students were all represented at the event, which kicked off the first-ever College of Nursing’s Research and Scholarship Symposium on Sept. 6 and highlighted the level of scholarship among its students. CU Data Science to Patient Value (D2V) co-sponsored the symposium.


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date September 12, 2019
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Research    Students

Welcomes, awards and tunes greet doctoral students

New and returning doctoral students were welcomed back Tuesday morning with a table of gold sunglasses, a buffet of steaming food and a playlist of eclectic songs, from Pharrell Williams to Kool & the Gang.

Hosted each year by the College of Nursing’s Office of Admissions and Student Affairs team, the breakfast kicks off a week of events focused on connecting new PhD students with returning students. This year, the Health Systems Leadership DNP students were also invited.


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date September 04, 2019
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Students

Passing the torch: Mothers inspire daughters in nursing careers

Growing up with two heroes — a firefighter dad and a nurse mom — Lindsey Tarasenko knew early on that she wanted a job focused on giving back.

For Martha Grubaugh, there were some early signs, including being the go-to girl in the neighborhood when the area kids got hurt.


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date August 26, 2019
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Alumni    Students

Like Grandmother, Like Granddaughter

For Iris Heidenfelder, nursing is in her blood. Her maternal grandmother, Katherine Peterson (now known as Katherine Enloe-Miller), was a diploma nurse and graduated from the Mercy Hospital Program in the 1960s. Encouraged by a physician, Enloe-Miller applied twice to the University of Colorado School of Nursing’s Nurse Practitioner program and graduated in 1971.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date August 08, 2019
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Faculty    Students

Top honors, school spirit, powerful research:

University of Colorado College of Nursing students displayed a slate of promising research at this year’s Western Institute of Nursing (WIN) Conference in San Diego in April, with topics ranging from halting the spread of HIV to easing the minds of kids with cancer.


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date June 14, 2019
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Campus Life    Students

With a beacon of light, CU Nursing ushers in next generation of caregivers

Vowing to serve with honor, CU Nursing’s newest group of 188 students was ceremonially launched down the path to becoming part of a “sacred practice” at the May 31 Nightingale Ceremony.


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date June 06, 2019
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Students

Born to Lead

After graduating from CSU Pueblo’s accelerated nursing program in June 2013, Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) student Terra Share worked as a psych mental health nurse. “The experience really set the stage for me to pursue a graduate degree,” said Share.


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date May 21, 2019
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Students

From Guatemala to dark world of sex-trafficking, experiences ignite grad’s community nursing goal

After working with a medical team in the secluded villages of Guatemala, Rebecca Harmon finally listened to her mother. Seeing the sick, poverty-stricken people in such dire need of health care, she made the decision to follow in her mom’s footsteps and become a nurse.


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date May 21, 2019
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Students

Get to Know Marvin Mendez

Honors student, rollerblader, snowboarder, and soon-to-be nurse, Marvin Mendez recently presented research at the Western Institute of Nursing (WIN) Conference.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date May 20, 2019
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Students

Get to Know Martha Grubaugh, PhD

According to Grubaugh, obtaining her PhD was a lesson in endurance. “Life happens and you need to go with the flow.” And “go with the flow” is what Grubaugh did during the nearly five years it took to earn her PhD. 


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date May 20, 2019
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Students

Wanderlust: “Not all who wander are lost” – J.R. Tolkien

Ian Overton decided to become a nurse after a decade of adventuring and one escapade that brought him close to losing his foot.

An expert mountaineer, explorer, rock and ice climber, Overton said, “Through climbing, everything makes sense in the world. The chaotic environment slows down.”


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date May 19, 2019
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Students

'It's like an allegory for my life' - Chantal Dengah

No one can predict who will make a great nurse, but when it comes to Chantal Dengah, the cards are in her favor.

As with any medical professional, skill and accuracy are required for nursing success, two characteristics engrained in Dengah, set to graduate from the University of Colorado College of Nursing during the May 24 Spring Commencement.


Author Debra Melani | Publish Date May 19, 2019
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Community    Faculty    Alumni    Students

Salute the Nurse in Your Life During Nurses Week!

The University of Colorado College of Nursing and student nurses are encouraging the community to celebrate the nurse in your life during the month of May. Nurses Week runs from May 6 – May 12, which was the birthday of Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. CU Nursing students appeared on CBS 4 Saturday morning to showcase the profession of nursing and some of the activities they have planned for the week including a 5K fun run at the Anschutz Medical Campus Sunday, May 5, and community blanket making for patients at Children’s Hospital on May 9th.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date May 06, 2019
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Education    Faculty    Students

Learning Technique Brings Hollywood to the Classroom

Textbooks are no longer the primary source of education in the classroom. CU Nursing includes traditional lectures, simulations, practical clinical experiences, and physical transformations of faculty into patients.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date April 05, 2019
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Community    Faculty    Students

Burn survivors help nursing students learn about the power of being non-judgmental

For burn survivors, Wayne Winkler and Shannon Bennett, participating in Dr. Teresa Connolly’s Nursing Care of the Adult Patient with Complex Care Needs class is a way for nursing students to become better nurses while giving back to those who helped them during recovery. For the students, understanding the physical and mental pain, anguish, and guilt associated with their condition is key to treating patients with compassion and empathy – essential elements in helping patients heal.


Author Dana Brandorff | Publish Date March 11, 2019
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