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UA College of Nursing creates integrative fellowship

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Courtesy of Janelle Drumwright | The Daily Wildcat

Dr. Mary Koithan displays her "Integrative Nursing" textbook on Feb. 2, 2015. The UA College of Nursing recently created an integrative nursing fellowship.

The UA College of Nursing has launched the world’s first integrative nursing fellowship, which will teach 11 faculty fellows the foundation, principles and potentiality of integrative nursing.

Focusing on the health and well being of patients through therapeutic remedies, integrative nursing focuses on the whole person: body, mind and spirit.

“The program is meant to develop the expertise of faculty,” said Mary Koithan, director of the program. “Our program builds on their knowledge from their doctoral programs so that they can implement integrative nursing in the classroom.”

Koithan said the main goal of the program is to eventually have the fellows teaching nursing students enrolled in the college.

The program however is not only for the health of patients, but also nurses who spend long days taking care of others.

Kim Blumenfeld, one of the nursing faculty fellows in the program, said it’s important for nurses to learn to care for themselves before they care for others.

“Personally for me, I want to set a path of well-being for myself,” Blumenfeld said. “It’s very easy to teach this to students, but it’s another thing to live it. Really during this next year, it’s going to be living what I’m teaching.”

Blumenfeld said nurses are so great at caring for others and revolving their own lives around their patients that they sometimes forget to live the way they speak of to their patients.

Koithan said the program spans over the course of a year and will incorporate four courses, three online that will develop the fellows understanding and knowledge of integrative nursing and a metric practicum as the final course.

The fellows will change the concepts in courses they are already teaching at the UA and at the end of the year propose a new program or modification to the program they currently teach, according to Koithan.

Koithan will be teaching the first course, and Kelly Mueller, who is a doctoral prepared integrative nurse from Minneapolis, Minnesota will be teaching the second with Cheryl Lacasse, who is currently a part of the UA’s nursing faculty.The third course is going to be taught by Cathleen Michaels, who is a UA clinical associate professor.

“We have what we call content experts that develop a lot of the content for the actual courses and it is my job to bring it all together,” said Natalie Pool, UA program coordinator, who is currently getting her Ph.D. at the UA College of Nursing. “I work with instructional designers, who bring it to life online on D2L, so I am the middle man between the content and the actual design.”

Koithan said this program is the first of its kind in the country and that beginning at the UA they hope to deliver this approach to all the different nursing programs throughout universities everywhere.

“We’d like to give our nursing faculty the tools and the knowledge to create some feasible change in our nursing program to better reflect their patient’s needs and desires, so that we’re creating the most relevant nurses that we can,” Pool said.


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