Endowed Chairs

The Bert Fish Scholar Upgrades Healthcare for Communities

bushy_low_ec.jpgAngeline Bushy, PhD, RN, PHCNS-BC, FAAN

Nursing education and community healthcare are twin interests of Angeline Bushy, PhD. She has been advancing both for nearly two decades, as the Bert Fish Eminent Scholar Endowed Chair of the UCF College of Nursing on the Daytona regional campus.

When Bushy arrived at UCF Daytona in 1996, surrounding Volusia County had just a half-dozen nurses with bachelor’s degrees. She became aware of just one nurse holding a master’s degree in local hospitals. Today, registered nurses with an associate degree from Daytona State College have well delineated paths to UCF’s RN to BSN and RN to MSN programs. The UCF Daytona campus also offers a four-year BSN nursing program.

Higher education for nurses translates into higher quality healthcare for patients and communities, Bushy said. “Research shows that patient outcomes in hospital settings are improved when they have baccalaureate prepared nurses,” she said.

Bushy earned her doctorate at the University of Texas and came to UCF from the University of Utah, where she was an associate professor and coordinator of the master’s program in community health nursing. Additionally, she served in the U.S. Army Reserve Nurse Corps (LTC Ret.) and retired after more than 20 years of service.

Her scholarly interests have focused on the many challenges of rural healthcare. By every measure, from numbers of physicians to availability of preventive care, sparsely populated regions tend to be underserved, she said.

Recent funding has her researching rural health clinics in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) with a $1.6 million grant from the National Institutes of Health. She is co-investigator on the study led by Dr. Thomas Wan.

An ACO focuses on disease prevention and management, with payments tied to keeping populations healthy. It is part of a growing effort to limit the need for costly, acute care in emergency rooms and hospitals. For that to be successful, community nursing must play a major role.

“Primary care starts in the community,” Bushy said. “You may be a school nurse, a parish nurse or a nurse with an insurance company; nurses are working with communities and planning care for the people who live there.” 

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Always One to Challenge the System

sole_low_ec.jpgMary Lou Sole, PhD, RN, CCNS, CNL, FAAN, FCCM

Mary Lou Sole devotes her career to improving the care of hospital patients, particularly those who must spend time on ventilators for respiratory failure. The Orlando Health Endowed Chair and dean of the College of Nursing, Sole’s research interests include the best ways for these critically-ill patients to avoid complications.

Ventilator-associated pneumonia or other complications can add $40,000 to the cost of care and lengthen a hospital stay by up to 10 days, Sole says. Patients may require more time with an artificial airway and long-term respiratory assistance. “If you can get the tube out earlier and prevent infection, not only does it have other benefits, I’d argue that it improves quality of life,” she says.

Supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, Sole has researched prevention and measurement of fluid leakage into lungs. A recent $2.3 million grant from the NIH is funding her team’s study into how nurses can prevent leakage.

Funds from her Orlando Health appointment help her prepare the strongest possible grant proposals. She can pay a research assistant, travel for scientific meetings, and conduct pilot testing of clinical and lab techniques to support her research.

“Work supported by the professorship is used to show NIH that we have the resources and lab capacity to do the research we propose,” Sole says. “Funding for pilot work was instrumental in securing the $2.3 million grant because we could demonstrate how it can positively impact thousands of patients.” Sole earned her doctorate at the University of Texas at Austin, but it was at the Ohio Valley General Hospital School of Nursing that she first discovered what became the focus of her career. A professor there emphasized patient care, particularly the importance of oral care for those on ventilators, Sole says. It became part of her practice and her teaching, and eventually developed into her passion.

“I am always one to challenge the system. What is the best way to do something? What’s the best frequency? How can we improve what we do?” she says. “When nurses say, ‘what you’ve done has changed my practice,’ that’s very fulfilling.”

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Impacting National Health

Dr. Joellen EdwardsJoellen Edwards, PhD, RN, FAAN

Joellen Edwards is a nationally known expert on health policy and rural health, and has a special interest in women’s health issues. Her research on health policy has been widely published over the past 20 years. In Appalachian Tennessee, Edwards was one of the leaders in establishing and continuing a long-standing network of nurse-managed clinics that now serve thousands of rural and underserved patients each year.

Her research has been widely published and a recent manuscript with colleagues on “Factors Influencing Mental Health Screening and Treatment among Women in a Rural, South Central Appalachian Primary Care Clinic” was accepted for publication in the Journal of Rural Health. The manuscript presents the results of a qualitative study from the perspective of women and their providers. As the new Hugh F. and Jeannette G. McKean Endowed Chair in Nursing at UCF, Edwards plans to continue this research and the studies of barriers and facilitators of several preventative screenings in rural Florida women.

In 2012, she was principal investigator for a funded interagency research project looking at cancer awareness, prevention and treatment in the region with the Appalachian Regional Commission and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. She also was an evaluator on a funded research project for “Getting East Tennessee Women Involved in their Health through Interactive Teaching” and principal investigator on a rural health professions project funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Rural Health.

Edwards is a member of the editorial board for the Journal of Rural Health and has served on several state and national committees addressing rural health issues. Edwards is also a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing and was nominated for her work with rural women’s health.

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Virtual Patient, Real Innovator: Simulation Expert Appointed

welch_low_ec.jpgGregory F. Welch, PhD

Jan. 12, 2014 — The College of Nursing received a $1 million grant from Florida Hospital to establish an endowed chair for healthcare simulation. Research professor Gregory Welch, a computer scientist and engineer, has been appointed to the position.

Mary Lou Sole, dean of the college said, “This new endowed chair underscores the College of Nursing’s commitment to becoming a national leader in developing and testing innovative technologies to enhance nursing and healthcare education as well as patient care delivery.”

“Dr. Welch brings significant education and experience in simulation from a culture outside of healthcare, and we believe he will challenge our thinking about medical simulation in all the right ways,” said Sheryl Dodds, chief clinical officer at Florida Hospital. “We feel his work will have a positive effect on both healthcare education and our clinical operations. We are excited to be working with Dr. Welch, UCF and other professionals as we explore new opportunities and expand the Florida Hospital approach to simulation in healthcare.”

Welch’s primary focus is the improvement of simulated patients that are used in the education of nurses and other healthcare professionals, as well as other uses of technology for patient care. His research interests include virtual and augmented reality, the capture of human movement for simulation and training, and human surrogates for training and telepresence – particularly related to healthcare.

The multidisciplinary nature of his appointment to allow Welch to foster collaborations between computer scientists and healthcare educators, practitioners and organizations so that UCF can develop the next generation of healthcare technology.

He brings to his appointment both a record of technological innovation – he is the co-inventor on multiple patents – and a longstanding interest in healthcare. While a professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he earned his Ph.D., he led research efforts to develop three-dimensional remote healthcare consulting technology, allowing physicians to “look over the shoulder” and coach emergency medical personnel through necessary procedures.

Prior to academia, he worked on the Voyager Spacecraft Project at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and on airborne electronic countermeasures at Northrop-Grumman's Defense Systems Division.

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Expert Appointed Endowed Professor in Oncology Nursing

Dr. Victoria LoerzelVictoria Loerzel, PhD, RN, OCN

Sept. 1, 2016 — Victoria (Vicki) Loerzel, an associate professor and oncology nursing expert at the UCF College of Nursing, has been appointed to the Beat M. and Jill L. Kahli Endowed Professorship in Oncology Nursing.

An oncology certified nurse with more than 20 years of clinical experience, Loerzel has been a member of the college faculty since 2005 and holds a clinical appointment as a clinical nurse research scientist at Orlando Health. She is the second scholar to be appointed to this endowed professorship. The Beat M. and Jill L. Kahli Endowed Professorship in Oncology Nursing was established in 2005 by Beat Kahli, president and CEO of Avalon Park Group.

“Vicki has a wealth of clinical knowledge in cancer care and actively contributes to the field with her innovative research,” said Mary Lou Sole, dean of the UCF College of Nursing. “She is well-deserving of this honor, and will serve as a critical resource for the university and college to continue to develop a research program of excellence in oncology nursing.”

Loerzel’s primary research interests focus on quality of life and symptom self-management in older adults with cancer. In fall 2015, she received a grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to design, develop and test an interactive educational tool for older adults to improve cancer symptom management through better self-care decisions at home. Through improved symptom management at home, patients can reduce severe symptoms, reduce unplanned hospital visits and ultimately, improve quality of life.

“I am honored to be selected for this esteemed endowed professorship,” said Loerzel. “Through the generosity of the Kahli’s gift, I will be able to expand my research and collaborate further with other clinicians, faculty, students and researchers in the field to improve the lives of people living with cancer.”

Loerzel is a member of the Oncology Nursing Society and recipient of the society’s Commendation for Outstanding Achievement for Oncology Nursing Education or Patient/Family Education Award. She has also received numerous awards and honors for research and teaching at UCF, most recently receiving the Scholarship for Teaching and Learning Award. She received her PhD from UCF, her MSN from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, her BSN from Florida Atlantic University, and her BA from Rollins College.

With the recent appointment, the College of Nursing has a total of six endowed chairs – the most of any college at the university. Endowed chair positions are endowed in perpetuity, immortalizing excellence among faculty. “We are thankful to the Kahlis and all of our other endowed professorship donors,” said Katie Korkosz, director of development at the college. “Their support allows us to attract, retain and honor our distinguished faculty who are conducting innovative research in their fields to improve nursing education and patient care.”

Faculty support is a mission-critical priority in IGNITE: The Campaign for the University of Central Florida, the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the university’s history with a goal of $500 million.

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