Discover Your Island

A&M-Corpus Christi’s College of Nursing and Health Sciences Recognized for Innovative Programs

December 01, 2017

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CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – In a community center located in the heart of the Laredo Colonias a community center leader addressed a group of Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi College of Nursing and Health Sciences (CONHS) volunteers and with much emotion stated, “You cared for our people when no one else did.”

Four CONHS faculty members were recently recognized as “Pacesetters” during the Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) Nursing Annual Conference in Atlanta, Georgia for their participation in the military and Colonias’ Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) exercise in Laredo.

“The impact of this mission on the lives of the Colonias residents, the students, the Colonias program and the military was enormous,” said Dr. Mary Jane Hamilton, Professor of Nursing and lead presenter. “The Colonias residents were given hope and meaningful health care, and the students were exposed to situations where they had to utilize all their skills and knowledge in creative ways, without the conveniences of resources – for many, their lives and perspectives were forever changed by this mission.”

The IRT exercise, which took place June 19-29, 2017, was a collaborative effort between the 5th Army, Navy, Texas A&M University System, the Colonia’s Program and the CONHS at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The interdisciplinary exercise focused on meeting the health needs of an underserved population.

“Everyone involved in this program, the students, faculty, military, and Colonias residents learned from one another and developed an appreciation of each other’s role,” recalled Hamilton. “Resources were not always readily available, so innovation and creativity had to be utilized.”

During the presentation, Hamilton focused on the development of the Academic-Practice Partnership that took place in four community health centers in South Texas and their innovative approach to education.

“We outlined our planning process, the interdisciplinary work, the implementation of the exercise, and discussed the outcomes and lessons learned,” explained Hamilton. “We also stressed the potential and reward of bringing together groups of people who have previously not transitioned across traditional roles to work for common good and improve the health care of an impoverished community.”

The highlight of the presentation was the demonstration of the CONHS “Rolling Robot.” Saladiner explained how the technology, which is normally used for distance education, allowed the CONHS to bridge the language barrier. Thanks to the innovative use of the technology, Island University volunteers who could speak Spanish, and were 144 miles away from the Colonias, were able to provide translation services through the robot.

During the conference, the SREB presented Hamilton and Saladiner with a certificate and a sculptural rendering of a butterfly that represented the conference theme of “Transitions and Transformations.” In addition, to Hamilton and Saladiner, Dr. Susan Dyess, Associate Dean of Graduate Programs in the CONHS and Dr. Cristi Day, Assistant Professor of Nursing provided their assistance with the initial development of the IRT program and finalization of the presentation.