USD Nursing School to Honor Heroes and Healers

In honor of Veterans Day, the University of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science will recognize students who have served in the military at a reception this Thursday, Nov. 10. The event takes place from 5 to 7 p.m. on the school’s second floor Terrace. Attendance is by invitation only but the media is welcome to cover the event.

“Our students and alumni have provided care to our military in some of the most dangerous parts of Iraq and Afghanistan, served on Navy ships around the world and undertaken cutting-edge research to benefit our veterans,” said Sally B. Hardin, dean of USD’s School of Nursing. “The Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science has a long history of providing graduate nursing education to military nurses, who have successfully served on the battlefield and in the highest ranks of our armed  forces and we are very proud to honor them.”

More than 140 active or retired military have earned graduate degrees at USD since 2004 and approximately 20 percent of the current student body are active military or veterans of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, who are working on Master’s, PhD or Doctor of Nursing Practice degrees. Students, for example, include Linda Stanley, a retired Air Force major who served in the heart of the dangerous Sunni Triangle in Iraq where the worst casualties were stabilized and joined USD’s inaugural class of the Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner program in the fall of 2010. Lisa Tangredi, a member of the Navy Nurse Corps, was assigned to southern Afghanistan. Every day MedEvac helicopters would land with casualties, including those with gunshot wounds or traumatic head injuries. Tangredi is now pursuing a doctorate degree and hopes to work with military families.

Last fall, the nursing school established the first Psychiatric-Mental Health Advanced Practice Registered Nurse program in southern California, with a special emphasis on nurses who treat military populations suffering from post-traumatic stress syndrome or other mental conditions.

Navy Lt. Commander and PhD student Jason McGuire has been researching a condition known as Emergence Delirium, a state of confusion, agitation, and violent physical behavior that can follow anesthesia and result in additional injury. McGuire speculated that his condition was being seen more in combat veterans and that soldiers with PTSD are more at risk. His hunch seems to be correct with his research of 130 Camp Pendleton marines showing the condition occurs in 20 percent of combat veterans, compared to just 5 percent of the civilian population. His research was published in a medical journal earlier this year.

A significant number of nursing school alumni have achieved the highest rank and made significant contributions to the armed services. These include: Retired Rear Admiral Kathleen Martin, the first nurse Navy Deputy Surgeon General; Retired Commander Dr. John Whitcomb, Director of Nursing Research and Publications; Retired Colonel Mary Sarnecky, Official Historian, Office of the U.S. Surgeon General and authority on the history of the Army Nurse Corps; and Captain Jacqueline Rychnovsky, Executive Officer, Naval Hospital Yokosuka, Japan, and former Health Policy Fellow of U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye of Hawaii.

Recently the school has received some notable funding that focuses on active or retired military students. This includes $60,000 earlier this year from the Jonas Foundation to fund a Jonas Faculty Fellow and five military nurses to obtain PhDs and $57,000 in 2010 from the Women’s Fund of the Rancho Santa Fe Foundation that is supporting scholarships for nurses working with military populations in San Diego. Thursday’s reception also will honor donors and faculty who have made significant contributions to supporting our military and military nurses. USD’s Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science is ranked in the top 10 percent of U.S. graduate nursing schools and has more than 2,000 alumni including 225 with doctorates.

About the University of San Diego

The University of San Diego sets the standard for an engaged, contemporary Catholic university where innovative Changemakers confront humanity’s urgent challenges. With more than 8,000 students from 75 countries and 44 states, USD is the youngest independent institution on the U.S. News & World Report list of top 100 universities in the United States. USD’s eight academic divisions include the College of Arts and Sciences, the School of Business, the Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering, the School of Law, the School of Leadership and Education Sciences, the Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, the Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies, and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education. USD recently concluded our successful $317M Leading Change: The Campaign for USD, which represented the most ambitious fundraising effort in the history of the university. In September 2016, USD introduced Envisioning 2024, a strategic plan that capitalizes on the university’s recent progress and aligns new strategic goals with current strengths to help shape a vision for the future as the university looks ahead to its 75th anniversary in the year 2024.