PI: Kent Blad
Co-PI: Ron Ulberg
Evaluation of how well the academic objectives of the proposal were met:
The academic objectives of the MEG proposal were met and exceeded. Specifically, students were able to serve as individual guardians for a WWII or Korea War Veteran on an Honor Flight to Washington DC to allow those Veterans to visit those sites that are in place to honor their service to our country. For most of the 25 Veterans that were sponsored by BYU College of Nursing, this was their last visit to these sites before they pass on. Examples of these sites were WWII Memorial, Korea War Memorial, Vietnam War Memorial, Navy Memorial, Air Force Memorial, Marine / Iwo Jima Memorial, Arlington National Cemetery, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, etc. These Veterans were honored at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, as well as at the WWII Memorial, where Taps was played in the ceremony honoring them. In addition, an Honors Banquet was held to honor each individual Veteran in attendance and their service.
Students were provided the opportunity to be mentored in this clinical experience by Kent Blad and Ron Ulberg, both Veterans of Operation Desert Storm and previous nurses at the VA Medical Center in Salt Lake City. Students were also exposed to these national military memorial venues where the history of their individual Veteran conflicts was prevalent. Students were each assigned an individual Veteran in which to care for during the 72 hours of the Honor Flight experience.
Students completed their assignments as guardians by attending a training program orienting to the role as guardian in advance of the flight. Students also were required to use their knowledge and skills learned through their Public & Global Health Nursing class from their faculty. Each student, through serving as guardians, ensured that their Veteran was cared for and medical and other needs were met. Through these experiences, the importance of learning unique characteristics and principles in understanding the diversity of the Veteran population and caring for them was instilled in the students. During the trip / flight, the group took part in interviews, sharing experiences, and learning the important characteristics of these Veterans.
From this experience, two articles were published, four posters, and one podium presentation were presented on students’ experiences with the Veterans in relation to Nursing and life-long learning. In addition, three PR videos were produced for promotion of the Honor Flight and BYU College of Nursing.
Evaluation of the Mentoring Environment
The mentoring environment during the entire experience was a positive one; one that would difficult being replicated and hard to forget. Mr. Ulberg and Dr. Blad were in direct supervision of all students at all times during the experience. Students gained a new-found appreciation for this population who have sacrificed so much for their country. Students had a strong desire to learn, especially when being in direct contact with these honored Veterans on this flight. The environment was very conducive to questions, learning, and positive constructive interaction. Students expressed much joy and satisfaction for their time spent with the Veteran population. The physical environment of the Honor flight included airports, commercial airliners, commercial buses, hotel lobbies and dining facilities, as well as the historic memorial sites in Washington DC.
List of students who participated and what academic deliverables they have produced:
In this clinical experience, 13 nursing students participated in creating and producing several academic products. All 13 students were instrumental in the creation and production of 3 videos published on the College of Nursing website. These same students were also instrumental in being interviewed and sharing reflective experiences for articles in the BYU Magazine and the College of Nursing’s magazine. Those students were:
In addition to the group projects, 3 individual students created and produced, with the mentoring of Ron and Kent, 4 professional grade posters that were accepted and presented at 2 different national nursing conferences during April 2016. Those students were:
Because of the positive impact of this experience on Deven Jennings, he set a professional goal to spend his nursing career in the service of Veterans in the psychiatric arena. This motivated him to produce a simulation lab scenario and case study on a PTSD Veteran patient, to be used in the BYU CON nursing labs. He accomplished this before his graduation and has shared this project with other nursing schools in the country.
Description of the results/findings of the project:
Many results of this project are easy to describe, many are not. The tangible papers that were written, posters that were produced, presentations that were made, and interviews that took place were easy to grade and describe students’ reactions to this clinical experience. The most important results that faculty perceive came from this experience are intangible, at best. Students’ written and verbal comments were far-reaching beyond a grade on a paper. Students stated their professional and personal lives had been affected forever through so much exposure to the Veteran population. The results show that these nursing students are now better prepared to care for any Veteran in any healthcare environment that may be encountered in the future. Students learned unique characteristics of Veterans and unique issues pertaining to their service in military conflicts.
The students accomplished their initial goals, which included the following:
- Ensuring the veteran had proper medical devices, such as oxygen and supplies,
- Ensuring veterans had proper boarding passes and IDs,
- Distributing Honor Flight materials,
- Assisting the veteran through TSA security and to the departure gate,
- Assisting in boarding flights and bus transportation, and
- Assisting, as needed, with medications, medical devices, and hygiene needs.
However, as mentioned above, these goals, though important, almost became secondary as the students soon realized at the beginning of the experience, that the Honor flight was much more than caring for physical needs. The individual items found within the University AIMs and the College of Nursing Mission were all accomplished in this experience, through one method or another, whether tangible or intangible.
A summary account of how funds were used:
The following is the combined account for 13 students from the Honor Flight during Spring Term, 2015. This budget reflects the MEG award of Kent Blad and Ron Ulberg ($20,000). Since the experiences were accomplished together, Mr. Ulberg and Dr. Blad shared expenses for all students and faculty. Our total budget came in a little over the allotted combined $20,000, which the Dean of the College of Nursing covered with College funds. Having researched and received price quotes on the stated items in advance, we came in very close to our proposed budget.
All items are for 13 students and 2 faculty:
1. Guardian fees ($900 X 15) $13,500
a. Includes airfare, hotel, and food
2. Transportation in DC $2650
3. Uniforms $1950
4. Scholarly products $1000
5. Promotional materials $1000
We express our appreciation for the opportunity granted our students by the efforts and funding of the MEG office. Their lives will be forever changed due to this experience. Thank you.