A Decade of Discovery: Alumni Perspectives
Jason Nesler, MHS ’18, PA-C
Physician Assistant, M Health Fairview Urgent Care, Minneapolis, Minnesota
“As a student in 2018, I completed an emergency medicine rotation in Lake County, just a few miles from the 459,000-acre Mendocino Complex Fire. Working and learning PHD in this environment led me to pursue a career in urgent care and to fulfill my passion as a volunteer first responder.
Yet, I can’t say that my first couple of years after becoming a physician assistant (P.A.) were what I expected them to be. I didn’t anticipate a pandemic, record unemployment and lost health insurance for millions of people. I didn’t anticipate the civil rights movement that would take roots in my city and expand into massive protests across the country.
Quarantines, telemedicine, riot injuries, national mental health decline, public confusion, medical misinformation from our country’s leaders and daily changes in guidelines were a lot to chew on as a new graduate. It quickly became overwhelming.
In an attempt to organize a messy world and simplify my work, I found myself naturally gravitating back toward several of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing’s values. Community connection: In a chaotic world, what problems can I alleviate in my immediate community? Collaboration and diversity: How can I bring a wide range of people and experience from my community to build strong and healthy neighborhoods around me? These are the ideas that strengthened my resolve and helped me serve as a more focused provider in unsettling times.
Ultimately, I decided to volunteer my skills outside the clinic providing first aid to protesters during the Black Lives Matter movement in Minneapolis. These experiences have been incredibly rewarding to me as a P.A. and a citizen.
My hope for the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing’s next decade is to see clinical rotations in more cities, states and globally to further promote diversity in students’ experiences, ultimately preparing more health care providers who are ready to work anywhere and everywhere.”
Perry Gee, PhD ’14, R.N.
Nurse Scientist, Intermountain Healthcare, Salt Lake City and Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Utah, Arizona State University and UC Irvine
“As a nurse scientist for the largest health system in Utah, I am frequently asked to conduct research in areas outside my own expertise. That was certainly true when I was asked to study burnout, resilience, compassion fatigue and their impact on nurse well-being. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, leadership at my organization asked me if I could accelerate my intervention and research work to support our more than 10,000 nurses who may be potentially impacted by the disease. Networking with colleagues and several national nursing organizations, we identified evidence-based well-being strategies to be implemented immediately during the pandemic. Concurrently, we built research methodologies to evaluate if we were having the desired impact. Our team rolled out a well- being toolkit for nurse leaders that was informed by our frontline nurses. Just months later, examples of our COVID-19 nurse well-being response can be seen in not only in my health system but also in facilities across the nation. My education at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing gave me the knowledge and confidence to tackle scholarly topics outside my comfort zone and this work has transformed me to an expert who can positively impact the lives of my fellow nurses.”
Jerry John Nutor, Ph.D., M.S. ’15, R.N.
Assistant Professor, UCSF School of Nursing, San Francisco
“After completing the master’s-leadership program at the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing, I founded Africa Interdisciplinary Health Conference as a doctoral student at Drexel University. Designed as a peer- reviewed forum for health-related researchers, practitioners, academics and students at all levels in Africa to share their innovative research, I believe the conference contributes to the promotion of health equity and high-quality health care delivery in Africa.
I recently began my second year as assistant professor at the UCSF School of Nursing. My goal is to train nurses and health-care professionals who promote health equity and high-quality health care through innovative research, education, clinical practice and health policy. I thrive to serve as an example to my students and mentees. In the face of what is happening in the world, especially in the U.S., we cannot underestimate the importance of community connection, diversity and inclusion, leadership, innovation and collaboration. We must train health care professionals to deliver care to their patients, conduct research and be involved in policymaking that aim at promoting health care without regard to race, color or national origin.
Congratulations to the faculty, staff, students and alumni of the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing! In the next 10 years, I hope the School of Nursing continues attracting talented faculty, staff and students with its commitment to diversity. I also hope the school will engage with institutions from the global south to promote interdisciplinary and interprofessional partnerships.”
Pamela Salgado, PA-C ’10
Physician Assistant, Rady Children’s Hospital, San Diego
“For the last nine years, I’ve worked as a physician assistant in otolaryngology, head and neck surgery, and pediatric otolaryngology. Often times, I work as a diagnostician treating a variety of pathology among our pediatric population.
I experienced a temporary furlough this spring due to the pandemic, as did many others in health professions. During this quieter time, I felt called to become a chaplain. My inspiration was born out of the necessary restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus in hospital settings, where many patients feel alone and scared, whether recovering from surgery, undergoing cancer treatments or being intubated in the ICU with COVID-19. As a chaplain, I plan to help patients feel spiritually comforted during difficult times. In the fall, I will begin my master’s degree program in pastoral studies and return part-time to my PA role at Rady.
Since graduating UC Davis’ P.A. program in 2010, I enjoy mentoring P.A. students, medical students and undergraduates. Having the ability to share my experiences in Ear, Nose and Throat is rewarding and helps students and colleagues learn valuable lessons beyond the classroom. I hope to eventually precept UC Davis P.A. students and I encourage future alumni from the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing to continue to pass on their technical skills to those new to their profession, whether P.A.s, nurses or other health providers.
We are very lucky to have the most amazing and flexible careers as advanced practice providers, especially graduating from UC Davis. Go Aggies!”
Holly Kirkland-Kuhn, PhD, FNP ’95
Director of Wound Care, UC Davis Medical Center and Nurse Practitioner, Medical Weight Management Program, Kaiser Permanente, Sacramento, California
“I began my journey as a nurse practitioner at UC Davis 25 years ago. With a background in global health, research and leadership experience in an academic medical setting, I’ve spent my career as an advocate for interdisciplinary collaboration in clinical practice, ever educating patients, families and medical providers. I celebrate Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing’s Decade of Discovery as an alumna, partner, preceptor and champion for our shared commitment to interdisciplinary collaboration and education.
In 2017, I partnered with the School of Nursing and AARP to write and feature a series of videos to teach wound care to family caregivers. Working with these teams was a phenomenal experience. I teach wound care to family nurse practitioner (FNP) and physician assistant students from the School of Nursing across all settings at UC Davis Medical Center. Currently, I’m the principal investigator for multiple research studies with UC Davis Health and UCSF.
My hope for the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing’s next decade is that it can become a global nursing capital for its outstanding contributions to nursing, clinical practice, leadership, research and education. As a proud UC Davis FNP alumna and advocate for interprofessional collaboration, I see more partnerships between the School of Nursing and UC Davis Medical Center that have the potential to expand opportunities for nurses and nurse practitioners around the world.”