OU Professor Wins Engagement Award

Joanna Hernandez, an acute nurse practitioner and assistant professor at Oakland University, joined a collaboration with McLaren Oakland Hospital in Jan. 2019. In recognition of her work throughout this partnership, Hernandez was awarded the 2020 University Professional and Continuing Education Association’s (UPCEA) Central Region Engagement Award.


The Engagement Award focuses on partnerships in which there is an exchange of knowledge and resources to the benefit of both parties.


“I’m completely humbled,” Hernandez said. “I was really surprised, because I didn’t do this to win awards. I didn’t do this for recognition. I did this because I wanna help nurses know how to take care of patients.”


With Hernandez having experience working in an ER and still being involved in clinical practices, she felt she would be able to develop a program for registered nurses at McLaren Hospital to help further their education.


“I have expertise in clinical practice, I had worked with a lot of the types of patients before as a nurse,” Hernandez said. “[And] as a nurse practitioner, I have ICU experience.”


McLaren Hospital had a new surgeon coming to the hospital that was going to do a new type of surgery with the gallbladder, pancreas and liver. 


“The goal was to educate these nurses on the different types of disease processes that they would be seeing,” Hernandez said.


Hernandez was approached and asked to create a course specifically for the registered nurses at McLaren Hospital to go through in order to better understand the new material. 


The courses were originally for about ten nurses, but there ended up being 56 nurses participating.


To better fit the situations of all the nurses and make the courses more accessible Hernandez developed a hybrid approach. This included online content, as well as, one day on campus to put all the information they learned about to the test.


She created a website with about four hours of content learning that the nurses had to do before coming to campus. The website featured user-friendly links to recorded lectures. The online learning aspects were broken up into three modules, one for the liver, one for the gallbladder and one for the pancreas.


“I wanted to do that for their convenience and overcome some of those barriers, so they could do it at home,” Hernandez said. “[Once the online portion was completed] they came to campus for an eight hour day in which we did a lot of active learning activities.”


At the end of course in order to pass, the nurses had to pass a comprehensive test with at least an 80%. After that they were able to enter into a simulation activity at OU.


“We were happy that we were able to partner with that,” Judy Didion, OU’s School of Nursing Dean said. “To me it ties into the Pontiac Oakland initiative that we’ve worked on over the years.”