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Spotlight shines on UMMC nurses; audiologist earns national board post

Published on Monday, November 30, 2020

Nursing Awards ceremony honors All-Stars, Hall of Famers

Among the Hall of Fame Award recipients honored at the 2020 Nursing Awards are, from left, Kristin Kappler, Joy Akanji and Connie Richardson.
Among the Hall of Fame Award recipients honored at the 2020 Nursing Awards are, from left, Kristin Kappler, Joy Akanji and Connie Richardson.

Four UMMC nurses received All-Star Awards and four veteran UMMC nurses were named Hall of Famers during the

2020 Nursing Awards Nov. 17 in room CW 106 of the Classroom Wing.

The four All-Stars were selected from among a dozen nominees. The winners included Cynthia Broome, a nurse care coordinator in University Physicians Remote Patient Monitoring; Christina Caldwell, a nurse in 4 Wiser; Lacey Dungan, an abdominal transplant coordinator in Liver Transplant, and Jacob Crouch, a nurse educator in 4 Wiser.

Four Hall of Fame inductees were also announced at the event. They included Kristin Kappler, director of quality and clinical support services for Children’s Administration; Joy Akanji, nurse manager in Student Employee Health; Connie Richardson, director of Nursing Adult Services; and Nikki Cohran, nurse manager in 5 Children’s.

Urology nurse earns MacFarland Award for certification score

Connie Thrash, Adult Urology lead nurse, has received the Macfarlane Award from the Certification Board for Urologic Nurses and Associations. The honor recognizes her for making the highest score in the country on its certification exam.

Recipients of the Macfarlane Award demonstrate dedication to the practice of urology and an outstanding knowledge base.

Thrash is a registered nurse and a certified urologic R.N. A nurse for 43 years, she’s served UMMC in Adult Urology for 12 of them.

She earned her associate’s degree in nursing from Pearl River Community College in 1977 and her B.S.N. from UMMC in 1980.

“Since getting into the specialty of urology, I have been active in our professional organization, the Society of Urologic Nurses and Associates, for several years,” Thrash said. “I finally decided in 2018 to try to sit for the certification exam.

“I attended a comprehensive review for the examination at our yearly conference in 2018 and sat for the examination in 2019. I utilized the study guide compiled by SUNA and also the Core Curriculum for Urology nurses, as well as reading and studying articles in the Urologic Nursing monthly publication from the SUNA organization and utilizing their comprehensive online information and CE tests.

“Two to three months prior to the examination, I began a comprehensive review of these tools and studied and reviewed on a regular basis, taking a practice test provided in the materials. It had been so long since I had sat for any kind of examination that I was surprised by the outcome!”

Paul Bird, director of ambulatory operations for University Physicians, said Thrash’s high score came as no surprise to him.

“She is totally engaged in caring for this patient population,” Bird said. “She chose to sit for the Certified Urologic Registered Nurse purely for self-improvement. Her dedication to quality patient care is paramount.”

National audiology society taps UMMC faculty for board service

Portrait of Dr. Christopher Spankovich

Dr. Christopher Spankovich, UMMC associate professor of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery and vice chair of research for the department, has been appointed to the American Academy of Audiology Board of Directors.

According to its website, the academy is the largest professional organization of, by and for audiologists. As a board member, Spankovich will help represent the interests of 14,000 audiologists, who diagnose and treat hearing and balance problems.

As a clinician-scientist, Spankovich has embarked on a translational research program focused on the prevention of acquired forms of hearing loss, tinnitus and sound sensitivity. Industry, federal and professional organizations have funded his investigations.

The Jackson resident earned a B.A. in psychology at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and a M.P.H. in behavioral science and health education at Emory University in Atlanta. He has an Au.D. from Rush University in Chicago and a Ph.D. in hearing sciences from Vanderbilt University in Nashville.

“We are delighted that Christopher has joined the academy’s board,” said Tanya Tolpegin, American Academy of Audiology executive director, in a statement. “With his extensive knowledge, research background and work as a clinician-scientist, he will be a significant asset for our organization.”