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Meet Our Austin MSN-FNP Program Director: Jeanne Hopple

by South University
February 16, 2018
A photo of Jean Hopple.

"I became involved in nursing because of a desire to help others and improve their wellbeing," explains Dr. Jeanne Hopple, a nurse practitioner with 41 years of nursing experience who today serves as the Program Director for the Master of Science in Nursing (MSN) with a Specialization in Family Nurse Practitioner Program at South University, Austin.

Acquiring Experience across the Nursing Field

Helping people, Hopple says, has always been her passion. As a young woman, she enjoyed volunteering as a candy striper in a local hospital, and, when her sister became a nurse, Hopple decided to follow in her footsteps.

After earning her BSN in 1977, Hopple began working as an RN in a Florida hospital. Over time, she explored numerous specialties, working in neurology, medical intensive care, critical care, and medical progressive care as well as spending time as a Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse Specialist. She was particularly drawn to palliative care for older adults and doing her part to makes their lives a little better.

Before long, Hopple was educating other nurses as well. "I always enjoyed being the clinical preceptor or being in charge of orientation for new nurses," she says. "For a while, I wound up teaching critical care, bringing in my mannequin and crash cart, checking to see how the nurses answered codes and handled rapid response drills. I discovered a love for teaching."

To develop her skills across these diverse areas, Hopple earned her MSN specializing in adult health nurse practitioner and cardiovascular clinical nursing and minoring in nursing education. Equipped with this degree, Hopple spent the next decade working mostly in cardiology as a nurse practitioner across medical centers, physicians' offices, hospitals, and nursing homes. In 2002, she accepted her first position teaching nursing at a university where she also worked as a nurse practitioner with student health services.

Soon, however, Hopple became interested in providing care across the lifespan, not just for adults. She returned to school again, first for a post master's family nurse practitioner certificate and then for a PhD in Nursing Science. While in school, Hopple held various nurse practitioner roles in acute care, nephrology, women's health, and family care while also teaching and serving as a clinical preceptor.

Bringing Nursing Expertise into the Classroom

After finishing her PhD in 2011, Hopple began shifting more of her time to teaching (first in Florida and then in Tennessee), while still maintaining her clinical skills in part-time nurse practitioner roles. In 2014, she joined the South University family, moving to Georgia to teach in our nursing programs in Savannah. While there, she worked first at a federally qualified health care center and then with a VA clinic doing intake assessments for veterans coming out of active duty.

In 2017, Hopple relocated again—this time to become the director of our MSN-FNP program in Austin. She also teaches in the program, including the course that introduces new students to the nurse practitioner profession. "This is broadening way out from the RN role," she says. "From day one, you’re learning a whole new role. You’re building on your RN knowledge and it’s going to help you, but now you’re going to be the advanced care provider for people with all types of health needs, from infants to elderly."

To prepare students for this transition, Hopple shares many of her own experiences from family medicine. She also makes sure her students understand the academic resources available to them and brings in the campus librarian to teach research and writing skills as well as review the library services. Being in Austin, she even arranged for her students to attend the Health Care Policy & Leadership Conference for Texas Nurse Practitioners last year at the Capitol building.

"The personal connection is what I love about South University. I can pick up the phone and call my students. They know me, I know them," she says. "If they're struggling, I can ask what's going on and whether there's anything I can help with or that they want to talk about. Sometimes it's a family or health or personal issue. Life happens. They know my door is open. We’re here. We care about them. We want to take you forward, to make a difference in your life."

Interested in learning more about the nursing programs and faculty at South University? Explore our College of Nursing and Public Health today!

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10 Things You Didnt Know about the Online Library

by South University
February 1, 2018

By now you probably know you can access South University's online library resources in the Campus Common, but did you know you can also access these same resources through any Brightspace course? If you haven’t taken the time to explore our library system, you’re missing out on a big opportunity to enhance your learning experience.

10 Things You Didnt Know about the Online Library

Ready to take advantage of all that the South University Libraries have to offer? Then you have excellent timing because February is Library Lovers Month! Learn 10 things you might not know about the campus and online libraries at South University.

1. We have full-time staff

All of our libraries have a full-time staff member who you can contact directly with questions. Feel free to call or email your library for assistance. If we miss your call, please leave us a message with your name and number so that we can call you back.

2. You can live chat with a librarian

Need a little help finding research material? If you're working on an assignment and don’t know where to start or where to go next, use the chat feature to ask our library staff. Our librarians can answer your questions and point you in the right direction, so you don’t have to worry about wasting time looking in the wrong place.

3. There's a Research Guide for that

Research Guides contain recommended articles, websites, books, and other information that can assist you with research, assignments, or general knowledge on a specific subject or area of study. To find them, simply click on Research Guides on the library homepage and select your campus location (or that you’re an online student). From there, you’ll be able to browse guides specific to the programs at your school.

4. We host live workshops

We regularly offer events for South University students, including live workshops online. Check with your librarian to see what kind of learning opportunities are available or coming soon!

5. You can arrange a one-on-one meeting with a librarian

Would you like some one-on-one help from a librarian? Just contact your librarian to arrange an appointment! All of their email and contact information is available by selecting your library location right from our main library homepage.

6. Thousands of eBooks are available to you

Did you know you literally have thousands of eBooks at your fingertips? We offer unlimited access to multiple databases of eBooks that you can use to complete assignments or simply read to further your knowledge in your field of choice.

7. Our Library Help Videos are a great place to start

If you haven't spent much time at the library, it can be a bit intimidating at first. That's why we created training videos to help you get acquainted. You’ll find videos on using the library search feature, finding an article from a citation, and more. To see the full video list, click on "Training Videos" from the library homepage.

8. We can help you improve your study skills

We strive to be as helpful as possible to students. That’s why we offer print books and eBooks that feature tips on how to improve your study habits. Visit or contact your librarian to find resources that can help you become a better learner.

9. You can access even more materials through interlibrary loans

An interlibrary loan is a service that provides access to materials not owned by South University Libraries. Through cooperative agreements, participating libraries share their collections with students and faculty from other institutions. You can access this service by clicking on "Interlibrary Loan Form" under "Services" from the main menu on the Library homepage.

10. The Online Library has a Job & Career Accelerator resource

Job & Career Accelerator™ combines everything you need for your job search—including a job search platform, tutorials, cover letter and resume builders, career path information, and quizzes that tell you what occupations match your skills and interests—all on one website.

Want to know more? Contact your librarian or start exploring the resources in your South University library today!

Not a student yet? Want to know more about South University? Request information today!

Note: This post was originally published April 16, 2015 and updated February 1st, 2018.

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Meet Jesus Borrego: South University, Austin IT Program Director

by South University
January 25, 2018
A photo of Jesus Borrego.

Jesus Borrego became interested in electronics as a child of five or six, helping his grandfather build radios with off-the-shelf components. By the time he got to college, he decided to earn an electrical engineering degree and, in doing so, discovered computers. Before long, he also held a bachelor’s and master’s degree in computer science. Later, he would return for a PhD in Information Systems Management with a focus on Information Assurance.

"What I love about IT is that you can never know it all," he says. "There are so many branches that you can take 20 years studying one area and never finish it."

A Rich Career that Crossed Disciplines & Country Lines

Borrego began his technology career in a company with Top Secret clearance contracting for the US Air Force and Pentagon. There, as a Senior Engineer, he worked on flight and satellite replenishment simulations, including simulations of missile defense systems for nuclear attacks.

Across multiple companies, Borrego spent over two decades in satellite communications, telecommunications, and flight software. Yet, these are far from his only specialties. Throughout Borrego’s 35+ year career, he’s led teams and projects in custom software development, database administration, communications and networking, cyber security, and information assurance, including roles at global organizations such as Western Union and HP/Agilent Technologies. He's also presented in English and Spanish at over a dozen national and international conferences.

"What I like is the linkage between one topic and the other,” he explains. “I enjoy going across the field, rather than being an expert in just one area."

At one point, Borrego worked for a company tasked with consolidating Metlife International's worldwide database. In this job, he traveled to Mexico, Chile, and India, spending three months in each country working with peers from around the world.

What I liked about the project was interacting with so many different groups of people, so many different languages, and so many customs,” he says. “It was a very complex technological project, but the biggest takeaway to me was how similar we are worldwide. We have the same dreams, the same pursuits, the same need to provide for our family.

A Dedicated Technology Educator & Personal Mentor

Outside his industry work, Borrego has been teaching since 1989, something he’s loved since the very first class he taught. "It's addictive to see somebody's expression when they get it and the lightbulb goes off," he says.

Today, Borrego is proud to be the Program Director of Information Technology at South University, Austin.

"I've been teaching in technology for 28 years and I believe we have the right curriculum. That’s what attracted me to South," he says. "In particular, the purpose of our bachelor's is to learn the language so you can understand the different branches of technology. Our courses give you the foundation that allows you to move into specialties like cybersecurity or artificial intelligence as well as any new careers emerging inside those fields."

As an instructor, Borrego is tough but compassionate. He pushes his students to actively participate in class, believing that the worst thing a student can do is to not ask questions. "You can tell when somebody's not getting it," he notes. "I tell them, 'Okay, I see that look. You are not getting this one part. We're going to stay here until you get it.'"

He also takes the time to get to know his students and offer advice on their careers as well as balancing their schoolwork with their family lives. Often, he stays in touch with past students. "I've seen them go from entry-level positions up into senior-level and management positions over the years," he says.

While Borrego acknowledges that the IT field can be intimidating, he believes many opportunities await those who have the passion and drive to pursue it, stating "everything is hard before you know it, and then it gets easier."

Giving Back to the Community: Dr. Borrego to Host Cybersecurity Minischool

In everything from consumer shopping to banking to healthcare and more, an electronic security breach can have high consequences for individuals and organizations.

To teach you about protecting personal and enterprise assets, information assurance and cybersecurity industry veteran Dr. Jesus Borrego is hosting a no fee Cybersecurity Minischool on February 16, 2018, from 6pm to 8:30pm at South University, Austin. All members of the community and local businesses are welcome!

Participants will receive a certificate of attendance, helping those who plan to request Continuing Education Units from professional organizations. Get more information and register for this upcoming event today.

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Meet April Stidham: MSN Program Director at South University, Tampa

by South University
January 9, 2018
An image of a healthcare professional assisting a woman.

All of her life, April Stidham, DNP, ARNP, FNP-C, has been drawn to the career of nursing. Even as child, she watched hospital shows like Emergency!, admiring the nurse featured on the show, Nurse Dixie. "She possessed self-confidence, self-assuredness, professionalism, and intelligence. I admired her leadership and interaction with patients, emergency responders, and doctors," she recalls.

Today, Stidham is the Program Director for the MSN Family Nurse Practitioner programs at South University, Tampa, and has 35 years of experience practicing in Virginia, Washington, Tennessee, and Florida.

She got started in the field right out of high school with an associate’s degree program in nursing, earning her degree at 19 and her RN license by age 20. As her responsibilities grew and she took on more administrative roles, Stidham continued her education, earning a BSN in 1995 and completing an MSN-FNP program in 1997.

Over the course of her career, Stidham has worked in several internal medical practices as well as a variety of hospital departments, long-term care settings, and family health clinics. She has had numerous peer-publications and professional presentations, helped to secure a handful of research grants, and been involved in almost a dozen clinical studies.

"I love being a nurse practitioner," she says. "I try to empower my patients through education and letting them take charge and responsibility of managing their health, with me being there to offer support as their primary care provider."

Over time, her interest in educating patients evolved into a desire to educate students as well. She first dabbled in teaching after earning her MSN and taking on adjunct faculty roles from 1998 to 2000 and then 2003 to 2006 at the University of Virginia. These experiences inspired her to earn a Doctor of Nursing Practice in 2011 and to pursue additional teaching opportunities.

"I wanted to be able to teach students and give back what I had learned over the years from my nursing career as an RN and as an advanced practice nurse," she explains.

Equipped with her DNP, Stidham accepted a position at East Tennessee State University (ETSU), where she served as an Assistant Professor and later DNP Coordinator over a 5-year period, teaching and developing courses from the bachelor’s to doctoral level.

While there, she was also a family nurse practitioner in the ETSU Nurse Managed Clinics, including the University Student Health Center and Johnson City Community Health Center—providing primary care to uninsured or underinsured adults with multiple chronic conditions and acute and chronic diseases in rural northeast Tennessee. Within these clinics, she ran an interprofessional, student-led clinic, with the university’s DNP, BSN, pharmacy, nutrition, social work, clinical psychology, and medical students. She earned the ETSU College of Nursing Nurse of the Year – Service Award in 2014 and the Nurse of the Year – Practice Award in 2015.

In 2017, Stidham joined South University as Program Director for Tampa's MSN programs. In her role as a mentor and instructor, Stidham enjoys getting to know and interact with each of her MSN students. "It is very rewarding to see my advanced practice nursing students grow, mature, transition to using their new knowledge, and eventually gain confidence in managing patient care," she says.

Being a good nurse, she believes, is in large part driven simply by having the compassion, caring, and desire to take care of others. Education and mentorship are also important keys to success, she advises.

"The best way for a nursing professional to grow their skills and their career is to establish a good relationship with an experienced nurse, to listen to and accept constructive feedback, and to allow yourself to gain experience and confidence as a nurse before moving to the next level of higher education."

Want to know more about the nursing programs and faculty at South University? Explore our College of Nursing and Public Health today!

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OTA Program Director Terrie Nolinske Has Made Her Career Combining Science & Creativity

by South University
November 13, 2017
An image of a healthcare professional assisting a woman.

For Terrie Nolinske, PhD, OTR/L, the South University, Tampa Chair of the College of Health Professions and Director of the Occupational Therapy Assistant program, the mix of applying scientific knowledge with creative problem-solving is what first drew her to the occupational therapy profession.

"Occupational therapy requires an extensive knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and medical conditions, but also requires the therapist to be very creative in engaging the client in the OT process," she explains.

Expertise & Experience in Occupational Therapy

As an occupational therapist, Nolinske has 40+ years of experience in evaluation and rehabilitation for burns, cancer, orthopedics, arthritis and neurology with individuals of all ages. She has worked with patients in their homes, community centers, hospitals, mental health centers, rehabilitation centers, schools, and communities for independent living, assisted living, and memory care.

"I enjoy the challenge of quickly assessing the strengths and limitations of new clients, finding out what’s important to them, and working with them to establish a unique plan of care and timeline for achieving treatment goals," she says. "Coming up with activities that are meaningful to the individual and that will keep them engaged and successful at each step and every session, that is where the creativity comes in."

Administratively, she has served as the Director of Occupational Therapy in a 450-bed hospital in Chicago as well as Chair of the Physical Disabilities Special Interest Section for the Americation Occupational Therapy Association, a role in which she developed educational procedures and a research symposium for thousands of therapists nationwide.

Educating Students, Peers, Patients, and the Public

Nolinske has long been an educator, from supervisory positions guiding the development of occupational therapists, to teaching patients how to achieve independence in daily tasks, to supervising students in the classroom and on externships.

Her first university position came in 1978 at Northwestern University Medical School’s Prosthetics-Orthotics Center. As an Associate and Assistant Director, in addition to teaching lectures and labs, she created orthotics course manuals and instituted the use of case studies and problem-based learning across courses. Since then, Nolinske has taught at numerous universities, even spending a semester teaching in Poland in 2002. In 2012, she joined South University, Tampa and founded our Occupational Therapy Assistant program.

Her educational experience outside the classroom is no less extensive, including working in textbook publishing and serving as editor for a national occupational therapy newsletter with a weekly circulation of 60,000. As an occupational therapy expert, she has led large organizations like the Lincoln Park Zoo and Tampa’s Museum of Science and Industry in creating entirely new experiences for people with disabilities , ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to learn, engage, and interact with their surroundings.

She has also written over 150 articles for magazines, technical publications, peer-reviewed journals, and newspapers and has been elected into the prestigious National Association of Science Writers.

Nolinske's Teaching Philosophy

As an educator, Nolinske is committed to incorporating activities for all learning styles. In her classes, she uses lectures, discussions on current events in healthcare, individual and group work, demonstrations, hands-on activities, presentations, case studies, and role playing. She encourages everyone to participate and openly discuss their differing viewpoints. Doing so, she believes, will help to develop the communication, creativity, and problem-solving abilities of her students—skills that are essential for working in occupational therapy.

"I want all students to feel welcome and to always be connecting what they learn to their past knowledge and personal experiences. I also aim to instill curiosity, so that my students are questioning what they learn and asking why something works (or doesn’t)," she says. "I take great joy in seeing my students do things like considering context, embracing diversity, challenging assumptions, and exploring alternative possibilities."

Explore our Occupational Therapy Assistant program today, or learn more about how you can change lives by working in occupational therapy.

See suprograms.info for program duration, tuition, fees and other costs, median debt, salary data, alumni success, and other important info.

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