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UTHSC’s 2015 Winter Graduation Sends 162 New Health Care Professionals into the Workforce; Provides Special Moment for Mother/Daughter Nurses

Teresa Britt and Daughter at graduation cropped (003)
IPECS Director Teresa Britt, who earned her Master of Science degree in Nursing from UTHSC in 1986, presented her daughter, Natalie Amagliani, with a diploma at winter graduation.

When one student at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center (UTHSC) accepted her diploma Dec. 11, she enjoyed an extra special touch: She accepted it from her mom.

Natalie Amagliani, who earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree, was handed her diploma by her mother, Teresa Britt, who not only works for UTHSC as director of Interprofessional Education and Clinical Simulation (IPECS), but earned her Master of Science degree in Nursing from UTHSC in 1986.

“That moment may not mean anything to anybody else in the audience, but it’s very special to her and to me,” Britt said before the graduation.

Amagliani was one of 162 health care professionals who graduated from UTHSC that day. The winter graduation ceremony was held at the Memphis Cook Convention Center. Among the graduates were the 25 members of the inaugural class of the Physician Assistant Studies program in the College of Health Professions. That program began in January 2014, and is the only one at a state school in Tennessee.

Amagliani was part of the second class to complete the BSN degree since the program was reactivated in the UTHSC College of Nursing in 2013.

“It was an honor to have my mom not only at graduation but with me every step of my journey through nursing school,” Amagliani said. “I could not have accomplished my goal without her constant love and support.”

Amagliani already had a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, which she earned in 2011. She came back to Memphis where she did a leadership fellowship for a year at Second Presbyterian Church, then joined the staff at Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, providing support to children and their parents.

“She definitely had heard of the BSN program, and not just from me, believe it or not, but from other people,” Britt said. “She had a good friend who graduated last year, in the first class.”

Amagliani liked the fact that it was an accelerated program, since she already had a bachelor’s degree, and she could be in and out in just 18 months, Britt said. “That really made it the perfect fit for her — that and the fact that the program had such a good clinical reputation.”

The IPECS program which Britt directs takes up the fifth, sixth and seventh floors of the 920 Madison Building. It brings together students from across UTHSC’s disciplines to learn together in realistic simulations with the aim of fostering collaboration and communication, and improving patient outcomes.

A nurse since 1977, Britt earned her diploma in Nursing from Methodist Hospital, followed by her BSN from the Loewenberg School of Nursing at the University of Memphis in 1982. She has been in nursing education ever since, and specifically in clinical simulation since 1992. Before becoming director of IPECS, she served as director of Nursing Simulation for UTHSC’s College of Nursing.

The 162 members of the graduating class included: four from the College of Dentistry, 17 from the College of Graduate Health Sciences, 54 from the College of Health Professions, six from the College of Medicine and 81 from the College of Nursing.