January 2016

Member of the Quarter


Congratulations to Vern Pharr BSN, RN, CCRN, CPAN, CAPA, CEN for being selected as Sigma Theta Tau’s Member of the Quarter for January 2016! Vern received his A.D.N from North Central Texas College in 1987, his BSN from Lubbock Christian University in 2014, and will soon receive his MSN from Lubbock Christian University (expected graduation date is December of this year!). He is the Departmental Nursing Director for Surgical/Anesthesia Services at University Medical Center. Vern has received the Nursing Leadership Award and the Community Service Award at University Medical Center.

Vern was nominated for the Member of the Quarter for his outreach to the schools and community of Lubbock regarding synthetic drugs. He is the Co-Founder and Managing Director of the Nurses Educating on Illegal Drugs and Synthetics (NEIDS) Program. NEIDS is an outreach group of registered nurses that believe synthetic marijuana and other illegal drugs kill and harm too many of our fellow human beings. NEIDS nurses are emergency nurses and nurse educators from Lubbock, Texas, whose mission is to provide education to the public on the health risks and hazards of the use of synthetic marijuana and other harmful drugs. This is accomplished by utilizing public service announcements, focused educational offerings to school age children, point of care education, and working with local coalitions against synthetic marijuana. UMC NEIDS supports new or revised legislation of local and state laws to halt the sale, distribution, and the manufacturing of these synthetic compounds and illegal drugs.UMC NEIDS provides education to schools, community organizations, health fairs, and focus groups. UMC NEIDS continues to research and educate people to the hazards of synthetic compounds. The West Texas Symposium on Synthetic Compounds occurs THIS Saturday, February 20, 2016. For information, go to www.lcu.edu/neids.

Vern’s research centers around this topic as he investigates deeper in his studies at Lubbock Christian University and in collaboration with University Medical Center. He is also a member of the West Texas Research Academy for Nursing Scholars, a collaboration between Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center and Lubbock Christian University Schools of Nursing. He intends to further the outreach that UMC NEIDS provides and to compile data on accurate incidents/numbers of emergency center admissions related to synthetic use. Vern is very involved legislatively related to this topic above and has positioned himself well for an impact on an ever-growing problem.

Vern enjoys nursing because he enjoys teaching and seeing learning in action. He wants to make a difference in the young children and teenage population regarding the hazardous compounds many of them could potentially come into contact with.

Vern enjoys spending time with his wife, kids, and Chihuahuas. He enjoys watching Big Bang Theory, The Walking Dead, and anything Star Trek related as well as Star Wars. He is extremely proud of his children and their accomplishments believes “Life is good because God is good.”

Thank you for your contribution to the discipline of nursing!