Tamara J. Ekker, MS, RN, CCRN-K portrait
  • Instructor (Clinical), College Of Nursing

Education

  • RN, Nursing, University of Utah
  • MS, Nursing, University of Utah

Career Highlights

I am from a very small and very rural town in Southeastern Utah – Green River, Utah. It is in the middle of the beautiful desert about 60 miles from Moab. I volunteered as an EMT in Green River for about 12 years and was able to care for critically ill and injured patients. That’s where my love of patient care really developed.

I have been a nurse for 11 years. I worked for 5 years at University Hospital as an ICU nurse in the Intermediate Care Unit (IMCU). I loved patient care and was very lucky in the incredible staff I had the privilege to work with. Many are still my very dear friends.

I received my Maters in Nursing Education December 2011 and started as a Clinical Instructor at the College of Nursing in Fall semester 2012. I worked part-time at the hospital and part-time at the CON for 1 ½ years and then came to the College full time. 

I have been involved in Clinical Education on many levels. I was the Course Lead for NURS 3410 Acute Care Nursing Practicum. This is a second semester nursing course and the objectives are focused on providing opportunities for nursing students to practice Medical/Surgical skills they learned in First Semester and to expand their knowledge, critical thinking, clinical judgement, and professionalism. This is a hands on course where students care for patients who are admitted to hospitals. We are fortunate to be able to place students at University Hospital, Primary Children’s Hospital, Intermountain Medical Center, LDS Hospital, St. Mark’s Hospital, and the Veteran’s Administration Hospital. Students have excellent preceptors and nursing role models as they gain the knowledge and skills needed to care for today’s complex Acute Care patients. Currently I am involved in the expansion of the Critical Care content for this course. The expansion focuses on advanced Med/Surg skills and critical thinking that all nurses need to care for patients across all settings. I am also the Coordinator for all Simulation within this course.

I also teach in the Fourth Semester Capstone course. This course provides the opportunity for students to work on their assigned units for 270 hours and to actively transition into the nursing role. Students receive powerful and meaningful nursing lessons from excellent preceptors. It is awe-inspiring to see and participate in this transition.

My teaching activities also include opportunities within the Simulation Learning Center at the College of Nursing and within the Interprofessional Education (IPE) Program through Health Sciences. These simulation scenarios range from Death and Dying to Disaster Preparedness experiences and even Telemedicine exposure. What incredible learning opportunities!

I am also involved in the Emergency Preparedness Committee, the Baccalaureate Admissions and Advancement Committee, and the Career-Line Faculty Committee.

I am very proud to be a long-term member of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses (AACN). This year was a milestone for me in that I earned my Certified Critical-Care RN – Knowledge (CCRN-K) certification. I am also the President of our new Wasatch Front AACN Chapter and look forward to supporting and recognizing the amazing critical care nurses in Utah.

There are many complex issues facing healthcare today. I am proud to be part of the process to teach tomorrow’s nurses.