Sacred Heart Student Builds Relationship with Irish Hospital

News Story: March 2, 2018

Nursing student works with staff at a hospital in Dingle, Ireland

Nursing Management & Executive Leadership Program graduate student Lee Overhiser, far right, works with staff at the West Kerry Community Hospital in Dingle, Ireland.

Lee Overhiser, a graduate student in Sacred Heart University’s Master’s in Science of Nursing Management & Executive Leadership Program (NMEL), recently completed her capstone project that helped strengthen ties between SHU and the community of Dingle, Ireland, where the University has a satellite campus.

Sacred Heart’s College of Nursing has had a substantial presence in Dingle at the undergraduate level. For the past seven years, nursing students have gone there to study and to participate in clinical care at area hospitals. Overhiser was the first American graduate nursing student to work with the administration of West Kerry Community Hospital.

To earn the MSN NMEL’s graduate degree, which will qualify Overhiser for nurse leadership roles in hospitals or other health care settings, she had to complete a capstone project related to the field. She said she wanted to work on something that was not mainstream and, with experience as a traveling nurse, she decided to take on a global initiative. After meeting with the hospital’s director of nursing and its nurse manager, she began her capstone project on the use of restraints. Overhiser said her project served as a step towards improved patient outcomes and quality of care at the hospital.

When she made her presentation to the multi-disciplinary hospital staff, she said, she included evidence-based best practice research and ideas. The project offered fresh perspectives and alternatives to restrictive practices, improving patient quality and outcome at the hospital, according to Overhiser. “I was greeted and received with a warm reception and invited back, especially for afternoon tea, anytime,” she said.

Shery Watson, associate dean and assistant professor in the College of Nursing, served as Overhiser’s mentor during her international capstone course of study. Because of Overhiser’s accomplishment, Watson said, more opportunities will open up for nursing students on the graduate level in Dingle. “Lee’s capstone project is a catalyst for future graduate nurses. I have identified future projects for students in graduate nursing programs to complete at SHU in Dingle. This partnership is mutually beneficial to our students, who have an opportunity to be global leaders, and to the hospital, which welcomes new ideas with the shared vision of improving health and health outcomes,” said Watson.

The relationship also offers an opportunity for Sacred Heart to give back to the Dingle community, she said.

The NMEL program is geared toward nursing students seeking administrative roles within health care organizations. The online program takes a minimum of two years to complete and includes 120 clinical hours. Courses cover skills and topics that are essential for leadership positions in health care, such as research and ethics, health care delivery systems and strategic planning. For more information on the NMEL track and other graduate nursing programs, visit