Friday Faculty Focus: Nancy Waltman


November 18th, 2016

Dr. Nancy Waltman (Photo by Brandon McDermott)

Dr. Nancy Waltman (Photo by Brandon McDermott)


On this week’s episode of Friday Faculty Focus, KVNO’s Brandon McDermott talks to the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Dr. Nancy Waltman. Dr. Waltman’s research focuses on cancer nursing and on osteoporosis.  

Brandon: Dr. Nancy Waltman thanks for joining me this week.

Dr. Waltman: Oh you’re very welcome.

Brandon: Now you’ve been at UNMC since 1980, talk about the changes you’ve seen on campus.

Dr. Waltman: There have been so many wonderful changes. Here in the Omaha campus, the new cancer center I taught cancer nursing for quite a few years. Talk about the possibility of some really major breakthroughs in cancer. That’s really exciting at the Med Center. Another building that I’m really excited about is iEXCELSM all the simulation for our students, where it really improves their preparation for practice because when we provide clinical – a lot of times we don’t see the type of patients that they need to see – iEXCELSM is wonderful. Every time I come to the medical center, I’m just so impressed. I have to say I’m from Lincoln and we’re building a new college of nursing in Lincoln. So that’s exciting news for the community in Lincoln because we’re going to have a huge simulation center and be able to admit a lot more students.

Brandon: What does UNMC and the growth that we’ve seen, like you said, over the last 20 years. What does that mean for the city of Omaha?

Dr. Waltman: Well it’s wonderful. For one thing, the UNMC brings a lot of employment to Omaha a lot of jobs, also experts in so many areas and medical care. We have people that come to The Lied Transplant Center from all over the world. We have it right in Omaha so as far as medical care, it’s a tremendous benefit for the people of Omaha.

Brandon: I’d like to focus on your research here. Your focus is on prevention of osteoporosis. The disease affects more than ten million Americans and women are four times more likely to get osteoporosis than men. Can you kind of talk about your research a little bit?

Dr. Waltman: Oh I would love to because of course this is my area that I’m so interested in – it’s just my major focus while I’m here. I’ve actually conducted research over 15 years. I really believe that there should be more emphasis on bone loss in women. It’s a silent disease and so women lose bone and their bones become fragile and then they break bones especially of the hip and their spine. Really until they have a fracture, they’re not aware that they have bone loss but once they have a fracture it can cause death and with hip fractures a lot of women are never independent again.

There needs to be more emphasis on preventative treatment and that’s kind of the focus of my study. Doing many literature reviews, I can emphasize that women are not taking enough calcium and vitamin D. If they don’t get it in their diet they have to take supplements and physical activity – women should participate in bone building exercises and those are weight big bearing exercises, like jogging. We have women jog with weighted vests or we have women participate in resistance exercises or strength weight training and that actually builds muscles and builds bone.

Brandon: Now you teach courses on advanced practice nursing assessment to graduate level students. What are some lessons that you pass on to your students?

Dr. Waltman: You focus on the patient. You forget about all your personal problems and all the problems in your workplace and you really focus on the needs of the patient. You listen to the patient, because 90 percent of developing diagnosis and helping your patient is knowing their history knowing what’s wrong with them. Usually that patient can tell you, so really listening to the patient really focusing on the patient. Then I always say, when you treat patients – you treat the patient – you don’t treat the lab test and you don’t treat one abnormal finding, you treat the patient as a whole.

Brandon: You worked in Germany in Nuremberg as a nurse in the late 1960s and early 70s. What was that time like?

Dr. Waltman: That was really interesting. It was the time of the Vietnam War. I was a civilian nurse in the Nuremberg Army Hospital, the majority of Army nurses were in Vietnam at the time. But we were in an old Nazi hospital. It was the most interesting hospital because there were tunnels under the hospital and Nuremberg was completely bombed during the war (WWII) completely destroyed. So there were tunnels under the hospital and the health care providers when they were being bombed of course they’d go and under the tunnels. A lot of our doctors were German that had served in the World War II for the Germans so it was very interesting. I would work seven days and then take four days off and I went all over Europe, I was in Russia, Iran and Lebanon – so many places and I guess that’s why I appreciate Nebraska.

Brandon: Dr. Nancy Waltman, Thanks again for joining me.

Dr. Waltman: Oh you’re very welcome.

If you are post-menopausal, between the ages of 50-60 and would like to participate in the Heartland Osteoporosis Prevention study at UNMC – contact 402-559-6584

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