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For a limited time we can double our scholarship dollars!  Any donation to our medical student scholarship fund will be matched by Kris Engelstad McGarry and the Engelstad Family Foundation. Our four-year scholarships are worth $105,000 each, and the Engelstad Family Foundation has agreed to match any new scholarships that come in -- up to 17. This is an extremely generous offer considering the Engelstad Family Foundation has already pledged 25 scholarships for the class of 2023.  If we get 17 new scholarships, we can essentially cover the entire class! Please consider this opportunity to impact the life of an aspiring physician and double your philanthropy dollars. For more information, please contact Dean Atkinson at or call (702) 895-3524.
Making the Rounds with Founding Dean Dr. Barbara Atkinson
 Issue 189 - April 2, 2019
Friends and Colleagues,

Believe it or not, four years ago I was the UNLV School of Medicine’s only employee. Today, the number of individuals employed by the school and its clinical arm, UNLV Medicine, has risen to more than 1,000. Yes, the dream has become a reality. We now have 120 students on campus training to be physicians and more than 300 residents and fellows receiving advanced graduate specialty education. In July, we will be adding another 60 medical students, for a total of 180 medical students. We operate 21 clinics offering 18 specialties. It seems not a month goes by without another talented individual coming aboard to make us stronger. One such woman is Sabrina Eisinga, a nurse practitioner who joined us in February. Formerly a Sunrise Hospital labor and delivery nurse who worked closely with our OB-GYN residents, she’s now seeing patients as part of our OB-GYN unit. Why did we hire her? Dr. Jyoti Desai, one of our OB-GYN specialists, knows why: “Sabrina is passionate about women’s health and education, which makes her a perfect addition to our team. Her patients will definitely love her.” Just another way we’re transforming healthcare in Southern Nevada.
Barbara signature, first name only
Native Las Vegan Sabrina Eisinga, seen here competing in a professional tournament, believes the mental toughness and concentration skills developed on the tennis court serve her well in her new career as a nurse practitioner with UNLV Medicine.
Sabrina Capannolo Eisinga -- her road to becoming a UNLV School of Medicine OB-GYN nurse practitioner is, shall we say, a tad different.

In fact, you’d probably have a good bit of difficulty finding another nurse practitioner who played professional tennis for five years before deciding to embark on a career in nursing.

“It helped me grow as a person, made me more mentally tough,” says Eisinga, whose playing career included tournaments in Italy, Spain, Slovakia, New Zealand, Mexico, Nicaragua,  Canada and Czechoslovakia. “It made me appreciate commitment, become more independent.”

Now in her early 30s and the mother of two young children,  Eisinga was a tennis sensation in Las Vegas as a teenager. At Silverado High School -- she was Sabrina Capannolo before marriage --  the daughter of Dino and Lucy Capannolo was Nevada State Champion in 2001 and named to the high school All-American Team.

Four hours of practicing every day staring at age 8 -- her parents had a court in the backyard  -- had paid off.

Prior to turning professional in 2007, she attended Arizona State University on a full tennis scholarship and majored in kinesiology. Rising to the team’s No.1 spot -- she recorded the most overall singles wins on the team in 2003-2004 with 28, and rose to the Sweet 16 at the Pac-10 Championships. She beat the NCAA’s defending champion before turning pro.

Like most young female tennis stars, she started on a professional satellite tour with the hope of earning enough points to join the Women’s Tennis Association’s (WTA) elite circuit. Her wins didn’t pile up enough, however, to join the likes of Serena and Venus Williams on the WTA tour, where players have their own trainers and people carrying their bags.

“It wasn’t glamorous,” Eisinga says. “I was traveling by myself, with no coach or no physical trainer. I couldn’t afford a trainer. I was always trying to find housing because hotels were so expensive. I was breaking even or losing money...I got burnt out.”

Long an admirer of the healthcare professions -- a  sister is now a physician and a brother is in his third year of medical school at the University of Nevada Reno -- she earned a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Nevada State College and began working at Sunrise Hospital in labor and delivery.  And she married Les Eisinga, a former UNLV and University of Oregon tennis player, who now works in commercial real estate.

“I liked labor and delivery because it was fast paced,” she says.
“I have found that the mental and emotional toughness you need in athletics, which includes the ability to manage stress, has helped in nursing,” she says. “I never thought tennis would help me in nursing, but it has.”
Today, she can tell you that often the bigger men are, and the tougher they act, the more likely they are to faint as they watch a woman in the birthing process. She’s seen them pass out when their loved one got an epidural or when a physician began a C-section.

“We were able to catch the men before they got hurt,” she says, laughing.

She thrived in her position, enjoyed talking with patients and their loved ones. She liked the hands-on responsibility of timing and coaching the expectant mom to breathe through contractions, tracking her blood pressure, monitoring the baby’s heart rate to make sure the baby is not experiencing any distress, administering medications, preparing a mother for a C-section if there were complications.

And once the baby was born, she enjoyed assisting a new mother as she learned how to breastfeed and care for her new infant.  She found real reward in delivering care with empathy and compassion and often stayed in touch with patients long after they left the hospital.

Yet as much as she enjoyed her work, she wanted more responsibility, a new challenge, so she enrolled  in UNLV’s nurse practitioner program. During her clinical rotations, she met UNLV OB-GYN Dr. Jyoti Desai and nurse practitioner Marie Mitchell.

“They had such a passion for what they do, you wanted to emulate them,” Eisinga says. When she graduated in December, she was thrilled that the UNLV School of Medicine asked her to join their OB-GYN team.

In her new role she’ll be delivering primary health care to women. This includes well-woman care -- annual assessments including screening evaluation, immunizations based on age and risk factors, and counsel on preventative care. She’ll direct prenatal management and work with women on family planning, fertility and urogynecology. Doctors deliver the babies.

“I’ll be working more closely with patients, which I love,” Eisinga says. “I’m able to see how I make a difference from the start.”

She looks forward to the joyful work of assisting in the process of healthy pregnancies, but understands there is another challenging side of her role: conveying the news of an unhealthy pregnancy, or helping patients process the grief and pain that comes with miscarriages, the absence of a fetal heartbeat during an ultrasound or a birth defect.

“I have found that the mental and emotional toughness you need in athletics, which includes the ability to manage stress, has helped in nursing,” she says. “I never thought tennis would help me in nursing, but it has.”

To make an appointment with Sabrina Eisinga, call: (702) 660-UNLV
 Click to see recent stories about the UNLV School of Medicine
 Dr. Jennifer Baynosa in Las Vegas Woman Magazine

Spring 2019


According to the American Association of Nurse Practitioners, there are more than 270,000 nurse practitioners licensed in the U.S.

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