The KILN scholars and mentors celebrated the end of the academic year with an awards and recognition event on April 30, 2014. The Price Family Foundation representative, Joanne Duhl, was present at this event for the second consecutive time. Scholars and mentors were congratulated on their accomplishments and enthusiastic participation in KILN. To learn more about the award winners, click here.
In addition, Tiffany Clapp and Chenille Morrison, graduating KILN scholars, presented their experiences through KILN. Chenille has been a participant in KILN since the fall of 2010, and will graduate with her BS in nursing in May. She served as a freshman seminar leader for two years and as the vice president of the Massachusetts Student Nurses Association. Tiffany has been a member of KILN since 2012, and is completing the master’s entry into nursing program. She will sit for the certification exam to become a family nurse practitioner this summer and hopes to incorporate her clinical interest in genetics to her practice. Both speakers expressed their gratitude for the opportunities afforded them by the Price Family Foundation and reflected on their personal and professional journeys.
Cathy Read and Debra Pino presented the student and mentor awards, and Joanne spoke about the goals of Price Family Foundation and how the KILN program aligns with those goals. Cathy Read concluded the event by wishing the best of luck to students as they prepared for finals and to graduates as they enter the workforce or pursue a graduate degree.
This past May I had the privilege of attending the Northeast Regional Nurse Practitioner Conference in Manchester, NH. I am grateful to the Price Family Foundation and KILN for making this opportunity a reality. This three-day event was co-hosted by the New Hampshire Nurse Practitioner Association, Massachusetts Coalition of Nurse Practitioners (MCNP), and Boston College (BC) William F. Connell School of Nursing Continuing Education Program. It was great to see BC’s strong representation at this conference with many faculty members and students in attendance, and some even presenting.
Since the goal of the conference is to provide continuing nursing education that expands upon the basic education and experience of nurse practitioners (NPs), many of the lectures were specialized topics presented by an expert within the field. One that I found incredibly insightful was a lecture given by neurologist Maureen Hughes, MD on the topic of “Managing Headaches.” She thoroughly explored the assessment, diagnosis, and treatment of migraines with many clinical pearls and funny anecdotes. As a new NP graduate, it was helpful to be reassured by a specialist that we, as primary care NPs, are well trained to take care of the patients she sees in her office. Additionally, she armed us with knowledge about the best and worst things we can do for these patients.
Richard Rothstein, MD, who was the keynote speaker, presented a fascinating update and analysis on weight, wellness, and obesity. Particularly surprising was learning about gastric bypass alternatives that are coming down the pipeline, such as inflatable balloons to minimize stomach space and pumping mechanisms to empty the stomach after each meal. This presentation, like many of the others at the conference, seemed very relevant to the current healthcare issues in New England.
Another highlight of the conference was the MCNP meeting held over lunch with more than 150 Massachusetts NPs. Not only was this a great opportunity to casually meet and talk with more seasoned nurses, but it was also an inspirational meeting with a presentation by MCNP President, Stephanie Ahmed. She delivered compelling arguments and rallied enthusiastic support from the crowd for the bills that are currently in the Massachusetts House and Senate. She reminded us of what an exciting time this is to be a nurse practitioner, and that we must all advocate for ourselves to practice to the full extent of our education and training. By the end of the lunch, there was a standing ovation in which we were all impassioned and united together in representing this wonderful profession.
This lunch certainly set the mood for the remainder of the conference. Throughout the following lectures and sessions, I felt incredibly connected to and supported by this group of NPs. Even though at times there were hundreds in a room, I felt connected because we were all present to learn together, advance our skills, find ways to better care for our patients, and be reminded that we should always strive to be better. This conference really made me proud to be a part of this profession, and introduced me to a supportive network of NPs that are excited to mentor those who are less experienced. I would highly recommend this conference to others who wish to learn more about primary care topics, be inspired by leaders in the profession, and feel a sense of community amongst New England NPs.
I feel extremely lucky to have attended the Society of Pediatric Nurses (SPN) Conference in Scottsdale, AZ – KILN funding made it all possible. It was a truly wonderful environment of learning, building partnerships, and expanding horizons. The title of the conference, “Blazing Trails to Improve Child Health”, was very accurate with the attitude and atmosphere surrounding the conference and all the nurses that chose to attend.
I met some wonderful nurse leaders during my time at the conference. For example, I met a nurse who is now the director of the Palliative Care team at Children’s Hospital in Detroit after being a PICU nurse for 28 years. Also, I met another nurse who practiced in the NICU for 8 years before becoming a PICU nurse for the past 25 years at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland. She also gave a talk about abnormal menstrual bleeding in adolescent and young adult women. In addition, I met newer nurses and recruiters from top pediatric hospitals all over the country- including Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Texas Children’s Hospital, Cincinnati Children’s, and more. What a fantastic experience!
All throughout the weekend I attended talks, workshops, and lectures from motivational speakers. My two favorite sessions were about developing your own research project and identifying early signs of shock in a pediatric patient. After seeing the posters and presentations of excellent research from nurses all over the country, I realized that I would definitely love to be a poster presenter some day at a SPN conference. Therefore, I chose to attend the session that helped novice research nurses begin thinking about how to put a research topic into action. In my opinion, it is our obligation as nurse leaders to forward our science and bring the newest and best care to our patients. I look forward to formulating an interesting research topic at a hospital that supports research after I graduate. I will definitely use the skills I learned from this workshop to create an intelligent, well-outlined research topic.
The second session I really enjoyed was about identifying early warning signs of shock in pediatric patients. Recently in a pediatric simulation at BC, my class had a case where the patient went into hypovolemic shock after a cardiac catheterization procedure due to hemorrhage. Also, as part of my Critical Care Practicum, I participated in a simulation in which I had to identify a patient going into septic shock. As a pediatric nurse, thorough assessment skills and the ability to identify an emergent situation are at the core of our profession. It was really applicable to have the topics I learned in theory at school being reiterated during this professional conference.
Overall, my experience at the 2014 SPN Conference was absolutely priceless. I believe such professional development activities are critical in shaping future nurse leaders. I am so incredibly thankful that this opportunity was made possible through KILN funding. I will carry the skills I learned here into my practice as a registered nurse and return for future conferences undoubtedly.
On April 12-13, 2014, I attended what CNN refers to as “a meeting of minds,” namely the annual Global Health Innovation Conference (GHIC) at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. This two-day event is brought together by Unite for Sight, a non-profit organization that primarily focuses on providing eye care through eye surgeries internationally, especially to disadvantaged places. In its 13 years of existence, Unite for Sight facilitated more than 60,000 vision-restoring eye surgeries through its recruitment of surgeons and axillary health providers.
While Unite for Sight aims to restore eyesight year-round, its annual GHIC fuels individuals and groups to develop and further their vision about and commitment to global health. Speakers at the event come with various backgrounds of expertise and experiences that are focused on contributing to the improvement of health care provision worldwide, may it be through social entrepreneurship, business, pharmacology, philanthropy, education, technology, medicine, and, of course, nursing.
In my time at the conference, I had the privilege of attending sessions specifically about unregulated toxins and their effects on health; the value in protecting soil; the science of marketing and our consumption of fats, oils, and sugar; global health ethics and effectiveness; improving health access; and various topics led by student leaders.
Although I learned many new things from all of the impressive speakers, the presentation entitled “Accompaniment in Healthcare Change: Why One Time Educational Training Interventions in Primary Care are Just Not Enough in Rural East Africa” delivered by Monica Slinkard was the most compelling to me. In December of 2013 in Burundi, Africa, Monica Slinkard and other nurses of LifeNet International surveyed various church-based local clinics about health care practices. The results of these surveys were shocking. Some of their data state that during a work day, 29% of nurses washed their hands sometimes while the rest of the nurses did not, and that the two best methods for resuscitating newborns were stimulation by throwing alcohol on the newborn’s skin or swinging the baby in the air.
Monica Slinkard and other nurses of LifeNet International provide continuing education classes in nursing and healthcare to the nurses and health promoters of church-based local clinics in Burundi. Unlike common practices and standards in the United States, some countries around the world do not require health care providers to continue developing their knowledge and skill set after the initial licensing. Due to this, the nursing knowledge and interventions do not follow evidenced-based research and practices, leading to outdated nursing care, unsafe practices, and climbing mortality rates.
The monthly continuing education classes that Slinkard and other LifeNet nurses teach include various topics based on the need of the community and the knowledge base of the nurses. Some classes include hand-washing practices, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), importance of explaining treatments and medications to patients, temperature control for newborns, and breastfeeding practices. In less than six months, the data changed dramatically, evident in hand-washing practices soaring to 70% in always washing hands and saving seven newborn babies since learning how to perform infant CPR. The nurses’ work in Burundi truly created change.
Although the figures above are remarkable, LifeNet nurses do not only boast about their results but also about the relationship that they have built with the nurses and healthcare providers in Burundi. One of the pastors in the clinic spoke with Slinkard and told her that LifeNet international was different because they continually “walk with” the people towards improving their delivery of care. LifeNet nurses teach teachers and practitioners and build relationships with the locals as opposed to merely bringing their skillset and working without partnering with the locals. With these methods, they disseminate evidenced-based information, empower health care providers and communities, and ensure safe and effective patient care. Slinkard’s advice to the audience at the end of her talk was priceless: “Do not forget about the nurses. We provide more than half of direct patient care.”
Seeing the various groups and individuals committed to global health initiatives and causes encouraged me to continue to look into a degree in public health and international work in the future. Having the resources in the United States and in other developed countries is not merely a blessing in all ways, but this also creates in me a responsibility to strive for others to attain basic health care provisions as well. Hearing Slinkard’s presentation and seeing how nurses like her make a concrete difference in the world outside of the United States is empowering; and I am excited to one day be a part of these strides and contribute to the many innovations in this field.
I want to sincerely thank the Price Family Foundation and KILN for their vision to inspire students to be leaders through active engagement in professional activities including conferences. Seeing is definitely believing!
When I first sought out possible conferences to attend, my goal was to find a conference that would give me more insight on what it really means to be a nurse practitioner (NP). The Nurse Practitioner Associates for Continuing Education (NPACE) was definitely the right pick.
The conference began right away early Sunday morning with a cardiac assessment workshop which was both innovative and inspiring. Mary Macklin, APRN was a true expert on the topic and through challenging primary care case studies, heart sound audios and Power Point lectures, she made the topic plausible. It was a real honor to learn from her. Monday began with a keynote address by Barbara Saffriet, JD, FAANP, whose work on the Institute of Medicine report I had cited in my graduate papers, and a woman I have really come to admire. She did a great job on educating NPs about the importance of knowing their history, identifying the arguments for autonomy and taking those arguments to legislators with the overwhelming evidence of safe, efficient and cost-effective patient care provided by NPs.
Later that Monday and early Tuesday, I attended every single presentation on topics ranging from women’s health Issues, STIs, asthma, preoperative care by the PCP, new updates in diabetes etc. These reinforced my learning and I felt proud to be at BC where my Advanced Pharmacology and Health Assessment lectures have measured up with the most current literature and evidence available. I also appreciated the passion and expertise of the presenters whom I aspire to be like someday. Also, I was able to network with practicing NPs and NP students from all over the country and left the conference feeling fulfilled. I now have a better understanding of the depth of being a professional NP.
I, along with two other KILN members, Chenille Morrison & Yvonne Shih, attended the 62 Annual National Student Nurses Association Conference at the beginning of this month. The conference was held in Nashville, Tennessee and the theme was Strong Voices and Big Dreams: Influencing the Future. As a senior nursing student I was excited to attend a conference with fellow nursing students from across the country and network with leaders in nursing, especially with graduation looming around the corner.
Every morning of the conference started off with the NCLEX review course. I will be taking the NCLEX in June and it was beneficial to review the nursing information and study tips. There was a mixture of medical-surgical overview with practice NCLEX questions that included audience participation, which made the course very engaging. I feel better prepared for studying for the NCLEX now that I have realized my strengths and weaknesses.
On Wednesday I was able to attend the session “Nursing Down Under: Pioneering Students Advocating for their Profession.” Two novice nurses from Australia spoke about the differences between nursing school in Australia and the United States. They discussed the process they took in starting the Australia Student and Novice Nurse Associations (ASANNA). They saw a need for an association to support nursing students and new graduate nurses in their first five years of practice as these populations felt disempowered and unengaged. As a result, they started this group in their dorm room and it has now spread to many universities and hospitals across Australia. Their message of seeing a problem and finding a solution was inspirational. It is possible to make change even as a young nurse and it is important to seek out opportunities to be a leader and change nursing for the better.
A similar message was given at the Opening Ceremony Wednesday night by the keynote speaker Gloria Ferraro Donnelly from Drexel University. The topic of her address was, “What’s Your Hunch? Ideas that changed Nursing and Healthcare.” I learned about the important nursing leaders of the past such as Florence Nightingale and Lillian Wald and how they had hunches and made changes. It is important as a graduating nurse to experiment with ideas and make a difference by acting on my hunches. One nurse can make a huge impact.
On Thursday the Exhibit Hall opened and I was able to meet representatives from hospitals, colleges, and nursing committees. I am interested in medical-surgical nursing and was able to speak with the representatives for the Academy of Medical-Surgical Nurses. I learned about the importance of joining nursing associations as a new graduate as they are great for networking and general support.
I attended multiple focus sessions including “Interprofessional Patient-Centered Care, The Real CSI: Insight into the World of Forensic Nursing” and “Building on Nursing’s Legacy-What Will Yours Be?” I was most interested in learning about ways to build on nursing’s legacy. Shawn Kennedy, Editor in Chief for the American Journal of Nursing, spoke of the challenges in the past and current problems facing nurses. This went along with the conference’s theme of looking at past nursing leaders and building on their success by realizing your own potential.
Overall the conference was a great experience. I feel better prepared to enter the nursing workforce with strategies to influence the future of nursing by building on my experiences, being flexible, and taking advantage of networking opportunities. I look forward to attending more conferences in the future as a Registered Nurse.
To read about Yvonne Shih’s experience attending the NSNA conference click here.