By Cathy Read and Debra Pino
The KILN scholars and mentors celebrated the year at an awards and recognition event on April 24, 2013. Special guests included CSON Dean Susan Gennaro and Price Family Foundation representative Joanne Duhl. KILN director Cathy Read thanked Dean Gennaro for her unwavering support of the program and acknowledged the generosity of the Price Family Foundation, which provided funding to sustain KILN. Scholars and mentors were congratulated on their accomplishments and enthusiastic participation in KILN.
The highlight of the evening was the presentations by three graduating KILN scholars, Cattleya May, Sandra Dickson and Siobhan Tellez. Cattleya is completing the master’s entry into nursing program and will become certified as a family nurse practitioner this summer. She has shown tremendous leadership and creativity through her involvement with the Graduate Nurses Association and New Careers in Nursing Scholars Network steering committee. Sandra and Siobhan were among the original participants in KILN and will graduate with their BS in nursing. Both have been dedicated participants in KILN and outstanding leaders, scholars, and mentors to others at Boston College. All three speakers expressed their gratitude for the opportunities afforded them by the KILN program and reflected on their personal stories and future plans.
Cathy Read and Debra Pino presented the student and mentor awards, and Dean Gennaro concluded the ceremony by offering words of encouragement to the students and presenting a plaque to Joanne Duhl from the Price Family Foundation. Joanne noted that it was very rewarding to get to meet the beneficiaries of the Price funds and expressed her positive impressions of the program.
The following awards were presented:
Outstanding Scholar award, bestowed upon seniors and/or second year graduate students who exemplify the mission of KILN:
Key award, given to KILN students who demonstrate noteworthy scholarship by excelling academically, demonstrating a passion for learning, and sharing knowledge with others:
Inclusivity award, presented to KILN scholars who embrace all and engage others in nursing and healthcare by promoting community cohesion while respecting each individual and demonstrating a sincere interest in learning and caring about others:
Leadership award, given to KILN scholars who demonstrate outstanding leadership in the nursing and Boston College communities:
Rising Star award, for KILN scholars who demonstrate significant potential for future contributions to nursing:
Mentorship awards, for outstanding service as a mentor to KILN scholars:
Dr. Viola Benavente
Dr. Luanne Nugent
Dr. Judith Shindul-Rothschild
Congratulations to all the awardees!
Attending the Eastern Nursing Research Society (ENRS) Conference on April 18, 2013, was a wonderful experience. The sessions expanded my knowledge on a variety of topics, including some that I would have never thought of before. I learned a lot about adolescent and family communication and therapy, stress and coping in nursing, and research methods. For example, the research method session opened my eyes to a variety of sampling techniques for obtaining a diverse and well-rounded sample. The conference also taught me about the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and new specific evidenced based ways to educate families about diabetes. It was interesting to learn more about stress in the NICU and although I have never worked in such an environment, I do feel that it could be useful to all disciplines. Moreover, I got a chance to attend presentations about teens’ perspectives on relationship violence and prevention of teen pregnancy in adolescent males, which were my favorite.
The best part of the conference was being able to socialize with other nurses at all levels of their career. Heading to the conference with two other BC students allowed me to get to know peers outside of the classroom. The conference offered a setting to interact with a number of undergrad students, other NP students and some PhD students. Moreover, I met a number of professors from other colleges such as UMass Boston, Yale, NYU and MGH School of Nursing. I also loved having the opportunity to spend time with the BC professors, at the reception after the conference. I talked with Dean Hutchinson as well as Professors Ye, Fehder, Willis and Benavente. In addition, hearing my KILN mentor, Professor Willis, present his work and individuals from universities all over the Northeast was great. It was fantastic to engage with these individuals on personal, academic, and professional levels. I would definitely be interested in attending this conference again in the future.
Nursing on the National Stage: My Introduction to the National Nursing Community at the 61st Annual NSNA Convention
Where is it that one can find thousands of nursing students from all over the United States coming together to share their passion and drive for what is now considered one of the largest and most trusted professions in the United States? These unique and enlightening experiences can be shared at the annual National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) Convention. This year, I had the opportunity to attend the convention hosted in Charlotte, North Carolina from April 3-7. I was able to hear inspiring stories from nurse leaders and meet with representatives from leading institutions.
As a sophomore, this conference opened my eyes to the exciting career that I have ahead of me and the numerous opportunities the profession of nursing has to offer. My convention experience began with the Opening Ceremonies on Wednesday, April 3rd where esteemed leaders, such as Marsha Howell Adams, the president of the National League for Nursing, and the Dean of the UCLA School of Nursing, Dr. Courtney H. Lyder, spoke. Adams talked about the recent changes in healthcare and the important and crucial role nurses must play now and in the future. I was intrigued when Adams compared nursing to the glue that holds healthcare together. As the future of nursing, it is the job of students to take advantage of their education to help improve care and expand the nursing profession. Like Adams, Dr. Lyder reminded the audience that we are on a precipice of a new healthcare reform and that nurses must strive to be their best in every possible way. The theme of the convention was promoting healthy living and learning in nurses. Going along with this theme, Dr. Lyder offered his wise words and life lessons. He stated that one should never settle or back down from a challenge and one should keep an open-mind.
In the afternoon, I was able to attend two lectures, one on Emergency Nursing and another on Oncology Nursing. These sessions allowed me to hear about two very different and important careers in nursing. The 2013 President of the Emergency Nurses Association, JoAnn Lazarus, traced the beginnings of trauma care from the Crimean War to emergency nursing today. Lazarus also emphasized the need for trauma care with the passage of the Affordable Care Act and the expanding population. She highlighted that a trauma nurse must have stamina, good personal coping skills, be a critical thinker, and a leader. I also was able to attend another seminar on oncology nursing presented by the Associate Chief Nursing Officer and Assistant Vice President at Duke University, Tracey Gosselin. Gosselin discussed the challenges of treating the pediatric patient with cancer, special diets and health practices to promote prevention in patients, and the treatment advances in cancer therapy.
Friday, the final day of the conference, proved to be another eventful and beneficial day. The morning was filled with attending a health promotion fair that provided tips and tricks for nursing students to maintain a healthy mind, body, and spirit. In the afternoon, I was able to attend two focus sessions. JoAnn Zerwekh, the president of Nursing Education Consultants, presented a lecture on the power in memory. She presented interesting points and devices to help students recall and retain information. Another seminar that I was able to attend was entitled, “ Pharmacology Made Insanely Easy.” I was attracted to this lecture because I am currently taking a pharmacology course. The lecture consisted of fun jingles and rhymes about common drugs that are tested on the NCLEX.
This conference was a great experience and very valuable. I was able to see the numerous possibilities and resources available to nursing students. I heard from inspirational leaders that have motivated me to continue my education and career in nursing. As a representative from SNA and KILN, I was honored and excited to represent Boston College.
By Nina Wujech
On February 23rd, 2013, I was privileged to attend the New England Regional Black Nurses Association (NERBNA) excellence in nursing awards. My expectations of the event were speculative at best but I was pleasantly surprised. The well-lit ballroom looked colorful and exquisite, the reception welcoming and the three course meal delicious. More importantly, the energy in the room was electrifying. It felt great to be among nursing’s finest and this surely reaffirmed my drive and passion for nursing. The support and commitment of the Boston College faculty to this ceremony was also motivating. The evening began with a welcome speech by the President, Margaret Brown, a former “eagle”, who set the stage for an evening of cheer. We also had a word from Dr. Lorraine Baugh, founder of NERBNA and Dr. Deborah Washington, director of diversity for patient care services at Massachusetts General Hospital, the latter of whom I was introduced to. Following the speeches, the awardees were called up stage, a brief narration of their benevolent nursing actions hailed and an award given. A common theme that emerged from the acceptance speeches was spirituality. There were quite a number of references made to the bible. Others used personal motto’s such as “treat others the way you would like to be treated.” I was particularly drawn to those recipients involved in global health initiatives such as Rose Mintor and Ketline Edouard, who volunteer their time and nursing expertise in Haiti. This was very inspiring since I have similar dreams and aspirations of leading a health initiative in the West African country, Cameroon. This event enabled me to network with great leaders, visualize my dreams as attainable and rekindle my inspiration.
To read about Laura Mata’s experience attending the NERBNA Excellence in Nursing Award Celebration, visit her post here.
Last summer, I received an Advanced Study Grant to research the topic of nurse-to-patient ratio in California and Massachusetts. I started this project with no knowledge on the topic of nurse-to-patient ratio. Nevertheless, I knew that I was interested in learning about the economics behind healthcare in the United States. With the help of CSON faculty Dr. Judith Shindul-Rothschild, this recent political debate on mandated nurse staffing policy was brought to my attention. My project mainly focused on interviewing California and Massachusetts key informants who have knowledge about the past, present, and possible future of this health care issue.
Like any business, a hospital depends on reimbursements and revenue to pay for its employees’ services. In many hospital institutions, nurses continue to make up a high percentage of employees because their services include twenty-four hours a day and seven days a week bedside care. As healthcare costs in the United States continue to rise, a general concern about increased consumer medical expenses grows. In the 1990’s, hospitals began to lay off nurses to decrease their expenditure on labor. The downsizing took a huge toll on the nurses who were still working because they had to care for more patients. This business-driven decision has opened up discussion about how to prevent nurses from being burnt out and feeling overwhelmed with more patients than they can handle at once.
I learned that so far California is still the only state that solved this predicament by implementing government mandated nurse-to-patient ratio. However, other states like Massachusetts cannot agree on this resolution. An attempt to balance the demand for patient care and supply of nurses in the United Sates has been very difficult to achieve. At the end of my journey, I learned a lot about the importance of having a balanced quality, care, and access in healthcare settings.
In January, I was given the amazing opportunity to go on a maternity nursing service trip in the Dominican Republic for two and a half weeks. It was a crazy adventure and I am so grateful I was able to have this experience. If you would like to read my detailed trip journal please email me at email@example.com. The trip was organized through UMass Amherst and Asociación ADAMES. I was traveling with five other nursing students who had just graduated from the UMass accelerated RN program, a pre-med student from Mount Holyoke, and a midwifery student from Bay State.
Public hospitals like the one I worked at in San Francisco de Macoris see the poorest of the poor: Haitians, people from the “campo” or countryside, and very young, single mothers. The nurses told us that if people had any money at all, they would go to a private clinic, because the public hospital was often short of resources and the treatment was inadequate. The hospital had no running water, partly due to the expensive cost of rebuilding the water infrastructure. However, parts of the hospital had wifi as it is easy to install and less expensive than fixing the hospitals piping systems. I found this observation perplexing, which led me to consider defining the most essential resources when providing healthcare, the costs of those resources, as well as additional barriers to ensuring their implementation. The delivery unit had three active labor beds and two beds in the delivery room. This area was really nice and rebuilt with air conditioning and a new bathroom, but it still did not have running water or toilet paper. The postpartum and early laboring patients’ rooms were not as nice, with six beds per room, one bathroom, and no running water. The NICU was a pretty standard nursery. Women were transferred to general surgery for c-sections. The average mother was probably around seventeen years old
The skill sets of the doctors were pretty advanced. They could perform complex surgeries in less than optimal conditions with very limited resources. For example, surgeries are done very fast because patients would otherwise bleed out due to the fact that doctors have to tie off each blood vessel manually and do not have access to electrocautery. Additionally, I was really impressed with some of the nurses’ ingenuity. A wound care nurse was telling one post c/s patient to wash her wound with boiled water to kill the microbes and then pat her incision dry with a washcloth ironed on really high heat for five minutes to again kill the microbes. Both the doctors and the nurses proved to have the skills and knowledge to do remarkable things despite a lack of resources.
One thing that I learned from my trip was that Haitian people are generally not welcomed into the Dominican Republic by many Dominicans due to a multitude of reasons including: ignorance, fear, prejudice, and racism. Typically, Haitians do not speak Spanish, they speak French Creole. They are often given the most menial jobs in the Dominican Republic and discriminated against for simply being from Haiti. In some situations, this mentality affects the healthcare Haitian patients receive. For example, I observed the doctors perform a textbook caesarean section on a Haitian mother, who was then left for 30 minutes in sheets soaked in her own blood, cold, wet, and abandoned. I experienced another situation where a woman in labor who was actively pushing, was dumped on a bed and left by the nursing staff. Apparently, this woman and her husband had been to three other hospitals but had been turned away because they were Haitian, so by the time they got to San Francisco, she was ready to deliver.
My biggest take-away from this trip was acknowledging the power of simply caring for people and the significant difference that I could make in people’s lives by keeping patients warm, dry, fed, and hydrated. By meeting these basic needs and listening to people’s desires for treatment or the issues they had with a treatment regimen, I could also improve their overall hospital experience. For me, the trip was a lesson in humanity and humility. Regardless of the culture or country nurses practice in, these fundamental values of caring for patients remain constant, and as a new nurse and soon to be new nurse practitioner, I do find comfort in that. Despite all of the craziness I encountered, I learned so much and did have a lot of fun. I would highly recommend that nursing students consider doing a service trip to enrich their nursing school experience and professional careers.
Attending the 15th Eastern Regional convention of the Philippine Nurses Association of America (PNAA) in Williamsburg, VA proved to be an excellent learning experience and gateway for my professional career. As a senior nursing student, the “real world” is fast approaching with questions about the NCLEX, graduate school, and choosing a specialty reverberating in my mind. I could not have thought of a better time to be part of such a convention. Talking to nurse leaders from all over the east coast provided me with a lot of insight about which direction to take. Each nurse I spoke to offered support, advice and excitement that I would be soon joining the nursing workforce. I found the PNAA members from New Jersey to be particularly helpful and accommodating as we discussed employment opportunities around my hometown.
I attended the conference with Denice Calub, a junior BC nursing student. When we first arrived at the conference center, members were preparing for group presentations as part of the Leadership Institute program. Our group’s topic focused on promoting a community health initiative and was facilitated by Rolando Perea, our mentor and BC alumnus. Although the nurses we were collaborating with had years of experience in health care, they were open to all our ideas and accepted our input. Our presentation as well as those of the other groups was delivered with energy and professionalism. It was interesting to see theories and concepts I have learned as part of the BC nursing curriculum incorporated in the presentations. During the Leadership Institute, I also interviewed Belle Villafuerte, president-elect of the New Jersey chapter about her own career and any advice for shaping my own.
At the “Networking Night” reception, I was introduced to Vicky Navarro, president of the PNAA along with other key members. Everyone was excited to have students attend the conference as we represent the future of the association. I even networked with nurses associated with the same hospital I work at in New Jersey like Majuvy Suise, current president of the PNA New Jersey. Overall, it was great to be part of a night dedicated to making Filipino nurses into integral professionals. These nurses come from all over the country to connect and share knowledge, expertise and skills with one another in order to enhance minority leadership.
Three years ago I attended a PNAA conference in Boston as a freshman nursing student. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity to attend another one during my senior year as I am preparing to graduate in just five months. I have seen the different career paths I can take and all the potential a Filipino nurse has to pursue excellence. The members I met and observed were inspiring and well achieved leaders in health care. Our presence has motivated them to explore the idea of starting a student membership to recruit younger members, thus extending the life of this organization. I thank all of the PNAA members for being so welcome and having so much to offer an aspiring student.
To read Denice’s summary of her PNAA experience please click here.