On April 11, 2014 five CSON KILN alumni, Myriam Charles-Pierre ‘11, Sandra Dickson ’13, Jessica Fenty-Scotland ’10, Paulina Miklosz ’12, M.S. ’13, and Malika Weekes ’13, returned to campus to be part of a panel for undergraduate students. Alumni talked about their experiences and answered audience questions on a variety of topics, including NCLEX preparation, job searching, and professional experiences after graduation. They brought a range of diverse experiences: Myriam is a case manager at Innovative Senior Care; Sandra is a nurse resident in the telemetry unit at Georgetown MedStar Hospital in Washington, DC; Jessica is working in the cardiac stepdown/medical cardiology unit at Brigham & Women’s Hospital and pursuing a master’s degree in Adult and Gerontologic Acute Care at Northeastern University; Paulina is in the Nurse Practitioner Residency program at the Community Health Center in Connecticut; and Malika is an RN at Boston Children’s Hospital in the cardiac intensive care unit. At the end of the panel, attendees had the opportunity to meet the alumni one-on-one. The KILN program is grateful to the alumni for their time and willingness to give back to the CSON community.
Robbie McCauley, a nationally known performance artist and the 2013-2014 Monan Professor in Theatre Arts at Boston College, led CSON students, faculty and staff through exercises that enhanced their ability to talk and listen. “Story Circles” are a theater process engaged as a means of creating relaxed atmospheres that allow people to shift perspectives and behaviors around complicated matters. Over the course of two sessions, the group used physical and verbal techniques to communicate about personal challenges, interpersonal connections, and leadership development. Many of the participants had attended the December 2013 production of Sugar, Robbie’s one-woman show inspired by her life-long struggle with diabetes, and the Boston College Theatre Department’s presentation of For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf, which featured Robbie as a guest artist. All involved noted the synergy between nursing and theater and enjoyed the opportunity to share stories and practices.
I had the opportunity to attend the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) Conference in Boston a couple of weeks ago, thanks to funding I was able to receive from the KILN Program. The conference was held at the Hynes Convention Center from March 10-14, 2014. I have been a student member of NAPNAP for a little over a year (also thanks to KILN), and after seeing all that NAPNAP has to offer its members, I was excited to have this chance to attend a week-long conference by this organization with PNPs from all over the country.
Throughout the week I attended educational sessions, speeches, and hands-on learning activities with PNPs and other PNP students. There were so many lectures to choose from, so I picked the ones that I thought would be the most interesting, or that would be most applicable in my future practice. Some of the lectures I attended included “The ABCs of Billing and Coding in Pediatrics,” “Pediatric and Adolescent Immunization Update,” and “Environmental Lead Exposure: Current Issues and Recommendations.” All of the speakers were well-versed in their respective topics and provided great insight for future PNPs. Since I want to work in primary care in the future, I was especially interested in some of the sessions on prescribing for pediatric patients, such as “Prescribing Contraceptives to Adolescents and Young Adults,” “Pharmoacokinetic Considerations in the Treatment of Pediatric Behavioral Issues,” and “Anxious and Depressed Youth: Active, Early Interventions-Bridging the Gap between Evidence and Treatment.” There were also sessions on chronic diseases and ongoing issues in pediatric primary care, such as asthma and obesity.
My favorite session was “Minor Office Procedures,” where I got hands-on experience in a variety of basic procedures that primary care PNPs perform in the office. I learned how to remove foreign bodies from ears and noses, close lacerations with Dermabond, perform a digital nerveblock, staple wounds, and properly remove splinters. I even learned how to incise and drain fake abscesses that were created on a 3D printer at Children’s Hospital. There was also an exhibition hall where companies marketed some of their up-and-coming products that are used in primary care offices across the country, from pharmacological companies to the latest baby products.
This conference was also a wonderful networking opportunity. All attendees had time to intermingle and make connections with other providers. I met PNPs from all over the country, and even one PNP from Rhode Island (my home state) whose job I ended up applying for, as she is moving for family reasons. Also, two of my preceptors this semester had employers that paid for them to attend the conference, demonstrating to me that professional learning opportunities are important to stay current on hot topics in pediatrics.
I truly enjoyed my week at the NAPNAP conference and would love to attend in the future. I am excited to apply some of my new knowledge and skills in my practice setting after I graduate in May. I think it is a wonderful learning and networking opportunity and ultimately allows its attendees to become more knowledgeable and provide better care for their patients.
In late February, I had the privilege to attend the Integrative Healthcare Symposium in New York city. This opportunity was made possible with generous funding from KILN. The Integrative Healthcare Symposium brings together leaders in the fields of integrative healthcare, grabbing from the fields of nursing, medicine, nutrition, and naturopathy, and more. The topics of focus in this year’s conference were cardiovascular health, nutrition, musculoskeletal medicine, integrative approaches to disease management, integrative nursing, and mind-body-spirit medicine.
There were several seminars and workshops in each area that gave a combination of evidenced based research grounding to integrative techniques as well as offered concrete approaches to using these techniques to improve the health of individuals in our care. As a psychiatric/mental health nurse practitioner (PMHNP) student, I especially enjoyed attending several seminars on mental health. These seminars addressed topics such as: the best foods to improve mood and protect the brain from diseases like dementia and the role of chronic stress in perpetuating psychiatric disorders like posttraumatic stress disorder. I was left with a new perspective on prevention and treatment of disorders I commonly see as an NP student in my clinical setting.
Frequently, I have patients who want alternative approaches to improving their mental health than the traditional medications offered. After attending this conference I feel more confident in counseling them on how they can use food, exercise, stress reduction, and alternative therapies to improve their well-being. I learned that alternative approaches such as acupuncture, nutritional counseling, and chiropractic care have proven benefits in treating diseases like depression. I also found out the physiological effects of meditation practices and yoga, including how these alter gene expression and the cellular functioning of our mitochondria and telomeres, as well as how they interact with our stress system to reduce feelings of chronic anxiety and fatigue. Along with the research background that can be used for patient education, I took away new and concrete techniques that I can use in my appointments with patients, including mindfulness and relaxation exercises.
You may still be wondering what integrative healthcare is. Integrative healthcare can be broadly defined as an approach using both conventional medicine and alternative approaches to provide care that addresses the whole person – mind, body, and spirit. An integrative approach, for example, would look at the interplay of several body systems in diseases like depression and diabetes, and would also examine how an individual’s social and environmental surroundings play into their health. Integrative healthcare focuses on prevention and promoting well-being, not merely disease management. If you are a nurse, this likely sounds very familiar – it is essentially the nursing model. At the conference, I realized how congruent integrative healthcare is with nursing and wondered why nursing was not a better represented and leading field within this model. I was able to meet many leaders in the field of nursing at the conference, such as Nurse Theorists Barbara Dossey and Mary Jo Kreizer, who also spoke to the fact that nurses are natural leaders in this growing field. In this I see a unique opportunity to blend two important areas – integrative healthcare and nursing practice – which will ultimately advance both fields, with the ultimate goal of creating healthier and happier lifestyles for individuals and communities.
The conference ended with a keynote address from James Gordon, MD, an integrative psychiatrist and founder of one of my favorite organizations, the Center for Mind Body Medicine. The focus of his address was “the healer’s journey,” during which he recounted his career trajectory and offered words of wisdom for the many students, practitioners, and researchers in attendance. He reflected on the current state of health in our country, and the vast amount of work that needs to be done to reverse trends like the obesity and depression epidemics. He highlighted ways in which the integrative healthcare approach – with its focus on prevention and health promotion – can reverse these trends, and urged the attendees to continue doing the work to make this a reality. Whether this work is labeled integrative healthcare or nursing, I believe it is what we want and need to live healthier lives. I am very appreciative of KILN for allowing me the opportunity to attend this conference and connect with others in a field that I am passionate about, and I look forward to using the perspectives and tools I learned at this conference as I begin my journey as an NP.
Cattleya May Co-authors Article on Her Experience in The IHI Open School Student Quality Leadership Academy
I had the unique opportunity of attending the IHI Open School Student Quality Leadership Academy last summer. This was a two-day conference that allowed students to network with others from various disciplines working within healthcare. We explored how we felt about leadership. I found this important to nursing as we will need to replace many leadership positions in the future, but often new nurses are uncertain about leadership roles. Read the full journal article here.
The KILN program would like to congratulate Patience Marks on winning the 2014 Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Scholarship! The winner was announced at the 32nd Annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Scholarship ceremony held earlier this month in the Robsham Theater. CSON and KILN are proud of this accomplishment.
A celebration of excellent nursing care was held on February 7th, 2014 at the Boston Copley Marriot Hotel by the New England Regional Black Nurses Association (NERBNA). On this night, sitting amongst a group of respected healthcare providers, I was invigorated with the passion and pride of being a nursing student gearing up to enter the clinical setting as a registered nurse.
I have had the pleasure of working at Boston Children’s Hospital (BCH) as a clinical assistant on 10 South, a post-surgical/transplant unit. I was proud to hear that many of the award recipients were from BCH. Hearing Ediri Ogege-Abedi, and Cynthia Jean Riobe speak about their experiences amplified my pride in working for one of the best pediatric hospitals in the world. Furthermore, it fueled me to continue to do good work on my floor for my nurses and for myself – to uphold the legacy of BCH as a top contender in health delivery, and to hopefully receive an award as prestigious and commendable as the Excellence in Nursing awards these nurses had earned. I was inspired to push my standards as a nursing student and clinical assistant; hearing the awardees speak about the love, contentment, and fulfillment they received from the profession stimulated me to look into myself and think about what nursing means to me so far, and what environment I want to work in as a young adult. Reflecting on myself and my trajectory so far as nursing student made me realize what I have been able to do in my undergraduate nursing career, which was incredibly uplifting.
Many of the awardees talked about how honored and grateful they were to have worked for such wonderful institutions in the Boston area. They spoke about the connection they had with the hospitals and how their upbringing had helped them get through their schooling as well as a typical day on the floor. Faith and trust in God were huge factors for many in their careers. Often, they turned to God to give thanks for helping them get where they currently were and also as a way to deal with tough days. Religion was an essential part of their lives, and they incorporated that into their career and practice. Seeing something so personal and grounded in their cultural beliefs being incorporated into their patient care made me realize that my cultural background and beliefs could also be used to better my own delivery of patient care. These include the Vietnamese values of treating elders with respect, giving particular weight to communication as part of the therapeutic process and nursing plan, and understanding that Asian patients may hesitate to take charge of their own care due to fear of the healthcare system and reduced health literacy.
The best part of the night was being able to network with other nurse managers and directors from other hospitals. Networking is really just talking to someone, getting your name out there, and starting a connection. However, it is harder than it sounds to enter into a conversation and establish a relationship in a matter of minutes. Luckily, with some help from my professor, Judith Shindul-Rothschild, I was able to connect with nursing directors from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. Without this opportunity, I would have never met such accomplished individuals.
The NERBNA event was inspiring, empowering, and eye-opening. It gave me a chance to not only think about nursing from a personal perspective, but from the perspective of others as well. I believe the majority of nursing students choose nursing because they have a particular personality type and know what they want out of nursing – to get to know people, to take care of them, and to make the work day meaningful. This event gave me time to remember why I chose nursing and reaffirmed my love and respect for what it stands for, and how it continues to grow every day.