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.
On November 3, 2013, an event called Public Health Nursing: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow! was held by the Quad Council of Public Health Organizations in the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel to honor Quad Council’s 90th anniversary. The Quad Council is made up of the following associations: the Association of Public Health Nurses (APHN), the Association of Community Health Nursing Educators (ACHNE), the Public Health Nursing Section of the American Public Health Association (PHN-APHA), and the American Nurses Association Council on Nursing Practice and Economics (ANA). The Quad Council’s mission is to “provide(s) leadership, voice and visibility for public health nurses through setting a national policy agenda on issues related to public health nursing,” carried out through the improvement of public health structure, expansion of public health and care services, advancement of public health nursing education, promotion of public health nursing leadership, and establishing research studies within the public health nursing practice. In remembrance of the purpose of public health nursing, the Quad Council hosted a panel of experienced public health nurses who recounted and reflected on their ongoing public health nursing journey to impart their wisdom to the other nurses in attendance.
During this event, a panel of public health nurse leaders, namely Ruth Knollmueller, Carol Easley Allen, Cheryl Easley, Betty Bekemeier, and Diane Gallagher spoke about the past and current narratives of public health nursing, as well as their hopes and visions for its future. They shared stories about the development of public health nursing from the 1960s, during which Medicare, Medicaid, Roe v. Wade, and the Community Mental Health Act of 1963 were debated but were topics of importance. Although the prime years of their careers were trying times for public health nursing, they emphasized the importance of pressing on as positive transformation is almost always brought on by a period of uneasy changes.
Carol Easley and Cheryl Easley-Allen continued the conversation and spoke of the importance of cultural sensitivity, especially because of the diverse nature of the community of the United States. They spoke of the hurt that communities of diverse backgrounds experienced due to the grave inequalities in the past history of healthcare, and encouraged the nurses in the audience to continue their role as healing hands. They believed that these healing hands were only possible by being able to care for the patient in the context of their whole person, taking into consideration the differences in culture and letting go of personal biases.
As the night went on, it became more evident that the nurse leaders on the panel spoke with urgency. They called for the nurses in the audience to speak up, not just in that room that day during the discussion, but in their workplaces. They shared their concern of nurses still being too timid to speak up even though they know that they have the knowledge and right interventions on their floors and within their specialties. One of the Easley sisters, for example, spoke of an experience wherein a medical doctor proposed that bringing care to the houses of the people would be beneficial to the community’s health. This seemed to suggest that public health nurses are not getting the adequate recognition in their skills in the field. They implored for each and every nurse to come together and create a transformative and collective voice in order to genuinely and effectively advocate for the nursing profession and the patients. It has not been easy, especially in the 1960s for the nurses of color in the panel, but they continued to believe in the cause of public health, specifically providing equal opportunity of care for all.
Overall, it was fascinating to hear about the evolution of public health nursing through the voices of individuals who were the evolution’s vessels themselves. What I took away from Public Health Nursing: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow! was not merely the historical nuggets that the nurse leaders shared with the crowd, but rather the wisdom they imparted from their experiences.
The message that these nurse leaders shared with the audience profoundly resonated with me as I prepare myself as a senior in the Connell School of Nursing this year. Each one of the panelists showed passion for their profession. More importantly, however, they showed deep care for their patients and the communities they have represented through their nursing careers. The values these nurses hold are values that I myself hold important. As I become a nurse next year, I would like to look up to these influential individuals and incorporate and develop their sincerity in their profession and be the healing hands that they have always been.
This past month, I had the privilege of attending the International Society of Nurses in Genetics (ISONG) conference in Bethesda, Maryland. This opportunity was made possible by funding from KILN and Associate Dean Catherine Read, who introduced me to ISONG and motivated me to attend. It was the organization’s 25th anniversary, so what a perfect time to be there to learn about its history and the exciting future that lies ahead. Although the untimely government shutdown led to the cancellation of presentations by National Institutes of Health researchers, it was still a wonderful conference full of nurses passionate about this relatively new frontier of genetics.
All the things I learned at this conference would take many hours to recount, but some of the highlights looking into the next 25 years are:
- Next generation sequencing – It is going to change our world. Companies will be able to spell out the precise order of DNA in multiple genes, and pretty soon the whole genome, for less than $1,000.
- Personalized medicine – By understanding the individual molecular characteristics of patients, we will be able to offer medications and treatments personalized for each patient.
- Improved taxonomy of disease – Using phenotypes, we will be able to better classify and define subtypes of obesity, diabetes, and other generalized illnesses.
- Epigenetics – A better understanding of how the environment and lifestyle choices affect our genes will change the way we think about health and disease.
Along with these groundbreaking interventions and diagnostic tools, I discovered that there will be many challenges for nurses and nurse practitioners yet they will be indispensable to the application of these tools. For starters, nurses will be called upon to help patients understand what all of this genetic information means to them, and how they can use it to make decisions. A large challenge for nurse practitioners will be moving this science into application within primary care, because it is of little benefit if it remains only at the bench. Situations like this made me realize why nurses are needed within this specialty. When sharing information as sensitive and complicated as genetics, the hallmarks of nursing- humanism and compassion- are invaluable.
In addition to all the knowledge gained at this conference, I met others working in the field, and heard their insights and advice on getting started as an NP. One of the most fortuitous connections I made was with Margaret Klehm, an NP currently working at Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Throughout the conference, she shared her more than 20 years of experience working in metabolic and cancer genetics in several of the Boston hospitals. Her message was inspirational- to go out and create the dream job that you seek, and you will find the help you need along the way if you are passionate and genuinely interested. Given my experience, I definitely recommend other KILN students to take advantage of the many different conferences out there. Engaging socially and intellectually with people who share your interests is priceless. I am appreciative to KILN for the opportunity to feel the excitement and passion for genetics in nursing.
Yesenia Japa (CSON ’14), Andrea Lopez (CSON ’14), and Alexandra Paz (CSON ’15) attended the August 2013 National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) Conference in New Orleans. NAHN “is a non-profit professional association committed to the promotion of the professionalism and dedication of Hispanic nurses by providing equal access to educational, professional, and economic opportunities for Hispanic nurses.” The three KILN Scholars participated in professional presentations, gained leadership skills, and volunteered in a one day event to help the Stop Hunger Now organization. They also presented a poster entitled “Keys to Inclusive Leadership in Nursing” Preparing the Next Generation of Diverse Nurse Leaders with Dr. Viola Benavente, Assistant Professor in the Connell School of Nursing and KILN mentor.
As the students reflected on their experiences, they realized the conference affected them in various ways. Alexandra Paz felt like a changed person after attending the conference. She explains: “The speakers and nurses I met encouraged me to focus on becoming the best nurse I can possibly be. I am motivated to fulfill my full potential not only as a nurse but also as a person.” She also learned how the enhanced Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services, issued by U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, can be applied in health care delivery systems, as well as how the Health Insurance Marketplace, an application initiated by the Affordable Care Act, will function to provide affordable coverage to individuals and families. For Yesenia, the conference provided opportunities to strengthen her relationships with and find inspiration from NAHN members, especially those she met at last year’s conference. She found the story from Henry Cruz, endnote speaker, to be particularly touching. He lost his sight due to diabetic retinopathy upon graduating from college. However, he faced this adversity and became a diabetes advocate and healthcare consultant. Yesenia noted that, “When he revealed he works with people from St. Mary’s in the Bronx, the same dangerous neighborhood I have been raised in, he really touched my heart. Dedication and warmth are two things that are not as easy to find in my neighborhood, and at that moment I appreciated him very much.” The presentations helped Andrea Lopez understand the implications of the Affordable Care Act for nurses and for the Hispanic community. At the same time, the speakers reinforced Andrea’s goal of pursuing further education to become a nurse practitioner. Along with the other students, she felt enthused: “As a nursing student, conferences like this one can change your future by allowing you to share experiences and receive encouragement from others. I’ve been motivated to move quickly, improvise, and seize opportunities.”
Denice Calub (CSON ’14), Cindy Cao (CSON ’14), Yesenia Japa (CSON ’14) and Andrea Lopez (CSON ’14) of the CSON Keys to Inclusive Leadership in Nursing (KILN) program were among the fifteen nursing students from across the United States to be awarded a Hausman Fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital in the summer of 2013. This six-week program paired the fellows with nurse mentors who provide clinical, practical and social experiences. The Hausman Fellowship, originally funded by Margaretta Hausman, a social worker and former MGH patient, was founded in 2007 to empower minority nursing students to achieve their career goals and promote better care for diverse patient populations.
The experience was transformative for the students. For Denice Calub, the Hausman fellowship experience provided insight into the particular challenges of patients from minority backgrounds, especially when English is not their first language. “I was able to experience firsthand the importance of things that are emphasized in our classes, such as understanding diversity and practicing with empathy.” Gaining confidence with skills and establishing relationships with mentors were goals for Cindy Cao, but she found that she achieved much more; “I learned that nursing can be a very personalized art and I gained awareness into the type of nurse I want to be.” Yesenia Japa appreciated the opportunity to rotate though several departments, which familiarized her with the hospital as a whole: “I grasped a better understanding of what it means to be a nurse and became more comfortable in my assessments, documentation and medication administration…the experience strengthened my belief that this is what I want to do every day.” Andrea Lopez noted that, in addition to helping students gain confidence and independence, the professionals involved in the Hausman program “understand the reality and struggle of minority nursing students…the program helped me to think outside of my own familiar cultural experience to appreciate the diverse ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds of our patients.”
The Hausman program is spearheaded by Deborah Washington (MS ‘93, PhD ‘12 ), Director of Diversity for Patient Care Services at Massachusetts General Hospital and member of the CSON Diversity Advisory Board.
Three KILN Scholars, Patience Marks (CSON ’15), Diana Paris (CSON ’13), and Malika Weekes (CSON ’13) participated in the National Black Nurses Association (NBNA) 41st Annual Conference in New Orleans. The mission of the NBNA is to “represent and provide a forum for black nurses to advocate for and implement strategies to ensure access to the highest quality of healthcare for persons of color.” This year’s conference theme was “Advancing the Profession of Nursing through Education, Practice, Research, and Leadership”. Scholars had the opportunity to network with nurse leaders and learn about a variety of healthcare topics. Below are some thoughts from the scholars.
Gaining New Knowledge
The opportunities to learn something new at this conference were endless. I now understand the pivotal role advanced practice registered nurses will hold once the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, the barriers to minority faculty representation in nursing schools, the different levels of trauma centers, and the health effects of electrical wiring in our homes.
- Malika Weekes, BS, RN
I attended the Cardiovascular Institute and the Mental Health Workshop. The Cardiovascular Institute discussed important topics including the importance of nursing expertise in cardiovascular care to help prevent readmissions, developing preventive measures and interventions in the young population to help reduce the incidence of coronary heart disease in African Americans, and heart failure treatment disparities. The Mental Health Workshop discussed vital issues including the effects of stalking and cyber stalking on mental health, the influence of anxiety and stress on African American Women’s Health, and current mental health research on African American males.
- Diana Paris, MS, RN, FNP
Opportunities to Engage in Dialogue and Build Relationships
Attending this conference provided me with a foundation for success and challenged me to think outside the box. I was fortunate to attend the NBNA conference because I had the opportunity to engage in meaningful dialogue with seasoned professionals and enhance my knowledge to be thoroughly prepared to respond to the vast needs in primary care, particularly in underserved communities.
- Diana Paris, MS, RN, FNP
I was asked to participate in a group study for a research project focusing on black students’ experiences and mentoring needs in nursing programs. The purpose of the research is to possibly implement a mentoring program between NBNA leaders and students. I not only valued the purpose of this research but enjoyed meeting other striving nursing students at the conference. I managed to get to know them better and initiated a relationship with them; one of which I feel will hold a positive impact on my nursing career. Additionally, being included in this study helped me to appreciate the efforts of the KILN program inclusion of mentors.
- Patience Marks
Each experience on the schedule, from the opening ceremony to the career and education fair to the ecumenical service, provided opportunities for black nurses and nursing students from across the country to network and encourage one another’s professional lives.
- Malika Weekes, BS, RN
Application to Healthcare Delivery
“People won’t care how much you know until they know how much you care,” Colonel Patricia W. Ross stated. I perceived that she meant that we need to put the knowledge and proper nursing care we learn into action. We need to value each patient and handle each one with care, openness, and respect. Taking that extra time to holistically oversee the patient and his or her plan of care goes a long way in eliminating a health disparity.
- Patience Marks
NBNA President Deidre Walton, JD, MSN, RN-PHN highlighted the need for APRNs to be active in their state legislatures to reform the scope-of-practice regulations to allow NPs to practice independently to the fullest extent of their education and training, including unlimited prescriptive authority. Personally, this message fueled my desire to dedicate my career to transforming the delivery of health care by assuming different leadership roles. In these roles, I will use the invaluable lessons from the NBNA conference, my clinical experiences, and research to help transform healthcare policy as a long-term career goal.
- Diana Paris, MS, RN, FNP