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Graduate KILN Scholar Reflects on Lessons Learned from Hospice and Palliative Care Conference

March 20, 2017

By Lorena Loci, ’17

I am extremely privileged to be a member of KILN. Through this organization, I had the wonderful opportunity to travel to Phoenix, Arizona to attend the yearly national conference on Hospice and Palliative Care! This was my first time visiting Arizona, and I loved and enjoyed every moment of my time there.

During my time at the conference, I attended lectures that focused on a broad range of topics which included:

  • providing quality care at the end of life,
  • goals of care and advanced directives,
  • conversations that guide serious illness
  • the essentials commingling of care and story,
  • narrative medicine,
  • scholarship in pain management and the current opioid crisis,
  • nurses leading change and transformative care,
  • intimacy at the end of life,
  • legislation in palliative care,
  • application of clinical knowledge to research, and last but not least,
  • a pharmacology course on the newest FDA approved drugs in 2016

All the lectures were phenomenal, but I was particularly intrigued by a leadership talk that highlighted the power and influence nurses possess to lead change and transform care, especially in the field of palliative care.

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I learned that someone who is a nursing leader does not necessarily mean one leads a group of people or manage someone’s workday, but a nurse who leads as a clinician and is at the patient’s bedside at a time when decent human values are being undermined and challenged. As highlighted in all of the nursing classes I have attended at Boston College, the primary role of a nurse is to relieve suffering and through the patient’s relationship; the nurse accompanies the patient on the illness journey. In hospice and palliative care specifically, nurses support patients struggling to confront living while facing death. During this lecture, the presenter touched upon the role of the nurse in relieving symptoms of illness, and in particular, how they address pain, as they know when pain is ignored it will lead to more suffering. Nurses have a moral imperative to advocate for pain relief, give voice to the pain, and reduce their patient’s suffering. Along with this theme, nurses define the paradigm of palliative care as their mantra to provide comfort to patients in what is arguably the most difficult time of their life.

They do not focus on curing the disease in a terminally ill patient but focus on improving their quality of life. During this lecture, the notion that communication is the essence of nursing was continuously emphasized. Nurses are the ones who facilitate the “goals of care” discussions, and through this communication, they help understand the patient’s story and share that story with the rest of the world. Through the use of effective communication skills, nurses clarify for the rest of the medical team the patient’s goals of care to better manage their circumstance. Moreover, nurses remain present and concerned with patient’s quality of life; they become companions in the patient’s journey and remain steadfast when there are no easy answers regarding their disease.

The conference was very powerful in leading the way for caring for patients suffering from chronic and terminal illness. Although the lectures provided different information regarding a particular topic in the hospice and palliative care field, they ultimately had one common theme: the palliative care field works with patients’ sense of perspective around their illness by conceptualizing it. Death happens to all of us. Thus, it is imperative to mitigate suffering and prolong quality of life when patients are at the end of their lifespan. This field offers nurses and providers the opportunity to both have an impact in transforming illness, and to be transformed by illness. Illness, disability, and death are normal parts of human life, and they should be noted as issues to work with, rather than pathological invaders to be combated.

KILN Program and CSON Welcome High School Students from New York City

March 7, 2017

Amy Smith, Clinical Assistant Professor, provides students with overview of simulation lab

The Connell School of Nursing welcomed 29 New York City high school students to campus on Tuesday, February 21, 2017 to learn about careers in nursing and health care. The students, who are participants in the Geriatric Career Development (GCD) program of The New Jewish Home in New York City.

After arriving on Tuesday, GCD students enjoyed lunch with Joanne Duhl, CSON Dean Susan Gennaro, Cathy Read, Associate Professor and Director of the KILN program, and members of CSON community. Dean Gennaro addressed the students, reflecting on her own personal experience of growing up in New York City and discovering her passion for nursing as well as all of the places it has taken her throughout her career. Students then got a glimpse of the simulation spaces, clinical labs, and what college nursing courses look like.


Joanne Duhl, Executive Director at the Price Family Foundation, greets students

The tour was followed by a panel discussion featuring current CSON KILN students Helen Au (’18), Martina DeSimone (’18), Amari Harrison (’20), Priscilla Nyarko (’18), Chiamaka Okorie (’17) and Janelle Way (’18). The KILN leaders shared their own personal journeys of how they chose to pursue nursing at Boston College, sparking questions and discussion between the college and high school students. The KILN program would like to extend its deep appreciation for the student leaders who volunteered their time, thoughts, and insights.


Read more about this event featured on the Connell School of Nursing website by clicking here.


KILN Students Attend 45th Annual New England Regional Black Nurses Association (NERBNA) Awards Ceremony

February 28, 2017

On February 10, 2017, KILN students and nursing faculty attended the 45th-anniversary celebration of the New England Regional Black Nurses Association (NERBNA) at the Marriott Copley Square in Boston. It was a memorable event, as illustrated by the students’ reflections:

It was a privilege to hear the visions of NERBNA leaders E. Lorraine Baugh, the founding president, and Dr. Eric Williams, the first male and 12th president. These individuals epitomize striving for excellence.
– Kim Monestime (CSON ’17)


Front Row (L-R): CSON Faculty Cathy Read, Judy Shindul-Rothschild, and Allyssa Harris. Back Row (L-R): KILN students Amari Harrison, Helen Au, and alumna Jennifer Etienne

One of the highlights of the celebration was the keynote address by Dr. Eric J. Williams, President of the NERBNA. I was struck by the passion evoked as he talked about the power of nurses to bring about violence prevention efforts in communities. 

– Helen Au (CSON ’18)

The NERBNA celebration and awards ceremony was inspiring, and gave me hope for the future of nursing. We heard from so many incredible people who powerfully communicated their passion for nursing– a passion that motivated them to do critical and wonderful work even when the odds were against them. Whether they were prepared as LPNs or PhDs, these nurses all brought their hearts, minds, and hands to the table and are moving the nursing profession forward.
– Maureen Regan (CSON ’17)


Master’s students Loic Assobmo (’17), Kim Monestime (’17), Maureen Regan (’17); Dean Susan Gennaro, Helen Au (’18), Professor Bill Fehder, Amari Harrison (’20)

Seeing nurses who look like me appreciated for their contributions to society is motivating. Considering all the racial tension going on in the country lately, I felt reassured to see black nurses recognized in a positive way. It was good to tune into some positivity. Dr. Williams left us all with a great message on how we can contribute to the world in order to make it a safer place.
– Loic Assobmo (CSON ’17)

This conference was very inspirational and eye-opening. It put me in a position to see my future self on that stage that night…I cannot wait to put my dreams into action and become a role model to young black girls who aspire to be in my position!
– Amari Harrison (CSON ’20)

KILN Student Reflects Upon Social Justice and Inequity Following Service Trip to Léogâne, Haiti

January 27, 2017

By Maureen Regan, ’17

Setting foot in a place like Léogâne, the epicenter of the 2010 earthquake that devastated Haiti, means coming face to face with the reality of injustice in our world. Being there and speaking with people who seem to survive on air alone brings up a tidal wave of emotions, out of which emerge countless questions, all of which can be summed up in one: “what can I do?”

In wading through my own questions, the beginning of an answerwith-patients-in-the-clinic lies in learning about the root causes of poverty, and doing my best not to be complacent in a society that perpetuates such disparity. How will my behaviors and decisions change after getting to know people who are trapped under poverty’s thumb? Now that I’m back in Chestnut Hill, sitting in our CSON student lounge, I hope that the very visceral reactions I had when witnessing such suffering will not fade from my memory. I hope instead that these feelings will lead to my own growth in compassion, and I will continue to learn, throughout my life, about suffering from those who know it best—the poor.

My fellow students and I understand that in the grand scheme of things, we did little to lift out of poverty the five communities we visited, or wipe out the illnesses they suffer because of poverty. Our interventions focused on health education, treating whatever ailments we could, and identifying acute cases that needed immediate attention at our hosting hospital. We funded these hospital visits, and followed up with the patients together with a supportive network of Haitian friends and contacts. Regardless of how outside-the-hospitalmuch our work could have positively affected another person’s life, I have more in common with all of the other visitors to Haiti than I do with any patient I saw. In the Port Au Prince airport, most of our group looked the same as the other non-Haitian travelers, who were on either business or mission trips. I hope that we entered, moved through, and left Haiti with enough grace to honor the hospitality we were given.

What I am sure about is how priceless that week is to me, and how it will inform the rest of my life, particularly in my role as an FNP. Rather than abstaining from something that I know is imperfect, I hope to do what I can to work towards universal health promotion. As nurses, we appreciate that healing is not only about outcomes; the power of communicating genuine concern with eye contact, touch, an attentive ear, cannot be overstated. These mutually transformative interactions, however short, are what make the immersion trip indispensable. By sitting and listening to people’s symptoms and stories, the things that bother them, and how they make a life for themselves and their families, we are challenged to play a part in resisting the apathy that contributes to structural inequity on a global level. Because of this, I hope to approach all of my patient visits as sacred.

It is undeniably clear to me that there are some people in the world who deserve our attention more than others. We already know that disease, natural disasters, and lack ofwith-patients-outside-the-clinic infrastructure disproportionately burden the poor. A major part of being “inclusive,” as our group’s name promises, means being attentive to these inequities— some blatant, and some more nuanced. We must respond accordingly by focusing our energies on making the oppressed the protagonists in our shared story.

CSON and KILN encourage us to be lifelong learners and critical thinkers. Going to Haiti halfway through my last year in nursing school has firmly grounded my education in the conviction that truly caring for patients requires more than being up with the latest evidence, even more than earnest curiosity about my patient’s context. Caring requires an unconditional respect and concern for my patient simply because they are human.

In our personal and professional lives, I hope that we as CSON students (soon to be alumni/ae) can contribute to the transformation of exclusive, elitist, and unjust systems. We can choose for whom we work, whom we serve, how we interact with our patients, what professional groups we join. We have seen what personal and social suffering looks like. How will we respond?

Undergraduate KILN Scholar Attends 34th Annual NSNA Midyear Career Planning Conference

January 17, 2017

34th Annual NSNA Midyear Career Planning Conference was held in Kansas City, Missouri

By Hana Chung ’17

nclexAttending the 34th Annual NSNA Midyear Career Planning Conference was the perfect opportunity for me to get my resume reviewed, prepare me for taking the NCLEX, and to reflect upon my career planning. As a senior, I have recognized the importance of networking. I valued having the opportunity to connect with established and successful nurses at this conference. The conference provided a space for me to create positive first impressions, enhance my interview skills, and continue to develop myself into a professional.

I attended the NCLEX Mini Review Course session, which outlined the NCLEX test plan and procedure. The session presented by Desiree Hensel, a former Associate Professor at the Indiana University School of Nursing, included a number of valuable test taking and success strategies. This gave me a chance to apply my knowledge by answering NCLEX-related questions and alternative format questions.

Throughout the conference, I was able to choose from a wide variety of workshops that provided useful information on the job search and networking. The workshops that stood out the most to me were “LinkedIn: A Professional Networking Tool” and “Guerilla Warfare: Marketing Yourself in a Competitive Market.” Katelyn Finnegan, an Editor of linkedImprint magazine and the Chair for the Image of Nursing Committee, taught me about how the internet and social media have completely changed not only the way we socialize, but how we search for and get hired for jobs. Learning how to effectively market myself and navigate the social media landscape were motivated me to enhance my LinkedIn page. The session helped me to understand how I can highlight my accomplishments for future employers.

Sheri Monsein, a Nurse Manager and Talent Acquisition at UCLA Health Sciences, led a workshop that provided information on cover letters, resumes, and scheduling job interviews. She shed light on some important statistics illustrating how the economic recession that has flooded the RN market. I was shocked to hear that the need for RNs has declined due to low hospital census resulting from lower elective surgeries/procedures, high unemployment, and high rates people without insurance. I first learned of this issue in my “Transitions” class at Boston College; this is when I realized that RN retention due to economic factors was a major problem and would impact my job prospects. Ms. Monsein went on to reassure us that the shortage of RNs would become critical once the economy improves and unemployment decreases. She made me feel confident that my degree would be favorable for employers hiring new graduates. My biggest takeaway from her lecture was that I am qualified and prepared for a very competitive job market if I utilize my resources.

Attending the NSNA Midyear Career Planning Conference motivated me to get my foot in the door. The experience was valuable; it provided me with the opportunity to make positive first impressions and connect with colleagues to help land my first job after graduation. Although I was initially discouraged hearing about the shortage of registered nurses, getting advice from other nurses and professors gave me confidence to persevere. Through my experience at the Midyear Conference, I am determined to keep my passion for nursing alive, take every opportunity to excel academically, and continue to develop my professional identity. Attending the conference inspired me to make the most of my job search by continuing to network with existing colleagues, and to cultivate new relationships to open the door for any new opportunities that await me.

KILN Students Connect with Nationally Renowned Leader in Nursing

January 5, 2017

On November 30, 2016, Loretta Sweet Jemmott, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, inspired students, alumni, faculty, and guests with her Pinnacle lecture entitled:

“Being an Effective Nursing Leader: Building on Your Inner Strengths”

Dr. Sweet Jemmott is the Vice President for Health and Health Equity and a professor in the College of Nursing and Health Professions at Drexel University. As one of the country’s foremost researchers in the field of HIV/AIDS, STD, and pregnancy prevention, Dr. Sweet


CSON students with Dr. Loretta Sweet Jemmott (center front)

Jemmott is an expert in health promotion research and a nationally recognized leader in understanding and reducing risk-related behaviors. For many KILN students, the additional opportunity to have lunch with Dr. Sweet Jemmott and discuss their own journeys toward becoming effective leaders was a very memorable experience. KILN students shared their reflections on the day:

“Dr. Sweet Jemmott conveyed a sense of optimism and productive positivity. She reminded me that being an effective leader goes beyond typical definitions like timeliness, intelligence, and looking ahead to advance your career; more importantly, leadership requires perseverance and persistence. As she told us, ‘No never means no. No means maybe.’” – Minhyeung Kim (BS ’18)

“Dr. Sweet Jemmott always asks herself ‘So what?’ I have come to realize that the purpose of my endeavors should not be confined to my own personal gain. In every turn, I need to ask myself ‘how can I give back to the community?’ Once I graduate, I want to fight and advocate for a cause that stirs my heart.” – Esther Chung (BS ’17)

“Dr. Sweet Jemmott gave me a very positive outlook on my future. She encouraged us to experiment with our interests and never give up. Her story inspired me to think about the problems prevalent in my own community and consider how I might work toward positive change in rural Maine.” – Kathryn Davie (BS ’19)

“Dr. Sweet Jemmott overcame obstacles throughout her academic career by persistently pursuing her passions through hard work and ‘gumption.’ She was an incredibly engaging and inspiring speaker who reinforced the importance of taking charge of one’s own life, finding passion in one’s work, and never taking ‘no’ for an answer.” – Maggie Steinmann (MS ’18)

“Dr. Sweet Jemmott’s lecture made me reflect on my reasons for applying to graduate school. Her exuberance about her research made me realize that I want to embody certainty and passion about what I study…it is important that I connect my research to my story and relate it to my purpose.” – Chiamaka Okorie (BS ’17)

KILN Students Ponder the Message of a Powerful Guest Artist

December 22, 2016

On November 18, 2016, performance artist Dominique Coley shared provocative film clips and original poetry that addressed the problem of discrimination based on skin color and sexual orientation. The event, planned by Helen Au (’18) of the KILN Leadership Council, sparked a great deal of reflection on the part of the participants:

“This presentation reinforced the importance of cultural and national awareness in light of the traumatic and controversial events that have happened this year. Despite the discomfort


Dominique Coley (left) with KILN leader Helen Au (’18)


created by Dominique’s stories of discrimination, we could sense the building self-awareness that results from open discussions. After attending this event, I felt called to remain positive and hopeful for those who feel weary or defeated.”

-Thien Bui (’17)

“Dominique’s presentation provided insight that I can utilize in both my personal and my professional life. Knowing the points of view of persons of other races, ethnicities, religions, genders, and sexual orientations will be critical to my ability to provide holistic, therapeutic care for all patients.”

                -Lizzy Byrne (’17)

“Some of the images in Dominique’s presentation were unbelievable. It is disheartening to be reminded that our society is not as fair as I thought it was. Nonetheless, Dominique’s poetry assured me that I could be a part of the force against discrimination. In the near future, I will become an example of what a culturally literate nurse is and take little steps to bring about equality in the healthcare setting.”

 -Christine Kang (’18)

“Hearing Dominique’s point of view was very enlightening. Coming from a community at home with little diversity, it is refreshing to hear new perspectives. I also know that this talk was very important for me because it will help me as a nurse to view everyone with respect no matter what their ideologies are and to know that I should be empathetic and inclusive towards my patients.”

-Megan Groome (’20)