What NOT to Wear, Emory Edition

When I started nursing school last fall at Emory, one of the more confusing topics (aside from Pathophysiology) was the dress code for clinical and lab settings. I had heard from other students that it was allowable to wear certain articles of clothing or shoes, while the student handbook stated differently.

First thing’s first: When in doubt, GO BY THE STUDENT HANDBOOK! If you are ever questioning whether or not you are appropriately attired for clinical or lab refer to the written guidelines.

Below is your basic uniform for clinical and lab. Honestly, this is all you need (plus white socks!). The simpler, the better.

IMG_6635Here are some tips on what NOT to wear in the lab or clinical setting:

1. Nail Polish/Fake Nails. Trust me on this one, y’all. You will want to be able to see what is under those finger nails after a 12 hour shift of wound care. Also, fake nails are known to slice through gloves and get lost in patients’ bed sheets (yuck!)

2. Your Hair Down. Tie that hair back! The last thing you want is your hair dragging through a patient’s wound or blocking your eyesight while trying to insert an IV. It’s a good idea to always carry extra hair ties and clips.

3. Tattoos. Emory requires that you cover up any visible tattoos while you are in the lab and at your clinical sites. I’ve seen some pretty creative ways to cover up a tattoo, but I’ve heard that bandaids usually work the best. However, some people use makeup as well depending on the size and placement of the tattoo. It would be best to do some trial and error to discover what works before your first day of lab.

4. Long Sleeve Shirts Under Your Scrub Top. Coming from someone who is permanently cold, this can be very difficult. However, it is against the guidelines to wear a long-sleeve shirt under your scrub top for sanitary purposes. Instead, you can purchase a navy blue or white cuffed long-sleeved jacket to keep you warm in lab or at your clinical sites. Uniform Advantage has cuffed, long-sleeved jackets available and you can get our logo embroidered on it through them.

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5. Jewelry that Dangles….Or Jewelry in General. For the most part, wearing jewelry at lab or in clinical is not a good idea. Anything that dangles from your wrist, your neck, or your ears is bound to get caught on something or worse, caught IN something (*shudders*). Rings can also cause a problem as they can easily slice through gloves. A good rule of thumb is just to leave your jewelry at home where it is safe and out of the way. One small stud per ear is okay, and wedding bands are permissible. Do not, I repeat, do not wear your engagement ring to lab or clinical! I heard a horrible story about a nursing student who lost the stone from her engagement ring while changing a patient’s bed and it was never found.

6. Your Workout Sneakers. While at your clinical sites you are going to step in some gross stuff and even more gross stuff is going to spill on your shoes (I speak from unfortunate experience). You want to wear shoes that are durable and can easily be washed. Get some comfortable, solid white or black leather or vinyl shoes and leave your sneakers at home. Once again, Uniform Advantage has a great shoe selection, but there are other shopping options (such as Amazon) that you can explore.

7. Jeans. I know, I know, this one seems obvious, but it needs to be said. There will be times when you will need to wear your long, white lab coat and under that lab coat can be a) your Emory scrubs or b) business casual attire. NO JEANS! See below for some appropriate examples.

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8. Open-Toed Shoes. One of the most painful experiences that I have had is a gurney rolling over my toes, and I was wearing close-toed shoes. Imagine if they had been open….needless to say, all shoes must be close-toed in the lab and in the clinical setting.

9. Forgetting Your ID Badge. You need to have your ID badge with you AT ALL TIMES in the lab and at the clinical sites. That badge is your lifeline and it helps to identify you as an Emory student. It helps you get in and out of parking garages, medication rooms, and hospital units, just to name a few. It is costly to replace and difficult to go a day without, so be diligent about keeping it within reach.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Nursing school tips

Nursing school is all about time management. There needs to be time to learn, study and have fun!

I have realized that the best way to prepare yourself for nursing school is to have a planner or calendar where you can put all assignments, exams and events. This helps with staying on top of things once the semester starts to become hectic. Ensure that you incorporate time for what you love most such as family, friends and pets. This definitely helps ease the stress levels.

Also making or joining a study group is helpful, by keeping each other on track and making new friends. There are also clubs and organizations, such as Admission Ambassadors. You can join this and represent the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, by assisting with alumni events, open houses, tours, etc.

There are elective courses such as Research Residency that is a great way to stay involved with upcoming research, and interacting with Professors. I had the opportunity of working with Dr. Yvonne Commodore-Mensah on her Afro Cardio Metabolic Study, which focused on African immigrant health in the Atlanta metropolitan area. It was an amazing experience, I participated during the spring and summer semester. I was able to get CITI certification, learn how to operate RedCAp database, enter data and collect data from the volunteers.

Nurses are well rounded individuals and nursing school prepares us to manage multiple task at any given time.

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Preventing and Responding to Venomous Snakebites

CopperheadMSN student Caitlin Cundiff participated in Dian Evans’ Environmental Emergencies lecture last month, which included information about patient treatment and monitoring after venomous snakebites. Little did she know how quickly she would be employing the evidence-based guidelines and management strategies for treating snakebites that she learned in class. While on her hospital medicine rotation in the Emory University Hospital Emergency Department, Caitlin was called to join a hospital medicine team that was in the process of treating a patient who had been bitten by a three-foot copperhead snake. Caitlin used her training to teach the Emergency Department nurses and hospital medicine staff about how to prepare and use anti-venom and how to monitor patients for progressive envenomation. While this particular patient’s bite was clinically mild and did not require antivenom, medical treatment is always advised to minimize tissue damage the risk of secondary infection.

Snakebites are common in the Southeastern United States, especially during warmer months when snakes are more active and people are spending more time outdoors. Copperheads are particularly abundant in the Atlanta area and are responsible for the majority (50 percent) of venomous snakebites. Copperheads have a copper-colored triangular-shaped head and are usually a tan to copper color with hourglass markings on their back. Their muted colors enable them to blend in well with leaves and bushes, increasing chances of an accidental encounter. While venom from a Copperhead snake is rarely fatal to humans, any venomous snakebite can become serious health emergency.

Keep the following tips in mind to protect yourself and your health.

  • Do not pick up or try to kill venomous snakes. If you see one, walk the other way and call animal control.
  • If you attempt to kill a copperhead, and they look dead, they can still bite and inject venom reflexively. Don’t pick them up!!
  • Copperhead bites are very painful and can cause progressive tissue swelling, bruising and bleeding.
  • The best treatment for a copperhead bite is to immediately get to the nearest emergency department.
  • If bitten on an extremity remove all constricting rings and jewelry, then elevate and extend the limb to reduce swelling and tissue damage around joints.
  • Do not cut a bite wound to try to get it to bleed more or to suck out the venom as this can cause a serious infection and won’t help reduce the venom effects.
  • Do not apply ice or an Ace wrap to the wound as this can worsen tissue damage.
  • Keep track of the time that you were bitten because once you arrive for care in the emergency department your wound will be evaluated for progressive envenomation by measuring the degree of swelling around the wound every 15-20 minutes.
  • Antivenom may need to be given based on how rapidly the bitten area swells and where the bite is located.

For more information on venomous snakes and treatment guidelines, click here.

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Graduate Immersion Experience During West Virginia Flooding

Flooded streets and businesses in Clendenin, West Virginia

Graduate students in the School of Nursing’s Nurse Practitioner program Phil Dillard (Emergency) and Abby Wetzel (Nurse-Midwifery) discuss their immersion program experience with Cabin Creek Health Systems. The students worked alongside staff of the Clendenin Clinic to evacuate medically-fragile residents during the region’s recent storms and devastating flooding. Cabin Creek is a federally-qualified health center that provides essential health services to vulnerable populations in rural West Virginia through several community-based clinics.

 

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Graduate Students Reflect on Immersion Experience during West Virginia Flooding

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School of Nursing graduate students participate every year in a two-week immersion program in West Virginia through the Lillian Carter Center for Global Health and Social Responsibility. Our students work in partnership with area federally-qualified community health centers to promote health and prevent disease throughout the region. Led by faculty Advisors Carolyn Clevenger and Debbie Gunter, students Andrea Brubaker, Phillip Dillard, Kimberly Eggleston, Hannah Ng, Jill Peters, Allysa Rueschenberg, and Abigail Wetzel, were providing essential health services through four community clinics located in cities to the north and south of Charleston. Two of our students, Phil Dillard and Abby Wetzel, were working in a clinic in Clendenin, a town 25 miles northeast of Charleston that was hit hard by the storms.

Phil Dillard discusses the experience in this WSB-TV Channel 2 interview. WSB Interview – West Virginia Flooding

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Day 10 (6/24) – Las chicas de Moultrie

Day 10 – Las Chicas de Moultrie

For the final blog post, I thought I’d switch it up a little bit. I took part in this program alongside 14 amazing nursing students. Before this trip, most of us did not know much about each other, or the program, for that matter. But we are leaving Moultrie as sisters and more culturally competent nurses. For this blog post, I asked each of these wonderful girls how they felt about the Farm Worker Family Health Program. These were there answers:

"It's great to see how much good we are doing now. I would love to see how this program continues to grow in the coming years." Taryn Connelly, BSN Candidate '17

“It’s great to see how much good we are doing now. I would love to see how this program continues to grow in the coming years.” Taryn Connelly, BSN Candidate ’17

"Thank you Moultrie, and all the staff members, for providing us with an invaluable experience ." Ashley Rim, BSN Candidate '17

“Thank you Moultrie, and all the staff members, for providing us with an invaluable experience.” Ashley Rim, BSN Candidate ’17

"It's incredible to see how choosing to make a small difference can make a huge difference in someone else's life." Jennifer Zhang, BSN Candidate '17

“It’s incredible to see how choosing to make a small difference can make a huge difference in someone else’s life.” Jennifer Zhang, BSN Candidate ’17

 

 

"This was a better experience than I expected. The farm workers are very humble and appreciative. I wish we were here for a longer time." Alejandra Mendez, BSN Candidate '17

“This was a better experience than I expected. The farm workers are very humble and appreciative. I wish we were here for a longer time.” Alejandra Mendez, BSN Candidate ’17

"I had an amazing experience in Moultrie. The need is great in the farmworker population, but I am glad I was able to serve them through this program by putting a little seed forward. I am eager to take all the experiences and knowledge I gained through this trip to help vulnerable populations in the future." Karime Parra, BSN Candidate '17

“I had an amazing experience in Moultrie. The need is great in the farmworker population, but I am glad I was able to serve them through this program by putting a little seed forward. I am eager to take all the experiences and knowledge I gained through this trip to help vulnerable populations in the future.” Karime Parra, BSN Candidate ’17

"The best moments down in Moultrie happened when we were able to break down language barriers and share genuine laughter with the hardworking men we were caring for. It's that basic human connection that causes us to invest on a deeper level and to spark change for the future." Halle Sovich (left), BSN Candidate '18

“The best moments down in Moultrie happened when we were able to break down language barriers and share genuine laughter with the hardworking men we were caring for. It’s that basic human connection that causes us to invest on a deeper level and to spark change for the future.” Halle Sovich, BSN Candidate ’18

"This was really a great experience. I'm gonna go home and learn some Spanish!" Olivia Atlas, BSN Candidate '17

“This was really a great experience. I’m gonna go home and learn some Spanish!” Olivia Atlas, BSN Candidate ’17

"The children and farm workers we treated in Moultrie taught me one of the best lessons a nurse could ever learn. Sometimes the best medicine isn't medicine at all, but just some love and attention to let them know that someone cares." Jamie Smith, BSN Candidate '18

“The children and farm workers we treated in Moultrie taught me one of the best lessons a nurse could ever learn. Sometimes the best medicine isn’t medicine at all, but just some love and attention to let them know that someone cares.” Jamie Smith, BSN Candidate ’18

"I really learned a lot about myself during this trip. I am really thankful for this experience." Lucy Barr, BSN Candidate '18

“I really learned a lot about myself during this trip. I am really thankful for this experience.” Lucy Barr, BSN Candidate ’18

"The most important lesson I learned from the Farmworker Family Health Program is a lesson in appreciation. It is so easy to get swept up in the small stressors of daily life and to lose sight of the many gifts we are given. The farmworkers, however, continuously smiled and were grateful to see us, despite just finishing a fifteen hour day of hard labor out in the sun. They never seemed to let their work conditions, living conditions, or being away from their families get the best of them. Instead, they focused on what they had in the present: companionship with one another and the opportunity to receive some love and attention through our care. Being able to see this first hand definitely made a lasting impact on me. Like the farm workers, I will be grateful for what I do have; I won't worry about what I lack. I joined the program to give back to a population that provides so much, but I ended up receiving so much more." Kari Burdzinski, BSN Candidate'18

“The most important lesson I learned from the Farmworker Family Health Program is a lesson in appreciation. It is so easy to get swept up in the small stressors of daily life and to lose sight of the many gifts we are given. The farmworkers, however, continuously smiled and were grateful to see us, despite just finishing a fifteen hour day of hard labor out in the sun. They never seemed to let their work conditions, living conditions, or being away from their families get the best of them. Instead, they focused on what they had in the present: companionship with one another and the opportunity to receive some love and attention through our care. Being able to see this first hand definitely made a lasting impact on me. Like the farm workers, I will be grateful for what I do have; I won’t worry about what I lack. I joined the program to give back to a population that provides so much, but I ended up receiving so much more.” Kari Burdzinski, BSN Candidate’18

"I feel very fortunate to have been able to attend Moultrie as my first clinical experience and will remember how appreciative these farmworkers were. Moultrie offered me the opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary team with other compassionate and dedicated health care providers. I sincerely hope that Emory continues to send nursing students to help provide care to this deserving population." Grace Pixler, BSN Candidate '18

“I feel very fortunate to have been able to attend Moultrie as my first clinical experience and will remember how appreciative these farmworkers were. Moultrie offered me the opportunity to work in an interdisciplinary team with other compassionate and dedicated health care providers. I sincerely hope that Emory continues to send nursing students to help provide care to this deserving population.” Grace Pixler, BSN Candidate ’18

Jennifer Ratcliffe, BSN:

Being involved with the Moultrie FWFH project for a second time has given depth to my understanding of this population’s circumstances. Their personal stories were heart wrenching and their medical histories will help me remember musculoskeletal disorders, and the effects of pesticides on integumentary and nervous systems, among others.

“This trip taught me to be open to change.” Cathy Wei, BSN Candidate ’18

 

As for me, I am beyond grateful. Grateful to the amazing preceptors and directors of the program. Grateful to the churches, organizations, and people of Moultrie who opened their arms and hearts to us. Grateful to the hotels and other donors in Atlanta who gave us clothes, pillows, toiletries, and various other items to give to the farm workers. Most importantly, I am grateful to the wonderful men and women who endure so much to bring food to our tables so that they may try to provide for their families. Being able to practice what I love while providing a necessary service to an oftentimes overlooked group of people has been such an amazing experience for me. I am so happy that I was one of the special students chosen to participate in this incredible program.

 

-Haja Kanu

 

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Day 9 (6/23/16) – No More Night Camps

Day 9 – No More Night Camps

I find it so hard to believe that we are really approaching the end of this program. We spent most of our time today at Cox Elementary packing up our stations and cleaning the classrooms and the gym. It feels like just yesterday we were setting up to see students. It also makes me sad to think that for some of the children, we are the only access they have to healthcare. Some will not get another check-up until next year when the program comes back into town. Being here makes me realize how fortunate I am to be able to see my doctor whenever I am not well or have a health concern. It’s easy to forget that not everyone has that luxury.

Packing up the gym

Packing up the gym

Emory NP students finish up the final charts at Cox Elementary

Emory NP students finish up the final charts at Cox Elementary

Final lunch in Moultrie

Final lunch in Moultrie

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The interdisciplinary team (Emory BSN & NP students in blue scrubs, UGA Pharmacy in red, and Clayton State Dental Hygiene in green scrubs)

The interdisciplinary team (Emory BSN & NP students in blue scrubs, UGA Pharmacy in red, and Clayton State Dental Hygiene in green scrubs)

 

Night camp was not very busy due to the size of the camp that we visited tonight. I was stationed at the blood pressure table again. As I measured my patients’ blood pressures, I thought back to the first time I did the same task last week. I was not used to trying to listen for systolic and diastolic sounds out in a field, surrounded by gnats and loud noises. I found it quite difficult the first time, but now, I feel like a pro. We have developed this saying on the trip: “If you can do it in Moultrie, you can do it anywhere.” We are all a little sad that this was our final night camp. Overall, it has been such a wonderful and educational experience.

The blood pressure team

The blood pressure team

Alejandra checks her patient's blood glucose

Alejandra checks her patient’s blood glucose

– Haja Kanu

 

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Day 8 (Wednesday, June 22) – Foot Care Technician by Night

Day 8 – Foot Care Technician by Night

Today, I took another turn at Height, Weight, & BMI. We did not see that many children since most of the students already did rotated through the stations. Because we had a lot of downtime, we began taking inventory of the materials we had at each station. While taking inventory, it began to dawn on me that our time in Moultrie is coming to an end. It feels like just yesterday we were unloading the van and setting up our stations. Time flies!

Setting up the penultimate night camp

Setting up the penultimate night camp

Night camp set-up

Night camp set-up

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After dreading it for a week and a half, I finally got stationed in foot care. But surprisingly, I felt ready. I have been practicing Spanish this whole trip and this was my opportunity to showcase what I had learned. Thankfully, it went well! With my broken Spanish, I was able to learn a few things about the men as I examined and took care of their feet. We spoke about Mexico, their families, and what kind of music they listened to. I even got a few song suggestions for my night camp playlist. I noticed that some men came to the station a little shy and self-conscious, but the more we talked, the more comfortable they seemed. I was happy to know that though my task was not specifically nursing-related, it helped people feel better, which is what nursing is all about.

Selfie with Don Jose (bottom right), an Ellenton Clinic employee

Selfie with Don Jose (bottom right), an Ellenton Clinic employee

 

– Haja Kanu

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Day 7 (Tuesday, June 22nd) – Farm Tour & the Realities of Field Work

Day 7 – Farm Tour & the Realities of Field Work

As we are nearing the end of our trip, we assess less and less children at the elementary school.Today I was stationed at the hemoglobin and glucose table again. Because I had been at this station once before, I was not really nervous or worried. I only screened four children, which is so much less than the number of kids I saw last week. Also, because most of the other kids had told their friends how easy the test was, I did not have any criers.

In the afternoon, we had the option of donating blood to the survivors of the unfortunate Pulse Nightclub shootings. Because I am away from home and I have never given blood before and therefore am not sure of the effects it will have on me, I chose not to donate. However, a lot of people from my BSN cohort and the other schools went to a local blood bank to donate. Luckily, most of the people that donated felt fine afterwards.

Karime and Halle rest after giving blood

Karime and Halle rest after giving blood

 

I feel as though I do not write enough about the generosity of the local churches that provide lunch for us every day. Not only is the food always delicious, the people are also very friendly and genuinely happy that we are providing care to those in their community that need it the most. We always feel so welcomed by the church volunteers and so touched that people take time out of their busy schedules to provide for us. Moultrie residents truly have a wonderful sense of community.

BSN students enjoy lunch courtesy of a local church

BSN students enjoy lunch courtesy of a local church

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One exciting thing I got to do today was go on a farm tour. Both of my parents grew up in farming communities and we have a huge garden in our backyard. I’ve always appreciated fresh vegetables, so I was really excited to be able to pick a wide variety of produce FOR FREE! I was one of 12 students on today’s tour, which was guided by employees of the Ellenton Clinic. We all had a blast picking vegetables and taking pictures of the beautiful landscape. However, when we got back into the van, we talked about how hard it was picking vegetables for an hour under a beating sun. We could not even imagine how the migrant farm workers we care for do the same at a much faster pace for a longer period of time. Such hard work greatly contributes to the variety of complaints they present to us everyday.

Alejandra looks for ripe squash

Alejandra looks for ripe squash

Students try their hand at picking vegetables during a farm tour

Students try their hand at picking vegetables during a farm tour

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Today’s night camp made me realize how difficult it can be providing medical services outside of a traditional medical facility. The HemoCue machines we use to check the hemoglobin of our patients overheated several times and had to be taken back to the air-conditioned RV to cool down. During the times the machines were cooling down, we could not assess hemoglobin levels. By the end of the night, none of the glucose machines were functioning properly and we had to close down our station half an hour earlier than originally planned. Had we been in a traditional medical setting, we most likely would not have had a problem with overheating and we could have easily switched machines. However, being out in the field meant we had to be as resourceful as possible or go without. This can be quite frustrating when the patient line grows longer and longer, but we just have to be flexible and keep pushing forward. I love the challenges we are overcoming because they prepare me for real world nursing. If you can make it work in the middle of a 3,000 acre farm in Moultrie, you can make it work anywhere.

– Haja Kanu

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Day 5 (Friday, June 17th) – Home-Bound

Day 5 – Home-Bound

I can’t believe it’s really the end of week one! Time is going by much faster than I expected it to. We were only in the elementary school for a couple of hours today because a few children still needed to see physical therapy. The physical therapy students are only here for one week, so they will not be back next week. The dental and pharmacy students are switching out with their peers for week two, so we will have a new set of people next week. The only students that will remain are the NP’s and the BSN’s. Although the Farm Worker Program is hard work, I am really happy to be coming back for a second week. I have learned so much about working in an interdisciplinary team, and it feels really good to know that I am providing a beneficial service to people who otherwise would not be receiving that service. I am also happy that we get the weekend off to go home and recharge for whole new experiences.

End of Week 1 photo

End of Week 1 photo

See you next week, Moultrie!

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