Archive for March 24, 2012

Senior Year – Community Health Interventions

This past week, multiple groups of students finishing their Community Health Clinical rotations gave presentations to fellow students, faculty, and staff on the experience of working as student nurses in a Community Health setting. For many of the students, this was the first time we had worked in a larger, population-based community setting. Some of the areas represented included: The Gateway Center for homeless men and women in downtown Atlanta, Moultrie migrant farm-worker populations, the Clarkston Community Center (home to a variety of ethnicities and refugee populations), and Café 458 Restaurant for the homeless. Overall, the majority of students expressed that they had an incredibly informative, moving, and successful experience working in the community.

Student activities ranged from education with the populations, to interventions to address specific issues – such as high rates of teen pregnancy or increased rates of hypertension. Many of the main health topics and interventions focused on exercise promotion, healthy diet promotion, and prevention activities. The levels of prevention included primary, where clients were provided education; secondary, where clients were screened for different ailments; and tertiary, where clients already suffering from diseases were taught ways to decrease morbidity and mortality from their illnesses. Many of the groups were able to evaluate the effectiveness of their interventions through the use of surveys and data collection of community members’ thoughts. The prevention activities were based on the goals and objectives of Healthy People 2020, a US Department of Health and Human Services nationwide program dedicated to disease prevention and treatment. As a part of these Healthy People goals, it is especially important to reduce the disease burden in vulnerable populations – such as the homeless, minority groups, and immigrants.

One of the most common themes described by the students when reflecting on their experiences included the importance of cultural sensitivity, such as respecting cultural differences and different beliefs. Many students expressed that they learned a variety of new information about different cultures and communities that they had not previously come into contact with. Another similarity discussed among the students was the importance of recognizing the heterogeneity inside of the groups. We learned that community groups often have more intra-group variation among their individual members, as compared to inter-group variation. It quickly became apparent that members of the same community cannot necessarily be easily categorized or stereotyped into one or two broad descriptors.  In this sense, we learned the importance of breaking down barriers, such as stereotypes and assumptions about group needs and desires, in order to deliver the most culturally-relevant and appropriate care.

The feedback that students received from the Community Health Interventions was overwhelmingly positive. The majority of community participants were incredibly appreciative of our work with them in multiple areas. In addition, all of the students were mutually grateful that we were so readily accepted into these different communities. The people we worked with embraced not only our education and teaching, but also our cooperative spirit and developing sense of unity with them.

Junior Year- Time Flies

Time Flies

 

It is hard to believe that there is only 6 weeks left in this semester. Which means that our first year of nursing school will be completed. It has been an amazing experience full of emotions. I never dreamed I would learn so much in such a short time!  I have completed clinical rotations at Emory and Northside. I am currently at CHOA and it is a wonderful hospital and my instructor is great chong qi zhang peng.

I had a great spring break, however, getting back in the swing of things is a little hard. Luckily, there are no exams scheduled this week or, spring break would not have been so relaxing. You honestly never get a real break from nursing school until you graduate from the program…. Wait…. Then you have the stress of your nursing career, however, it will be well worth it. 

            This week I began my pediatric rotation and really enjoyed it. The day mainly consisted of orientation of the hospital and the protocols of what you as a nursing student can and cannot do. Having been around healthy children most of my life, it was difficult seeing these sick children and I hope they all recover. I remember sitting in the cafeteria and seeing a family bring in their child who had cancer. The sadness just broke my heart. However, pediatric oncology patients have a higher survival rate than most cancers. The patient that I took care of for the day was full of life (6 months old) but unfortunately was ordered palliative care. Knowing that she is going to die so young is a sad realization. Nevertheless, nursing involves both life and death. You have to embrace each moment and make every moment worth it. It also makes you appreciate your health and the health of your loved ones.

            Florence Nightingale, an amazing woman and also a nurse, once said:

“Nursing is an art;

and if it is to be made an art,

it requires as exclusive a devotion,

as hard a preparation,

as any painter’s or sculptor’s work;

 

for what is the having to do with

dead canvas or cold marble,

compared with having to do with the

living body – the temple of God’s spirit?

 

It is one of the Fine Arts;

I had almost said

the finest of the Fine Arts.”

 

Southern Nursing Research Society Conference, New Orleans

While in Nursing School, there are a variety of different conferences that students are able to attend, both in the state and nationally. They cover a variety of different topics – for example, the Georgia Association of Nursing Students Convention. Recently, I attended the Southern Nursing Research Society (SNRS) Conference in New Orleans, LA. The theme for the conference was: Nurse Scientists as Crucial Partners to Health Delivery. I was selected to present one of the Top Student Posters at the convention, “Perceived Benefits of the HPV Vaccine by Parents who Reside in Rural Areas.” I had an absolutely great time at the conference, where I experienced and learned so much about the field of nursing research.

My initial experience of becoming interested in Nursing Research began over a year ago. One of the courses I took during the Spring semester of my Junior Year (2011) was an Honors Research course. I began working with faculty member Dr. Tami L. Thomas on her research centering on Parental Perceptions of the HPV vaccine. I chose to work with her for a variety of reasons, one of the most important being that my Grandmother passed away due to complications from cervical cancer before I was born.

Throughout the course of the past year, I worked with Dr. Thomas to conduct my own research on the Perceived Benefits of the HPV Vaccine, specifically focusing on parents in rural Georgia. Dr. Thomas not only guided me, but also genuinely supported me in all of my endeavors throughout the research program. With her help, I learned how to make scholarly posters, presentations, and conduct and analyze quantitative and qualitative research. I had never realized that Nursing Research could involve physically going out into a community in need of help, and actually finding a way to make a difference in the population.

Part of my project involved submitting my research abstract to a conference. I chose to apply to SNRS because they offer a variety of opportunities for student researchers. While the majority of the presenters were in their Doctoral Programs, I was selected as one of the few Undergraduate BSN students. I was able to present my work alongside different PhD students in a Top Student Poster section. In addition, I also participated in a panel discussion focusing on different aspects of conducting student research. Some of the other student presentation topics included: Sleep quality & stress in parents whose children have Bronchopulmonary Dysplasia, Managing the healthcare needs of adolescents with Autism, and Children’s perceptions of themselves living with Cystic Fibrosis.

In addition to presenting at the conference, I attended many different sessions and events as well. During the three days of the conference, with over 700 Nurse Researchers/Scientists attending, there were a variety of posters and presentations to view. Some of the presentations that I attended had topics such as: Asthma self-management, Children’s coping behaviors with Autism, the Effects of caffeine & technology on children, Parent’s perceptions of child ICU death, and Predictors of depression in hospital nurses. I found these presentations especially interesting because of their pediatric focus. I also found the session on Clinician Health especially crucial because nurses often forsake their own health when caring for others.

Throughout the conference program, I also attended larger, group-wide events, such as the Opening Keynote with the Dean and Distinguished Professor Dr. Marion Broom from Indiana University School of Nursing. There was also a Plenary Session – SNRS Board Panel: Reference Hearing, a Student Networking Session, and the SNRS Annual Business Meeting. There were a large variety of Nursing Schools present, including Emory School of Nursing, in an Exhibition Hall where they recruited students to MSN, DNP, and PhD programs. Finally, there was a special reception for the prestigious Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Nurse Faculty Scholars Program – which includes my mentor, Dr. Thomas, in the current 2009 cohort.

Finally, after the Conference concluded, I had some free time to go out and explore the city of New Orleans. I spent some time walking down the *famous/infamous* Bourbon Street, in addition to checking out the well-known Café du Monde and Acme Oyster House. This was the first time that I had ever been to New Orleans, and I thought the city was wonderful. I found the people to be exceptionally friendly and festive, and the building architecture absolutely beautiful.

Overall, I had an amazing time at the conference. I was incredibly impressed by all of the work that my fellow nurses and student nurses are accomplishing. In addition, attending the conference helped to solidify my interest in nursing research and desire to continue conducting research throughout my nursing career.

V.L. Franklin Conference on Psychiatric Manifestations of Physical Illnesses

One of my many great experiences throughout nursing school, and consequently one of my passions and interests, was my mental health/psychiatric clinical rotation. While working at the Behavioral Health Hospital, Peachford, I found that I truly enjoyed working with the populations there, especially the adolescent group. Because of this, I chose to attend the 2012 Virginia Lee Franklin Memorial Conference, hosted by the Emory University School of Nursing. This year’s topic was “Psychiatric Manifestations of Physical Illnesses.” Mental health and well-being assessment and treatment should be emphasized in every aspect of nursing, even if a nurse is not specifically working in a behavioral health facility.

The Virginia Lee Franklin Memorial Conference has been held by Emory’s School of Nursing every year for the past few years in honor of former Emory Nursing Student Virginia Lee Franklin. Ms. Franklin graduated from Emory in 1957 with a Master’s Degree in Nursing, with her expertise in neurology. The program brochure stated that she was well-known for being “an excellent teacher, an advocate for the nursing profession, and a compassionate nurse.” Originally, her parents started a fund in her honor, which has since grown into the present day Conference.

The “Psychiatric Manifestations of Physical Illnesses” topic covered the objectives of discussing psychiatric symptoms commonly seen with physical disorders, describing “red flag” physical symptoms that can be associated with psychiatric disorders, and examining specific physical illnesses commonly associated with psychiatric symptoms. The program faculty included the Dean of the School of Nursing, Dr. Linda McCauley, and the main speaker, Dr. Nzinga Harrison, Clinical Adjunct Faculty at Emory’s Department of Behavioral Health and Sciences. In addition, a variety of other well-known School of Nursing Professors and Clinical Faculty Members also participated on the planning committee. The majority of the attendees were nursing students or nurses in the community, with a wide variety of backgrounds. Some of the nursing specialty areas that were represented included: psychiatric, med/surg, neurology, rehabilitation, emergency room, social health, and advanced practice.

Dr. Nzinga Harrison provided an informative, engaging lecture on a variety of different symptoms, both physiological and psychological, in mental health and non-mental health patients. We learned about a variety of different factors that are associated between psychological and physical disorders. For example, we spent time discussing symptoms of Anxiety Disorders (such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder), including: increased heart rate, insomnia, nightmares, decreased concentration, irrational thoughts, irritability, and hyper-vigilance, among others. One of the most important things that I learned was to document symptoms of any patient in terms of the following areas: physical, cognitive, emotional, and behavioral. The vast majority of illnesses present with symptoms in a variety of these areas. Therefore, taking an assessment with this framework in mind will help to include as much information as possible in the diagnosis and treatment.

One of the greatest benefits of Emory is having such a strong, interdisciplinary group of schools and departments. In this instance, the School of Nursing and Dr. Harrison, from the Department of Behavioral Health and Sciences, worked together to share their strengths and knowledge with a variety of students and professionals. This Conference is one of many wonderful educational opportunities that nursing students are able to participate in throughout the year.