Archive for March 30, 2016

BUNDLE Jamaica

We are so thankful for your profession because nurses give life.

This past winter break, I had the opportunity to travel to Kingston, Jamaica on my very first international mission trip. Although I have been to the Caribbean before, I was especially excited to learn about nursing in another country and observe the similarities and differences to practices in the United States.

We spent the majority of our trip working along side the brothers of Missionaries of the Poor. Missionaries of the Poor, founded in 1981 by Father Richard Ho Lung, is an international Roman Catholic order of brothers dedicated to serving destitute and abandoned children, women and men of Jamaica. The minute we arrived at the shelter, we automatically felt the positive spirits of the residents. We were immediately greeted with handshakes, hugs, and many smiling faces.

I have especially been interested in pediatric care throughout my nursing school journey. Therefore, I was able to spend much of my time at the “Bethlehem Center” caring for children ranging from ages 1 to 22 years old. Many of the children are living with conditions such as cerebral palsy and asthma. While at the center, we had the opportunity to administer albuterol treatments, perform full body assessments on children and therefore refer those especially in critical conditions to the local hospital, as well as assist the brothers with activities of daily living such as changing and feeding the children. The children’s favorite part of the days was when we were able to take them outside to sing, dance, blow bubbles, and play with each other. I admired the beautiful spirits of the children because even though many of them had been abandoned by their families and lived with such life altering conditions, they were still children who enjoyed the simple things in life like singing and dancing.

Towards the end of our trip, we visited Kingston Public Hospital (KHP) where we compared and contrast the different aspects at hand in Jamaica’s healthcare system. While touring the hospital we spoke with many nurses to gain more insight into the everyday life as a nurse at KPH. Similar to the US, the nurses expressed that understaffing was a huge barrier they face every day. In addition, overcrowding often adds another obstacle for them to overcome. However, what I most admired about many of the nurses was their optimism.  They may not have the same resources as the US, but they’re commitment and passion to care for patients as best they could were absolutely inspiring.

Not only was I able to experience the beautiful country of Jamaica, but also I was able to meet, hug, smile and laugh with dozens of beautiful people who all continued to fuel my passion to be a nurse.

Anika, a current BSN student and BUNDLE scholar is hopeful to continue embracing the public and global health in her future nursing aspirations. Her interests include acute and chronic conditions within the pediatric population and plans to work in underserved populations in the near future.

Medicine and Compassion: A Journey through Italy

Every day, we learn to remind ourselves as healthcare providers how to be effective communicators and focus on patient-centered care. We learn about therapeutic communication and how to build an empathetic and compassionate relationship with our patients. However, 78% of providers think that they are providing compassionate care, and only 54% of patients think that they receive it. These numbers are not good numbers. This past summer, I received a scholarship to travel to Italy to study what it means to practice medicine with and without compassion. The program explores in-depth Italian literature, art, architecture, history, cultural and political development throughout the ages, from the early Etruscans, Phoenicians and Greeks to the Italy we experience today visiting towns from the northern alps to the southern shores of Sicily. We visited over 50 sites and museums, and over 47 towns and cities including visits to: Orvieto, Pisa, Assisi, Cinque Terre, Siena, Montalcino, San Gimignano, Pienza, Lucca, Florence, Ravenna, Padova, Vicenza, Venice, Verona, Naples, Pompeii, Sicily, Capri, Paestum, Sorrento, Matera, and many more. It is unique journey that integrates medical humanities with on-site cultural immersion. We worked to analyze visual art, cultural history and literature in the lens of what is compassion and what lessons can art communicate to healthcare?

Through each town, we investigated notions of compassion, mercy, and charity as civic and religious virtues illustrated through Italian history, art, literature social institutions, current events and daily life. With group discussions, individual research and lectures from faculty from the Center for Ethics and Schools of Medicine & Public Health, I was able to fully grasp the scope of Italian culture, history and identity. I learned that the arts and humanities help us demystify the notion of death, dying and suffering by providing countless examples of lives that have come before us. Our world is uncomfortable with conversations that speak about human fragility and finality, and it is increasingly hard to speak about the self completely in conversations because there is never an appropriate place or time to talk about such deep questions in the whirlwind pace of the environment that we all live in. Therefore, we all find ourselves by the bedside of those who are suffering and dying where the patient, health care professional, and visiting relatives struggle with how to be present to one another in their vulnerability.

Experiencing art may help to open one’s mind to a different way of thinking, to see the world or situation through another’s eyes. This helps to develop empathy, an essential element in a healthcare provider’s character. During my six weeks in Italy, I examined historical and recent writings from the medical humanities and explored the meaning of compassion and how it has affected the care and health of people over time. I explored multiple paths of communication with “others,” allowing an enhanced sense of global vision within me. I also looked at renditions of compassion in Italian art, attempting to understand what various artists sought to communicate about compassion, suffering and healing. This program has been the most challenging academic and personal journey I have ever had at Emory, but every moment has been invaluable and transformative. It is an experience that has changed my perspective on traveling to other countries, learning about other cultures, and ultimately, I have gained a deeper understanding about myself.

Alisha is a BSN student and sees that being a BUNDLE scholar is an opportunity to embark on a path that combines clinical practice and community engagement. From her past experiences of volunteering in Honduras or doing research in the cardiology department, she has discovered her passion to would in nursing, public health and research. Alisha’s goal is to work with underprivileged populations by providing compassionate patient care despite the limited resources and tragic levels of poverty and sickness.

You can contact me at

Information about the program used in this article has been referenced from the source below, along with using the insights and notions she learned from her professors, Cory Labrecque and Judith Moore.

My BUNDLE Experience

Kevin_CurrieAs a future nurse, I hope to develop a strong base of critical care expertise by working in an ICU before pursuing a doctorate in nurse anesthesia practice. As I develop professionally as a nurse through college and into my career, I strive to go beyond simply caring for patients and hope to make a meaningful impact in the field of nursing and beyond; that is to say that I strive to become more than a nurse; I want to become a nurse leader. And that is why I joined the BUNDLE Program.

The BUNDLE program has prompted me to visit a fascinating exhibit at the CDC about refugee crises, question what it means to be a leader, and practice my public speaking and networking, among other things. As a man who has wanted to be a nurse for at least six years now, the questioned abilities and masculinity, lack of male mentors, and numerous attempts of redirecting my career ambitions had set doubt in the back of my mind.

The BUNDLE program has offered me an immensely supporting community of beautiful human beings that has given me confidence to cast aside doubt in pursuit of my goals as well as offer constant support through trying times. I believe that a nurse’s holistic way of thinking, constant interactions with society’s marginalized individuals, and highly recognized and respected title help to more fully comprehend and address some of society’s shortcomings and public health needs, in particular.

I see nurse leaders not as leaders confined to the domain of nursing, but rather as unrestricted leaders with unique and valuable qualities; the word “nurse” is a badge of honor to be worn in front of the word “leader”. The BUNDLE program has helped me come to that realization. Thanks to the stimulating activities of the BUNDLE program, I am increasingly more drawn to develop and apply these unique nurse leadership traits in hopes of confronting and combatting some public health and societal issues through research, advocacy, and action.

Byline: I am currently a third year student from Nashville, Tennessee pursuing my BSN at Emory. In addition to my BUNDLE Program involvement, I am in the Honors Program, VANAP Program, and serve as secretary of Emory’s Men’s Water Polo team.