“All in favor, Say I”

Although Friday was the last day of NCLEX review, it proved to be as beneficial as the first. We then attended the second plenary session to hear Dr. Cynthia Rushton speak about nursing ethics and moral courage. Her insight and stories lead to a very thought-provoking conversation, which everyone enjoyed. She challenged the group to become better leaders by pledging to practice ethical nursing.

 

After a quick break, we all gathered in the House of Delegates to support Erin Reeves as she presented her resolution. Erin did an outstanding job and her resolution passed with 379 votes in favor! The delegates continued to stay in the house and vote on the remaining resolutions. Several resolutions were very controversial and the debates went back-and-forth with heated pro/con statements. We are all so appreciative of the long hours that our delegates spent in the House, thank you! Other Emory students were presenting their research in the poster exhibit hall- it was another great day of Emory representation.

 

A group decided to venture out and try the infamous burger joint, In-N-Out. After eating a “double-double” and animal fries everyone was full, satisfied (and a little sleepy). A couple of the seniors decided to work off those burgers and went for a 4-mile run later that afternoon. Others spent the afternoon enjoying the beautiful weather and sights in Phoenix. It was nice to have the reminder of the evening to relax and gear up for our final day and closing ceremony!

 

 

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Activating: Selfie Stick

The NSNA Convention has many breakout sessions anywhere from “Med-Surge Made Easy” to “Working with Cancer Patients –What You Need To Know!” However, each morning the whole convention meets at the Plenary Session for the only time each day that all of the NSNA Convention guests are together and unite for the betterment of the Nursing profession. Dr. Susan Hassmiller, the Senior Advisor for Nursing at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, gave the keynote speech about the future of nursing where she called upon nursing students to make a positive change and widen the scope of practice of RNs and Nurse Practitioners. The campaign has already been successful in advancing nursing education, practice, leadership, diversity, and interprofessional collaboration. We all left feeling inspired and wanted to be a part of a campaign that already has accomplished so much.

Later in the day, we visited the exhibition hall with hundreds of schools for degree advancement, hospitals for employment, and different NCLEX prep courses that are available. We got a lot of valuable information and free goodies, the fan favorite had to be a selfie-stick given out by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing. We all took some awesome selfies and put our new gifts to good use! Kaplan already has given Emory an amazing special for an NCLEX prep course, but at the exhibition a five-question test was available and if someone scored a 100, the course would be given for free. Only three people out of thousands got the perfect score and 2/3 were our very own Lindsay Davis and Christie Wehner! Erin Reeves also made Emory proud today when she presented her Resolution on the harmful effects of e-cigarettes and the need for federal regulation at the House of Delegates. Not only did Erin do an incredible job in presenting the resolution, but also fellow nursing students across the country only spoke in favor to the resolution and none against. Nursing students are always making Emory proud.

The Georgia caucus met with the Georgia Association of Nursing Students and Emory had a big showing to the caucus to not only represent Emory but also our incredible state of Georgia. The Council of Student Leaders Convention was discussed and this symmer it will be held in Macon, Georgia. For any Emory students interested in going, please refer your questions to the amazing Emory students on the GANS Board, Rajeeyah Hunt-Strong and Raissa Mutuyimana. After a long, informative day at NSNA, all thirty students and our wonderful faculty, Kathy Markowski, Terri Ades, Sally Lehr, and Arnita Howard, went to unwind together at a cute little British-style cottage restaurant. We spent the night playing cornhole and eating some authentic British food like fish & chips or bangers & mash. It was a wonderful end to a wonderful day and we’re excited to do it all again for Day 3 of the NSNA Convention tomorrow!

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NSNA Think Tank

We couldn’t live without P01 for too long without finding our very own NSNA Convention P01—The North Ballroom! Acquainted to a large room with no windows, reviewing electrolytes makes us feel right at home in our early morning, four-hour NCLEX review course—just on a grander scale. We spent the morning learning the tricks of the trade so we can all be successful on our ominous boards just a short two months away.

The most important aspect of NSNA is the House of Delegates, in which amendments and resolutions are debated. The deliberation got heated as votes were almost split down the middle. It set the tone for a controversial, yet interesting debate that is to come for the remainder of the convention. During the House of Delegates, it was so exciting that our school received a special shout out for having the most pre-registered students out of thousands of schools at the convention. You can bet we cheered for the school that we are so proud to represent here in Phoenix!

While we spend 90% of our time in P01 at the school, the same holds true for the convention. We ventured away from the North Ballroom to an upstairs, beautiful ballroom where we heard an inspiring speech from the keynote speaker, Dr. Gerri Lamb from Arizona State University, at the opening ceremony. Dr. Lamb spoke about all the opportunities that lie ahead in such a significant time in nursing and healthcare. Since Emory was re-certified as a Stellar School this year, we not only got to sit in a special, let’s call it VIP section, but we also were recognized in front of the entire convention at the opening ceremony. It was a good day to be an Emory University nursing student!

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In case you haven’t flown in the last 20 years, smoking is prohibited on this flight

Alarm clocks ring at 4:30 AM and thirty Emory Nursing students slowly get out of bed, rubbing tired eyes. Having been used to getting up this early for various clinical rotations across the city getting up at dawn is a familiar task, but this time we reached for suitcases instead of scrubs. Cups of coffee and plane tickets in hand, we headed to the National Student Nurses’ Association annual conference taking place in the convention capital of the world—Phoenix, Arizona!

Being the proactive, hardworking nursing students that was instilled in us early at Emory, we all signed up for the NCLEX review sessions that are early in the morning of each day, which meant we had to arrive to Phoenix a day earlier. Luckily, we had some free time before the convention started and we fully took advantage of it! We viewed it as a time to relax from all the studying and clinical hours we are accustomed to and to get excited for the next four days of convention.

Upon landing, we wasted no time in getting to the pool! It was a wonderful way to bond our motely crew into one awesome, cohesive unit. We spent the afternoon laughing, joking, and somehow talking about something other than tests, classes, and grades (although, beta blockers and TCAs were discussed on the flight). We learned new things about each other and how each person has had different experiences in their lives to add to each of our own unique nursing approach.

Staying in the heart of downtown Phoenix gave us many fun opportunities that are within walking distance, including a five-minute walk away from Chase Field, where the Arizona Diamondbacks play. There is truly no better way to enjoy a crisp, spring evening than with an all-American baseball game. We were lucky enough to have our incredible advisor and professor, Kathy Markowski and Dr. Terri Ades, join us for a night of stadium hot dogs and ball. Soon the time change began to hit us and we hit the hay early to be ready to rock our NCLEX review course bright and early!

 

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Montego Bay: Day 3

We went to women’s center and a school for the deaf. In the women’s center, many of the girls were pregnant and had difficulties with areas of their life. We taught them about proper care during pregnancy and advice on how to be less stressed and maintaining a good mental health. We engaged them and helped connect them to each other. 

At the school of deaf, through using a translator, we were able to teach them about dental hygiene, nutrition, and maintaining positivity and having a healthy mental health. The children loved it. In addition, we also provided healthcare screenings. The people were very welcoming and thankful. I’m glad I can be part of this great experience.  

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Montego Bay – Day 4

Today was clinic day!  Our group ran a health clinic at the New Testament Church of God in Montego Bay; we were able to screen 118 members of the community for BMI, blood pressure, blood glucose, and vision.  After each participant was screened, they received individual counselling on their results.

Many of our participants were anxious to have themselves tested. They were worried about their health and concerned about what their results would mean.  Many of them had elevated BMI’s, blood sugars, and blood pressures, and therefore, had cause for concern.  Counselling provided these patients a chance to strategize about how they could change their patterns in order to improve their health.  Many were receptive, but some were not.

Something that struck me today was that, as nurses, there is only so much we can do for our patients.  We can give them all the information we have, we can help them plan changes in their health behaviors, we can encourage them to make those changes, but they have to actually make the adjustments for themselves.  It was difficult to watch patients leave knowing they probably wouldn’t make any modifications and their health would continue to suffer.  On the other hand, it was extremely rewarding to teach patients health strategies, knowing they likely would make those adjustments and benefit their overall health in the long-term.

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Montego Bay – Day 2

Adjustment and flexibility were the themes of our second day in Montego Bay.  The ability to be flexible with plans, teaching, and scheduling was required at each place we visited.  Our team was able to meet these challenges, however, by working together and supporting each other.  At the end of the day, we were exhausted, but the extra effort was worth it in order to meet our patients’ needs.

Our first stop for the day was the Challenge Basic School.  More than 100 children dressed in their yellow gingham school uniforms were waiting for the nurses from the United States to come and teach them.  Our plan was to teach basic dental care, nutrition, and exercise.  We quickly realized, though, that we didn’t have all the materials we needed, forcing us to improvise.  Working together with the teachers in the school, we got the children to sing and dance, to talk about their favorite fruits and vegetables, and to sing songs about brushing their teeth.  There were smiles all around, and the students learned quite a bit about maintaining their own health.  Success!

Blossom Gardens Orphanage was our second stop for the day.  Our plan was to teach the caregivers at the orphanage about childhood developmental milestones and methods to help the children meet those milestones.  We also planned to spend time with the children, giving them some extra attention and love.  We were late to the orphanage because our first session had run over, and when we arrived, two other groups were already there working.  Running short on time to teach the caregivers, we had to abandon our teaching plans altogether and focus specifically on interacting with the children.  No complaints from these nurses, and the kids seemed to thrive on the extra attention!

By the time the day was over, we were hot, tired, and hungry.  Our goals had been to reach our patients, teaching them some basics about how to protect their health and the health of those they care for.  The methods we used were not necessarily the methods we had planned to use, but with a little extra effort and some adjustment along the way, we were successful nonetheless.  Learning the values of adjustment and flexibility in the provision of nursing care was another great lesson from our second day in Montego Bay…

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Montego Bay – Day 1

Day one of our Alternative Winter Break experience in Jamaica was spent at Montego Bay’s Cornwall Regional Hospital.  Cornwall is a 10-story, 400-bed public hospital operated by the Jamaican government.  It provides comprehensive medical services free of charge to the residents of western Jamaica.  Our job today mainly was to observe and reflect.

I was overwhelmed by the huge number of patients this hospital serves.  People were waiting outside the main entrance to get in, people were everywhere inside the hospital waiting to be seen in clinic, and most beds in every ward were full.  In the Accident and Emergency department, a sea of patients waited their turns to be triaged and seen by a doctor.

Watching the providers work, however, was inspiring.  According to one, resources are scarce and funding is limited, but providers work together for the good of the patient.  Often, nurses work overtime or shift their schedules to accomodate their patients.  As one provider said, he could make 60x the money in the United States that he makes in Jamaica, but his passion is to serve his patients in Jamaica and to advocate for better resources for their healthcare.  His statement was a reminder of why I chose nursing in the first place – not for the money, but to serve my patients however I’m needed.  A good lesson for the first day of Alternative Winter Break…

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Fun Times at Cornwall Regional Hospital

After early morning preparations, we stepped onto the bus and started our two hour ride toward Cornwall Regional Hospital. When we first reached the place, we immediately noticed the difference between that hospital and our local Emory hospital. There were many people standing in front of the entrance, casting their shadows on the pinkish hospital exteriors, and waiting for entry into the hospital. Before anyone could enter, a security guard made sure no hazardous materials were allowed in. Unfortunately my Canon made that list so we had to store all of the cameras in the nursing administration room, which the nurses were kind enough to share with us. We were introduced to the various nursing officers of the hospital. They all wore very strict uniform consisting of bleached white attire and a little white tiara-like hat. It seemed to be the uniform that we used to have in the states many years ago. We then received a tour of the entire hospital complex. The hospital building itself seemed to be divided into various units like in the US. However, the interior were less technologically advanced and also lacked many of the strictness that we have in our nursing units. The patients were put into the same room, meaning patient privacy is significantly reduced and forget about HIPPA compliance. However, the hospital staff seemed to know how to efficiently use their resources and amazingly managed to run the hospital successfully with their constraints.

The nursing culture in Cornwell seemed to be consist of a supporting environment for coworkers and everyone seemed to respect everyone. They addressed each other as “sister”. Furthermore, the nurses and doctors also seem to be very friendly with each other. While many nursing units such as Emory G6 in the US have been improving on creating positive and collaborative workplace culture, we certainly have some road to go when it comes to the culture of “eating the young” that might still exist in some of the areas in our healthcare system. The Cornwall hospital did not seem to have the “eating the young” culture.

However, the hospital was extremely crowded and patients often have to wait more than four hours before seeing a physician. According to one of the nurses, many Jamaicans underutilize the primary providers and prefer to go directly to the hospital because it saves them time. The healthcare system in Jamaica is funded by the government, meaning patients do not pay for their care in the same extent as in the US. This might contribute to why many patients seem to be grateful and patient as they wait the long hours to get treated by a doctor.

After lunch, our group was divided up and sent to different areas in the hospital. One of those areas was the ER, which is where I ended up at. I was able to witness the triage model the clinicians used. Since they were still using paper charting, when a patient first come into the ER, a doctor would assign a colored paper, ranging from red, yellow, and green, indicating the acuity of the patient. That color also indicate how long the patient might have to wait so while it is bad to get a red paper since it indicates high acuity, it also means seeing the doctor faster. The nurses played a vital role in the ER like many other places. They had a special room where nurses assessed vitals, conducted labs, and other tests to help with healthcare issue. Despite the many patients, the workflow was efficient enough that they tend to get all their patient looked at by the time they close. With their limited resources and amazing culture between the staff, Cornwall was inspiring.

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Jamaica- Alternative Winter Break Day 1

Jamaica, we have arrived! The alternative winter break Montego Bay Jamaica crew just had our first service day on the island. All 19 of us woke up early and excited to tour Cornwall Regional Hospital. After leaving our debriefing session tonight, I realized that I was not the only one inspired by this hospital. Where do we even start?

We were greeted this morning by the certified nurse administrators of the hospital which is a very highly regarded position. They were formal in their attire and their communication around the hospital. They were also very excited to see us. We separated into two groups to tour all TEN floors of the hospital. My group, led by Sister Brown (All of the CNA’s are referred to as sister because they are a part of the British Ministry of Health) started on the first floor and worked our way up. I must note that walking ten flights of stairs in an open air/outdoor hospital in the Jamaica sun is a but of struggle, but it was worth every minute.

After the tour, we split up into several groups and worked in the various clinicals. Some were in the emergency department following doctors or injection nurses, while others were observing the orthopedic and general med clinics. Tonight, we were all asked to say four things that we were impressed by… To give you a better impression of how we felt about it I have listed some below:

Caitlin Brown “I was impressed by the attitudes of all of the nurses. They work so well with the resources they have and it reminded me of why I want to be a nurse. They have this job because they want to help people- not for the paycheck or anything like that.”

Angel Padgett “I really like how respected the position of a nurse is. It seems like they run the hospital and that is the profession that people aspire to be in this region.”

Anat Vajima “The doctors and nurses work very well together. They also all take time with the patients. I didn’t see them rushing patients through the system. They explained things very well and if patients were having a hard time understanding, they would go to great lengths and take the time to help the patient.”

Overall, we were very impressed with the attitudes, interpersonal relationships and communication capabilities. We are looking forward to visiting orphanages tomorrow and presenting our health promotion modules.

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