Preparing for the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX)

Simulation Poster 015After completing nursing school, every practical nurse (PN) and registered nurse (RN) in the United States must first pass the National Council Licensure Examination (NCLEX) to obtain a license. A final step in the journey toward practicing as a nurse, the exam is designed to test essential knowledge and skills necessary for safe and effective care. While preparing for a comprehensive exam, like the NCLEX, can be challenging, Dr. Angela Amar, PhD, RN, FAAN, Assistant Dean of Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) Education at the Emory University Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, said that nurses build the foundation for success throughout their nursing education.

“Preparation for the NCLEX begins on Day 1 of nursing school,” said Dr. Amar, “All of our coursework, assignments, and testing follows the NCLEX blueprint designed by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN).”

Preparation and perseverance are the keys to success with NCLEX. Dr. Amar offers some tips and strategies to help ease nurses’ anxiety and better prepare them for a successful NCLEX experience the first time around.

Start the Registration Process Early 

State Licensure: Know the licensure requirements for the state where you intend to practice. The licensure requirements and deadlines are different for each state. Visit the board of nursing’s website for the specific state where you intend to practice (for the State of Georgia, visit: www.ncsbn.org/Georgia.htm). Find out if there are any special requirements and address these as quickly as possible. Georgia, like many states requires a criminal background check, which can take several weeks. The State of Tennessee has a special form for first-time, out-of-state applicants that must be requested from the state’s board of nursing and is not available online. To avoid unnecessary delays and additional fees, do your due diligence well in advance of taking the NCLEX to ensure that you have met all of the state’s necessary licensure requirements.

Register with Pearson Vue: In addition, to registering with state licensing boards, you also need to apply to take NCLEX with the test vendor Pearson Vue. Registration can be completed online, by mail, or by telephone. I encourage nurses to call the testing center where they intend to take the exam ahead of time. Some test centers are really busy and have a backlog of students needing to schedule a test date. You may be able to schedule and earlier test date if you are willing to travel outside of your immediate area.

ATT Authorization: After the board of nursing authorizes your eligibility to test, you will receive an Authorization to Test (ATT). Keep this in a safe place. You will need to present this at your testing site to be admitted to the exam.

Prepare Yourself Mentally
Have confidence in yourself. As with many things in life, attitude is everything. If you are eligible to take your state boards, you have already triumphed through the rigors of nursing school and have the knowledge you need to succeed with the NCLEX exam. The NCLEX exam is not filled with trick questions or new information. The exam is designed to evaluate your critical thinking and ability to apply your knowledge and nursing skills in real-world scenarios. Nurses hone these critical analytical skills in the classroom and through experiential learning opportunities throughout their nursing education. The NCLEX style of questioning will be familiar to you from your testing in nursing school.

Analyze – not Memorize  
Memorization can be helpful for some information that may be needed for the NCLEX such as, units of measurement, and laboratory values. But attempting to memorize every detail that you have learned during nursing school will only serve to overwhelm and distract your focus from the mission at hand. Focus on truly understanding the broader concepts of nursing practice knowledge and patient needs in such areas as safe and effective care management, health promotion and maintenance, psychosocial integrity and physiological integrity. Practice the areas that gave you difficulty during nursing school.

Understand the Question  
Read the question carefully, so that you are clear on what is really being asked. Don’t over-analyze the question and deliberate over potential ‘what-if’s.’ The NCLEX questions are focused much more broadly. Understand the rationales of the questions. Think about the concept to which the question is relating and organize your thoughts around that topic.

Don’t Get Bogged Down Trying to Figure Out the Testing Methodology  
The NCLEX exam is administered in a computerized adaptive testing format, which means that each test is tailored to the examinee. Each time the examinee answers a question, the computer will re-estimate his or her probability for success and present the next question based on how they performed with preceding questions. The computer stops the test once performance at a certain level is demonstrated to be the test-taker’s highest ability level. I tell nursing students not to panic if the computer doesn’t shut off after 75 questions. It just means the computer is still trying to figure them out. Most students receive an average of 100 to 110 questions. Likewise, if you are given some easy questions following a few difficult ones, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you didn’t answer the previous questions correctly. The NCLEX also includes at random several test questions (that don’t count) for future exams. Don’t waste time trying to figure out the testing mechanism. Keep calm and keep your head in the game. As long as the computer keeps asking you questions, you are still in the running.

Take Advantage of the Resources Available to You     Deliberate Prac 015
Before you study for the exam, take a practice test, so that you know where you need to concentrate your focus. There are many study guides and resources available, but make sure that the materials that you are using are based on the most recent test. Emory University’s School of Nursing has a list of recommended resources available on its website. Don’t be shy about utilizing your mentors if you need extra help.

***

aamar-HiRes (1)Angela Amar PhD, RN, FAAN
Associate Professor,
Assistant Dean for BSN Education

Angela Amar joined the School of Nursing in September 2012. She earned a doctoral degree in nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in nursing and a bachelor’s degree in nursing, both from Louisiana State University Medical Center.

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Taking the Sneeze out of Spring: Helpful Tips for Surviving Allergy Season

sneezeSpring is in the air, and so are billions of tiny pollen particles from blooming plants, grasses, and budding trees that trigger allergy symptoms in more than 50 million people every year, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology.

The yellow, powdery dust covering everything from cars to patios this time of year is as much a signature of the season as the chorus of birds and the bursting colorful landscapes. But contrary to common misperceptions, this yellow pollen is not responsible for triggering for peoples’ sneezing, runny noses, and itchy eyes. Nurse Practitioner, Clint Shedd, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, said the real culprits are the microscopic grains of pollen that are not visible.

“Pine pollen is what causes the clouds of yellow dust that you see outside,” said Dr. Shedd. “But its particles are too large to be allergenic to most people. Pollen from hardwood trees, grasses and weeds that are light, dry, and carried by wind are what most often causes allergy symptoms.”

The good news is that there is a lot that people can do to ease their suffering. Dr. Shedd shares some helpful information and tips for surviving spring allergy season.

What makes spring particularly difficult for allergy sufferers?     
People are exposed to potential allergens all year-long without ever knowing it. Most of the time, these allergens are not problematic. What makes spring particularly challenging is the compounding effect of irritants from a variety of other sources. The warm, moist conditions creates the ideal environment for things like mold, dust mites, and cockroaches that can trigger both asthma and allergies.  At the same time, trees, trees, grasses, and weeds are starting to bloom and release pollen into the atmosphere. If you consider your allergies a bucket and it’s already three-quarters full with the allergen exposures that humans normally experience year-round, and then you add pollen on top of that, the proverbial bucket eventually overflows and you develop symptoms.

Georgia’s allergy season also lasts longer than in other parts of the country due to its climate and abundance of tress. ‘Peak season’ lasts 10-months and runs between late February and November.

What causes the irritation?
Pollen grains carry 30-40 different proteins on their exterior that are necessary for successful pollination. When pollen grains are breathed in through the nasal passages or come in contact with the membranes of the eye, the immune system mistakenly interprets these proteins as ‘foreign bodies’ and immediately goes into hyper-drive to rid the body of these otherwise harmless substances. It releases a special class of antibodies to attack the allergens, which, in turn, sets off a series of chemical reactions designed to protect the body from infection. Histamines are among the chemicals released into the blood stream during this process and are responsible for triggering the symptoms – the runny nose, swelling, redness, and itchiness – that many experience during pollen season.

What can people do to reduce their exposure to pollen?
There isn’t much you can do about the daily pollen count or the air quality outside, but there are several things that people can do to reduce your exposure to these irritants.  If you are sensitive to pollen, limit your time outdoors as much as possible. As soon as you come home, take off your shoes and change your clothes to limit the pollen and other allergens that you take inside with you. Keep the windows of your home shut and run the air conditioner to continuously recirculate the air inside your home. HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters can also be helpful in filtering out dust mites, pet dander, and other allergens from the air inside your home. Wash your hair at the end of the day and frequently wash your hands and face.  Saline lavages, or saltwater nasal rises can also be helpful in flushing irritants out of the nasal passages.

When are allergies more than a minor irritation?
For most people, over-the-counter medications like nasal sprays and antihistamines can help alleviate allergy symptoms like runny noses, watery eyes, sneezing and itching.

But when an adult or child has symptoms that can’t be managed by medicine or avoidance tactics and their symptoms are interfering with their lives and their ability to work, they should consult a specialist, who can help determine exactly what they are allergic to and develop an effective management plan.

Available treatments options for severe allergy sufferers?
For the minority of patients who have severe allergies or asthma triggered by allergies that can’t be controlled with medication and behavioral methods, allergy shots can be very beneficial.

The allergy shots contain a serum of the actual protein of whatever is prompting the patient’s allergic response. The serum is injected into the back of a patient’s arm and contains a very small quantity of the protein that is gradually increased over time. By introducing the proteins it modifies the patient’s immune system and down regulates their allergic response to those proteins over time, but it doesn’t happen overnight.

***
Clint Shedd, DNP, FNP-BC Dr. Clint Shedd, DNP, RN, FNP-BC, earned his Doctorate of Nursing Practice and his Masters of Nursing from the Georgia Health Sciences University. His background is in critical care, pulmonary and allergy medicine.

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Admission and Access

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At Emory University, we pride ourselves on the mixture of people,beliefs, values, and social circles that make up our campus community. Diversity is multidimensional, leading to a community composed not only of different ethnicities, races, and religions, but also different social backgrounds, geographic locations, and life experiences.

As we shape an incoming class, we look for students who will build upon the campus’ already rich landscape. This is not always easy. High-achieving students come from all family back- grounds as well as from both rural and urban communities. Many student populations are underrepresented or come from families unfamiliar with the college search and application process and who have little access to resources to help them.

Through strategic initiatives, we seek to provide students of all backgrounds many opportunities to experience Emory’s campus and student body, learn about our rigorous programs, and successfully enroll upon admission.

QUESTBRIDGE
QuestBridge (questbridge.org) is a national non-profit organization connecting the nation’s brightest, underserved students with leading higher education institutions. They aim to increase the percentage of low-in-come students attending the nation’s best universities, and Emory University is one of 37 partner institutions for their College Match program.

This year Emory received 1,708 QuestBridge admission applications (up from 1,431 last year) and ultimately narrowed that list down to those students who will become part of the Emory Class of 2020. Last year nearly a hundred QuestBridge applicants did so. Additionally, six QuestBridge Scholars were selected to join the Class of 2020.

In July 2015, Emory also hosted a QuestBridge Conference, welcoming approximately 200 students and their families from across the nation. The role of the conference was to educate guests on the QuestBridge application process as well as introduce them to each of the (then) 36 partner universities. Hosting the conference allowed us to showcase the university and introduce families to the opportunities of Atlanta as well. Emory has recently been selected to host another Quest- Bridge Conference in the summer of 2017, and the Office of Admission welcomes this great opportunity!

ESSENCE
Essence is a fly-in program held in the spring for admitted African American and Latino students. Typically these students have been admitted to several selective universities from across the country. This year approximately 100 students will spend two nights and three days experiencing residence halls, engaging with current students, and exploring campus. The program will take place April 14 to 16.

CORE
CORE (http://coalitionforcollegeaccess.org) was first held in the fall of 2014 for high-achieving high school seniors who are either first-generation college applicants and/or from underrepresented or low socioeconomic backgrounds. This year 60 students were selected to participate in the fly-in program (up from 55 last year). Arriving from across the nation for three days and two nights, students sat in on class faculty lectures, participated in campus life, and learned about the application and financial aid processes. We also hosted a COREtural Night, where a wide variety of individual students and diversity- focused clubs performed, showcasing the wide range of what diversity means at Emory.

COALITION APPLICATION
(http://coalitionforcollegeaccess.org)

In an unprecedented move, a group of over 90 diverse public and private colleges and universities have formed a partnership to reframe the college application process, starting with the Class of 2021. Current Coalition schools include Emory, Duke, Dartmouth, Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Ohio, State, Michigan, Princeton, Wake Forest, and Vanderbilt, just to name a few.

The Coalition is developing a free platform of online tools to streamline the college application experience as well as allow students to curate a “locker” of their academic and non-academic accomplishments. The Coalition seeks to put the student first, promote access to underserved populations, and innovate the college application process for students and their families.

The first iteration of the Coalition platform will go live in April 2016. Beginning in fall 2016, Emory University will accept the new Coalition Application and continue to accept the Common Application and the QuestBridge Application.

Each of these programs and platforms is designed to provide students with hands-on, true-to-life college experiences as well as provide the tools they need to succeed in the college application process. Our desire is to build a relationship with each student and help coach them through what otherwise may be seen as an overwhelming endeavor—applying to a rigorous institution like Emory. Each year we see many unique students enroll as a result of these initiatives, and we look forward to seeing what the Emory Class of 2020 will bring.
– Lisa Coetzee, Communications Manger
Reprinted with permission from The Admission Review

Emory QuestBridge Scholars
Six outstanding students were selected as QuestBridge Scholars in December 2015, becoming the very first members of the Class of 2020. Along with being strong academically, these students are also actively involved in their high schools and communities. The QuestBridge Scholars will will join the Emory community this fall and begin to make their mark both inside and outside the classroom. Here’s what a few of the students had to say.

Miranda Krist
Mesa, Ariz.
Intended Major: Nursing
Dream Job: Not sure yet.
My proudest moment so far is getting accepted to Emory! (It sounds a little cliche, but I’m serious!) I’m also really proud of being accepted, as a sophomore, to the Arizona All State Choir. I was so excited because I had worked so hard on preparing my audition. It was a fantastic experience


Nate SnyderNate Snyder
Gastonia, NC

Intended Major: Nursing
Dream Job: Chief Nursing Officer
My proudest academic achievement thus far was attending the North Carolina Governor’s School, a highly-selective summer residential academic program for the elite students of the state, the oldest of its kind in the U.S. I’ve also been selected as a principal dancer at Gaston Dance Theatre, performing lead roles in shows such as The Nutcracker, West Side Story, and Wicked.

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BUNDLE Jamaica

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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.

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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 abhima5@emory.edu


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.

http://www.italianvirtualclass.com/pdf/summer2016.pdf

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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.

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Spring Workshop Series: R and RStudio

The School of Nursing is excited to announce a “Series of R Workshops” to be held Spring 2016. These 4 workshops will be led by Melinda Higgins, Ph.D., associate research professor and senior biostatistician.

These 4 workshops will each be 2 hours long with a focus on hands-on learning using R and RStudio. These workshops will be introductory and provide skills necessary to begin to be comfortable working with R and RStudio performing data analysis and writing research reports. R is a wonderful programming language for Data Analysis, Graphics and much more.

“However, with great power comes great responsibility!”

R has a steep learning curve. It was not designed to have a point-and-click menu driven interface with canned procedures. Instead it is a rich language for data manipulation and analysis with statistical functions and methods embedded in its core. The rewards are definitely worth the effort. PLUS, IT IS FREE and is supported by literally hundreds of thousands of users and developers worldwide. No other widely-used software can make these claims.

The 4 workshops listed below will be held in the Nursing building room 112 from 10:00-11:50am on each date listed. More Information at http://tinyurl.com/jfwkau7

Four R Workshops and Projected Goals

2/17/2016  “Introduction to R, RStudio and Working in the R Environment”

  • Goal 1: Be able to open and work with R and RStudio on your own computer (or one you have access to) – initial familiarization with R, RStudio interface and R Environment
  • Goal 2: Initial understanding of what “packages” are, how to load them and use them
  • Goal 3: Initial understanding of where and how to get help

2/19/2016 “Introductory Data Management, Statistical Analyses, and Graphics with R” — Register Now

  • Goal 1: Further improvement of skills for working with R, the RStudio interface and configuring your R Environment
  • Goal 2: Read data into and Save data and results out of R/RStudio
  • Goal 3: Run simple statistical summaries and analyses and make simple plots

3/25/2016 “Reproducible Research with R (combining data + analysis + documentation seamlessly)

  • Goal 1: Initial understanding of what Reproducible Research practices are and why they are important
  • Goal 2: Initial understanding of RMarkdown and how to use it to create HTML, PDF or Microsoft WORD formatted reports
  • Goal 3: Initial understanding of “cloud-based” repositories for interacting with and storing data, statistical results, and associated documentation.

4/22/2016 “Getting Started with Statistical Modeling with R”

  • Goal 1: Initial understanding of primary data structures and objects within R
  • Goal 2: Initial understanding of running descriptive univariate and bivariate statistics
  • Goal 3: Initial understanding of simple statistical tests such as t-tests, chi-square tests and linear regression models

There is a video tutorial/how to for downloading R and RStudio and associated programs plus showing how to get these installed, running and configured for the R Workshop series this Spring (this is for Windows, but info is shown where to get the files for a mac as well). This video also includes a brief introduction to using RMarkdown for creating HTML, PDF and Word Documents where the report, code and all statistical analyses are performed in 1 step (a teaser if you will for workshop 3 which will focus on RMarkdown and the process of dynamic documentation and how that supports Reproducible Research).

The video tutorial is now posted YouTube at https://youtu.be/wvzSz2_iPew

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Mofongo and many more new words….

The Puerto Rico experience was a total immersion into this unique culture. We also saw parts of the island that few tourists will ever see.

Our purpose was to get a first-hand experience of the healthcare system in this beautiful, and financially struggling, island. We met the President of the equivalent of the Nursing Association (the Colegio de Enfermeras), visited homeless addicts near the main medical center, accompanied a visiting nurse to deliver recycled christmas toys to low-income children, toured the medical center campus (which houses 6 different hospitals), visited the Central Hospital, the helipad and helicopter, and lastly performed patient education at the methadone clinic (within the campus).

Puerto Ricans are a friendly and hospitable people. I was moved by their generosity and eagerness to share their personal experiences with us. My life and my nursing career will be changed from this experience.

Here are some visual highlights:

Artwrork by residents of Salvation Army shelter in San Juan

Artwrork by residents of Salvation Army shelter in San Juan

Scope of Practice of the "Colegio de Enfermeras"

Scope of Practice of the “Colegio de Enfermeras”

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Jerrica holding the cutest baby around

Jerrica holding the cutest baby around

Delivering a donation to our partner organization

Delivering a donation to our partner organization

A typical street scene

A typical street scene

About to board our wah-wah (van)

About to board our wah-wah (van)

Our first taste of Mofongo

Our first taste of Mofongo

Saying goodbye to Ricardo, our documentarian

Saying goodbye to Ricardo, our documentarian

 

Submitted by Jennifer Ratcliffe

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Salvation Army in Puerto Rico

On Monday January 4, 2016, we visited one of the many Salvation Army sites in Puerto Rico. From our tour of the facility we learned that the men who struggle with addiction are allowed to stay on site. The men have their own sleeping quarters and they have their meals on site as well. There is a set routine that they must carry out everyday. This routine consists of breakfast, work, dinner, and mass in the chapel. The men have jobs where they either work in the store below or go to pick up donations. They are also given a free day each week where they can break from the routine and relax. On the day of our visit we were able to talk with the men after they had dinner at 3:30. We took their blood pressures and spoke with them about their time at the Salvation Army. We learned that they were from all over the world. They were from places like the Middle East, the United States, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and more. Through discussion we also found out that there were men who had been at the facility for either less than a year to ten or more.

After we spoke with the men we broke off into groups and gave seminars about PTSD, anxiety, nutrition, wound care, and hygiene. My group gave an anxiety seminar in the chapel. When we started a couple of men left because they did not like the exercise. We played a game called “Fear In a Hat”. In this game we had each participant write down their biggest fear on a piece of paper anonymously. Then we had each participant pick out a paper from the hat and read the fear that was written. Finally, we spoke about the difference between fear and anxiety and did a breathing exercise. We turned off the lights and had the participants breathe deeply while being mindful of their environment. We had great feedback from the men. The group consensus was that there was an overall feeling of relaxation after they did the exercise. Overall, we had a positive and welcoming experience at the Salvation Army.

 

Photos:

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Jennifer Ratcliffe taking BP

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Anxiety Presentation by Beenish Ali and Shefene Wright

Anxiety Presentation by Beenish Ali and Shefene Wright

 

 

 

Submitted by: Shefene Wright

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A different World: The best experience of nursing school

Have you ever traveled? Visited different countries, cities and resorts? I’m sure at this point in your life you have done so at least once. The real question is, have you ever traveled on a mission trip? I can say I  have been blessed to have accomplished this one on my check list and hope to do many more. This past week I went to Jamaica on an Alternative Winter Break trip and I can only say it is one of the best experiences of my time in nursing school.

The trip to Jamaica started the day after my last final which made it a bit stressful. I then started to wonder about my level of insanity to have chosen a trip during this time, but I can definitely say it was all worth it. Along with volunteering at different churches and communities doing different health screenings, my group and I had a chance compare the Jamaican and U.S. Health systems. This was the icing on the cake for me. We toured the Cornwall Regional hospital, the main hospital in the St. James Parish, and shadowed the nurses. It felt like we were in a different world of nursing. It truly amazes me that even through the differences in healthcare and resources, we still manage and survive. It means so much to go on this trip as a student because the experience humbles you and allows you to think about how you can help change or improve things.

While, on this trip I learned more than a handful that will supplement my nursing role and career. If you have not had the chance to participate on a trip abroad or getting ready to do so, don’t you worry it is totally worth it. You will grow, adapt, mature and enjoy your time. I am brave enough to promise you that!

 

By: Nadege Pierre, BSN Class of 2016

 

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