Volunteers are needed for:
- Family planning
- Health education
- IYCF support
- Pregnancy care
*A two-week minimum commitment is requested*
Volunteers are needed for:
*A two-week minimum commitment is requested*
Seven students who graduated from the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing’s ’s first Doctor of Nursing Practice class are utilizing the analytical skills and evidence-based practice principles that they gained to address some of our most pressing health care challenges.
The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing launched its DNP program in 2014 in response to the vast changes in the nation’s health care delivery system. The program prepares nurses at the highest level of professional nursing practice to lead interdisciplinary health care teams and to improve systems of care, patient outcomes, quality and safety. The program emphasizes clinical leadership in the specialty areas of health systems leadership and population health. Below, Emory DNP graduates reflect on their experience in the program, their career goals, and why they chose Emory.
Current Career Position:
I am currently an active member of a healthcare consulting business. I am also excited to begin a two year nursing post-doctorate as part of the Atlanta VA Quality Scholars Program. The areas that I will be focusing on within the program include implementation science in areas of quality improvement, patient safety, optimizing healthcare access, and optimizing healthcare delivery.
Ultimate Career Goal:
My ultimate career goal is to teach operations consulting. I also want to complete Board level work focused on quality, safety, optimizing operational efficiencies, and promoting the value proposition that the profession of nursing offers in senior positions.
Favorite Memory from the DNP Program:
My favorite memory from the program was the DNP leadership and faculty transparency. The faculty offered their expertise and actionable support that helped foster excellence in all program and project areas. This program offered networking and high caliber program peers that are true exemplars in their respective specialty areas.
I chose Emory University because of their world class reputation. They offered a very unique hybrid DNP program that is not available anywhere else. Both the faculty and the dean are visionaries that lead by example. They are genuinely interested in cultivating people within the nursing profession.
Current Career Position:
Currently I am assigned to the Defense Health Agency in the Health Information Technology directorate as the lead for Operational Testing of the new Electronic Health Record for the Department of Defense. My clinical background as a Nurse Practitioner allowed my company to utilize me as a subject matter expert regarding a provider’s needs and challenges associated with patient care workflows and documentation.
Ultimate Career Goal:
Knowing that the future of healthcare will involve even more digital overlap than today, ranging from Electronic Health Records to big data analysis of complex disease management, I hope to be involved at the ground level. I want to ensure that providers have the tools they need to deliver effective and efficient care, while patients have the information they need to understand and participate in the care.
The DNP Degree and Your Goal:
The DNP degree with be essential in helping me reach my goals. My DNP project focused on websites and smartphone apps that are known as Patient Portals. Patient Portals give patients direct access to a variety of healthcare management tools, such as scheduling appointments or obtaining medication refills. The project identified what was currently working for patients, what was not, and what patients hoped for in the future. This project provided insight that wasn’t always obvious or intuitive. As the emphasis on electronic tools for patients and providers builds, it will be essential to understand and implement what helps rather than hinders effective healthcare delivery. This degree provided me with a new vocabulary and understanding of the broader healthcare delivery environment that will certainly help me reach my goals.
Favorite Memory from the DNP Program:
Saturday schools were the highlight of the program. Interacting with other students, faculty, and guest speakers helped motivate me to continue through all of the reading, writing, and hard work that it took to complete the program. Each Saturday school energized me to hunker down and continue moving toward the rewarding finish.
I chose Emory because of the reputation it upheld. When I was ranking schools for my doctorate program after completing my Master’s degree to become a nurse practitioner, Emory was my first choice. I am proud to have completed my DNP program at such an amazing school.
Current Career Position:
I am currently a Senior Nurse-Midwife at Baylor College of Medicine working primarily in a clinical position.
Ultimate Career Goal:
My ultimate career goal in to improve the overall health and well-being of women and infants. I hope to obtain this goal by increasing the access women and infants have to certified nurses and nurse midwives. I want to focus my career specifically in the Texas area.
The DNP Program and Your Goal:
The DNP program at Emory provided me with the necessary tools to reach my goals. It has prepared me to represent my profession with both confidence and polish. Because of this program, I am able to exemplify nurses at the state governance level as well as the highest levels of leadership at my institution.
Favorite Memory from the DNP Program:
The Semester Saturdays were the most valuable part of DNP program. This is where we not only learned from the faculty, but also from our fellow students. The presentations we made and the presentations we watched prepared us for leadership roles in a way that an online based program could never do.
Choosing Emory was an easy choice. I chose Emory because of its outstanding reputation. I also chose Emory because this particular DNP in Leadership program offered me a way to add exactly what I needed to my skill set that I could not find anywhere else.
Current Career Position:
I currently work as a Nurse Practitioner for a neurosurgeon. I have enjoyed working for him and in this position for the last 15 years.
Ultimate Career Goal:
While I find my current position full-filling and it allows me to grow, I would love to build on what I have accomplished over the last 15 years. My ultimate career goal is to find ways to promote nurse practitioners in surgical careers.
The DNP Program and Your Goal:
The DNP program at Emory gave me the ability to become better-rounded within my nurse practitioner career. Healthcare is always changing and evolving, therefore we need to evolve with it if we want to continue to grow as opportunities arise. This program has allowed me to do just that.
Favorite Memory from the DNP Program:
The thing I enjoyed the most about the DNP Program was the camaraderie of my classmates. Emory is made up of so many different kinds of students, all with different backgrounds. Each of us worked in different clinical environments, however we used our common foundation of nursing to unite us.
I chose Emory because I knew I would have terrific mentors. Emory is a school with a wonderful reputation and it provides the exciting opportunity to be part of the inaugural class. In addition, I had already received my BSN and MSN from Emory, so it just felt right to come back here for my doctorate.
The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing welcomed its newest cohort of Accelerated BSN/MSN students this summer. The Accelerated BSN/MSN program enables students with a non-nursing undergraduate degree to move quickly into a career as an advanced practice nurse or midwife. We catch up with several students to find out how their nursing journey began and why they chose Emory.
Key Largo, Florida
Why I chose Emory:
I chose Emory because of its excellent nursing program that is ranked fourth in the United States. Emory stood out to me because of its NCLEX pass rate and the big role Emory Healthcare plays in the community. Social responsibility is very important to me and I feel as if Emory is a great leader in this area.
What you hope to get involved with at Emory:
Emory Multicultural Nursing Student Association (EMNSA) and the student government
Working as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA), the nation’s largest health care provider
Served active duty for the United States Air Force
English with a minor in Medical Humanities
Why I chose Emory:
I chose Emory because the School of Nursing provided me with a fast-track program. This program allowed me to receive my Bachelor’s degree in nursing alongside a specialized master’s degree. This, plus the well- earned, highly- positive reputation of Emory University, made the choice a seamless one.
What you hope to get involved with at Emory:
Teach yoga classes and volunteer for organizations serving people with disabilities
Working for Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner
She loves cows; she even had a cow themed birthday party in the fifth grade
Agricultural Science and Environmental Systems
Why I chose Emory:
I chose Emory because of its commitment to excellence in producing many of the country’s top nursing professionals. In addition, I was drawn to Emory’s extensive range of advanced practice specialties and dual degree programs.
What you hope to get involved with at Emory:
Farmworker Family Health Program in Moultrie, Georgia
Serve as an Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner in a large, Level 1 Trauma Center, providing care to patients with a wide range of traumatic injuries
Grew up on a farm in South Georgia, where his family raised beef cattle and grew things like cotton and peanuts
We wish this accomplished class well as they begin their nursing journey at Emory University and look forward to seeing the great things from them as they pursue their personal and professional goals in nursing. Best of luck AMSN Class of 2019!
The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University honors the hard work and dedication of nurses around the world – the unsung heroes who make such significant contributions with so little fanfare. Whether they are promoting health and preventing disease; providing care at bedside; conducting research; or teaching the next generation of health care providers, nurses use their knowledge and skill to care for people and improve communities every day.
But nurses also received help and support from many along the way. Below, Emory nurses reflect on the amazing individuals and life events that have shaped their careers as nurses.
The most influential person(s) in the development of my career was first my mother, who was a nurse and who encouraged my love of health care and supported my interest in providing individuals with the tools that they needed to stay healthy or to cope with medical concerns. The second influence came in my early 30s through my doctoral program when I met epidemiologist Barbara Valanis, now senior investigator emeritus for the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. Barbara inspired me to balance nursing and environmental science, taught me how to write successful grant applications and the importance of dissemination of knowledge. Barbara authored several editions of Epidemiology and Health in Nursing and Health. I am fortunate to have had many mentors in my professional career, but these two women were most influential in shaping my professional career.
When I talk about my career as a professional nurse, I often reference the incredible education I have had beginning with the Medical College of Georgia where I received my BSN in 1975 after my Mother’s physician advised her to make sure I attended a school that gave me a bachelor’s degree because he thought that is what ‘nurses needed today.’ Three decades later after exhilarating clinical practice in emergency and cardiology and progressive leadership roles, I received my PhD from the University of Colorado, and that was my true trip to the well loving every minute of those 5 years! All of this background is foundational to my true inspiration. I was fortunate to be in the right place at the right time to encounter some very important individuals who inspired me to keep reaching and to actualize the impact nurses should have on patients and communities. First were my parents who taught me how to work hard and keep a sense of humor. Next a CEO showed me the importance of what patients think about the care we provide and a second CEO who pushed me to understand the financial impact of effective nursing care. There were also nurses who inspired me – one CNO who led her organization to be a Magnet hospital – eventually, I did that as well. Also there was another nurse executive who demonstrated the importance of nurse-led research – I followed that lead. Finally, the inspiration I get from nurses keeps me fueled to put love and energy into making sure nursing work environments are healthy because in the right environment, nurses will always do great work and most receive professional joy from their practice. Florence Nightingale is my historical idol, and she challenged leaders not to measure our leadership by what we individually do but how we assure the right things are always done. This is the leadership I live to provide.
My mother, too, was a great influence on my choice to become a nurse, and although she didn’t work outside the home during my childhood, knew she had been a nurse, as did all the neighbors. Adults and children alike came to our house with their questions and minor emergencies, and she knew both what to do, and how to make her “patients” feel at ease. I wanted to be able to do that…which takes me to the second biggest influence on my career choice – my undergrad alma mater. Like Emory, University of Pennsylvania prepared the next generation of nursing leaders, and the critical lessons I learned there have been a major source of my successes over the years.
My Mom was one of the greatest influences and inspirations in my life overall as well as my nursing career. Although she was an educator, not a nurse; her compassion, caring and love of people had a huge impact on me. She taught me to always put others before yourself, evoke trust by your integrity, and to find joy in every situation. She not only taught these, she role modeled them consistently in her own interactions with people. These attributes and values have been my guides throughout my nursing career and have helped keep me focused on what matters most.
I still dream about my years in middle school where most of the teachers just graduated from their teaching program. It was a brand-new school with a bunch of brand-new teachers. Teachers were young, energetic, and most of all, understanding teenagers. I often skipped my daily music lesson to spend more time with my teachers after school. We mostly talked about poetry or played music together. One day, a new teacher arrived. She had a nursing background. She quickly joined our after-school activities. I don’t know exactly why but her stories about her interactions with patients and family members made a great impression on me, and it seemed to me only logical to apply for a nursing school, College of Nursing, Catholic University in Seoul. It is one of the best nursing schools in Korea, known for Hospice care
I grew up with humble beginnings in a small, rural town in Florida. I was one of the first in my family to go to college and then go on to earn a doctoral degree My ‘Big Momma’ (my grandmother) who had a fifth grade education, was married at 14, and had to work in the fields harvesting crops to support her 17 children. While I was in school, my grandmother always said to me, “you’re my doctor.” Her words of encouragement are what motivated me to complete my doctoral education and become a clinician. She also fueled my desire to be a mentor and champion for talented students who weren’t fortunate enough to have a Big Momma.
I became a nurse at age 30 as a second career, and I’ve worked with and been mentored by many inspirational people in the nursing and health care professions. Throughout my career, fellow faculty Dian Evans has been particularly influential: she was my faculty when I was an undergraduate BSN student, she was my preceptor when I was in an FNP program, and she inspired me to get my DNP. She also helped me get an appointment at Emory’s School of Nursing, where I’ve met many other nurses and nursing students who, like Dian, are inspirational to work with.
I had the chance to work with the native Canadians in remote villages as an outpost relief nurse in northern Ontario. I felt inadequately prepared to make an impact in the health of the people I had to repeatedly medivacked out of the villages because of preventable chronic diseases. This same frustration happened after I worked on a renal pulmonary unit at an acute hospital in Atlanta. I found the tools to solving the problem in the form of a Master’s Degree in Public Health Nursing, and later, a Doctorate in Nursing Practice. After working in public health, I also discovered the love of teaching. Having built a career in public health nursing and nursing education, I can say that I have made an impact teaching future nurses to not only care for individuals in sickness, but also promote health and prevent illness for the population.
The encounter I had with Caryn happened at the International Bible Church in Clarkston, Georgia. My service learning group was delegated the task of encouraging language nutrition amongst refugee mothers and children as a part of the Mommy and Me family literacy program. Encouraging mothers to engage their babies and children as their conversational partners can be difficult when a language barrier already exists between the volunteer and the family. I had the privilege of working with the young toddler class and the ease with which they pick up words boggled my mind at times.
Caryn, a young toddler from Vietnam was one of the more social kids in her group. She would come into class and made sure all the volunteers saw how pretty she looked that day. She played with all the children and chatted away as she moved from station to station. The room was equipped with playing stations that included cars, blocks, a play kitchen, books, and a large box filled with treasures buried in dried black beans. There was a stipulated schedule for each day and play time was the first item on the list. When I came into class on a Thursday morning, I sat down by the cars and train playing station and began talking with the kids. On any given day, few kids even respond to my over-the-top excitement and enthusiasm, but Caryn thought it was so funny. She came and sat at the station with me and we began to play with a green bus. The bus had a Triceratops dinosaur on it and I thought it would be worth a try to see if she could pronounce the word Triceratops. I pointed to the dinosaur and said di-no-saur slowly and clearly. She repeated the word “dinosaur” with ease so I proceeded to say Tri-cer-a-tops. She sounded out the word and within minutes, she was calling every dinosaur in our bucket a Triceratops. I was shocked to say the least. Few kids even spoke to me and here was one that was sounding out a word that some elementary school kids rarely use.
Empirically knowing according to Carper’s fundamental ways of knowing involves scientific, evidenced based practice (Johns, 1995). Approaching our encounter empirically, I acquired some background knowledge through the Talk with Me Baby training that my service learning coordinator organized. Through the training, I learned the importance of engaging children as soon as they’re born as our language partners and promoting language nutrition within the family. The training provided evidenced based methods for language development in children and the results of implementing those methods as early as infancy.
In addition to applying an evidenced based approach during my interaction with Caryn, I applied Carper’s aesthetic way of knowing by grasping the nature of this specific encounter and acting according to what I believed was appropriate (Johns, 1995). I noticed Caryn’s behavior in class and I knew she was an outgoing, eager learner. She demonstrated no intimidation while happily playing and talking to the other kids in the class. Taking into account her personal attributes, I thought that encouraging her to pronounce a word might benefit her language development. Additionally, the likelihood of Caryn trying to pronounce that word was high based on her natural curiosity.
Carper’s personal way of knowing begins with the nurse firstly knowing herself (John, 1995). By addressing my prejudices and being willing to set any obstructive biases aside, a smoother interaction with the kids can occur. Having many close friends that came to the United States seeking a better quality of life, I knew that I was biased in Caryn’s favor. I’ve witnessed my own peers struggle to learn English and how successful they’ve been with continual effort. I know learning a second language can be challenging especially when a person is still learning new words in their native language. However, it can be done and I hope for nothing more than to see the students in the literacy program excel in their language development.
Carper’s ethical way of knowing entails differentiating right from wrong and taking appropriate action (John, 1995). After reflecting on the interaction I had with Caryn and my service learning experience in Clarkston, I conclude that the right action was taken. The families that participate in the program want to be there. They want to learn English and skills that will make their transition to living in America easier. This is why I believe encouraging them to reach their maximum potential is the right thing to do. Even though my interaction with Caryn might not seem extremely important in the grand scheme of things, it was. The satisfaction children experience when they successfully grasp a new skill is one even I remember. The least I can do is help kids experience that satisfaction while enhancing their language development.
My service learning experience in Clarkston differed from other experiences I had with people because this time I felt like I was representing something bigger than myself. Not only was I serving on behalf of Emory’s school of nursing, but I was a nurse to those kids. They didn’t know that I’m only in my first semester of nursing school. I was wearing nurse’s scrubs, so, therefore, I was a nurse. Our service learning group might have been the first nurses the kids encountered since moving here and I really wanted them to feel safe and happy around us so trust could be established instead of fear as early as possible. I’d like to think that with every human encounter that I have while I’m in uniform that I have the opportunity to increase a person’s trust in health care workers. The techniques I used to guide the conversation were building rapport, smiling, over enunciate, and offering positive reassurance. These techniques were helpful because the kids were very young and they often shy away from adults if they sense the person is unenthused. Hopefully, the program will continue to thrive and Caryn’s vocabulary will continue to grow.
Johns, C. (1995). Framing learning through reflection within Carper’s fundamental ways of knowing in nursing. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 22(2), 226-234. doi:10.1046/j.1365-2648.1995.22020226.x
As a nursing student and a BUNDLE Scholar at Emory University, I come across the words “Public Health” more times than I can count on any given day. I first became acquainted with this term in my Community Health course, where it was defined as “the promotion and protection of the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play.” But what does this exactly mean? How does it play in the real-world as one’s job, duties and community outcomes? I did not truly understand the importance of Public Health and the value its entities hold until my Capstone Clinical experience in Gainesville, Georgia.
Since February of this year, I have been learning about the duties of a Public Health Nurse (PHN) at the Department of Public Health (DPH) under the mentorship of David Donalson. As the designated PHN for District 2, David plays many roles and holds various responsibilities that I am fortunate enough to observe. On a typical day at the DPH, I learn how to answer emails and phone calls, track disease surveillance, observe emergency preparedness simulations, perform data analysis assistance and read about current guidelines and policies pertaining to Public Health matters. DPH in Gainesville particularly focuses on notifiable diseases and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s), such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis and HIV, because of the increasing prevalence of preventable cases. This trend has been attributed to poor access to health care, poverty, and language barriers among the underserved populations clustered in the 13 counties located in Northeast Georgia. I received first-hand experience of how Public Health officials can overcome these challenges and promote good health and well-being.
Likewise, I have been introduced to real-life examples and uses of resources and tools such as Online Analytical Statistical Information System (OASIS), State Electronic Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (SendSS) and Georgia Registry of Immunization Transactions and Services (GRITS). While these programs were just abstract ideas in my Population Health course, in the field I saw health care professionals such as Epidemiologists, Data Analysts and PHNs use them to identify patient’s trajectory and the following-step in the process of preventing disease outbreaks. What was particularly intriguing for me was learning about the expanded role of PHNs as defined by the Statute O.C.G.A. § 43-34-23. Under specific protocols, PHNs can perform screenings and physical exams, diagnose a condition, implement a plan, dispense and administer medications, and even follow-up with treatment management and symptom reduction. This allows for a broad scope of practice and application of skills and knowledge among PHNs, which is not otherwise available in the career path of Registered Nurses with a BSN.
Entering this position, I hoped to learn more about the purpose and duties of PHNs. Connecting principles that I learned in class to actual practice made me realize the importance of Public Health and led to my interest in this field. As a novice, beginning a career in healthcare, I feel more confident and prepared because of this unique experience. I look forward to tackling challenges and contributing to the future of Public Health.
Sheryl Matthews is a senior, undergraduate student looking forward to graduation this May. In addition to pursuing a future in Public Health, she is also interested in Critical Care and graduate programs in research and innovation. She is an Oxford College continuee, BUNDLE Scholar, Student Ambassador for the School of Nursing, and the treasurer of Savera, Emory’s Indian classical and fusion dance team.
In my first semester of nursing school, my volunteer hours were spent at the Friends of Refugees program called Mommy and Me in Clarkston, Georgia. In this Family Literacy program, mothers are taught ESL while their children are exposed to the English language as well through language nutrition. This intervention is based upon evidence and multiple studies, and these studies have shown that the more exposure to words a child receives in his or her first few years of life, the higher their chances of achieving literacy in his or her younger school-age years and the better chances they have of attending university and obtaining jobs later in life. So, in short, language nutrition is of utmost importance, especially for this population of refugee children who are being raised in homes in which English may not be used often.
After my first semester volunteering with this program, I had spent sufficient time in the various classrooms interacting with the children and I thought that I had a grip on what public health meant for this community. It was plain and simple. Learning the language was the most important factor in the process of these refugees becoming integrated into American society, so I thought.
This semester, my second at the nursing school, was when I began my full population health clinical. Coincidentally, I was placed at the same site as where I volunteered last semester, the Friends of Refugees Mommy and Me program. Since I had spent some time volunteering at Mommy and Me last semester, I thought I knew what to expect for my clinical portion of population health at Mommy and Me. As before, I thought I would arrive at the Clarkston refugee school, be introduced to a new class’s teacher, and then spend the morning speaking and playing with the refugee children of that class until their mothers came to retrieve them at noon.
During my second clinical day at Mommy and Me, though, all of my expectations were exceeded. This time, I felt more empowered. During our pre-clinical meeting in the morning, we discussed our roles as student nurses in this clinical—which involves responsibilities such as noticing refugee children who may have health conditions that aren’t being treated or observing community-wide health issues or gaps in knowledge. This time around at Mommy and Me, I was given a task and a tangible goal, to improve the overall health outcome of the Clarkston refuge community, whether through individual or community actions.
My morning began as I expected. I joined an older toddler classroom, where I aided with snack time, played with the children during playtime, and gave the children as much language nutrition as I could. However, after lunch, my instructor took my group to a refugee resettlement agency, New American Pathways. All we were told was that we would be helping the agency with a program they were planning. I went into this meeting with few expectations.
When I walked out of the New American Pathways building after our meeting, I felt empowered. I felt that my one year of nursing education could already be used to make a difference. The opportunity that we were asked to help with was a Women’s Sexual Health Education class for Middle Eastern and Eastern African Refugee women involved in the North American Pathways organization. My clinical group was given the responsibilities of finding reliable academic sources, creating an appropriate lesson, and fully executing the class when the day came. The education of these women now fell in our hands. And we could feel the immense responsibility that we now all had. We have just begun research on topics in women’s health, and my excitement is growing with each step in the process.
In my time at Mommy and Me, I feel that this experience will equally benefit me as it does the refugees we interact with. I will have my assumptions challenged, and I will come out a more aware and conscientious person. Since my own parents came to the United States as immigrants just two decades ago, I am gaining a better glimpse through interactions with the families at Mommy and Me, just what my parents went through on their journey toward making the United States their new home.
Jessica Nooriel is a junior BSN student. She chose nursing for its holistic views on both preventative and curative medicine. Her passion for exploring the various health practices and beliefs of different communities and cultures drove her to join the Emory International Nursing Students Association (EISNA). She is tri-lingual in English, Farsi, and Hebrew, and hopes to use these skills for interpretative services within health care.
Spring 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.
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.
Whether they were experiencing other cultures by traveling the world, relaxing with friends in Atlanta, celebrating wedding anniversaries, providing health care services to those across the globe, or volunteering their time locally, it’s safe to say that our Emory Nursing students had an amazing Spring Break! Check out a recap of their trips below.
“I visited Eleuthera in the Bahamas with ten other students on a service trip with the Lillian Carter Center for Global Health & Social Responsibility, led by Dr. Corrine Abraham and Dr. Elizabeth Downes. There are no hospitals on the island of Eleuthera and healthcare is delivered in a number of (what we would consider) small clinics instead. We worked with the nurses in clinics all over the island to learn about the integral role they play in providing care. We did intake, helped dispense medications, did blood pressure and blood glucose screenings, helped with charting, and learned everything we could from the staff in the clinics and the people we were helping to treat. Other than working in the clinics, nurses in the Bahamas play a key role in health education by visiting the schools to teach about various topics. Each day we went to a high school or primary school to talk with students about mental health, depression, anger management, and how to cope with the difficulties we encounter in life, in an effort to support the World Health Organization’s Let’s Talk campaign seeking to normalize conversation about depression. We had a great time with the students learning from them about the challenges they face and helping them think about how they can face them effectively. We also learned a lot from them about Bahamian culture! We also visited a vocational school called the Centre for Training and Innovation, a strategic initiative to develop the economy on the island of Eleuthera and combat the high unemployment rate. At CTI we did blood pressure screenings and talked with the students there about lifestyle changes they can make to improve their cardiovascular health. Like the high school and primary school students, CTI students had quite a bit to share with us about life on Eleuthera. We had some time to relax as well, including visiting some of the island’s amazing beaches (on both the Caribbean and Atlantic sides of the island), touring the Levy Preserve to learn about Bahamian plants, and exploring the neighborhoods around the clinics we were visiting. We returned from our trip tired, but restored from a week of building relationships with the people of Eleuthera and learning about all their amazing nurses do each day.”
“I took a trip down to Jupiter, Florida with a few friends of mine who are students in the college. In the middle of the week, we met up with another group of Emory students, one of whom was nursing student, Mallory Lacy. We all spent a day on the beach, enjoying the sand, water, and sun. It was a relaxing break, which rejuvenated me to come back and finish off the semester strong.”
“I had a fantastic time traveling within Portugal, going to Porto and Lisbon. I enjoy traveling to new places, and had planned to go on this trip with my sister; however, she had to cancel going on the trip at the last minute. Still, I decided to go.
Arriving in Porto on a Sunday, I was struck by how many families I saw walking around and spending time with each other. As I learned throughout the trip, family is very important to many Portuguese, and I think this contributed to how warm and welcoming it felt there. I was also struck by how beautiful Portugal was; from train stations to the narrow streets in Lisbon’s old town district, blue and while tile mosaics and bright splashes of color were everywhere, framed by blooming cherry blossoms. Because the country almost entirely borders the Atlantic Ocean, the coastline ranged from steep, dramatic beaches to main square in downtown Lisbon, where people would gather to watch the sunset each night.
It was an incredibly empowering feeling to realize that I’m capable of navigating in a foreign country on my own. At the same time, it was the help and kindness of people I met along the way that made the trip as special as it was. ”
“During spring break, I took a trip home to Tampa, FL and got a chance to visit and catch up with my family. I also visited with my dad in Jacksonville, FL. When I returned to Atlanta I had dinner with Hailey Lee and Kim Daniels who are also students in the MSN-NNP program. I finished off my spring break at the CHOA Pulmonary Hypertension Clinic, which I attended for a clinical rotation.”
“Olivia Chan and I, alongside two of our best friends, spent Spring Break in Cancun, Mexico where we went on multiple excursions and spent most of our days by the ocean! Our favorite excursion was to the historic site, Chichen Itza. Chichen Itza is an old Mayan City and one of the seven wonders of our modern world. The large pyramid behind us not only was a place of meeting and power but played a part as a physical representative of their Mayan Calendar! We not only had fun during our Spring Break but we had the pleasure of learning about new cultures and walking in the footsteps of ancient leaders.”
“During my spring break, I co-led a Volunteer Emory Alternative Spring Break Trip to Clarkston, GA focusing on the social justice topic of refugee advocacy. During the week, me and eight other Emory students, including a pre-nursing student who will be attending the School of Nursing next year, volunteered with a variety of community partners such as New American Pathways and the Atlanta Food Bank. We played with refugee children at after-school programs, taught digital literacy classes at the Clarkston Community Center, baked with Nepali women, and much more. Some of our group even got to attend the New Americans Celebration at the GA State Capitol and watch the naturalization ceremony that followed. Overall, the entire week was filled with enlightening experiences centered around this local refugee hub. Not only will I treasure the memories made during this trip, but I will also carry what I have learned into my future clinical practice.”
“In Dubai I went indoor skiing and to the top of the Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building, and in Abu Dhabi I toured the Sheik Zayed Grand Mosque. I have a home over there, as my father lives and works in Abu Dhabi, so I get to visit every year but it’s always an amazing time!”
“I went to Mexico for spring break with my boyfriend and traveled to Cancun, Playa Del Carmen, Isla Mujeres, Valladolid and Chichen Itza. This was my first time traveling independently and the first time I have left the states since I was a baby. We saved money and submerged ourselves in the culture by staying with a host family, taking public transportation and eating like locals. Everything I have ever heard about traveling is absolutely true—it changed me in a million ways. I fell in love with Mexico and can’t wait to go back.”
“I had an opportunity to travel to Puerto Rico during spring break to learn about the health care system and help care for the underserved population on the island. We had a great introduction to the beauty of the island led by Gladys Jusino and Dr. Weihua Zhang with a beautiful hike in the jungle and relaxing at the beach before our week of service. During the first two days, we set up a health fair to help measure blood pressures, glucose checks, and education sessions on breast exams, smoking, hypertension, and diabetes. The next couple of days we visited a nursing school in National University to observe how their education, healthcare, and nursing differed from the main land. One of my favorite parts of the trip was doing street medicine at night for the homeless. We got together sandwiches, blankets, coffee to give to the homeless that wandered the streets, and provided wound care whenever it was needed. The last day of the trip was spent in a nursing home where we observed how the nurses worked and helped with activities in the nursing home. It was a very good experience for me to see how healthcare is in other parts of the world, and makes me appreciate the things that I have a lot more than I used to before the trip.”
“I had a great, relaxing spring break! I kicked off my week with dinner at Superica with two friends and classmates – Sam Hydes and Melissa Leake. I got to spend extra time with my girls (Caroline, age 4 and Margaux, age 2) – we played outside, got ice cream and just hung out. I spent one day shopping with my Mom and catching up. I also celebrated my 10th wedding anniversary with my husband! The second weekend I visited a friend (who is due with her first baby) in Nashville and it snowed! I also caught up on a lot of schoolwork and exercised (Barre3 classes and 4 mile walks) each day. Overall, it was a fun week!”
“I always enjoy spring break because it gives me a chance to relax and get ahead in my classes. I spent most of my spring break at school and it was actually pretty amazing! I got a lot done and even had time to catch up on my favorite shows. The weather wasn’t too chilly, so I took several relaxing walks around our beautiful campus during my breaks. You don’t need to go to the beach to have fun in the SON!”
“I went to Beijing China for Spring Break! I went to the Forbidden City, Temple of Heaven, Llama Temple, The Great Wall, Fayuan Buddhist Temple, and Tiananmen Square. My absolute favorite part of break was when this older Chinese woman came up to me and my boyfriend and just started talking to us like we were old friends. She was so knowledgeable and knew so much about America. We treated her to dinner and probably spent two hours just talking at the table. She was so inspiring and gave me such respect for being in nursing school. My other favorite part was going to the Great Wall. It was so incredible. The sights of the mountains and the never-ending wall will never be escape my memory. I am so grateful I was able to see it.”
“My friends and I decided to go to New Orleans after my sister and I went this summer and had such a great time. The nursing students that came on the trip were Hannah Lones, Tori Chimberoff, Monica Villarreal, Ali Martin, and Erica Judy. We all absolutely fell in love with the city. We spent most of our time doing the touristy things like grabbing coffee and beignets at Cafe Du Monde, walking around French Quarter and viewing the beautiful St. Louis Cathedral, shopping on Magazine St., eating brunch at The Ruby Slipper, and lastly dancing the night away on Bourbon St. Overall we can say it was a successful trip and a great last spring break in our undergrad!”
“I love to travel! It’s so important to experience other cultures. My fiancée and I decided to go to Athens, Greece for Spring Break. The highlights included the great ruins of The Parthenon and ancient Agora. We saw archaeological artifacts and went on a local food tour. Seeing the birth place of democracy was so powerful! It was a wonderful trip, full of history and great food! I learned and experienced so much. Every trip always leaves me wanting to travel more, we’re already planning our next adventure!”
The School of Nursing’s Women’s Health program celebrated Class of 2016 graduates, current, and future students in a magical winter wonderland complete with plenty of sparkle, candle light, and snow.
Participants enjoyed the sites, sounds, and treats of the season, while competing in a tacky holiday sweater competition, posing in the holiday photo booth, and leaving messages and well-wishes for graduates and current students. The event was organized by Program Coordinator Trisha Sheridan.
On the evening before the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing’s Winter Awards Ceremony, graduates look forward to the future.
Why I chose Women’s Health:
I chose women’s Health because I have a passion for helping women. I was originally a labor and deliver nurse, but I would only see my patients for a brief period of time. With primary care I will be able to see them long-term and, hopefully, make a lasting impact on their lives.
Why I chose Women’s Health: I was a nurse for about 7.5 years and a travel nurse for about 4.5 years. I had some case management experience for about a year and a half. Throughout my career I discovered that I had a strong passion for helping women and wanted to specialize in Women’s Health.
Plans after Graduation: Besides working…in the near future I would like to open my own clinic for women’s health.
Why I chose Women’s Health: I was a labor and deliver nurse prior to this in the Atlanta area. I am interested in increasing access to contraception for women and helping women be more educated about their bodies and make more informed decisions about their health throughout their lifespans.
Plans after graduation: After graduation, I am hoping to work in a private practice setting under a good team of doctors whom I can collaborate with and show them what nurse practitioners have to offer.
Learn more about the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner specialty from current students.