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ABSN Student Leaders Reflect on Graduation and their Emory Nursing Experience

By Andy Goodell, Communications Manager
Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

The BSN/ABSN Winter Awards Ceremony will feature two leading student voices, Cory Woodyatt and Stephanie Lee, as speakers during the event. This awards ceremony will take place at 2 p.m. on December 11th at Glenn Memorial Auditorium.

Cory Woodyatt

Woodyatt, originally of Georgetown, Canada near Toronto will earn his Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) this month. He says that he was able to form meaningful relationships with the faculty at the School of Nursing that will last well beyond graduation, adding that many of them helped him “see the bigger picture” in the world of nursing. Assistant Clinical Professor Ginny Secor is just one of many faculty whom made an impression on Woodyatt.

“Dr. Secor’s attitude is contagious and her passion for pathophysiology is unprecedented,” says Woodyatt.

Woodyatt also credits Assistant Clinical Professor Ann Horigan with challenging him to think critically in complex and clinically-demanding scenarios, saying, “her experience is evident and her confidence (and comic relief)” put him at ease. He goes on to say that Assistant Clinical Professor Jeannie Weston also pushed him to think critically, adding that her dedication to student success is ever present in her pediatric clinical simulations. Additionally, Woodyatt credits Instructor Rebecca Wheeler with exemplifying nursing leadership and social responsibility to a point where she inspired him to join numerous nursing organizations.

Stephanie Lee

Lee, of Knoxville, Tenn., is also earning her BSN this month. She too credits numerous faculty members with bolstering her success as a student.

“My advisor, Dr. Kate Yeager, has encouraged me every step of the way, even for things not related to nursing school,” says Lee. “Our program chair, Dr. Carolyn Reilly, has done a fabulous job advocating for our class and making sure all of our concerns are addressed. Additionally, my clinical instructor, Takeya Shepherd, taught in my health assessment lab my very first semester and then acted as my role transition preceptor my last semester. It was so fun getting to know her and growing as a nurse under her instruction.”

Not only have faculty members impressed Woodyatt at the School of Nursing, the learning environments at the school have impressed him greatly, as well.

“Aside from access to renowned clinicians and researchers, I appreciated the well-known reputation and caliber of hospitals available to NHWSN students,” says Woodyatt. “The complexities and diversity of the patient populations available at these hospitals affords us incredibly enriched learning opportunities.”

Lee says that she values the true sense of community her cohort has developed.

“My fellow students are exceptional people who are dedicated to their education, their profession, and their patients,” says Lee. “Without the environment of support and encouragement that we have built, Emory would have been a very different place for me.”

As for the future, Woodyatt’s career aspirations are great.

“Whether it’s becoming a Nurse Manager or Chief Nursing Officer, I hope to one day serve as a leader who contributes to a shared vision and oversees strategic design and implementation of evidence-based patient care delivery,” he says. “Until then, I will remain a bedside nurse, most likely in the realm of emergency medicine nursing. Upon graduation, I will join the team at Emory Johns Creek Hospital in their emergency department (ED) as a new graduate nurse.”

Lee sees a similar wide open road of possibilities for her nursing career. After graduation, she will work at Emory’s Winship Cancer Institute in the Ambulatory Infusion Center.

“I hope to earn a terminal degree in nursing, whether that be a PhD or DNP, and make a difference in the field of nursing and in the fight against cancer,” says Lee. “My foundation at Emory has provided an incomparable springboard for my future.”

MSN/DNP Winter Awards student speakers look back on Emory Nursing Experience

By Andy Goodell, Communications Manager
Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

At the MSN/DNP Winter Awards, attendees will get to hear from two dynamic student leaders from these programs, Haley Reid and Shanita Webb. The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing’s MSN/DNP Winter Awards Ceremony will take place at 4 p.m. Monday, Dec. 11, at Glenn Memorial Auditorium.

Haley Reid

Reid, of Loganville, GA, is earning her Master of Science in Nursing, Family Nurse Practitioner this month. She’s also currently working toward a Doctor of Nursing Practice in Health Systems Leadership, which she is set to complete in 2019.

Reid credits Assistant Professor Clint Shedd with making her FNP class time extremely valuable because of his engaging lecture style. Shedd, who serves as FNP coordinator at the School of Nursing, provided Reid with plenty of support for her chosen path of learning, she says.

As a School of Nursing student, Reid says she admires the flexibility afforded to her, especially as a nurse practitioner in training. She says the learning environments at the School of Nursing help her balance class, clinical rotations, class work, family, friends, and personal time.

“The faculty here at the School of Nursing are dedicated to improving the student experience,” says Reid. “As a student, I appreciate their willingness to address my needs and make changes as appropriate. Whether it was posting an additional lecture to clarify a confusing concept in class or giving us an extension on a project, as a student I always felt cared for and supported.”

Webb, of Atlanta, will earn her Doctor of Nursing Practice with a concentration in Health Systems Leadership this month.

Shanita Webb

Like Reid, Webb also found endless support at the School of Nursing. She credits Assistant Clinical Professors Lisa Muirhead, Corrine Abraham, and Associate Professor Ursula Kelly with making a lasting impact on her life. She says their expertise and support was critical in the formation of her DNP project.

“I really enjoyed the collaborative academic environment the DNP faculty and staff created,” says Webb. “It really fostered opportunities to learn from our colleagues, faculty and guest speakers.”

Webb is an Air Force Nurse Practitioner and hopes to enter into a leadership position at the operational or strategic level within the Air Force Medical Services. She even aspires to be the chief nurse of the United States Air Force someday.

Upon graduating with her FNP, Reid says she plans to practice as a family nurse practitioner in rural or underserved areas to fulfill her HRSA Nurse Corps Scholarship agreement. As for her career after earning her DNP, Reid says she will continue to address healthcare disparities and qualities inconsistencies in rural and underserved areas.

“I have always loved working with vulnerable populations, and with the health professional shortage seen in the state of Georgia, I found myself drawn to primary care,” Reid says. “I enjoy seeing patients of all ages- from infants to the elderly- and I love the privilege of being able to create long term relationships with my patients.”

DNP student details important volunteer experience

Brandon Spratt, Doctor of Nursing Practice Candidate at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing, recalls the incredible volunteering experience he had in Nicaragua. Read the full article on Comunidad Connect.

Help Women and Families in Crisis

Nurse-Midwives are urgently needed beginning August 23rd to assist the Syrian American Medical Society (SAMS) with medical relief efforts in Northern Greece for Syrian, Iraq, Kurdish, and Congolese refugees.

Volunteers are needed for:

  • Breastfeeding
  • Family planning
  • Health education
  • IYCF support
  • Pregnancy care

*A two-week minimum commitment is requested*

To find out more information or to sign up to volunteer, visit: or email Nikiforos Papachristos, Volunteer Coordinator for SAMS Global Response-Greece, at


To read about Emory MSN Alumna Barbara Lockart’s own experience providing care for families in crisis in Greece visit:

DNP Graduates Prepare for Careers in Nurse Leadership

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.


Susan Swanson,DNP,MSN

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.

Why Emory:

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.


Tamera Borchardt,DNP,MSN

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.

Why Emory:

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.


Erin Biscone,DNP,CNM,RN

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.

Why Emory:

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.


Laura Prado,DNP

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.

Why Emory:
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.

Welcome AMSN Class of 2019

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.

Kimberly Gardner


Key Largo, Florida

Undergraduate degree:

Political Science

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

Dream job:

Working as a Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) for the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs’ (VA), the nation’s largest health care provider

Interesting factoid:

Served active duty for the United States Air Force

Abigail Dryer


Minneapolis, Minnesota

Undergraduate degree:

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

Dream job:

Working for Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis, Minnesota as a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner 

Interesting factoid:

She loves cows; she even had a cow themed birthday party in the fifth grade

Ethan Perkins


Brooklet, Georgia

Undergraduate degree:

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

Dream job:

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

Interesting factoid:

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!



Inspiring Nursing Leadership

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.

environmental portrait of School of Nursing Dean Linda McCauley

Linda McCauley, PhD, RN, FAAN, FAAOHN Dean and Professor

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.

Sharon Pappas, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, Chief Nurse Executive (CNE)

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.

Susan Shapiro PhD, RN, FAAN, Clinical Professor

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.

Deena Gilland, MSN, RN, NEA-BC, VP of Patient Services and Chief Nursing Officer, Emory Ambulatory Care

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.

Mi-Kyung Song PhD, RN, FAAN, Professor, Director, Center for Nursing Excellence in Palliative Care

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

Rasheeta Chandler, PhD, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC, Assistant Professor

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.

Clint Shedd DNP, RN, FNP-BC, Assistant Clinical Professor

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.




Quyen Phan, DNP, FNP-BC, RN, Clinical Instructor

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.

Caryn’s Big Word

Ariel McKenzie, BSN Candidate 2018, BUNDLE Scholar

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

It’s National Public Health Week (April 3rd-9th)!

Sheryl Boddu, BSN Class of 2017, BUNDLE Scholar

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.

A Global Health Opportunity in Our Own Backyard

Jessica Nooriel, junior BSN student and BUNDLE scholar

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.