Archive for emorynursing

Mexico Day 1 – Summer Immersion Trip

By Ashley Pugh

10 June

Monday, our group spent the day in Emiliano Zapata Sur to continue refining our modules. We ate breakfast together before traveling and shared our thoughts and expectations about the day ahead. There was lots of anticipation and slight anxiety about what to expect.  Once we arrived, we set up a home base at Victor’s feeding program site.  After getting settled Victor, our community liaison took us on a walking tour through the community. We saw various living conditions.  Many homes offered services that were otherwise unavailable, such as: laundry, cooked meals, novelties, etc. There are so many modern conveniences that we take for granted. 

Walking through the neighborhood, Victor described some of the challenges for his community: abuse, school access for the children, and lack of resources. As we were on our walk we saw the brightly painted houses with iguanas and many fruit trees. A Mayan healing plant, the Chaya was on several properties. Our translators said you need to speak to the plant kindly before taking any of its leaves, according to ancestral knowledge.  These leaves look like green maple leaves, and can sting the skin. They need to be boiled before consumed as a green drink.   

For many of us it was difficult to imagine this as the reality for anyone in the 21st century.  For others it was a gut wrenching reminder of the unequal distribution of resources; common in our society.  An unacceptable reality.

Each morning I start my day by listing things that I am grateful for and end it with things that I have learned.  This was a moment to reflect with gratitude. 1. I am surrounded by people I love much like the people of Emiliano Zapata Sur. 2. I have access to clean water that is almost as pure as the hearts of the children we spent time with at the feeding program.  3. I can change. I have the privilege of being able to change my situation…. because I want to.

Grady Memorial Hospital Immersion Trip – Day 2

By Emily Ferguson and Ebony Black

Front (L to R): Emily Ferguson, Ebony Black, Courtney Naugle, Jamie Dalton, Yunmi Jeon, 
Back: Annie Monroe, Abbie Pahz, Holly Richards

Today our immersion group had the opportunity to tour Grady Memorial Hospital and it’s dialysis floor. We picked this immersion to learn how local immigrants navigate through the healthcare system with the many restrictions that are imposed.

When we walked in there were already over 20 people in the waiting room waiting to receive dialysis. Most of the population needed interpreters, but there were only a few on hand so it was difficult for everyone in our group to have a patient student interaction. Ebony and I got the opportunity to talk to one of the patient’s caretaker who also was the patient’s child.

This caretaker has been going to Grady for over ten years now, since that time the caretaker has only had time to graduate high school, help raise a younger sibling, maintain a household, maintain a part time job, and help take care of both ill parents. It was truly an amazing experience to be able to listen to such a story. This individual is one of the most selfless human beings I have ever met. When asked about the typical daily schedule, the patient’s care taker replied with starting the day with giving parent 1 all the food that is allotted for the day per dialysis diet, help the younger sibling off to school, make sure parent 2 is taken care of, give both parents their daily meds, etc. We asked if there was any help from family and or government, but given their circumstances, this young caretaker is all alone for these tasks.

It was interesting to hear that typically dialysis patients start at 7 AM, but in actuality patients arrive 4-6 AM to be able to get one of the first spots. Twice a week the caretaker mentioned above, gets to the clinic at 6 AM and typically is there till 10 PM. There almost seems like there is not enough hours in the day for this individual to do it all. It was amazing to hear a third party perspective to this process and it is amazing how selfless some family members can be to help their loved ones.

Often as students we learn about diseases such as chronic kidney disease from the textbook which can allow some emotional disconnect from what a patient is experiencing. Having the opportunity to interview dialysis patients and their caretakers allowed for us to connect to the patient on a closer level. Today we had moments of sadness, disappointment and some angry when learning about the federal and governmental infrastructures that limited the care that the patients receive. However, what we took away from this how as future nurses how we can advocate for our patients when they are not able to do so for themselves.

West Virginia Summer Immersion Site

by Jean Harrell

Sunday, June 9, 2019

I started the day preparing to travel to Charleston, West Virginia.  My flight was scheduled to leave Hartsfield-Jackson Airport at 2:56 pm.  I took MARTA to the airport.  When I arrived, it was packed with travelers.  Because of the rain so of the travel apps were down, which caused travelers to have to check in at the Delta baggage drop sites.  This process took over an hour.  After getting the boarding pass, headed through security.  Again, the lines were extra-long.  Finally, arrived at the departure gates.  Notices that a lot of people were delayed due to the weather.  My flight was delay one hours.  I didn’t get to leave Atlanta until 3:59 PM.  Thankfully, the flight time was only 50 minutes.  Carolyn Clevenger met me at the airport.  We then travel to Fayetteville, West Virginia, where we were going to be staying.  We met the six nursing students at a restaurant called Pies and Pints.  An Emory alum, Sarah Hansen and the Education Director, Amber Crist, both live in West Virginia, joined us for dinner.  Amber Crist talked about the facilities the student were going to working in for these two weeks.  Sarah prepared the work schedule for each nurse.  Dinner ended about 8:55 pm, we all headed to the housing location.  It was late, everyone retired to their sleeping quarters.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Students rose early to prepare for their day away from the house.  Each student prepared their lunch to take with them.  Amber Crist, the Education Director had informed the nurses, that there was not a lot of places to get lunch in the area, so it was best to bring it with them.  While the students were away working at the clinics, Carolyn and I went shopping to stock the house with food and items the students would need during their two week stay.  Fayetteville is not a large town, but we did find a Wal-mart that had most of the  food items the student’s requested.  It’s still raining in Fayetteville; internet still not accessible.  Each student were charged with choosing a night to cook dinner.   When the students arrived back to the house from their assignments, they sat down to eat dinner together.  During dinner the student’s expressed how much they appreciated being able to meet with patients at the clinics.  This was primary care they were glad to be experiencing with real patients.  When the students finished their dinner, Carolyn Clevenger conducted a debriefing with each student about their day at each clinic site.  Every student reported.  Some saw lots of patients that day, and some saw a few.  The students appeared to feel very confident about how they handled themselves at the sites.  As I listened, I was impressed with what the students knew about the conditions the patients had.  The students also wanted to blog tonight, but the internet connection was not cooperating. More to come tomorrow!

Grady Memorial Hospital – Day 1

By Annie Monroe – ABSN Student

Pictured are Holly Richards, Annie Monroe (both ABSN) and Daniel Smith (PhD student) 

The waiting room on the 9th floor dialysis unit of Grady Memorial Hospital was packed from the moment we stepped foot on the floor this morning. Men and women sat camped out for the day waiting patiently for their turn on the lifesaving dialysis machines. Surprisingly, despite their dire circumstances, the men in women there wore smiles while chatting and laughed while playing Bingo to pass the time. These people all share the unfortunate experience of dealing with the effects of end stage renal failure. Due to their lack of insurance, they must wait every week for “Emergency” dialysis treatment. While insured patients may receive dialysis 3 times per week, these patients are lucky to get one or two treatments a week.

We had the pleasure of getting to know a couple of these patients today and hearing the stories that brought them to be reliant on hemodialysis. We were helping with data collection phase of a research study investigating environmental factors that may contribute to the development of chronic kidney disease (CKD). CKD is a widespread problem among the undocumented population. The two leading hypotheses are that the CKD is a result of workplace exposure to toxins or dehydration and heat illness. The study uses survey questions to investigate the possible exposures and contributing factors these patients have encountered.  The research study’s ultimate goal is to gather enough data to help protect future generations of workers from developing CKD. The patients were so kind, eager to help, and showed endless patience (especially while we stumbled through our knowledge of the Spanish language). 

The first woman we interviewed had been diagnosed with kidney disease about a decade ago when she went to her doctor with just a swollen foot. She was told she needed dialysis within the year, although she did not seek treatment until six years later. We did not ask why she did not seek care sooner, although we have learned that many undocumented patients do not seek care until it is emergent, due to limited options. As we began to interview our next patient, her blood pressure began to tank and a nurse quickly came running to restabilize her. That was an eye-opening experience that showed us the reality of how intense and uncomfortable these treatments are.

We moved on to our last patient, a young 37 year old man, who had been diagnosed with kidney disease very recently. He noticed something was wrong when he began fainting at work. He started working in agriculture at the age of 6 and had worked dozens of different types of jobs, although is no longer working because of his health condition. He believes his working conditions have a slightly negative effect on his health, especially the long hours out in the sun.

Just two interviews gave us a little glimpse of the struggles these patients have faced, although not once did they complain or even mention the difficultly. A small detail that stood out in both interviews was that that each of them came to America alone, without any family. These two individuals are resilient for dealing with the daily struggles of a devastating disease, along with the countless obstacles they have faced and continue to take on.

Tips for Surviving your First 12-hour Clinical

By Anna Beth Daley

Speaking from experience, here are a couple tips to help you survive your first 12-hour clinical, whether it be on a GI, Cardiac, Oncology or other floor!

This may seem like common-sense, but trust me, it’s harder than it sounds. It is so easy to get caught up in the busy work on the unit and forget to drink water. Bring a reusable water bottle and try to drink 2-3 bottles full of water throughout your shift. Trust me, your kidneys and bladder will thank you.
Many of you may be thinking, “I don’t need to eat breakfast, I never do and I’m fine.” Trust me, you’ll regret thinking that when you’ve been in a contact droplet room for the past hour and it feels like its 1,000 degrees inside and you’re about to pass out. It doesn’t need to be a gourmet meal, but putting something substantial in your stomach, like a breakfast or protein bar, will help you stay awake and alert during the first hours of your shift.
You will lose one, period. No matter how hard you may try to keep your favorite pen, it will inevitably be borrowed by someone, or dropped or completely lost.
This may seem like another common-sense tip; however, it is a serious one. Being on your feet and moving around for 12 hours is no easy feat. Try to give yourself at least 8 hours of sleep before a clinical, it will really make a difference.
There is no worse feeling than not packing lunch, running up to the cafeteria and then realizing they are serving some food you really don’t like. Not only will packing your lunch save you some time and money, it will save you some heartbreak. Try to pack it the night before so it saves you time in the morning.
Pack a few snacks in your clinical bag, you will get occasional breaks and a good snack can help replenish your energy and mood.
I don’t mean just the nurses, get to know the techs and the support staff. As you get to know them, you might find yourself learning even more about nursing and working in a hospital than you think. Many will give advice from when they were in nursing school, or the techs may share tips and tricks for moving a patient or taking their vitals.
This is easily one of the most important tips on this list. As a student, you will have a smaller patient load, giving you the opportunity to spend more time with patients than a staff nurse may be able to. Sit down with them and talk, many patients may not have any visitors coming that day or their nurse may have a heavy patient load and won’t have time to have a sit-down conversation. The patients will love having someone to talk to and you can learn a lot from having a good conversation with them, whether it be life advice or tips and tricks for caring for them and their specific ailment.
Finally, take it all in. You only get a few semesters of clinical in nursing school, then you’re off in the real world. Take your time during clinical and ask questions, you may not have the opportunity later on. Enjoy yourself, clinical is an exciting time, it can help you realize what kind of area you want to work in and can help you visualize your future as a nurse!

The latitude of a nursing education

Pele Solell (17Ox 19BSN) poses with the donor of her Seavey Murphy Adopt-A-Scholar scholarship, Cheryl Murphy 77BSN.

By Pele Solell

I came to Emory unexpectedly, after visiting Oxford College and knowing that the unique place, people and environment would help me develop a liberal arts background for the next two years. I knew that nursing school would hand me my schedule, but I wanted to explore a diverse course curriculum before following a standard. My experiences at Oxford, from taking a course in conjunction with incarcerated women to teaching English as a Second Language, unknowingly altered the path of my nursing education and future career.

I thought I would be a Pediatric Nurse Practitioner, but am now embarking on a path to move away from the clinical side. Instead, I aspire to use the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree to best prepare myself as a leader in health care, through multidisciplinary collaboration at the intersection of human rights and global health.

It is a bit daunting to diverge from the ‘norm’ of being a clinically-focused nurse while many of my peers are applying for residencies, but my mentors and experiences at the School of Nursing have paved the way for my passions. Being able to engage with students from all paths as an Ambassador and work-study student for the Admissions office demonstrates the varying backgrounds people bring to nursing. My Nursing for Social Change class presents theory as a tool for addressing systems and structures in health care. And the faculty in the Lillian Carter Center support innovative tracks at multiple crossroads of global health and nursing.

I wish I had realized earlier that the beginning of one’s nursing career could be more than clinical: the wonderful nurse researchers, leaders, advocates, policy makers and other professionals at the School of Nursing prove nursing’s latitude and forefront in social change. I hope prospective, current and future students find a path that invigorates them to advance what it means to be a nurse.

Gratitude abounds at donor, recipient reception

Scholarship recipients pose in front of the donor appreciation word wall.

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

Scholarship recipients at the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing expressed their appreciation to donors who helped make their leadership-focused nursing education possible during a reception at the Druid Hills Golf Club. The event included more than 170 donors and student scholarship recipients.

Following President Claire E. Sterk and Dean Linda McCauley welcoming attendees and sharing about the impact donors make to the School of Nursing and Emory University, several scholarship recipients told their personal stories of achievement and thanks for their individual scholarships.

Students expressing their thanks were Hannah Spero (19AMSN), a Sally T. Lehr Scholar and Helene Fuld Health Trust Fellow in Palliative Care; Ndinda (20AMSN), a Helene Fuld Health Trust Fellow in Social Responsibility and Dean’s Scholar; and Pele Solell (17Ox 19BSN), a Seavey Murphy Adopt-A-Scholar. All scholarship recipients also shared words to describe what their scholarship meant to them in advance of the reception to create a wall of appreciation as donors entered the ballroom.

Donors also had the opportunity to learn about the impact giving has made to the school’s service learning, simulation and research with demonstrations and displays throughout the reception.

LisaMarie Wands, PhD, RN, CHSE, CNE, Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing Simulation Resource Director, shows Eileen Jones (77BSN) a premature infant simulator, the newest addition to the Charles F. and Peggy Evans Simulation Center.

During the program, Hannah shared that she worked 60-hour weeks at a VA hospital as a nursing assistant to afford all of her nursing prerequisites and application fees. It is solely because of the generosity of her scholarship donors that she was able to come to Emory. Hannah shared that being at Emory has allowed her to accomplish her dream of becoming a nurse, offered her the most valuable mentors for the rest of her life and continues to build her skill set and confidence as she pursues an MSN and works to become an Adult Gerontology Primary Care Nurse Practitioner. Hannah’s scholarship allows her to focus on her studies and other activities to enhance her clinical experience and develop her leadership abilities.

“Thank you for my scholarship,” says Hannah to donors. “You have made it possible for me to continue through this program and maintain motivation to excel in order to have my chance to pay it forward. You have truly changed my life.”

Ndinda also expressed thanks to donors at the reception. Her journey began with pre-medicine, then on to public health and preventive medicine, and now women’s health. According to Ndinda, the School of Nursing supports its students to ensure success in the real world and provides opportunities for research, practice and medical missions in the rural U.S. as well as in the developing world. The mission of the school is to educate visionary nurse leaders and scholars. Ndinda believes the values of commitment to high quality health care, partnerships and social responsibility held by the school will influence her nursing practice in a positive way.

“I firmly believe in treating everyone with respect and dignity and that will be one of my main roles as a women’s health provider and patient advocate,” says Ndinda “Every opportunity in life is a chance to both educate and be educated.”

Pele Solell (17Ox 19BSN) poses with the donor of her Seavey Murphy Adopt-A-Scholar scholarship, Cheryl Murphy 77BSN.

Pele closed the program by sharing that one of the best parts about receiving her scholarship has been the tangible connection with someone that supports her. Seeing how the alumni stay connected to the Emory School of Nursing and to each other furthers her appreciation for an Emory education and the relationships she has made. She plans on obtaining a graduate degree in nursing in order to apply her nursing values to the global or public health arena. Pele is passionate about population health and involving community stakeholders, individuals and holistic assessments of health inequities, disparities and needs in order to ensure health care is enacted as a human right. Her scholarship allows her to be enriched with multiple experiences that make nursing school not just about learning skills, but instilling values to shape the health care system now and in the future.

“I am so thankful for Cheryl Murphy for ‘adopting’ me as her scholar, as well as the entire School of Nursing community for the encouragement, challenges and opportunities throughout my BSN degree,” says Solell.

Davis Lecture, Scholars Day highlight important research

Tonda L. Hughes delivered the Hugh P. Davis Lecture, “From Gay Bars to Marriage Equality: Building a Research Career Focused on a Stigmatized and Marginalized population.”

2019 Scholars Day Poster Contest winners were announced just after the lecture.

Undergraduate Winner: Jenny Choe – “Worship Service Modifications to Support African American Families with Dementia”

Master’s Winner: Danielle Dimicali – “Barriers and Promoters to Initializing and Sustaining Breast Feeding Among African American Women”

Doctoral Winner: Ronald Eldridge – “Are We Understanding Career Mortality? A Mediation Model Shows a Larger Impact from Smoking”

Sigma Theta Tau Honor Society Poster Contest winners were also announced.

Graduate and Postgraduate Sigma Theta Tau Winner: Sarah Belcher – “Associations Among Self-management Behavior, Distress, Financial Toxicity and Functional Health Pathways in Adult Survivors of Multiple Primary Cancers”

Undergraduate Sigma Theta Tau Winner: Jordyn Seidman – “Eliminate the Undesirables: The Silencing of the African American Narrative at Georgia’s Central Hospital 1950-1972”

Top 10 Things Every Nursing Student Should Do In Their First Year

1. Get to know your classmates outside of the classroom


Sharing study habits and supporting your fellow classmates through the challenging assignments and difficult exams is wonderful, but you should also make it a point to become friendly with your classmates. Spend time with them outside of class and without discussing nursing school. Each cohort is made up of students from all walks of life. Get to know them and hear their experiences. You’ll be amazed at the diversity!

2. Participate in a service learning activity through the Lillian Carter Center for Global Health & Social Responsibility

The Lillian Carter Center for Global Health & Social Responsibility (LCC) ensures that service learning and social responsibility are infused throughout the curriculum and educational experiences of our students. The LCC offers Alternative Winter and Spring Break trips to the Jamaica, Bahamas, and West Virginia, to name a few. You don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to take a trip of a lifetime using the skills you learned in school to care for others who don’t have the same resources we do.

3. Enjoy Wonderful Wednesdays
Wonderful Wednesday is a weekly celebration of the Emory community every Wednesday from 12:30pm to 2:30pm in Asbury Circle! From 1967-1982, Emory did not have classes on Wednesdays, in order to give students a mid-week break. There were no review sessions, no meetings . . . nothing! Sadly, that is no longer the case. However, Wonderful Wednesdays are still just as fun!

4. Attend Homecoming Weekend
A fun-filled weekend for our alumni, families, and their guests. There is no better way to celebrate the spirit of Emory!

Click here to view photos from Homecoming 2018.

5. Imagine yourself as a sponge, soak it all in, but don’t become overwhelmed. You’ve already learned more than you realize! Take study breaks often to absorb the material.

6. Sleep
Sleep is crucial to surviving the first year of nursing school, especially the first semester. Sleep is the only way you’ll be able to recharge enough to finish all of the assignments you’re given each week.

7. Get to know Dooley and participate in Dooley’s Week


Lady Dooley represents a quirky tradition on campus. The biology lab skeleton safeguards the official Spirit of Emory. Acting through students selected to don the Dooley mantle, she maintains a vigorous and unpredictable presence during a week in his honor in the spring. The identity of these students is one of the best-kept secrets on campus.

8. Attend an alumni networking event

Networking is vital and can help you start making connections now for the future. Networking early is so important in helping to get your foot in the door for your first nursing job. Who better to help network than people who have been in your shoes? Opportunities abound through the school’s nursing alumni!

9. Relax
Don’t be afraid to take time for yourself and HAVE FUN! This will keep you sane.

10. Take advantage of endless opportunities
No matter what you’re looking for, Emory and the School of Nursing have it all. Be sure to participate in events geared toward acclimating you to student and academic life at Emory. There are so many ways to meet people and get involved – don’t miss out on the multitude of options available to you!

Bahamas – Hatcher’s Bay Clinic

By Jennifer Becerra

Today, we woke up at 6:30 a.m. to get ready for the day. By 7:30 a.m., we were ready to head out to Hatcher’s Bay Clinic.

After making some drop offs, we arrived at the clinic at about 9:30 a.m. We did home visits this day. We began by visiting an elderly woman who was a couple houses down the road from the clinic.

When we arrived, we were greeted by her warming and cheerful presence. We quickly assessed her legs for edema, took her blood pressure, pulse and temperature. We also did a glucose test and checked that she still had enough medication.

The next person we visited was another elderly lady further down the road. This woman had dementia and was in a wheelchair. We checked her vitals and her glucose levels as well.

Lastly we visited an older man. We did his vitals and noticed he had a very elevated blood pressure. However, he did not believe in taking medicine so the nurse advised him to take an herbal tea he takes to lower his blood pressure and that she would be back in two days to check his pressure again.

From there we went back to the clinic and began filling our orders for hurricane supplies that the clinic needed. These orders would be sent to Nassau, which would send the supplies over for before hurricane season begins in June. 

After the clinic, we headed over to the One Eleuthera Foundation headquarters for a tour of the Center for Training and Innovation (CTI).

We learned so much from that tour and from the people who run the foundation. The foundation has invested in training many students to build hotel buildings, sidewalks, gardens and growing crops at the headquarters.

The students take courses and become licensed at the end of the program. It was incredible to see that some of the buildings were built from the ground up by students and some had no prior building experience. It was also amazing to hear the plans that the Foundation had for expanding, with the goal of bettering their community.

One of the major things I learned today was how powerful having big dreams and determination can be. The CEO of One Eleuthera talked to us about how much the Foundation has done and how much more there needs to be done. His goal was to provide his community with resources such as providing training and licensures that people could then transfer to other jobs once they graduated.

It was great to meet these community leaders and see how united Eleuthera really is and the vision they have for themselves in the future.