Archive for Health Care

A Year Worth of Clinical

Isai Flores, BSN Junior, BUNDLES Scholar

The night before clinical I could not sleep from excitement. Filled with nervousness and anxiousness, I tossed and turned in my bed unaware that the morning was quickly approaching. I had organized everything I needed prior to going to bed. I neatly folded my scrubs and placed them on top of my dresser. I imagined how it would feel to finally be in the hospital in my uniform. I felt proud about all the skills that I had learned in the classroom. However, I also knew that I would not perform my skills on mannequins but rather on living people. I did not have the luxury of getting a second opportunity to perform the given skill. When I woke up in the morning, I put that anxiety behind me and pushed forward knowing I was prepared. I put my scrubs on, double-checked if I had packed everything and headed out the door anticipating my first footsteps in the hospital. I expected to see a wide array of patients – each unique with different health concerns and with different plans of care. I yearned to see how nursing theory translated into practice.

Turning left off of Ponce de Leon Drive, I saw the sign: Emory University Midtown Hospital. I was ready to enter the hospital and arrive at Unit 31. The culture of the unit could be summed up in one word: inviting. This was my first semester in nursing school.  They were very open to us even though we were students with very limited knowledge. I think by the end of that semester I had mastered the art of the bed bath. During that first rotation, I shadowed a nurse who had worked on that same unit for thirty years. She encouraged me to speak to the patients and ask her questions about anything I noticed. I asked her about how she schedules her day, how she chooses what assessments to perform on the patients, and so many other questions. She answered every single question with eagerness, willing to share her knowledge.

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Second semester, so far had been fantastic. Population health and pediatrics were the best moments of my clinical experience. Waking up the morning of my first day of population health clinical, I knew I would be greeted by familiarity. First, because I had spent time at Mommy & Me for service learning last semester. Secondly because I hoped to stay with the same kids from last semester. Despite this familiarity with Mommy and Me, Clarkston was starkly unfamiliar to me. We have only a few weeks and the thought of planning a substantive intervention slightly worried me because six weeks seemed too little. I thought: how would we do this? What was the main problem that they faced? How would we help ameliorate all the health issues that this community faced daily? I knew the answer to that question already. We simply could not. At least – not in the time span that we have. However, I know that we could think of something that can, at least for the time being, address some of the health issues. At the end of my session, we made home visits to the mothers to further assess the health needs of the community. They were a source of inspiration and bounding resilience that could only be gained by personal experience. In the end, we worked on educating the mothers on health insurance and how to renew benefits for their children.

Overall I have learned that health care is so multi-faceted. The multi-dimensional approaches to health that we have taken in my clinical experience have surpassed my expectations. I look forward to next year and the future where I can learn more and achieve more.

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Isai Flores is a third year student at Emory, in the school of nursing, pursing his BSN. He is a Gates Millennium Scholar and a BUNDLE Scholar.

It’s a PA, It’s a MD, … um it’s a NURSE!

The journey to becoming a nurse was rather unconventional for me. I knew when I began started at Emory College that I wanted to do something that involved being around people, making a difference, and a change of pace every now and then. My experience may be a little different from my fellow colleagues because I transitioned from Emory College to the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing. My first week was filled with orientation and getting a feel of the college. We had orientation leaders and small group discussion among first-year students. The first few questions were aimed at getting to know one another.

“What is everyone’s perspective major or career track?”

I honestly did not know and I assumed that a few people did not know as well. We were a group of 12, so I was interested to hear what others wanted to do in the future. As everyone went around the circle all I heard was ‘I want to be a doctor.’ This was then followed by someone who said that they assumed that’s how the rest of the circle felt like. I was surprised not because of my peer’s response, but of my orientation leaders lack to facilitate the conversation in a more neutral light. However, this was not a problem that simply remained in my first few weeks of college, but the mindset that if you were not doing medicine then you were doing public health followed me until I came across nursing.

A friend of mine who was thinking about pursuing nursing invited me to sit in on one of their lectures. It was the end of freshman year and I was in a crisis because I simply had no idea what I wanted to do, so I said to myself, “why not?” The lecture we decided to audit was a Patho course and I was hooked as soon as class started. The professor was engaging and even though the class was three hours time seemed to fly. She was not only engaging but showed so much passion for the course that I wanted to take it. Soon after I had a chance to talk to a few of the students and they told me about the ups and downs of nursing school. I appreciated how open and honest they were being with a complete stranger. By the time I left I had made a decision. I was going to pursue nursing as a career because it had so much to offer.

You are probably wondering about my title. This post represents my journey to nursing school and the wall society automatically puts up because you are a nurse. My mom was not against it, but she proceeded to ask me if I was going to use this as an opportunity to go to med school. A few people who I tell that I am a nursing student ask me the same thing. I’m not mad about this, but simply sad that the career does not get the recognition and appreciation that others do simply because of the lack of knowledge most people have about the profession. I honestly do not blame anyone for that. If you are a Grey’s Anatomy fanatic and all that you know about health care is what you see on TV, then I fully expect misconceptions about the roles in a real hospital.

As people I interact with have gained greater exposure to the life of a nursing student, I have seen their appreciation and also respect for my career choice. One of the most memorable days I think a future nurse ever experiences is when a patient truly thanks them for saving their life. Those are the moments I live for. Those moments are what give me the satisfaction that I will someday be a nurse.

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Gloria Alafe is a BSN junior as well as a BUNDLEs Scholar who looks forward towards embracing the diverse field of nursing. Her interest includes pediatric ICU as well as generational PTSD.

Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease

Tyra Skinner, BSN Junior, BUNDLE Scholar

This past Saturday, I decided to take a break from studying to visit the Carter Center. I was really excited to see what the Carter Center had for me to learn and absorb but I was most excited about the Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease exhibition. The exhibit is fairly new to Atlanta and focuses on diseases that plagued many parts of the world and tracked their journey to eradication.

There were walls full of information about guinea worm disease, malaria, small pox, polio, trachoma and a few other diseases that are currently in the process of being eliminated or eradicated. Each disease had pictures and information about prevention, methods of transmission and the manifestations of the diseases on an individual and the community. According to the Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease brochure, guinea worm disease could become the second human disease to ever be eradicated, with smallpox being the first.

What’s so hard about eradicating a disease? Don’t you just wash your hands and use clean water? Well obviously, it’s a little more complicated than that. Scientists have been working for decades just to control or eliminate some of these diseases. Disease eradication is one of the biggest challenges to public health and there are a number of reasons why some disease cannot be eradicated.

Measles is one of the most contagious, deadly disease that we still see today and is also eradicable. Even though, vaccines are reliable and common, there has been a rise in the number of cases in recent years. Increased disapproval of vaccines and lack of economic and governmental support has led to less children receiving the measles vaccine, leading to setbacks to the eradication of measles.

One tricky part about disease eradication is that not all diseases can able to be completely wiped out of existence. For example, Influenza is a common disease that is often brought to the public’s attention around fall and spring every year. It is also a disease that does not fit the criteria for eradication. Why? There are many different strains of the disease that mutates frequently so a vaccine that worked last year may not work the next year. Trachoma, a bacterial disease that spread through eye-seeking flies, is also not eradicable but the blindness that is caused by the disease can be treated with a surgery.

A part of the exhibit that really caught my eye was an educational flipbook from South Sudan that was made from cloth instead of paper. The book didn’t have any words on it and was bound more like a scroll than an actual flipbook. The one picture that I could see illustrated the proper filtering technique that is now utilized in many villages in Africa to filter water, preventing the transmission of pathogens like the guinea worm. Villagers place a cloth with a semi-permeable section in the middle on top of a bucket and pour water over it to make the water drinkable. Cloth was used instead of paper or cardboard books because paper and cardboard are not able to withstand the conditions of the fields in the most commonly affected areas.

The Carter Center had other exhibits that focus on the many great things that Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, have contributed to public health, global affairs and policy during his presidency and years after. I highly recommended checking it out, especially viewing the Countdown to Zero: Defeating Disease exhibit.

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Tyra Skinner is a traditional BSN student at Emory’s School of Nursing. She serves as a mentor and team leader for the Health Career Academy and is also a part of the BUNDLE program.

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.

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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.

¡Wepa!

Yesterday we drove from Caguas (near San Juan) to the south side of the island. We are in Ponce to work at a nursing home for our last service day, but first we had a delightfully warm welcome from the Ponce civic representatives, including the head of tourism. We explored the quaint and colorful town square and some of the city’s main sights, including a tree believed to be more than 500 years old.

At Parque de la Ceiba

The director of tourism passes out “Ponce Passports” for our tour of the city. Credit: David Zhao

Ponce town square. Credit: David Zhao

 

Today we served at Asociacion Benefica de Ponce, home to about 35 senior citizens. We helped with bathing and dressing, medication administration, and wound care. We also attended a lecture on palliative care by one of our leaders, Dr. Weihua Zhang. Members of the nursing home staff as well as nursing assistant students sat in on the lecture, which included an insightful comparison of end-of-life care in the continental U.S. versus Puerto Rico. As one might expect, many of of the emotions and rituals are the same, but we did learn that some people on the island practice Santeria, a Caribbean religion with its own spiritual traditions.

 

One of the most profound parts of our visit to the Asociacion was connecting with the clients one-on-one. One of our leaders, Gladys Jusino, took out her guitar and sang traditional Puerto Rican songs with the clients.

Gladys Jusino plays guitar for a nursing home client. Credit: David Zhao

A bed-ridden woman listens to music at the Asociacion. Credit: David Zhao

A client and nurse of the Asociacion clap along to music. Credit: David Zhao

 

We were reminded that a smile and a gentle squeeze of the hand are universal gestures that transcend language barriers.

Credit: David Zhao

Credit: David Zhao

Credit: David Zhao

 

We ended the day with a bird’s eye view of Ponce and sleepy car ride back to our headquarters near San Juan.

Credit: David Zhao

 

Our service learning trip has come to an end, and tomorrow we fly back to Atlanta. I think I can speak for everyone in our group when I say that we were humbled and honored to have been a part of this trip to Puerto Rico. We met incredibly gracious and intelligent people, we learned about the island’s vibrant culture and history, and we aimed to care for, in however small a way, some of its most vulnerable citizens. Thank you to our brilliant and fearless leaders, Gladys Jusino and Weihua Zhang, and their family members that accompanied us.

Wepa, a Puerto Rican word that implies joy and good cheer, was brought up a lot during this trip. Gracias, Puerto Rico, for welcoming us with open arms. We will be back! ¡Wepa!

Montego Bay: 16 nursing students, two professors and one breast model take Mobay

DAY 1| The bustling of the footsteps resonated throughout the Atlanta International Airport. All 16 of us arrived with high anticipation. Dr. Muirhead and Dr. Horigan, our two faculty instructors, directed as we quickly checked in eight packed suitcases of medical supplies and incentives (blood glucose monitors, gloves, band aids, hygiene kits, glasses, lotion, etc). We promptly started walking through TSA security with no concern or doubt that we would be stopped. However, we were completely wrong. Although most of us walked through smoothly, Dria (ABSN ’17) confidently knew that she would be stopped. “I just knew it,” she said as she shook her head after the incident. The red lights immediately flashed as her luggage passed through the security scanner. The TSA officer started searching through her personal items before pulling out the breast model she had for her breast self exam presentation. The officer’s eyebrows raised as she questioned, “what is this?” Without a second thought, Dria went nurse mode and preceded to educate her about breast exams. She even encouraged her to perform her own self exams and emphasized the importance of it. By the end of the conversation, Dria walked away with not only her breast model but also with the satisfaction about her premature patient education. We knew right then that this would be a good trip.

When we finally made it to Jamaica, we went straight to work. After refueling our energy with food, we took two hours packing first aid kits as incentives for our very first event! After designating leaders for this event, we headed over to The Church of God to speak with the individuals about the health related issues in Jamaica and Montego Bay.

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Elianne Carroll (ABSN ’17) and Fauziya Ali (BSN ’17) created and executed the health module about the Zika virus. The ladies of the church listened intently as they followed them through their poster. In order to guide their understanding, we also provided them with an educational handout that had additional information to address any concerns.

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After the presentation, we provided free blood pressure screenings and patient education. Dr. Muirhead floated around to assist and provided further patient education about actions individuals could take in order to help lower their blood pressure. Each participant received a gift bag with deodorant, anti-fungal cream, and their own personal first aid kit. The ladies and specifically the kids at the event enjoyed both the information and our presence.

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We returned to the hotel in good spirits and hungry. After eating, debriefing, learning about hypertension education tips, and creating aromatherapy rice bags, we went straight to our rooms to say hello to our beds. FIRST DAY, SUCCESS.