Archive for Uncategorized

A Warrior’s Weekend

Richelle St. Louis, BSN Junior, BUNDLE Scholar

For my pediatric rotation, I had the privilege of volunteering at a Camp Twin Lakes-sponsored event for military veterans and their families through the Wounded Warrior’s Program. The point of this camp was to provide a weekend of time devoted to building relationships within families whom have had to deal with prolonged separation due to serving in the armed forces. For three days, a group of Emory students stayed at the Camp Twin Lakes site in Windsor, GA and were responsible for encouraging and facilitating activities that the families would participate in, ranging from scavenger hunts to Top Chef cooking battles.

I had been assigned to a family with a young girl who was the daughter of an injured veteran. In just the first few moments of meeting my assigned family, I felt so welcomed and accepted. They spared no time to make me feel as if I was a part of them and were eager to share their stories. For one of the first camp activities, we were asked to create a Native American tribal name that we would go by for the rest of the weekend. It was extremely interesting to see how creative the families were in coming up with some pretty interesting names. What I really enjoyed about the camp was finding myself being pushed beyond my comfort zone. I am the type of person who tends to stay quiet and withdraw into a crowd. But during my time at the camp I was actively involved in the activities and found myself doing things like karaoke in front of a large crowd of people.

The most somber part of the weekend, was when the parents and children were split into groups and asked what they wanted to tell each other about struggles that they were having from the pressure of military service. Some of the things that were noted were, “I want to spend more time with you,” “I feel alone in my own family,” “and you don’t understand what I am going through.” Being the daughter of a military veteran myself, the emotions that these families were experiencing really struck me. It reminded me how I felt growing up in a family where my father was never around due to deployment. These emotions became even more tangible as I watched fathers and children with tears in their eyes as they spoke about these hardships. It made me realize the true significance of the camp was in providing the time and space for families to truly open up to each other about how they were feeling and find ways to mend broken relationships and build stronger family bonds as a result.

In the beginning, I did not see how going to camp for weekend would make me a better nurse. From my time at Camp Twin Lakes, I learned that there are factors beyond what the health care provider sees in the hospital that affect the health and lifestyle of people, that are completely out of the patients control. The stress of potentially losing a loved one in combat or having to deal with the separation or constant changes in life, can have a negative effect in whatever population you are looking to serve. I believe it is important for nursing students to recognize that and find opportunities to volunteer for different programs that serve varying populations, in order to be more prepared and open minded when engaging patients in the clinical setting.

My First Clinical Experience

Aliyah Saadein, BSN Junior, BUNDLE Scholar

I remember all the emotions I felt prior to entering nursing school; anxiousness, fear, excitement, and everything in between. Aside from the school work, most of those feelings stemmed from what would be a real life experience as a nurse during our clinical rotations. When the time came in the middle of the semester, I was assigned to a cardiac step-down unit with a group of people I did not know.

On my first day after orientation I remember feeling so excited and prepared for what was to come; little did I know how wrong I would be. I did not know exactly what I expected but I definitely thought at least some things would be easy. I expected talking to patients, interacting with other medical staff members, and performing actions that I practiced prior in lab to be easy. In fact, the things I expected to be the easiest actually became the most challenging when I met real life people with very real problems.

I had to practice speaking to patients without spewing out the medical terminology they teach us in class while still educating them about their medications and their diagnosis. By the time I started clinical, it was around the middle of the semester. I adapted to nursing school quickly and by that time, I thought I had my time management skills under control. Once again, I was wrong. When I was in the hospital things constantly moved fast; patients were discharged, orders were changed, and my work evolved fluidly throughout the day. It became difficult to time everything correctly so that I could perform vital signs, assessment, medications, all while making sure the patient had everything they needed to be comfortable. I had to make sure that before I started the day, I made a game-plan of how I was going to approach the shift to make sure I completed everything in addition to charting (remember: if you didn’t chart it, it didn’t happen).

It also is easy to compare yourself to other peers during the clinical experience. Even though I tried not to, I found myself comparing my knowledge and skill ability to other students. I found myself thinking “I don’t know as much they do” or hearing about other students performing these intense skills while I had still only performed the basics, which caused me to feel like I was behind. Even though I still experience these feelings, I remind myself that these skills come with time and experience. Not everyone is in the same hospital or on the same floor so people are bound to perform different tasks. To make it a little easier for me, I had a great clinical instructor who always reminded us of that and always pushed us to reach out of our comfort zone and perform new tasks even if we were nervous.

I am only a second semester nursing student. By now, I feel like I have experienced it all but I know I have only seen a small fraction of what the realities of nursing are. Going forward with my clinical experience I remind myself that I am a student and that the whole purpose of my clinical experience is to learn and become better. Even though it is embarrassing in the moment, I also tell myself that is okay to make mistakes and it is better to make mistakes during clinical with an instructor around than as a practicing Registered Nurse. I still struggle with all of the things I have mentioned, but I know that I have learned so much and feel so much better as I step into the hospital now compared to that first day on the cardiac step-down unit.

My Experiences as a Student Nurse

Roya Shareefy, BSN Class of 2017, BUNDLE Scholar

Being in nursing school was definitely my most challenging years both academically and in life. When they say that nursing school takes over your life, I can say that nursing school truly did. I had to focus more on my studies than other aspects of life, and learn so much in a short amount of time. The clinical experience of nursing school allowed me to have the opportunity to put what I learned in my classes and readings into action. Clinicals really put in perspectivewhat it truly is like to be a nurse. We talk about this all the time in our classes, but nothing fully captures the skills and responsibilities necessary for nursing better than hands-on experience in a clinical environment.

I experienced so much during my clinical rotations. My first clinical rotation at the main Emory University Hospital eased me into performing nursing functions. I remember when I first started, I felt nervous about actually providing nursing care. When I compare myself to how I was when I first started clinicals, I have definitely learned and grown so much as a student nurse. One of my favorite experiences during clinical was when I had a patient who was first starting chemotherapy. My nurse preceptor told me that patients often experience an anaphylactic reaction to the medication when theyfirst start chemotherapy, so it is important to run the medication at a slower rate. My nurse preceptor said that if we had a patient who reacted to the medication, we should stop running the chemo, check the patient’s blood pressure, and then give the appropriate medication from the emergency kit. When I checked my patient a couple of minutes after starting his chemotherapy, I asked him questions related to a anaphylactic reaction. I also noticed his face was getting a little red and he looked short of breath. He mentioned having lower back pain, so I immediately stopped the infusion, started taking his blood pressure, and notified my nursing preceptor. His blood pressure was within his normal limits, so we gave him Benadryl via his IV. The Benadryl helped the patient, and we had the Benadryl running when we started his chemotherapy medication again, but at a slower rate stated by the physician. This time the patient did not have a anaphylactic reaction, and tolerated his chemotherapy well.

This experience taught me how important it is to asses your patient and to teach your patient beforehand about the reaction the patient could have due to the medication. My nurse preceptor and I taught our patient about the reactions he could have due to the chemotherapy; due to our teaching, our patient recognized his symptoms and was able to know that what he was experiencing was an expected adverse reaction. During clinicals, I had many experiences where I had to think on my feet and conduct nursing care quickly. These experiences taught me a lot about how to be a nurse and emphasized the importance of conducting proper patient care.

***

Roya Shareefy is  a fourth year student from Atlanta, Georgia pursing her BSN degree at Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing at Emory University. She is a BUNDLE Scholar, and serves on the executive board of Emory’s Multicultural Student Nursing Association.

Clinical Experience in Emory Midtown Hospital

Xiqin Huang, BSN Junior, BUNDLE Scholar

My name is Xiqin Huang, and I am a junior BSN student in the Emory School of Nursing. I am from Queens, New York.

The clinical rotation is very important component in the nursing education, because it can integrate your knowledge from lectures into real life settings. I had my medical/surgical clinical rotation in Emory Midtown Hospital for past 2 months, and it was a great experience.

My unit is an extremely busy because there are 50 beds with 10 nurses and 5 nurse techs. Also, in this unit, we had a great variety of patients such as COPD, HIV, pressure ulcers etc. During this clinical, I was able to see many diseases processes and nursing interventions that were described my textbooks. Usually, each student is assigned to one patient for the whole clinical rotation and paired up with that patient’s primary nurse. In 1st week in the hospital, I had a fabulous, wonderful nurse who really took her time to welcome and teach me. She asked me to explain all the medication to her. Also, she brought me to watch procedures on other patients that I wasn’t assigned so that I could get to experience new things.

Moreover, in this clinical, I was able to give different medications through different routes such oral, IV, G-tube etc. It was a wonderful learning opportunity to get more exposures in real hospital setting instead of reading books and watching videos. In my very last clinical shift, I was able to observe my patient’s surgical procedure, craniotomy. It is the surgical removal of part of the bone from the skull to expose the brain. And I saw other different types of nurses in operating room. A scrub nurse prepares the operating area by laying out the necessary instruments and equipment. Before each procedure, nurses thoroughly disinfect their hands and arms and then putting on sterile clothing. Under the direction of the surgeon, scrub nurses handle instruments, assist with procedures, and monitor the patient throughout the operation.

Overall, it was a wonderful experience for me in the nursing school, and it made me to become more interested in nursing field.

SGA President: Making Leadership Fun

Stefka Mentor, BSN Junior, BUNDLE Scholar, Junior Class President

Hi everyone! My name is Stefka Mentor and I am a junior in the traditional BSN cohort. I am originally from New York but I completed my first two years of undergraduate here at Emory University. I am almost finished with my first year of nursing school, and it has been my hardest year yet. Nursing school is difficult and different than anything I have ever experienced before, but it is also completely worth it. In this past year, I have met incredible faculty, amazing students, and even greater nurses. I have been exposed to new ideas, new personalities and new ways of thinking. However, my greatest accomplishment and favorite part of nursing school is serving as SGA president for my cohort.

I was elected to serve as President in September and have been working hard with my board to make nursing school as fun and manageable for our fellow classmates as much as we possibly can. As president one of my key roles is serving as a liaison between the students and the faculty. I work hard to communicate the concerns and needs of my classmates to professors in hopes that they can be resolved and that a common ground can be reached. This is unlike any role I have or could have played while a student in the college. I get to directly interact with faculty, I get to know all my classmates and truly get to be a leader. Professors listen to the concerns of students and they are continuously working to better our experience. To have such an active role in this betterment is honestly a blessing.

Another one of my key roles as president, and my favorite role, is planning fun, destressing events for the cohort. In the fall, my board and I planned an ornament decorating event, where the students came out decorated ornaments of their choice, got to keep a free Emory Nursing phone wallet, and enjoyed delicious hot chocolate and hot cider. The students loved it. They were happy to take some time out of their busy, stressful day to enjoy a cup of hot cider and color. I was happy to see their faces. Just this past month, my board and I planned a buffet lunch for the cohort as nice way to welcome Spring. The students were surprised but so excited. Some students forgot to pack lunch that day, so they were so happy to learn they didn’t have to spend any money and they had a hot meal waiting for them.  I couldn’t stop smiling. There is nothing I enjoy more than seeing my classmates relaxed, socializing, and happy to be at the school of nursing. The events we plan, give them that.

Before coming to nursing school, leadership seemed like a chore or a duty. It seemed as if it wasn’t something someone choose to do, but rather something they had to do. I learned quickly, that I was wrong. Leadership is a choice and it’s the best choice I have made. I wanted to be SGA president, I wanted to make my peers happy and I wanted to make their experience here at the school of nursing fun and everything they want it to be. There is nothing about being a leader that feels like a hassle but instead it’s enjoyable. Nursing school is hard but getting to serve as president makes up for it.

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.


References

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

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.

Confessions of a Nursing Student

Aaron Montgomery, BSN Junior, BUNDLE Scholar

It was cold. It was 5 a.m. so the sky was still pitch black.  There was not a single car riding through the streets.  I had never seen that stretch of road so empty.  I sped up my walking pace to make sure I didn’t arrive late.  The first day was here and I was determined to make a good impression.  I had a feeling that I was forgetting something so I did ongoing checks to make sure I had my supplies: white shoes, watch, stethoscope, blood pressure cuff, and pen.  I started going through all the skills I had been taught in school.  There was no way I was going in unprepared.  As I approached the building, a feeling of nervousness took over.  I took a few seconds to calm down.  Then it was time to go in.  This was my first day of clinical and it was time to get started.

Looking back at that first day in October, it’s hard to believe that I was ever that nervous for clinic.  My first clinical experience has hands down been the best part of my first year of nursing school.  Early in the semester I had a hard time adjusting to the struggles that came with the program.  I had to get used to life in a new city, a new college, and professional school.  I wasn’t used to a full class schedule in addition to clinical experiences.  I didn’t know how to condense the seemingly infinite amount of information down to pass a 50-question exam.  And most of all, I thought I would never get an NCLEX style select-all-that-apply question correct. Ever.  But never once did I second guess my decision to go into nursing.  However, it was hard to envision all that hard work paying off. But that changed when clinical began.

During my first day, I was assigned to a patient in his mid-fifties who was recovering from a stroke.  I started the shift by giving him a bed bath.  Up until that point I had always taken for granted my own ability to bathe myself.  It was truly an honor to help someone perform such a simple but personal task.  After he was ready for the day, I accompanied him to radiology for a swallow evaluation.  I had only read about this procedure in textbooks so I was excited to get to see it in practice.  At the end of the shift, I went with my patient to therapy.  I got to see how the therapists transferred patients from their chairs, helped them walk, and assisted them with their daily activities.  This became valuable during later clinicals when I had to help move larger patients.  I stayed busy the full day.

Then it was time to meet with our clinical group to discuss our day.  My instructor was very direct and open about the expectations she had for us.  She didn’t hesitate to tell me the areas in which I needed improvement.  I worked on those areas, which improved both my confidence and competence.  It was time to leave for the day.  I walked out and instantly started thinking about the following day and how much I dreaded the idea of returning to class.  It hit me that not once during my shift did I think about school, or any of my other struggles.  For those eight hours I put my needs aside and focused on my patient.  There was no doubt that this is what I wanted to spend my life doing.  So far nursing school has had its share of struggles and triumphs, but I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything.

***

Aaron Montgomery is a junior in the traditional BSN program.  Originally from Torrington, Connecticut, he moved to Atlanta to attend Emory following four years in the military.  He is part of the BUNDLES program and is hoping to serve as a Student Ambassador for the 2017-2018 school year.

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

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.

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

Emory Nursing Spring Break Recap

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.

Julia Quinn – Eleuthera, Bahamas

“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.”

Jessica Nooriel – Jupiter, Florida

“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.”

 

 

 

 

 

Meredith Arevalo – Porto and Lisbon, Portugal

“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. ”

Erica Patton – Tampa, FL and Atlanta, GA

 

“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.”

 

 

 

 

 

Anna Beth Daley – Cancun, Mexico

“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.”

Kimberly Reynolds – Clarkston, GA

“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.”

Elianne Carroll – Abu Dhabi and Dubai, United Arab Emirates

“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!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laura Conger – Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Isla Mujeres, Mexico

“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.”

 

 

David Zhao – San Juan, Puerto Rico

“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.”

Maggie Carrillo – Atlanta, GA and Nashville, TN

“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!”

Haja Kanu – Atlanta, GA

“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!”

 

 

 

 

Kim Hundgen – Beijing, China

“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.”

 

Mymuna Kibria – New Orleans, LA

“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!”

Cara Nachtman – Athens, Greece

“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!”