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ABSN Student Leaders Reflect on Graduation and their Emory Nursing Experience

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

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

Cory Woodyatt

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

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

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

Stephanie Lee

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Haley Reid

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

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

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

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

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

Shanita Webb

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

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

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

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

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

DNP student details important volunteer experience

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

Help Women and Families in Crisis

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

Volunteers are needed for:

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

*A two-week minimum commitment is requested*

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


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

Day 7 and 8 at Moultrie – Going with the Flow

A nursing student checking the hearing of an elementary school student

It’s nearing the end of the last week of our Farmworker Family Health Program trip in Moultrie and I can’t believe my time here is almost done. Every one here has gotten so much into their routine that the days almost seem to meld together, flowing from one task to another. In the past few mornings at the elementary school, we have been seeing the last few kids that needed to go through the stations as well as a few kids that needed to be re-screened if they didn’t pass certain tests or assessments. Wednesday morning I was doing vision screenings with another BSN student and we were testing a boy in the second grade. As we were having him read the shapes in the chart we noticed he could barely make it past the first few lines of shapes and was squinting and leaning forward; after the full assessment it was very obvious he had vision problems and would get a referral to a clinic where he would likely be getting glasses. He was right at the age where having difficulty seeing would make it more difficult for him to learn and pay attention in class and ultimately affect his overall education, but because we were able to catch this problem early, his vision will be able to be corrected. A lot of times doing so many of these screenings for hearing, vision, blood pressure, and blood glucose can seem repetitive, especially if a majority of the kids are healthy, and I sometimes lose sight of the fact that these tests can catch major problems early on for these children.

A view from the camp we worked at Wednesday night

BSN Student, Molly Murphy, providing foot care to one of the farmworkers while two Nurse Practitioner students help assess

On Tuesday night we went to the same camp as Monday night, but this time we were prepared: we knew it was going to be raining again that night so we set up everything inside the screened in building so we didn’t have the delay of relocating all of our supplies and tables inside. It was a small, compact space we were working in but everyone stayed focus and we were able to move around each other without any major collisions. On Wednesday night we were at a new camp that was slightly smaller than the previous two nights so the pace was slow going at first. This came as no surprise to us, but it of course began raining around 30 minutes into seeing the men through the stations. This camp had no coverings to go under, but luckily there was no lightening so we knew we could stay and find a way to continue working. Some of us braved it in the rain with ponchos and umbrellas and others were set up in some collapsable tents where we tried to keep as many people dry as possible. Everything out at these camps is an unexpected adventure and this night was no different.

BSN Student, Jenny Choe, providing education on high blood sugar management with the help of a translator

When we are working with the men, we have amazing translators that are with us at each station as well as with each dental hygiene student, pharmacy student, and the student nurse practitioners as they complete their physicals. However, there aren’t always enough translators to be at every spot we want them so they often have to get relocated where they are most needed at the time, which is what happened to me when I was working at the blood glucose and hemoglobin station when our translator was needed at another location. At first I was worried to be without a translator to help explain to the patient what I was going to be doing and how to explain and educate them on their results, but as I have talked about previously, this group of people here is always so willing to help anyone.We almost immediately had one of the pharmacist students come over to us and offer help translating what she could as we had other nursing students go ask others for some key Spanish phrases to tell and ask the men. Even in times of chaos everyone here is able to pull together and make sure we accomplish the goals we came out here to do. We are seeing one final group of men at a camp tonight and then finishing charting and packing up at the elementary school in the morning. As I write this we have less than 24 hours left on this trip and I hope to enjoy every minute and help everyone I can!




This past Friday, Monday, and Tuesday we spent time with the midwives of Carchá teaching them the same three topics that we taught the midwives in Chisec. That’s where the similarities end though. This group of midwives was vastly different from our first. There was a wider range of education to begin with, some couldn’t write or read and others who could read and write in multiple languages. There were women who were activists trying to fight for more rights for midwives. There was a mother of 19 who had delivered all of her babies herself – two of her daughters were there as midwives with her. There was a woman who had been a nurse for the government and changed to become a midwife.

I like to think that the six days we spent teaching these midwives has changed us all. We complain about salaries and hours and working conditions in the States, but it’s nothing compared to these women. They don’t get paid for anything that they do. They are on call 24/7. They don’t get vacations or sick leave. They walk at night for miles without lights to show them the way and then deliver babies on dirt floors by candlelight. I know they don’t have the same risk of malpractice – but they have a greater risk of maternal/fetal morbidity and mortality.

While I would like to say that all midwives in the States do what they do because they love it, I’d also like to think I’m not naive enough to believe that. The midwives here do this because they view it as a calling from a higher power. They do it for the love of their community and the love of their women. They do it in spite of constantly being put down by the government, of constantly being scorned, of constantly being waved off like they are unimportant – like they’re something less than others. I’m just in awe of them.

Teaching here was harder for all those who did it. We’re tired and languages are harder when your brain isn’t firing as sharply as it normally does. We all struggled to understand and to communicate. We struggled to accommodate the variety of educational levels. We struggled with illnesses taking out two of our more proficient speakers on the last two days. We struggled with patience for each other. It’s definitely been a harder go this time around on all fronts.


Day 6 at Moultrie – Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

BSN Student, AshleyAnne James, checking hemoglobin and blood glucose while a pharmacy student helps comfort the child

Sunday night we arrived back in Moultrie, Georgia to our hotel that was comforting and familiar. They welcomed us back with dinner in the lobby and we got to meet and mingle with the new pharmacy students and dental hygiene students that would be joining us for our last week of work. Monday morning we were back at the Elementary School making sure we got off to a good start to help try to get the rest of the kids at the school seen by all of the stations this week. I was back at the kids’ favorite station, blood glucose and hemoglobin. Unlike the very first day where some kids didn’t know they would have to get their finger stuck, word of mouth had spread and they all knew that it was coming. Some kids had prepared themselves as they sat down with me, handed me their finger of choice, and looked away trying to focus on the stickers. Other kids had gotten so nervous that they were in tears before they even got to the table, thankfully there were not too many like that. Over the last week we helped learn and teach other some tips and tricks to make it easier for the kids such as having them count stickers when we did it or even holding their hand a certain way so they couldn’t see the blood. Even though this was the pharmacy students’ and dental hygiene students’ first day at the school and they were getting used to the flow, they were always so quick to lend a hand and help; whenever they would see a kid sitting with us starting to get nervous or cry they would immediately come over and comfort the kid and ask if there was anything they could do. Even in an unfamiliar environment, it’s so nice to see that everyone is so willing to help each other across our disciplines of work. All around the Elementary School the saying “teamwork makes the dream work” is proudly displayed on various posters and it definitely rings true for our team.

Dental Hygiene students setting up inside after escaping the storm

The storm at the camp approaching fast! Photo taken by NP Student, Geoffry Hall

After a little bit of rest back at the hotel, we headed out to a new camp to help provide services to the men. We drove through quite a few muddy roads but finally arrived and began setting up. After the first few men came through we noticed some dark clouds in the distance but were keeping our fingers crossed it would just pass by us. Every thing started getting busy which meant I normally just focus on my patient in front of me and not many other distractions around me, so I was startled when one of the faculties members came up to our station and told us to pack up because the storm was coming right for us and it looked bad.Thankfully, the night would not be a waste; there was a portion of the camp that had a building and screened in windows we could move to instead of heading home. We all crammed into this small space, setting up chairs and extra tables where we could and made do with what we were given. It was definitely a challenge working in a smaller space that got noisy and hot very quickly, but we were happy that we could help out everyone that came to see us. Not every thing goes according to plan when we are out working, but in the last week we learned so much about flexibility and cooperation and have seen in person how important it is. It really is a team effort these two weeks and I am so thankful to be on a team with everyone here.


Day 5 at Moultrie – Rained Out and Moving Out

BSN students getting ready for the last night of the first week (featuring stylish rain boots and fanny packs)

Lightening lighting up the sky as we begin to pack up our stations

Yesterday and today are the last two days of our first week and the time absolutely flew by!! Last night we once again lined up in our cars and headed out to a new camp to work with. We set up quickly on the main road leading into the camp so everything was flat and there weren’t too many bugs bothering us. The men who come to us are usually just coming off from the work in the fields and they were running a little late yesterday so we had extra time to all hang out. Over the week everyone in the disciplines has gotten close and become great friends so we no longer spend our free time with just a small group of people in our same specialty; instead, we used our free time to organize a quick soccer game for all of the specialties to play while others watched and cheered on their friends. After a few good soccer games, the workers started coming and and we all headed to our stations. I was at the blood glucose and hemoglobin station, which has become by favorite station to work at during the camps at night. All of the previous camps we had been to this week had only men, but there was a fair number of women who were working that came and saw us which was a new experience. Unfortunately, a few hours in we heard lightening cracking nearby and had no coverings for any of us so we had to pack up quickly and head back to the hotel. Normally when we are in class as students and we hear that we get to head home early everyone gets very excited, but there was a different tone when we were told we would be leaving early last night. Many of else felt sad and disappointed. We knew there was nothing we could do about the situation since the approaching lightening was a major safety concern, but it was hard for us to leave knowing there was a lot of men and women that we could not see or help out, but we hoped that we made an impact on those we did see.

BSN Student, Jessica Yang, testing blood glucose and hemoglobin on an Elementary Student while a pharmacy student helps keep her distracted and happy!

Today we woke up with our cars packed to go home and ready to head out to the last morning session at the Elementary School for the week. There were not too many kids to see and we got them all in and out quickly. I was working at the audiometry station testing the kids’ hearing with another BSN student which went smoothly since the kids knew there were no needles involved and they got to wear cool headphones instead!! We did not have to pack up too much since we would be back again on Monday but we made sure our stations were clean before getting into our cars and making the drive back up to Atlanta to be able to rest and refresh ourselves for a few days. I have had such an incredible experience this past week and feel like I’ve already learned and grown so much. Working in this unique setting has taught me so much about teamwork, flexibility, cooperation, and patience. I am so excited to be able to come back for one more week with people I’ve grown so close to and some new faces as well!

First week group with all of our BSN students, NP students, Pharmacy students, Dental Hygiene students, Physical Therapy students, and faculty!

Day 4 at Moultrie – Blood, Sweat & (no) Tears

The farmworker camp we worked at and set up our stations

Last night a little after 6:30pm we arrived at a new farm, covered head-to-toe in bug spray and ready to tackle whatever the night threw at us. Thankfully there was no rain on the radar for the night, but this camp definitely brought some new challenges and surprises; there were no coverings at the camp so we were outside with the grass coming up to our knees. Even though we were at a new location, the set up went smoothly since we have settled well into all of our roles throughout the different disciplines. I was placed at the blood glucose and hemoglobin stations where we were doing finger sticks on the men that came through. Doing the finger sticks on the farmworkers can sometimes be challenging because their fingers are often very callused making it harder to draw blood for both machines. We’ve all learned techniques from each other to make the process easy for us and the men so we don’t have to stick them again. Sometimes we have to squeeze and massage down their hands (a process some nurses have termed “milking” the arm) and holding their hands down at their side to let gravity help the blood flow. The men were able to go around and see all of the nursing stations, the nurse practitioners, physical therapy, and dental hygiene throughout the night and get the help and referrals they needed.


One of the nursing students getting a good stretch from a physical therapy student during a break!

This morning we went back to Cox Elementary School to continue our care and screening for the kids. Another one of the nursing students and I went upstairs and got ready at our station that was testing height, weight, and BMI. Working with the children at the station was pretty simple, all we had to do was weigh them and measure their height but it required a lot of charting so, like yesterday during the vision screening, we took a lot of turns charting and keeping the kids entertained who were waiting. In our room we were testing in we also had a physician from Guatemala who was sitting with the kids waiting teaching them about Zika virus. She used coloring books and pictures to explain to them what the virus is and how they can help prevent it for themselves and others. The Zika virus is becoming an increasingly difficult problem, especially here in rural South Georgia during the summer months, so teaching these kids from a young age is very crucial. Our hotel we are staying at is also very kindly serving all of us dinner tonight before we head out to our last night at a farmworker camp for the week. We head home for the weekend tomorrow afternoon but we’ll be back Sunday night to start our second week of service here!

Day 2 at Moultrie – Feeling the Pressure

High fashion for nursing students at the first camp!

Yesterday we had our first night working with the farmworkers at their camps and it was quite an operation; everyone in the program throughout all of the disciplines lined up in their cars next to our hotel for a giant caravan drive to our first farm of the week! We all arrived together through muddy roads and began unloading and setting up numerous truckloads of supplies in our finest rain gear: ponchos resembling giant plastic bags and our scrub pants tucked nicely into our rain boots.


Sun goes down, head lamps go up!

Everyone was very excited setting up and preparing to meet and work with the men here. One of my favorite parts of this program is how we have so many different medical fields working together and learning from each other. Molly, one of the other nursing students, and I got to teach a group of the pharmacy students how to use the blood sugar and hemoglobin machines and then they were able to help us throughout the night when that station got busy. Even dental hygiene students helped the student nurse practitioners identify problems in the mens’ mouth. It was really great to see all disciplines finding ways to help each other and give the men we are assessing the best help they can get. Once all of the workers started filing in, I was definitely feeling the pressure… possibly because I was assigned to the blood pressure station… but also because I was facing the reality of trying to assess and educate these men when we didn’t have a language in common. I felt confident in my technical skills in taking blood pressures but that confidence was immediately lost when I tried to introduce myself, explain what I was doing, what their results were, and education on high blood pressure management when I only spoke English and they only spoke Spanish. Thankfully, like all students do in nursing school, I figured out a way to make it work. I learned a few phrases to help build some connection and realized how important a smile and a reassuring hand on the arm can be. We also have amazing translators with us that helped with some more complicated translations and education between us and the men. At around midnight we finally had everything packed up and drove our long line of cars back to the hotel.


After what only felt like 30 minutes of sleep, we were up again today and back at Cox Elementary School in the morning. Thankfully, almost all of our supplies were still set up from yesterday so it didn’t take too much work before we got to start seeing the kids. I was at the blood pressure station, but unlike last night I also had the added bonus of handing out stickers to the kids who came through. Many of the kids were very young and could only speak a little bit of english but we still made sure to have fun! They all got excited to get their blood pressure taken by a cuff that would “give their arm a big hug” before picking out the perfect sticker. I loved being able to joke around with the kids and show them how all of the equipment worked, which for them included squeezing the air pump of the blood pressure cuff until their hand got tired and tapping on my stethoscope as soon as I placed it in my ears. All of the kids there are so sweet and I’m so glad we can come and do our part to help them the next two weeks. Tonight we are back at the same camp we were at last night to continue our care for the rest of the men. It’ll be another muddy night but I know it will be worth it!

All smiles in the car ride back from the Elementary School!