Tag Archive for BSN

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.

An experience in public health — Alternative winter break in Nicaragua

Ali Martin, BSN Class of 2017, BUNDLE Scholar

As a Building Undergraduate Nursing’s Diverse Leadership at Emory Scholar (BUNDLES), I have been given many opportunities to be immersed in public health seminars, lectures, and value adds. This program prepared me for my alternative winter break trip to Nicaragua in December where I was able to serve a vulnerable population in need. I traveled to a city in Nicaragua called Rivas, where I rotated with my peers through their local public hospital. We learned how their health care system worked and how they cared for their patients.

In my first day in the hospital, I was humbled by how privileged we are in the United States when it comes to our health care system. I watched the nurses in Rivas use all the resources they had — which were not many, in order to give the best quality care to their patients. For example, the nurses used gloves as tourniquets, rather than protective personal equipment. They also used leftover medication vials as specimen collectors for urine and stool samples. I watched them perform these tasks and admired the depths they went to when caring for their patients.

The nurse to patient ratio was nearly 1:10 and the nurses worked hard to attend to each patient in a timely manner. With minimum resources available, the nurses shared blood pressure cuffs and thermometers. Unfortunately, the equipment was hardly ever sanitized between use as there was barely enough solutions to clean the equipment in the proper aseptic manner. Although this hospital suffered from a lack of resources, the nurses and health care providers always put their patients first and made sure that they received the best quality of care. They had the biggest hearts and were so eager to teach us with their knowledge and about their health care system. I appreciated their kindness and helped in any way I could.

We spent the first two days in Rivas at the local hospital. After that, we traveled to a small, rural community called El Tambo that invited us to educate them on health care in the United States. We decided to focus on screening and prevention of common diseases that had the highest incidence in their specific population.

We arrived that afternoon and I thought we were just making a stop on the side of the road when our bus suddenly pulled over. I was taken aback when I realized that we were actually in El Tambo. The homes were small shacks with no electricity or running water, however this was home to them and they would have it no other way. They greeted us all with kind smiles and were genuinely happy to have us in their community. They brought us to the local “church” which was just a pavilion with a small stage. We broke off into groups and each took turns presenting the screening material we prepared before the trip. My group focused on breast cancer self exams, because the community had asked us to teach them about breast cancer prevention. We educated them on the pathophysiology of cancer and then went on to show them how to properly perform a breast self exam. They demonstrated back on how to do the breast self exams themselves and we finished our presentation filling fulfilled that we had taught them something new that would benefit their health for the future.

The other groups presented on other common disease processes like diabetes and hypertension. The community and families were so grateful that we were there that they prepared us a homemade meal that was commonly made in their village. We were almost in tears from their generosity. They purified the water so we could drink it, and then they sat back and watched us eat, not even eating themselves.

This trip taught me a lot about the importance of public health, not only in the United States, but also in other countries. Primary and secondary prevention efforts are vital in keeping populations healthy wherever it may be in the world. I will take this experience and what I learned from it throughout my entire nursing career.

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Ali Martin is a graduating BSN senior from Blue Ridge, Georgia. In addition to being a BUNDLE scholar, she is involved on campus in organizations such as Atlanta Pediatric Cancer Outreach and as a peer mentor for the School of Nursing.

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

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

Sheryl Boddu, BSN Class of 2017, BUNDLE Scholar

As a nursing student and a BUNDLE Scholar at Emory University, I come across the words “Public Health” more times than I can count on any given day. I first became acquainted with this term in my Community Health course, where it was defined as “the promotion and protection of the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play.” But what does this exactly mean?  How does it play in the real-world as one’s job, duties and community outcomes?  I did not truly understand the importance of Public Health and the value its entities hold until my Capstone Clinical experience in Gainesville, Georgia.

Since February of this year, I have been learning about the duties of a Public Health Nurse (PHN) at the Department of Public Health (DPH) under the mentorship of David Donalson. As the designated PHN for District 2, David plays many roles and holds various responsibilities that I am fortunate enough to observe. On a typical day at the DPH, I learn how to answer emails and phone calls, track disease surveillance, observe emergency preparedness simulations, perform data analysis assistance and read about current guidelines and policies pertaining to Public Health matters. DPH in Gainesville particularly focuses on notifiable diseases and Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI’s), such as Chlamydia, Gonorrhea, Syphilis and HIV, because of the increasing prevalence of preventable cases. This trend has been attributed to poor access to health care, poverty, and language barriers among the underserved populations clustered in the 13 counties located in Northeast Georgia. I received first-hand experience of how Public Health officials can overcome these challenges and promote good health and well-being.

Likewise, I have been introduced to real-life examples and uses of resources and tools such as Online Analytical Statistical Information System (OASIS), State Electronic Notifiable Disease Surveillance System (SendSS) and Georgia Registry of Immunization Transactions and Services (GRITS). While these programs were just abstract ideas in my Population Health course, in the field I saw health care professionals such as Epidemiologists, Data Analysts and PHNs use them to identify patient’s trajectory and the following-step in the process of preventing disease outbreaks. What was particularly intriguing for me was learning about the expanded role of PHNs as defined by the Statute O.C.G.A. § 43-34-23. Under specific protocols, PHNs can perform screenings and physical exams, diagnose a condition, implement a plan, dispense and administer medications, and even follow-up with treatment management and symptom reduction. This allows for a broad scope of practice and application of skills and knowledge among PHNs, which is not otherwise available in the career path of Registered Nurses with a BSN.

Entering this position, I hoped to learn more about the purpose and duties of PHNs. Connecting principles that I learned in class to actual practice made me realize the importance of Public Health and led to my interest in this field. As a novice, beginning a career in healthcare, I feel more confident and prepared because of this unique experience. I look forward to tackling challenges and contributing to the future of Public Health.

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Sheryl Matthews is a senior, undergraduate student looking forward to graduation this May. In addition to pursuing a future in Public Health, she is also interested in Critical Care and graduate programs in research and innovation. She is an Oxford College continuee, BUNDLE Scholar, Student Ambassador for the School of Nursing, and the treasurer of Savera, Emory’s Indian classical and fusion dance team.

A Global Health Opportunity in Our Own Backyard

Jessica Nooriel, junior BSN student and BUNDLE scholar

In my first semester of nursing school, my volunteer hours were spent at the Friends of Refugees program called Mommy and Me in Clarkston, Georgia. In this Family Literacy program, mothers are taught ESL while their children are exposed to the English language as well through language nutrition. This intervention is based upon evidence and multiple studies, and these studies have shown that the more exposure to words a child receives in his or her first few years of life, the higher their chances of achieving literacy in his or her younger school-age years and the better chances they have of attending university and obtaining jobs later in life. So, in short, language nutrition is of utmost importance, especially for this population of refugee children who are being raised in homes in which English may not be used often.

After my first semester volunteering with this program, I had spent sufficient time in the various classrooms interacting with the children and I thought that I had a grip on what public health meant for this community. It was plain and simple. Learning the language was the most important factor in the process of these refugees becoming integrated into American society, so I thought.

This semester, my second at the nursing school, was when I began my full population health clinical. Coincidentally, I was placed at the same site as where I volunteered last semester, the Friends of Refugees Mommy and Me program. Since I had spent some time volunteering at Mommy and Me last semester, I thought I knew what to expect for my clinical portion of population health at Mommy and Me. As before, I thought I would arrive at the Clarkston refugee school, be introduced to a new class’s teacher, and then spend the morning speaking and playing with the refugee children of that class until their mothers came to retrieve them at noon.

During my second clinical day at Mommy and Me, though, all of my expectations were exceeded. This time, I felt more empowered. During our pre-clinical meeting in the morning, we discussed our roles as student nurses in this clinical—which involves responsibilities such as noticing refugee children who may have health conditions that aren’t being treated or observing community-wide health issues or gaps in knowledge. This time around at Mommy and Me, I was given a task and a tangible goal, to improve the overall health outcome of the Clarkston refuge community, whether through individual or community actions.

My morning began as I expected. I joined an older toddler classroom, where I aided with snack time, played with the children during playtime, and gave the children as much language nutrition as I could. However, after lunch, my instructor took my group to a refugee resettlement agency, New American Pathways. All we were told was that we would be helping the agency with a program they were planning. I went into this meeting with few expectations.

When I walked out of the New American Pathways building after our meeting, I felt empowered. I felt that my one year of nursing education could already be used to make a difference. The opportunity that we were asked to help with was a Women’s Sexual Health Education class for Middle Eastern and Eastern African Refugee women involved in the North American Pathways organization. My clinical group was given the responsibilities of finding reliable academic sources, creating an appropriate lesson, and fully executing the class when the day came. The education of these women now fell in our hands. And we could feel the immense responsibility that we now all had. We have just begun research on topics in women’s health, and my excitement is growing with each step in the process.

In my time at Mommy and Me, I feel that this experience will equally benefit me as it does the refugees we interact with. I will have my assumptions challenged, and I will come out a more aware and conscientious person. Since my own parents came to the United States as immigrants just two decades ago, I am gaining a better glimpse through interactions with the families at Mommy and Me, just what my parents went through on their journey toward making the United States their new home.

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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.

Montego Bay: Nursing is an art and a science

After three days in Jamaica, we all started to have a routine: wake up, get ready, eat eggs, drink coffee, and file into the two blue buses with Willie and Mr. Miller (our amazing bus drivers) to start the day.

As the blue vans started driving down the rugged gravel roads, I still could not grasp the fact that we were driving on the opposite side of the road. The separation between each lane were so small that it felt like we were hugging the other drivers going the opposite direction. However, both Willie and Mr. Miller had no fear or hesitation. They swiftly diverted the pot holes, the sharp turns, and the other experienced drivers.

We started the day by heading to a day school for children. Remi (BSN ’17) took charge and started the education with hand washing. The children excitedly washed their hands in the court yard and then vigorously rubbed glo germ all over their fingers. With a black light, Remi and the other students demonstrated how well the kids performed the hand washing. The children’s eyes widened as their hands glowed. We knew that this activity captured their interest. We then followed the hand washing education with teaching children how to brush their teeth and how to eat a balanced meal. Dr. Ades would be proud!

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We also continued to provide free health screenings to the educators of the school. They continuously smiled as we taught them about diet, exercise, and their overall health. Overjoyed with appreciation, they showered us with hugs and genuine compliments.

Filled with affirmation, we drove to Cornwall Regional Hospital where we were greeted by the Chief Nursing Officer, Marva Lawson-Byfield, at the Ministry of Health Jamaica. She intently started at us as she shared her love for her patients and for the career of nursing. “Nursing is an art and a science. The art is in the heart and the science is in the conscious.”

Her words reminded us of our choice in nursing and those words continued to resonate with us as we toured the different wards of the hospital. When we reflected afterwards about this humbling experience, we realized that different aspects of the hospital impacted us. Some of us recognized that their lack of an EMR system served them well and allowed them to break away from routine and use their minds to serve others. Some of us saw this as an overwhelming experience and how this hospital reminded them of why they decided to become nurses. Lastly, some of us witnessed nurses creating innovative solutions and loving care to their patients. Ms. Lawson-Byfield said it well when she ended her welcoming speech emphasizing how attitude towards your job and towards your patient is every thing.

With our stomachs growling, we headed to Juici Patties to culture ourselves with Jamaican patty. This flaky baked pastry shell contained different fillings (beef, chicken, or vegetables) that exploded in my mouth with a diverse mixture of mesmerizing spices.

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We then continued our day with a Cornwall Regional Hospital Nurse Graduation. The soon to be nurses slowly walked into the church with their blue striped hats and their crisp white dresses. As I watched them, I couldn’t stop my mind from wandering to our own graduation either in either May or December of next year.

After sharing the experience with Jamaica’s future nurses, we ended our day with a children after school program that overlooked the lush Jamaican mountains. As our blue van slowly drove up to the gate, Candace (ABSN ’17) opened the van door and said “Change of plans”. As team lead with Blair (BSN ’17), they decisively directed five of us to quickly prepare a skit about bullying, delegated three of us to follow the skit with yoga, and sent two of us to the office to provide health screenings for the staff.

Prior to the skit, Dria (ABSN ’17) invited two of the children up to participate in the skit and stand up for the girl that was being bullied (me-Lisa, ABSN ’17). The girls courageously said “stop!” and stood in front of me to hinder Dria and Sarah (ABSN ’17) from their actions. Through this experience, we started to see their understanding and their strength.

Alex (BSN ’17) also creatively took a few females to the corner of the playground to discuss women’s health. Besides the unexpected rap performance by the girls, she ultimately created an open space for the girls to speak comfortably about being a women, about hormones, sex, and contraceptives.

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Although the day was long, hot, and sweaty, we witnessed health promotion at work through each other and through the people of Jamaica. It’s amazing to see the amount of heart and commitment my peers have for those they serve. I am excited to see our next adventure tomorrow!