nursing students from the University
of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Accelerated
Bachelor of Science in Nursing program organized and hosted a student-run
conference that drew nearly 200 students and community members to discuss incorporating
mental health awareness into health care.
Martin and Jessie Axsom came up with the idea for the conference after
realizing that harm reduction and trauma-informed care were almost never
discussed in their nursing school curriculum. “Harm reduction” refers to the practice
of medical professionals accepting that patients may engage in risky behaviors,
working to meet patients where they are rather than judging them. “Trauma-informed
care” means that health care providers assume that a patient has experienced
some type of trauma and act accordingly.
Mental Health,” featured speakers from across Philadelphia and Penn
communities to discuss harm reductionist and trauma-informed approaches to
health care. The duo hoped their conference would help increase awareness among
health system workers and community members about these issues. They also hoped
to provide attendees with tangible strategies to provide these methods in their
everyday lives and future careers.
Axsom tells thedp.com, “Trauma-informed care was actually identified as a critical need of the West Philadelphia community, and Philadelphia has been forced to become a leader in harm reduction in their response to the opioid crisis, but both of these topics have been completely left out of our nursing education in any meaningful way. Our frustration and our anger drove us to organize an event that would at least start to address those needs.”
To learn more about the Reimagining Mental Health
student-run conference hosted at Penn Nursing, visit here.
Our Nurse of the Week is Mark
Cavender, a 56-year-old and previous US service member from Conway, Arkansas,
who started nursing school at age 54, proving that age is just a number when you’re
achieving your dreams.
Cavender tells thebl.com, “I get some funny looks sometimes, but I look back funny and it works. I tell some of my classmates, they could be the same age as my grandchildren.”
Cavender decided to leave his safety inspection job in 2017, at 54 years old, to start his journey to becoming a nurse at the University of Central Arkansas. His decision came from his late wife who died of cancer a few years ago. The nurses they met while his wife was in the hospital inspired him to become a nurse and give back to other families experiencing medical hardship.
Susan Grotto, director of nursing at the
University of Central Arkansas, says there is a severe nursing shortage nationwide
and Cavender’s enrollment is helping to shrink this major problem in the field.
When talking about Cavender, she says, “It’s never too late. It takes a
decision, brains, and heart.”
Cavender is now working his way through clinicals like
surgery and labor and delivery. He’s waiting to see which one moves him the
most before deciding on his next move after graduating in May 2021.
To learn more about Mark Cavender, a previous US
service member who started nursing school at 54 years old, visit here.
At the 2019 Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP’s
Annual Freedom Fund Banquet, the University of Virginia (UVA) honored its Hidden
Nurses, the first African American women to help desegregate the UVA Hospital.
One of the nurses honored was
Louella Jackson Walker, part of the Licensed Practical Nurse program class of
1958. The program was a partnership between UVA Hospital and Burley High School,
an African American segregated school, to help fill a nursing shortage.
Walker tells cbs19news.com, “We took our jobs very seriously and they had a shortage of nurses and this was one way to fill that gap.”
Being an African American nurse at the time was not
easy, but Walker says she learned to show kindness to her patients, no matter their
behavior toward her. However, despite making history and helping to keep the
hospital and its patients afloat, she was unappreciated. She reports that she
is not sure where UVA would be today if she and other “hidden nurses” hadn’t served
as some of the first African American nurses at the newly desegregated
Honoring these hidden nurses came about after Walker
and another former classmate found old photos from the program at a yard sale.
They gave the photos to the UVA School of Nursing, which decided it was time to
make things right. Susan Kools, Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at
the UVA School of Nursing, reports that the hidden nurses received a formal
apology from the dean for being excluded from their community, and were inducted
into the alumni association.
Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP President, Janette
Boyd Martin, said she wanted to recognize the nurses because the black
community needs to celebrate leaders like them. She helped recognize the nurses
at the freedom fund banquet. Sixteen nurses from the LPN program were present at
Martin says, “People need to know about them and what they’ve done. Especially for our children, so they can see role models.”
To learn more about the UVA hidden nurses who were
recognized at the 2019 Albemarle-Charlottesville NAACP’s Annual Freedom Fund
Banquet, visit here.
College Factual has
released its annual list of the best
college for veterans for 2019. The rankings highlight the schools that are
most supportive of veterans and active-duty military members.
In the state of
New York, Excelsior College has been ranked the No.
1 college for veterans out of 131 colleges that were reviewed for the
study. Excelsior College was also ranked in the top one percent of all schools
nationwide, and No. 5 for the Bests for Vets category on a national level. This
is the fourth consecutive year that Excelsior College has been included in the
College Factual rankings.
determines its ranking based
on 24 factors, some of which are comprised of 10 or more sub-factors. According
to excelsior.edu, these factors combine to identify excellence in the
- Veteran Affordability
Excelsior College is a
regionally accredited, nonprofit online college focused on contributing to the
development of a diverse, educated, and career-ready society by valuing
lifelong learning with an emphasis on serving individuals historically
underrepresented in higher education.
To learn more about Excelsior
College being named the best college for veterans in New York, visit here.
Our Nurse of
the Week is Lori
Wood, 57, a nurse at Piedmont Newnan Hospital in Georgia, who became the
guardian of a homeless patient so that he could receive a heart transplant.
Wood’s patient, Jonathan Pinkard, had been disqualified from the waiting list for
a new heart because he didn’t have a support system in place to care for him
after the transplant.
Pinkard, who lives with high-functioning autism, had been living
in a men’s shelter and working as an office clerk when he learned he needed a
new heart. He landed in the hospital again four months later, where he was
assigned to nurse Wood. After two days of treating him, Wood figured out the dire
situation Pinkard was in and decided she would take him in herself.
Pinkard tells washingtonpost.com, “I couldn’t believe that somebody who had known me only two days would do this. It was almost like a dream.”
Wood has been a nurse for 35 years, but had never done anything
like this before. She reports that she does not typically blue the lines
between her personal and professional lives, but something about Pinkard struck
her differently. He didn’t have anybody looking out for him, and in Pinkard’s
case that was the difference between life and death.
Wood says, “That can be very frustrating if you know a patient needs something, and for whatever reason they can’t have it. It gnaws at you…For me, there was no choice. I’m a nurse; I had an extra room. It was not something I struggled with. He had to come home with me.”
After Pinkard was discharged, Wood loaded him into her car and
brought him home. He had nothing but a cellphone to his name. Wood bought him a
new bedroom set and made him feel at home. Thanks to Wood, Pinkard received his
heart transplant in August and is expected to be cleared to return to work
Wood has invited Pinkard to stay with her as long as he needs,
but she knows he wants to have his own life at some point. When he’s ready,
they both plan to work together to make that happen.
To learn more about Lori Wood, who became the guardian of a
homeless patient so that he could receive a heart transplant, visit here.