Penn Nursing Hosts Student-Run Conference on Need for Mental Health Awareness in Health Care

Penn Nursing Hosts Student-Run Conference on Need for Mental Health Awareness in Health Care

Two 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.

Paige 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.

Their conference, titled “Reimagining 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.

Nurse of the Week: Mark Cavender Starts Nursing School at 54, Proves Age is Just a Number

Nurse of the Week: Mark Cavender Starts Nursing School at 54, Proves Age is Just a Number

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.  

University of Virginia Honors Hidden Nurses at Annual NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet

University of Virginia Honors Hidden Nurses at Annual NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet

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 hospital.

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 the banquet.

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.

Excelsior College Named Best College for Veterans in New York, No. 5 Nationwide

Excelsior College Named Best College for Veterans in New York, No. 5 Nationwide

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.

College Factual 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 following areas:

  • Veteran Affordability
  • Veteran Population
  • Veteran Policies
  • Veteran Resources
  • Veteran Satisfaction
  • Overall College Quality

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.

Nurse of the Week: Nurse Lori Wood ‘Adopts’ Homeless Man So He Can Receive Heart Transplant

Nurse of the Week: Nurse Lori Wood ‘Adopts’ Homeless Man So He Can Receive Heart Transplant

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 soon.

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.

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