University at Buffalo School of Nursing Expands Clinical Sites to Better Serve Native American Communities

University at Buffalo School of Nursing Expands Clinical Sites to Better Serve Native American Communities

The University at Buffalo (UB) School of Nursing recently expanded its clinical sites for students, offering improved nursing services to local Native American communities and other underserved populations. UB Nursing was also able to enhance its curriculum thanks to $3.4 million in grant funding from the US Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).

The HRSA funding was provided in two grants—an Advanced Education Nursing grant, which ended in December, and an Advanced Nursing Education Workforce grant, which will continue through June. The two grants have led to significant improvements in addressing nursing shortages, both in outreach to underserved populations and by allowing the School of Nursing to educate more Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) students.

Linda Paine Hughes, DNP, clinical assistant professor and program director for the two HRSA grants, tells buffalo.edu, “Because of the student’s clinical experiences and didactic education, our students have a better understanding of what they are going to face in practice within rural and underserved settings….Our goal is to provide personalized health care, which is culturally sensitive, safe and effective. As trusted team members, we will help improve access to health care for rural and underserved populations in Western New York and beyond.”

The HRSA grants have enabled the School of Nursing to expand its presence and establish new clinical sites. In the past four years, 36 students have completed their clinical rotations in rural underserved settings. The grants funded two, part-time psychiatric nurse practitioners and a cultural expert who served as liaison between the School of Nursing and the Tuscarora Nation Health Center, after the Tuscarora Nation leaders cited the need for traditional medicine services. The two nurse practitioners currently stationed at the Tuscarora Nation Health Center are graduates of UB’s nursing programs.

To learn more about how the University at Buffalo School of Nursing recently expanded its clinical sites for students, offering improved nursing services to local Native American communities and other underserved populations, visit here.

Nurse of the Week: US Marine Veteran Tori Levine Aims to Become Nurse Anesthetist for Doctors Without Borders

Nurse of the Week: US Marine Veteran Tori Levine Aims to Become Nurse Anesthetist for Doctors Without Borders

Our Nurse of the Week is Tori Levine, 22, a US Marine veteran and current nursing student at Stony Brook University who wants to become a nurse anesthetist for Doctors Without Borders.

Levine is from Dix Hills, NY, and says she knew she wanted to enlist in the military when she was nine years old. When her senior year in high school rolled around, Levine decided to defer college to enroll in the Marine Corps. She soon found herself serving as a collateral duty inspector for combat jets while deployed to the Middle East.

Levine tells news.stonybrook.edu, “I had trouble sleeping thinking about the maintenance I oversaw and imagining the worst possible cases: ‘What if something wasn’t connected right? What if the wire we repaired doesn’t hold? What if someone gets hurt? Did I make sure all of the tools were accounted for?’ With time I was able to gain confidence in myself and quit second-guessing when I know I had triple-checked it multiple times.”

Her military training eventually taught her discipline and provided her with mental jet fuel: “Being a nurse also appealed to me but I never thought I could do that because I struggled in the sciences. The military made me realize that what they say about mind over matter is true. I know now I can do it.”

After finishing her undergraduate degree, Levine eventually wants to become a nurse anesthetist and work for Doctors Without Borders. She feels she is aptly equipped to provide care and training to victims of war in the Middle East once she’s received the proper nursing training. She’s also trying to learn Russian and French, the two languages required to be accepted into Doctors Without Borders.

To learn more about Tori Levine, a US Marine veteran and current nursing student at Stony Brook University who wants to become a nurse anesthetist for Doctors Without Borders, visit here.

NYU Nursing Professor Jacquelyn Taylor Appointed to National Academy of Medicine for Work in Health Disparities

NYU Nursing Professor Jacquelyn Taylor Appointed to National Academy of Medicine for Work in Health Disparities

The National Academy of Medicine has appointed Dr. Jacquelyn Taylor, FAAN, FAHA, PhD, PNP-BC, RN, a professor of Health Equity at NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing, to the National Academy of Medicine for her work in health disparities research among minority populations.

Taylor is one of 100 new members of the National Academy of Medicine, one of the most respected achievements in the health field. Recipients will be employed or funded by a department or agency in hopes of making discoveries that will advance US society.

Taylor’s research is focused on how social factors contribute to health disparities among minorities. Her research on how environmental factors can affect blood pressure among black people has been especially noted.

Taylor tells nyunews.com, “It is a great honor being the only faculty member in the College of Nursing to receive this. The National Academy of Medicine is known for their body of brilliant experts in the field.”

This is not Taylor’s first major achievement. She was also awarded the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers by Barack Obama in 2017.

To learn more about NYU Nursing professor Jacquelyn Taylor’s appointment to the National Academy of Medicine for her work in health disparities research, visit here.

“It’s a beautiful thing to witness…” A Talk with the Director of the VNSNY Gender Affirmation Program

“It’s a beautiful thing to witness…” A Talk with the Director of the VNSNY Gender Affirmation Program

In early 2016, Mt. Sinai Hospital* approached the Visiting Nurse Service of New York (VNSNY) to propose that VNSNY offer home care services to post-operative transgender patients. This was the genesis of VNSNY’s Gender Affirmation Program (known as GAP), which to date has provided home care to over 400 transgender patients.
*a strategic partner of VNSNY

DailyNurse recently interviewed Shannon Whittington, RN MSN PCC C-LGBT Health, the Clinical Director of GAP at VNSNY. We asked her about the nature of gender affirmation treatment, the home nursing care that VNSNY provides, and the outstanding LGBT-friendly services that VNSNY offers to patients across the Tri-State New York area.

 Shannon Whittington, the Clinical Director of the Gender Affirmation Program at VNSNY
Shannon Whittington, the Clinical Director of the Gender Affirmation Program at VNSNY

DailyNurse: What is gender affirmation surgery (GAS)?

SW: A surgical procedure that creates or removes body parts that align with the patients’ gender expression. E.g. vaginoplasty, phalloplasty, metoidioplasty, facial feminization, breast augmentation/masculinization.

DN: Is this the same thing as “sex-change surgery?”

SW: It is the same thing but we don’t use the terms “sex-change surgery” anymore.

Gender Affirmation or Gender Confirming surgeries are the correct terms now.  Understanding that this is a linguistically fluid language, words and meanings are always changing and we need to be mindful of correct terminology.

DN: What are the components of the VNSNY Gender Affirmation Program?

SW: The program emphasizes home care following surgery from other providers. I train clinicians (nurses, social workers, physical therapists, home health aides, speech and occupational therapists) in cultural sensitivity as it particularly relates to transgender patients.  The training is extensive and they are also educated in how to teach the patients to care for their new or altered body parts (i.e. penis, vagina, breast, face)

DN: How did you come to specialize in the treatment of Gender Affirmation surgery patients?

SW: Fortunately, I was chosen for this project by my manager.  I had no idea what I was saying yes to but this has literally changed the trajectory of my career path.  I discovered a passion that I did not know I had!

DN: What sorts of clinical training do nurses in the program need to take care of GAS post-surgery patients? 

SW: They need to know what to assess for and what is normal and what is not.  They learn about vaginal dilation because the patients who undergo vaginoplasty must do this on a regular basis. Patients come home with VACs, JP drains, foleys and supra pubic catheters. Although the nurses are already familiar with these devices, they need to teach the patients how to manage them. The clinicians are also trained in social determinants of health for this cohort.

DN: What sorts of cultural issues do nurses need to learn about before tending to a GAS patient?

SW: We really need to understand that these patients, like all of our patients, are patients first who happen to be transgender. We must respect their chosen names, their pronouns and their gender expression. We focus on getting them better and integrated back into society. It’s a beautiful thing to witness and an honor to be associated in such a transitional journey.

DN: How does the Gender Affirmation Program reflect the larger VNSNY commitment to LGBT patients?

SW: It reflects our commitment to this population on an agency wide basis.  What is great is that we are now getting non-operative transgender patients who are seeking home care services for reasons other than gender affirming surgeries.  They feel safe here and seek care outside of gender affirming surgeries. 

We are initiating various ways to continue to be inclusive along the binary spectrum by hiring gender non-confirming and non-binary individuals. These individuals have a lot to offer and need to be the best expressions of themselves in their work environment just like the heteronormative society we all live in.

DN: And can you tell us something about the SAGE training in your organization?

SW: All divisions of the Visiting Nurse Service of New York have been awarded Platinum certification (the highest level possible) from SAGE, the world’s largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of LGBT older people.

More than 80 percent or more of VNSNY’s clinical and other staff have received SAGE Care LGBT cultural competency training, further establishing VNSNY as a preferred health care provider for New York City’s LGBT residents.

The SAGE training is designed to increase awareness among VNSNY clinical and administrative staff of cultural issues and sensitivities around sexual orientation and gender identification, so as to ensure a welcoming and respectful health care environment for all individuals within the LGBTQ community.

Among other things, the training stresses the importance of approaching each patient in a non-judgmental fashion and never making assumptions about anyone’s sexual orientation or family structure. We want every patient to feel they can be totally open about who they are with every member of our GAP team who walks through their door.

Nurse of the Week: Frank Baez Balances Dual Role as NYU Custodian and College of Nursing Student

Nurse of the Week: Frank Baez Balances Dual Role as NYU Custodian and College of Nursing Student

Our Nurse of the Week is Frank Baez, a 2019 graduate of the New York University (NYU) Rory Meyers College of Nursing who moved to the US from the Dominican Republic before working as a custodian at NYU, and eventually studying at, and graduating from, NYU Nursing. 

After moving to the US from the Dominican Republic at 17 years old, Baez began working as a custodian at NYU Langone Hospital. Responsible for helping to support his mother and siblings, he needed a more steady job than his supermarket gig. 

Baez’s brother worked as a patient transporter at Langone and helped Baez apply for the same job. He wanted to do something more patient focused, and was successful in landing the new role. Baez then attended Borough of Manhattan Community College to earn his associate’s degree, then Hunter College to get his bachelor’s degree in Spanish literature with a minor in biological sciences.

As an employee at NYU, Baez was then able to attend NYU’s accelerated nursing program at a 60% discount. Many students find it difficult to balance their personal lives and academic lives while in nursing school, but Baez earned his degree while working as a custodian at the same school. 

Baez tells nyunews.com, “It was really rough; it was tough; it wasn’t easy, of course. But it was good because I was able to support my siblings and mom, the four of us. All of us were working in the house to stay afloat. Working and studying at the same time was difficult but manageable—but you have to pay rent, you have to survive.” 

Baez now works as a nurse in the NYU Langone Cardiothoracic ICU. He says: “At work, I see the housekeeper. I see the patient transporter. I see the clerk. I’ve been in each and every one of those roles. I’ve been there before. I have been there throughout my life and it makes me who I am today—to be able to be compassionate to everyone and caring, and it makes me feel like there is always an opportunity for growth.” 

As a nursing student, Baez was thankful for resources like NYU’s Men in Nursing mentorship program, which provided him with one-on-one tutoring. Now, Baez sees opportunities to expand these kinds of resources to better serve nontraditional students like himself. He is especially interested in providing more scholarships to help students invest in their futures. 

To learn more about Frank Baez, a 2019 graduate of the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing who worked as a custodian at NYU, before eventually studying at, and graduating from, NYU Nursing, visit here

NYS Nurse Practitioner Association Presents 2019 Awards

NYS Nurse Practitioner Association Presents 2019 Awards

The Nurse Practitioner Association New York State (NPA), the only statewide professional association of nurse practitioners, has named Janice Ceccucci, DNP, FNP-BC, Nurse Practitioner of the Year, and Daniel Babcock, MS, FNP-C, NP Student of the Year. The awards were presented at The NPA 35th Annual Conference, held in Verona, NY, and were attended by nearly 500 NPs and NP students from across the state. 

Stephen Ferrara, DNP, FNP, FAANP, Associate Dean of Clinical Affairs at Columbia University School of Nursing and Executive Director of the Nurse Practitioner Association New York State, said, “As health care professionals committed to excellence in patient care, nurse practitioners are redefining their role. We’re extremely pleased to recognize Janice Ceccucci and Dan Babcock for their dedication and service.”

Forensic NP and Professor at SUNY Polytechnic Institute Is NP of the Year

Janice Cerrucci, DNP, FNP-BC

Janice Ceccucci is an outstanding Nurse Practitioner and SANE (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner). Ceccucci began her career working with sexual assault victims in the Emergency Department. Recognizing that there were gaps in services, particularly for child sex abuse victims, she decided to pursue forensic nursing. She is committed to ensuring services for child sex abuse and physical abuse patients are widely available.  

“Janice takes nursing to the next level,” says colleague (and nominator) Elizabeth Spooner Dunn. “Her passion for the profession, dedication to her patients and commitment to excellence make her not just a trusted colleague but an example and mentor to all.”

Ceccucci has also received the Joan Unger Memorial Award given by the New York State Coalition Against Sexual Assault for demonstrating excellence and innovation in services offered to the community in sexual assault. She has also been published by the Journal of Forensic Nursing and is co-founder of Forensic Nurse Practitioners of Schenectady.

On Call, Inside and Out of the Hospital

Outside the confines of Saratoga Hospital, Ceccucci is on call at home 36 hours a month to provide teleconsulting services to hospitals in remote areas that lack access to sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs). In addition, she conducts sexual assault exams for pediatric patients at child advocacy centers—a service that Ceccucci and a colleague introduced in 2011 to better serve sexually abused children.

A leader in promoting the profession to the next generation, Ceccucci is an assistant professor at SUNY Polytechnic Institute. She is also the co-director and developer of Saratoga Hospital’s Advanced Practice Provider Fellowship Program, which mentors new nurse practitioners and physician assistants, also known as advanced practice providers. And, in case that was not enough to take on, Ceccucci is an assistant professor of nursing for SUNY Polytechnic in Utica and helped pilot a hybrid program that delivers live streaming and on-campus classes.

“I wouldn’t want to do anything else.”

Ceccucci received her master’s degree as a Family Nurse Practitioner from SUNY Poly in 2009, and was awarded her doctorate in Nursing Practice from State University of New York Upstate Medical University in Syracuse in 2016.   

“I’m proud to be the recipient of the NP of the Year. There are so many wonderful opportunities in nursing. For newer NPs, I would advise they take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself. I love being an NP. I wouldn’t want to do anything else,” Ceccucci said.

For further information on Janice Ceccucci, visit here.

NP Student of the Year Dan Babcock

Dan Babcock, Nurse Practitioner 2019 Student of the Year
Dan Babcock, MS, FNPC

Dan Babcock is an Air Force veteran and a former professional fire officer and paramedic who is currently a full-time Graduate Family Nurse Practitioner Student in the Decker School of Nursing at Binghamton University. He holds a BS in Nursing from Empire State College and as a Registered Nurse has worked in the emergency department and diagnostic imaging. After retiring as a lieutenant from the City of Binghamton’s Fire Department with 20 years of service, he decided to become a nurse practitioner. As Babcock grew up in rural Delaware County, New York, he has a particular interest in improving the health of the poor, rural and vulnerable populations that influenced his early life. 

“It’s an honor to be awarded NP Student of the Year. I chose to become a nurse practitioner because I love being challenged and love the relationships I form with my patients. Aside from the need for primary care providers, I chose family practice to give me a solid foundation for medical mission work. My wife and I do mission work in Guatemala several times a year, and I would like to do medical missions as a nurse practitioner,” Babcock said.

Nurse Practitioner Association New York State

Nurse Practitioners (NPs) are registered nurses who have completed advanced education, at a Master‘s or Doctorate level, plus additional clinical preparation. These professionals are authorized to independently diagnose illness and physical conditions, perform therapeutic and corrective measures, order tests, prescribe medications, devices and immunizing agents, and refer patients to other health care providers.

The Nurse Practitioner Association New York State (The NPA), the only statewide professional association of nurse practitioners, promotes high standards of healthcare delivery through the empowerment of nurse practitioners and the profession throughout New York State. For more information, visit: www.TheNPA.org.

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