USU Nurse Anesthesia Students Brave Gunfire for Trauma Training Exercise at FBI Academy

USU Nurse Anesthesia Students Brave Gunfire for Trauma Training Exercise at FBI Academy

The Black Hawk helicopter lands in a field behind the FBI Academy, its main rotor sending up a massive plume of dust and grit.

A handful of Uniformed Services University (USU) Graduate School of Nursing (GSN) Registered Nurse Anesthesia students hunker down over the litter they’re carrying to protect themselves and their “patient” from the helicopter’s powerful downwash.

Given the “all-clear” signal, the team gets up and moves to the Black Hawk, staying low under the awesome power of the blades as they evacuate their casualty. The students, using hand gestures to communicate, then work with Navy Cmdr. Ken Radford, USU’s Nurse Anesthesia program director, to intubate the training mannequin, their simulated patient. The first student is successful; Radford offers them a fist bump, and it’s time for the next student to step up and give it a try.

These GSN students are taking part in the Trauma Culmex training exercise held in conjunction with the FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team in Quantico, Va., just days before their graduation from USU.

Radford says GSN faculty have provided training for the Hostage Rescue Team medical personnel in the past, which helped to open the door for the nurse anesthesia students to receive their own educational opportunity on the FBI Academy grounds.

“This is the first time that we’ve held this simulated trauma experience so this is an incredible opportunity for them to round out their training,” Radford says.

The event was conceptualized by Dr. Matthew Welder, special assistant to the USU President for operational medicine and Radford, and executed by Air Force Lt. Col. Janet Sims, director for Simulation and Navy Lt. Cmdr. Lauren Suszan, director of Clinical Education, for the RNA program at USU.

The Trauma Culmex was developed to fulfill the registered nurse anesthesia student trauma simulation curriculum requirement in their last semester of clinical education. Students take part in training and exercises focused on providing care in austere environments for both injured service members and military working dogs.

Radford says providing his students with a chance to close out their training with the event helps to get them in the right mindset for an operational deployment.

“Our mission is to train anesthesia providers that can provide anesthesia care in austere settings and this was a way for us to round out their education as they approached graduation,” Radford says. “It’s really incredible.”

Inside one building, its walls still spattered with the bright paint of simulated training ammunition used to mimic live bullets during exercises, USU students work on crisis actors made up to look like they have a host of traumatic wounds. Instructors analyze the decisions of the soon-to-be-graduates as they manage the series of injuries their patients experience.

Sims checks in on one group, making sure all of the many moving parts of the trauma culmination exercise are running smoothly before heading back outside. There, a team of four load their patient onto a military ambulance, climbing on and providing care as the vehicle drives off. Sims says their mission with the exercise is to prepare independent military anesthesia providers to give care in any operational and austere environment. She adds that partnering with the FBI and the Hostage Rescue Team was a natural choice to help meet this mission.

“USU students are well-prepared to provide medical care in fixed medical facilities with adequate staff and equipment,” Sims says. “However, operational readiness courses (like this) help prepare them for anesthesia care in the field.”

As students go from one exercise scenario to another, flash bangs go off, the rattle of gunfire echoes nearby, and FBI teams train only feet away in the next room.

“(The students) are taking care of patients with minimal equipment in a building of opportunity, transporting patients and dealing with all that comes along with that — lack of supplies, lots of noise, flash-bangs going off, gunfire, helicopters taking off and landing,” Sims says. “We also have to take care of the military working dogs as CRNAs (certified registered nurse anesthetists) when we’re deployed because they are one of the team and if they get hit, we take care of them until we can transfer them to a higher level of care.”

At another location students are being introduced to a retired military working dog and a half dozen “wounded” canine mannequins. The real dog waits patiently as the new group files in to learn about working with an injured military canine in the field.

“The experience has been great,” says Army student Maj. Andre Brown, adding that he and the others didn’t initially know what to expect before arriving for the exercise. “They hadn’t really given us any information before we got here. It was ‘hey, get a hotel at Quantico, meet at this place and these are the times we’re going to start.’ Then we get out there and it’s like ‘here’s your scenario, go — how would you react?’”

Brown says one of the day’s impactful lessons was learning about how to give care to an injured military working dog.

“I knew enough to get the dogs from point A to point B but here we’re learning more effective care, and a more effective means of how to do things,” Brown says. “… Everybody has been super knowledgeable with helpful tips that I hadn’t even thought about.”

Sims says this year’s collaboration with the FBI and the Hostage Rescue Team is essentially a test run for future trauma culmination exercises. She says the university currently has the “Gunpowder” exercise which helps expose USU students to a variety of challenges they may come across in the field, training them on tactical field care, tactical combat casualty care, prolonged casualty care, and forward resuscitative care.

“Unfortunately, the timeframe (for Gunpowder) does not align with most of our nurse anesthesia students as they attend a 21-month clinical rotation at various locations throughout the country” Sims says. “We’ll see how this exercise goes and obtain feedback from the faculty cadre and students and add or remove content to make it most beneficial to train and assess their trauma anesthesia skills.”

Navy student Lt. Cmdr. Joseph Dimarucut says taking part in the Trauma Culmex has been an amazing experience. Particularly, he says working to intubate a patient from within the confined space of a helicopter stands out to him as a valuable lesson that couldn’t be practiced in a hospital.

“It’s a good culmination of everything that we’ve learned put into practice and what we’ll expect to see in the field,” Dimarucut added.

Hurrying past FBI agents rappelling down a wall, the next group of USU graduate nursing students carries a litter holding a simulated patient, an instructor following closely behind. They arrive at an open field and soon the sounds of a helicopter’s rotor chopping through the day’s warm air once again grows louder. The dust hits them, they get up and hurry for its open doors and the training begins all over again.

MSN Student/Environmentalist: Ignoring Climate Change No Longer an Option for a Nurse

MSN Student/Environmentalist: Ignoring Climate Change No Longer an Option for a Nurse

How often – and how well – do nursing programs teach lessons about the impact that climate exerts on health? And as more of us are exposed to and sickened by toxins, polluted air, unsafe drinking water, and a lack of access to basic health care – not to mention the economic, geographic and social effects of rising tides, stronger storms and predictably unpredictable weather – should climate lessons be mandatory for clinicians?

“In public and environmental health,” University of Virginia MSN student Amelia Kirby, BSN, RN explained, “that Venn diagram, that overlay, is really close.”

Kirby began her professional life working in nonprofits before heading to nursing school in spring 2020, just as COVID struck. Two years later, Kirby – who on May 22 earns a master’s in nursing through the UVA’s Clinical Nurse Leader program – says it couldn’t have happened any other way. And the environmental causes she embraced since childhood continue to flavor her nursing and determination to do good for both the planet and its human residents.

“I thought entering health care would be the end [of my environmentalism], but it’s turned out to be quite the opposite,” Kirby said. “There are a lot of people in nursing and medicine who care really deeply about the planet, and they’re motivated to change things. It’s very buoying to see how many people are interested in this.”

A climate and health conference in early 2021 first brought Kirby into contact with UVA nursing professors Tracy Kelly, Emma Mitchell and Kathryn Reid, champions of the Nurses’ Climate Challenge, which offers tools, resources and support for faculty committed to teaching climate and health lessons in their courses.

As Kirby’s environmentally minded connections multiplied, so did her ideas and determination to act. Over the last year, she led in developing a Planetary Health Report Card tool for measuring nursing schools’ planetary awareness. The work has presented speaking opportunities at conferences, and landed a national award and other applause from national nursing and environmental groups.

The first Planetary Health Report Card tool was created in 2019 by a group of University of California, San Francisco medical students to assess across five metrics about the climate consciousness of medical programs.

Following a similar model, Kirby, fellow clinical nurse leader student Alyssa Dimatulac, and a team of nursing students from the University of Minnesota, the University of Brighton, the University of Lancaster, and Germany’s Esslinger Science and Health College compiled their own tool to assess nursing programs’ environmental mindedness across curricula (how well and how often nursing courses embed topics of climate’s impact on health), day-to-day sustainability practices, student support, community impacts and interdisciplinary research. She hopes the tool ultimately becomes a commonplace way for prospective students to assess programs that align with their personal values.

DNP Informatics Specialist Receives CDC Funding to Study PPE Supply Issues

DNP Informatics Specialist Receives CDC Funding to Study PPE Supply Issues

Supplies of N95 face masks, surgical face masks, and face shields at US hospitals are under the microscope in the latest research project led by nurse scientist Kelly Aldrich, DNP, MS, RN-BC, FHIMSS, associate professor of nursing informatics at Vanderbilt University Nursing School.

The DNP and her team are receiving CDC funding to the tune of $80,000 to support their analysis of daily hospital personal protective equipment (PPE) on-hand inventories to measure trends, patterns, or statistically significant changes in PPE supply in the nation’s nearly 7,000 U.S. hospitals. The project is designed to support the CDC’s National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, which was established under the aegis of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) in 2001 and invested with the mission of preventing disease, injury, and death for the millions of American workers who rely on personal protective technology (PPT).

“In analyzing the data with advanced analytics, we will be able to find patterns that were not seen before. I think because of that, it will have a true impact on supply chain management for the country.”

Kelly Aldrich, DNP, MS, RN-BC, FHIMSS

Aldrich is being supported by a Vanderbilt team that includes four second-year data science students under the supervision of Jesse Spencer-Smith, chief data scientist of the Data Science Institute, and Dana Zhang, professor of computer science and electrical engineering, to leverage artificial intelligence and data modeling for this large-scale analysis and reporting effort.

Nurse scientist Kelly Aldrich, DNP, MS, RN-BC, FHIMSS

Nurse scientist Kelly Aldrich, DNP, MS, RN-BC, FHIMSS.

“We’re conducting data analysis on a medical organization’s average consumption rates to figure out if they have enough PPE and other essential items to provide for their teams,” Aldrich said. “In analyzing the data with advanced analytics, we will be able to find patterns that were not seen before. I think because of that, it will have a true impact on supply chain management for the country.”

“By [enlisting the aid of] the Data Science Institute to support this important work, Dr. Aldrich has deepened and extended the research while providing a meaningful opportunity for our team to put their expertise to use,” said Jesse Spencer-Smith, chief data scientist for the Data Science Institute. “Our faculty and graduate students formed a team that is enabling this analysis to go from simple data points to insights that can shape the country’s future responses to health care events.”

Study aims to increase transparency and efficiency of PPE supply distribution

The necessity of this effort was brought to light by pandemic-related lack of access to PPE due to supply shortages or prohibitive costs. In the early stages of the pandemic, the World Health Organization called on industry and governments to boost PPE manufacturing with a warning of “severe and mounting disruption to the global supply of personal protective equipment—caused by rising demand, panic buying, hoarding and misuse.”

The WHO was right. Months into the pandemic, PPE shortages among hospitals, nursing homes and medical practices across the U.S. put health care providers and patients at heightened risk of exposure to COVID-19. Two goals of Aldrich’s project are to bring transparency to PPE supply across the country and to eliminate the common problem of one hospital having a PPE surplus while neighboring hospitals scramble.

The project is a follow-up to a 2020 project Aldrich led with the Center for Medical Interoperability, a national nonprofit working to integrate health care technologies for information exchange, and the National Personal Protective Technology Laboratory, part of the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The TOGETHER for PPE project phase connected 78 hospitals in nine federal Health and Human Services’ regions. Thousands of real-time data points allowed for predictive modeling and other data analysis which helped hospitals and the CDC examine exactly what PPE they had on hand, which enabled hospitals to plan and develop solutions that kept caregivers and hospital patients safe. A paper on the project phase entitled Lessons Learned from the Development and Demonstration of a PPE Inventory Monitoring System for US Hospitals was published in the journal Health Security on Nov. 9.

Aldrich’s trans-institutional project will restart and amplify the TOGETHER for PPE effort. The data collected by Aldrich’s team in 2021 will focus on N95 face masks, surgical face masks, and face shields.

“Collaboration with the Data Science Institute in data modeling and data analysis with predictive and artificial intelligence models are of high priority,” said Aldrich, also the director of Vanderbilt’s new Nursing Informatics Innovation Lab within the Vanderbilt School of Nursing and the chief clinical transformation officer for the Center for Medical Interoperability. “This collaboration is a terrific example of bringing researchers together with diverse areas of expertise and distinct backgrounds to discover new information. We are excited about the progress to date.”

ProPublica: States Need to Counter Vaccine Hesitancy Among People of Color

ProPublica: States Need to Counter Vaccine Hesitancy Among People of Color

Though African Americans are being hospitalized for COVID-19 at more than triple the rate of white Americans, wariness of the new vaccine is higher in the Black population than in most communities. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlighted communities of color as a “critical population” to vaccinate. But ProPublica found little in the way of concrete action to make sure that happens.

Originally published by ProPublica

It will be up to states to make sure residents get the vaccine, but ProPublica reviewed the distribution plans of the nine states with the most Black residents and found that many have barely invested in overcoming historic mistrust of the medical establishment and high levels of vaccine hesitancy in the Black community. Few states could articulate specific measures they are taking to address the vaccine skepticism.

And it could be hard to track which populations are getting the vaccine. While the CDC has asked states to report the race and ethnicity of every recipient, along with other demographic information like age and sex, the agency doesn’t appear ready to apply any downward pressure to ensure that such information will be collected.

In state vaccination registries, race and ethnicity fields are simply considered “nice to have,” explained Mitchel Rothholz, chief of governance and state affiliates for the American Pharmacists Association. While other fields are mandatory, such as the patient’s contact information and date of birth, leaving race and ethnicity blank “won’t keep a provider from submitting the data if they don’t have it.”

In the initial stages, vaccines will go to people who are easy to find, like health care workers and nursing home residents. But barriers will increase when distribution moves to the next tier — which includes essential workers, a far larger and more amorphous group. Instead of bringing the vaccine to them, it’s more likely that workers will have to seek out the vaccine, so hesitancy and lack of access will become important factors in who gets the shots and who misses out.

“There are individuals who are required to be on the front line to serve in their jobs but perhaps don’t have equitable access to health care services or have insurance but it’s a challenge to access care,” said Dr. Grace Lee, a professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine and member of the CDC’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices, which is tasked with issuing guidance on the prioritization of COVID-19 vaccine distribution. “We can build equity into our recommendations, but implementation is where the rubber meets the road.”

Hesitancy is Rooted in Medical Exploitation and Mistreatment

About a quarter of the public feels hesitant about a COVID-19 vaccine, meaning they probably or definitely would not get it, according to a December poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Hesitancy was higher than average among Black adults in the survey, with 35% saying that they definitely or probably would not get vaccinated.

Mistrust of the medical community among people of color is well-founded, stemming from a history of unscrupulous medical experimentation. The infamous Tuskegee study, conducted from 1932 to 1972 by the U.S. Public Health Service, still looms large in the memories of many Black Americans, who remember how researchers knowingly withheld treatment from African American sharecroppers with syphilis in order to study the disease’s progression.

But the injustices aren’t confined to the past. The National Academies’ Institute of Medicine has found that minorities tend to receive lower-quality health care than white counterparts, even when adjusting for age, income, insurance and severity of condition. Black Americans are also more likely to be uninsured and utilize primary care services less often than white Americans.

“It’s not just about history. It’s about the here and now,” said Dr. Bisola Ojikutu, an infectious disease physician at Massachusetts General Hospital. “People point to racial injustice across the system. It’s not just hospitals; people don’t trust the government, or they ask about the pharmaceutical industry’s profit motive. From the very beginning, Black and brown people are marginalized from the enterprise of research. They think: ‘So few people look like us in research, industry and academia, why should we trust that someone at that table is thinking of our interest?’”

When it comes to vaccinations, the consequences can be grave. Black and Hispanic people are less likely to get the flu shot than white people, according to the CDC. At the same time, Black Americans have the highest rate of flu-associated hospitalizations, at 68 people per 100,000 population, compared to 38 people per 100,000 in the non-Hispanic white population.

Health officials have tried to assuage vaccine concerns in the traditional way, by publicizing specific individuals receiving the shot. The U.S. began its mass immunization effort by injecting a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine into the left upper-arm of Sandra Lindsay, a Black woman and critical care nurse in New York.

Meanwhile, an onslaught of memes and conspiracy theories characterizing the vaccine as harmful are making the rounds on social media. One reads, “Just had the covid-19 vaccine. Feeling great,” along with the picture of the character from the 1980 movie “The Elephant Man.” Another image circulating on Twitter features the photos of three Black people and claims they are suffering from Bell’s palsy due to the vaccine. The Twitter user who shared the image asked followers, “still want those Tuskegee 2.0 genocide vaccines?”

It may only take one or two negative headlines to further sow fear, said Komal Patel, who has 16 years of experience as a pharmacist in California. After two health care workers in the United Kingdom experienced allergic reactions to Pfizer’s vaccine, Patel said she saw anxiety spike on social media, even though regulators have said that only people with a history of anaphylaxis — a severe or life threatening immune reaction — to ingredients in the vaccine need to avoid taking the shot. “Just two patients, and here we go, there’s all this chatter.”

Key States Lack Concrete Plans to Promote Vaccines in Black Communities

It falls to states to make sure their residents of color are vaccinated. But the speed at which the vaccine needs to be disseminated means that states haven’t had much time to plan communications efforts, said Lee, from CDC’s advisory group. “How do we make sure messaging is appropriate? You may want to emphasize different messages for different communities. We don’t have the time for that.”

ProPublica found that few states can articulate specifically what they are doing to address vaccine skepticism in the Black community.

TexasGeorgia and Illinois’ state plans make no mention of how they plan to reach and reassure their Black residents. Black communities make up between 13% and 33% of the population in the three states, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. None of the three states’ health departments responded to requests for comment.

California’s state plan includes “a public information campaign … to support vaccine confidence,” but does not provide details apart from the state’s intention to use social media, broadcast outlets and word of mouth. In an email, the California Department of Public Health did not provide additional information about outreach to Black residents, only saying, “this is an important issue we continue to work on.”

A spokesman for New York’s Department of Public Health said the state has been working since September to overcome hesitancy with expert panels and events like Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s November meeting with community leaders in Harlem to discuss concerns with the Trump administration’s vaccine plan, specifically for communities of color.

“Governor Cuomo has been leading the national effort to ensure…black, brown and underserved communities have equal access to, and confidence in, the vaccine,” a Saturday statement said.

Dr. Georges Benjamin, executive director of the American Public Health Association, said: “Media outreach is not enough. TV ads are one thing, but usually public service announcements are at midnight when nobody is listening, because that’s when they’re free.” Normally, public health officials go to barber shops, beauty salons, bowling alleys and other popular locales to hand out flyers and answer questions, but due to the pandemic and limits on congregating, that’s not an option, Benjamin said, so officials need to plan a serious social media strategy. That could involve partnering with “influencers” like sports figures and music stars by having them interview public health figures, Benjamin suggested.

Dr. Mark Kittleson, chair of the Department of Public Health at New York Medical College, said he’s not surprised to hear how vague some of the state health plans are, because states often focus on providing high-level guidance while county or regional level health departments are left to execute the plan. But he said specific efforts need to be undertaken to reach residents of color. “Spokespeople for the vaccination need to be a diverse group,” Kittleson said. “Dr. Tony Fauci is fantastic, but every state needs to find the leading health care experts that represent the diversity in their own state, whether it’s Native American, African American or Latino.” Kittleson also suggested partnering with churches.“Especially in the African American community, when the minister stands up and says, ‘Folks, you need to take your blood pressure medication and take care of yourself,’ people listen to that,” he said. “The church needs to be brought into the fold.”

Maryland’s state plan acknowledges the distrust among Black and Latino communities as well as rural residents, and says it will aim to tailor communication to each group by working with trusted community partners and representatives of vulnerable groups. A Department of Health spokesperson said in an email that “as vaccination distribution continues to ramp up, we urge all individuals to get the vaccine.”

Florida’s written plan includes a messaging strategy for everyone in the state, but does not specifically address the Black community. A “thorough vaccination communication plan continues to be developed in order to combat vaccine hesitancy,” a spokesperson for the Florida Department of Health said in response to ProPublica’s queries.

In North Carolina and Virginia, however, health officials started preparing months ago to reassure residents about potential vaccines. North Carolina formed a committee in May with leaders from marginalized communities to guide the state’s overall response to the pandemic. Vaccine concerns were a priority, said Benjamin Money, deputy secretary of health services for North Carolina’s Department of Health and Human Services.

The politicization of the pandemic has mobilized the Black and brown medical scientific community to dig into the research and how the vaccines work, Money said, “so that they can feel assured that the vaccine’s safe and it’s effective and they can convey the message to their patients and to their community constituents.”

The committee is advising North Carolina officials on their vaccine messaging and hosting a webinar for Black religious leaders. Similarly, the Virginia Department of Health has staff devoted to health equity across racial and ethnic groups and is putting on a series of town hall-style meetings speaking to specific communities of color.

Black residents in Virginia have expressed concerns about how rapidly the early vaccines were developed, said Dr. Norman Oliver, Virginia’s state health commissioner.

“It all boils down to telling people the truth,” Oliver said. “The first thing to let folks know is that one of the reasons why these vaccines were developed so quickly is because of the advances in technology since the last time we did vaccines; we’re not trying to grow live virus and keep it under control or do attenuated virus and develop a vaccine this way.”

In addition to promoting reliable information, Virginia health officials hired a company to monitor the spread of vaccine misinformation in the state and to locate where falsehoods appear to be taking hold, Oliver said. The state hopes to target its communications in places where distrust is most intense.

The CDC has set aside $6.5 million to support 10 national organizations, according to spokesperson Kristen Nordlund. The funds are “to be disbursed by each organization to their affiliates and chapters across the country so they may do immunization-focused community engagement in the local communities they serve,” Nordlund said in an email. She didn’t respond to questions on whether the funds had already been disbursed and to which organizations.

Data Collection on the Race of Vaccine Recipients is Likely to be Incomplete

Every state has a vaccination registry, where data on administered shots is routinely reported, from childhood vaccinations to the flu shot. What’s new in this pandemic is that the CDC has requested all the data be funneled up to the federal level, so it can track vaccination progress across the nation.

“Race and ethnicity data should be recorded in states’ immunization data, but we do not know how reliably it is collected,” said Mary Beth Kurilo, senior director of health informatics at the American Immunization Registry Association. “We really don’t have good data on how well it’s captured out there across the country.”

Many immunization records are fed into the state’s registry directly from a doctor’s electronic health record system, Kurilo said, which can present technological stumbling blocks: “Is [the data] routinely captured as part of the registration process? Can they capture multiple races, which I think is something that’s become increasingly important going forward?”

When asked about historic rates of compliance and how they planned to gather information on race and ethnicity of vaccine recipients this time, health departments from Georgia, Texas, Illinois, Florida and California didn’t respond.

Maryland’s state plans indicate it intends to use information gathered through its vaccine appointment scheduling system, including demographic data gathered from recipients, to direct its communication outreach efforts. The Maryland Department of Health, which didn’t provide more detailed information, said it is “currently exploring all options as far as vaccine data reporting.”

North Carolina’s immunization records system routinely collects race and ethnicity information, and a spokesperson told ProPublica it has that type of demographic data for 71% of people in the system. Stephanie Wheawill, director of pharmacy services at the Virginia Department of Health, said that providers will be “asked to record that information” but didn’t elaborate on how the department planned to encourage or enforce compliance.

Data fields for vaccine recipients’ race and ethnicity are standard in New York, a spokesman said. But the state didn’t provide any details about rates of compliance in supplying that data.

“You’ve got to have the data to compare,” said Martha Dawson, president of the National Black Nurses Association and an associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s nursing school. “Because if you don’t have the data, then we’re just guessing. There’s no way to know who received it if you don’t take the data.”

There is tension between gathering enough data to understand the extent of the rollout and the possibility that asking for too much information will scare away people who are already leery of the vaccine.

“The biggest concern people have is how will this information be used?” said Lee, from the CDC’s advisory group. “People need to trust that the data will be used with a good intent. “

Rothholz, with the American Pharmacists Association, said there could be ways apart from state registries to estimate vaccine uptake among minorities. “If I’m a community pharmacy in a predominantly African American community, if I’m giving away 900 or 1000 vaccines, you can track penetration that way,” he said. Geographic-based analysis, however, would depend on the shots being distributed via community pharmacies rather than by mass vaccination sites — a less likely scenario for the Pfizer vaccine, the first to be administered, which requires ultracold storage that will be difficult for many small pharmacies to manage.

It Will Be Up to Doctors and Community Leaders to Encourage Trust

The best way to help a worried individual, whether scared about data collection or the vaccine itself, is a conversation with a trusted caregiver, according to Dr. Susan Bailey, president of the American Medical Association.

“Time and again it’s been shown that one of the most valuable things to encourage a patient to undertake a change, whether it’s stopping smoking or losing weight, is a one-on-one conversation with a trusted caregiver — having your physician saying, ‘I took it and I really want you to take it too,” she said. “But patients have to have the opportunity to ask questions, and not to be blown off or belittled or feel troublesome for asking all their questions.”

“If someone says that they’re afraid of being a guinea pig, maybe drill a bit deeper,” Bailey suggested. “Ask, ‘What are you concerned about? Are you concerned about side effects? Are you concerned that not enough people have taken it?’”

The American Academy of Family Physicians uses the mnemonic “ACT” to guide their members in conversations with patients of color, president Dr. Ada Stewart said in an email: “Be Accountable and Acknowledge both historical and contemporary transgressions against Black, brown and Indigenous communities. … Communicate safety, efficacy and harms such that individuals can weigh their own personal risk to potential benefits, and exercise Transparency with regard to the development of vaccines and the distribution process.”

David Hodge, associate director of education at Tuskegee University’s National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care, urges Black and brown leaders such as pastors and community organizers to take control of the messaging right now and not wait for their local governments to tackle the issue.

“We’re not in a position right now to be patient. We’re not in a position to sit on the sidelines, we have to make it happen.”

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Originally published by ProPublica

UVA Therapy Dog Offers Telehealth Sessions During Pandemic

UVA Therapy Dog Offers Telehealth Sessions During Pandemic

With the stress of living under lockdown measures and social distancing, it’s more important than ever to care for your mental well-being, but where can you find a therapist? Well, for students at the University of Virginia School of Nursing, at least, there’s some good news: Kenny, the campus Therapy Dog, has taken up teleconferencing!

Like everyone else, Kenny’s platform of choice is Zoom. While he’s still adjusting to the new medium, the 5-year-old Australian Labradoodle therapist is now providing group appointments with the assistance of his trusty human companion, psychiatric/mental health nursing professor Edie Barbaro. His first session was a decided hit, drawing three dozen adults, children, a smattering of other dogs, and even a few open-minded cats.

Kenny earned his pet therapy certification two years ago, and has been on duty at the nursing school and hospital since 2018. Having helped anxious nursing students while they ready themselves for the NCLEX and other exams, the canine therapist is working to make the transition to telehealth for those in need of comfort during the pandemic. When Kenny conducted his first Zoom session from a couch, alongside professor Barbaro, it was clear that he was still adjusting to the change (he became restless after a while and needed to be coaxed with a biscuit before agreeing to resume the session). Overall, though, with Barbaro’s aid, his foray into virtual pet therapy has been a howling success.

Hosted by the UVA School of Nursing’s Compassionate Care Initiative, Kenny’s Zoom telehealth sessions are being held on Tuesdays at noon, and will continue through May 5, while UVA Medical Center’s volunteering services are suspended. Among the patients tuning in for treatment are faculty from the nursing school and School of Medicine and staff, their children, and some nurse-practitioner students with the Adult Gerontology Acute Care Trauma team. Of course, the virtual therapy sessions are not quite the same as direct dog-human contact, and Barbaro remarks,“He misses the students.”

For more on Kenny’s temporary telehealth pet therapy practice at UVA, visit here.

University of Virginia School of Nursing Receives Record-Breaking $20 Million Gift to Support Increased Enrollment

University of Virginia School of Nursing Receives Record-Breaking $20 Million Gift to Support Increased Enrollment

The University of Virginia (UVA) School of Nursing recently received a $20 million record-breaking gift to support the enrollment of more than 1,000 students to join its nursing programs over the next decade.

The gift came from Joanne and Bill Conway and is the largest single gift in the School of Nursing’s history. Bill Conway is the co-founder of The Carlyle Group, a private equity company. This gift is the third from the Conway’s to the UVA School of Nursing and their previous gifts total $15 million, focused on support and expansion of the Clinical Nurse Leader program and establishment of the Clinical Nurse Leader Conway Scholars program.

UVA stated in a press release that the funding will go toward helping to enroll and support more nursing students across two undergraduate pathways: students who transfer into the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program, and practicing registered nurses with two-year degrees seeking the benefits of a bachelor’s degree.

Retention in the School of Nursing is high and the school has traditionally only been able to accept a small percentage of the highly qualified applicants who apply to the BSN program. Thanks to the Conways’ gift, the School of Nursing will be able to accommodate more transfer students and develop and launch an accelerated curriculum allowing these students to complete their BSN in two years instead of three.

UVA will also use the gift to help establish satellite nursing sites in Richmond and Northern Virginia to expand opportunities for nurses throughout the state to pursue a BSN. The school will also expand the Mary Morton Parsons Clinical Simulation Learning Center to nearly double its current size, providing students with access to clinical simulations to learn and practice care skills.

To learn more about the UVA School of Nursing’s $20 million record-breaking gift from the Conway family to support the enrollment of more than 1,000 students over the next decade, visit here.

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