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Medical mission trip enlightens nursing students

by Page Wise, BSN Class of May '18
 
Never in my life have I committed so impulsively to traveling to a foreign country as I did this past July. Cameron Mercer, my good friend and classmate, told me that I needed to go with her on a medical mission trip to Nicaragua over our Christmas break. I honestly cannot remember a holiday season when I was not working, so I fully intended on enjoying this rare break. But I am the type of person who gets restless when I do not have anything to do, and with nearly a month of downtime, I mulled it over, came to a decision, and told myself, “Just go!” This trip was the perfect opportunity to combine my passion for health and wellness with my desire to connect with and help those in need. 
 
Anxious to put my medical training and education to work in a place that needed it, I researched areas of the world that were limited in resources and lacked in quality health care.
 
I selected Nicaragua, the poorest country in Central America. With the mortality rate of Nicaraguan children at four times that of the U.S., quality health care is urgently needed to treat preventable diseases, such as pneumonia, diarrhea, and malnutrition. 
 
It was decided. Cameron and I were headed to Nicaragua for eight days. 
 
The purpose of the mission trip is to provide quality, accessible health care to rural Nicaraguan communities, and our timing could not have been better. In October 2017, a tropical storm caused a significant amount of damage to various Nicaraguan regions, including Rivas, the region in which we were staying. As a result of the flooding, rural communities suffered devastating loss and damage to their churches, homes, farmland, crops, and roads. Each day we set up our mobile healthcare clinic in different villages, expanding OneWorld Health’s reach.
 
Our stellar mission team was made up of 39 volunteers whose professions include but are not limited to: MDs, DNPs, PAs, OB-GYNs, RNs, pharmacists, dentists, hygienists, students, business managers, educators, sales representatives, photographers, videographers, etc. Everyone brought something unique to the table, and as a team, we complemented each other well. It was surprising how quickly we formed meaningful friendships and how easily we worked together. Once our team came together, we met our translation team and began working closely with them; we staffed multiple rural outreach clinics and successfully treated a variety of common medical conditions (i.e., joint pain/swelling, allergies, intestinal parasites, dental cleanings/extractions, prenatal care, etc.). 
 
Cameron and I were the only students in the nursing team, and we were excited about the opportunity to dive-in and independently triage patients, provide preventative primary care, as well as serve as pharmacy technicians. Having this chance to apply what we have learned and to challenge ourselves in a foreign country, reaffirmed the decision I made to go back to school and pursue a career in nursing. It was like a scene from a movie where life pauses and there is this moment of realization. I was becoming who I was meant to be, I was where I was supposed to be, and I was doing what I was meant to be doing. 
 
Even though the rural villages faced such loss in their community, they were so appreciative of our efforts, so much so that they were waiting outside the clinics to greet us in the mornings before we arrived, worked to unload medical supplies, helped set up our clinic layout, and assisted in breaking down at the end of the day. Not once did their faces break from smiles, nor did I hear any complaints about how long the wait was, the heat, no access to clean drinking water, or having to void in a hole in the ground with nothing but a bed sheet to provide some privacy.  
 
At the end of our first day, an 11-year-old girl walked into the church just as we were packing up the bus. She was holding hands with her 70-year-old blind grandfather as she guided him into the church. They had just walked five miles to see us. It filled their hearts with joy when we told them we would gladly see him. Our team came together seamlessly to ensure this gentleman was given the time and care he deserved. Unbeknownst to us, one of the providers went outside and managed to arrange a ride home for him on an oxen-cart. The next day, one of our nurses gave the shoes off her feet to a woman who needed them more. 
 
It was a privilege visiting these rural villages and being immersed in Nicaraguan culture, and I am grateful to have had the opportunity to practice my Spanish with my patients, who were extremely patient and genuinely kind-hearted people. Being able to connect with, care for, and learn from our patients was a gift. I will be a better nurse because of it. In just four and half days, we treated about 1,000 patients!
 
Our last night I was walking back to my room, and I thought how amazing it was that even though we were working, from sun up to sun down, instead of feeling exhausted, I felt rejuvenated. Thirty-nine volunteers, ranging in age, culture, religion, race, ethnicity, and practices, traveled from all over the U.S. to come together so that we could attempt to do something amazing, and that is exactly what we did. I have never felt that kind of humanity before and it truly did awaken my soul.
 
 
 
 
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Amanda Whisnant, CPNP, (MSN, ‘05), is the medical director for International Servants, a non-profit mission that provides services to those in need in Belize. Amanda’s husband, Paul Whisnant, is founder and CEO of International Servants. Each year, Amanda leads medical teams comprised of 25 to 30 medical volunteers from the United States to Belize, ranging from nurses and physician assistants to nurse practitioners and physicians. These teams treat thousands of patients in urban areas and remote jungle villages.  
 
“My two years at the College of Nursing were two of the best years of my life," Amanda said. "I always look back with fond memories, especially when I think of the wonderful faculty, such as Dr. Gigi Smith. Their tireless dedication to training and pouring their lives into their students have helped mold my character and make me the person I am today."
 
 Amanda feels the time she spent at CON helped inspire her to help others less fortunate by providing health care for children in an underdeveloped country. 
 
"I love leading our Belize Medical Mission Teams as we travel deep into the jungles of Belize and provide free health care for the people there," she said. "Nothing is more rewarding than caring for a needy child who would otherwise receive no medical care. I hope other students and alumni who read this article will be inspired to do the same, to give back, to give freely of their services when they can, to make a difference in this world…one precious life at a time.” 
 
 

Saving a Child’s Life 

by Amanda Whisnant, CPNP | MSN Class of ‘05
 
Each year we treat thousands of poor, needy patients in our jungle medical clinics.  Most of our patients live in leaf and stick huts, with mud floors, in grinding poverty with very little food or clothing.  As Belize medical director, I lead teams of doctors who volunteer from the US on weeklong trips into the jungle.  It’s rewarding to save so many lives, but there are often children and adults that we can’t help, and that breaks my heart.
 
One such patient was Xiomara. Xiomara lives in a leaf and stick hut, with a mud floor, with no electricity or running water. Her family is desperately poor.  In June 2008, I discovered that Xiomara had a serious heart murmur and that she would die if she didn’t get heart surgery. But there aren't any heart surgeons in Belize, nor a competent medical facility to perform such a difficult life-saving procedure. Xiomara’s case seemed hopeless, she was going to die, and there wasn’t anything we could do to help her in our jungle medical clinic. 
 
So, for six months, I called hospitals in the U.S. until I located a hospital in Tampa, FL, which ended up flying Xiomara to Tampa and performing the surgery for free, saving this precious child’s life.
 
 
 
 
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Interview with Zack Mosley, BSN student and father of two

What should we know about you?

My name is Zack, and I am in my thirties. I have a wonderful wife, two awesome daughters, and in my previous career, I was a military/law enforcement consultant. I have been on multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan where I worked with some amazing people, and I supported law enforcement at multiple jurisdictions here in the U.S. After 10 years of regular deployments and moves to support different contracts, I decided to make nursing my second career. I began this journey by getting my EMT-B certification, which I would recommend to anyone considering a career in healthcare. I am interested in pre-hospital care, emergency medicine, and primary care.

What made you choose MUSC? 

I received my first degree from the College of Ch always wondered who got to go to MUSC; it seemed echelons above anything I knew. Years later, living in Colorado, I applied to MUSC’s Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing (ABSN) Program. I applied because I knew the school’s reputation and I thought Charleston would be a great place for my daughter to experience (we only had one at the time).

Are you involved in any organizations through MUSC?

My children require most of my energy, but I am currently a student member of the Emergency Nurses Association and the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses. Both are fields that I am interested in pursuing post-graduation, and I learn a lot from the journals and information they provide.

Do you currently work outside of being a student?

Not working during the ABSN has made the academic demands very manageable, but I continuously consider (and subsequently reconsider when the semester’s pace picks up) getting a part-time job.

What are your thoughts on the nursing shortage, and does it affect your plans post-graduation?

The faculty has discussed this topic to varying degrees, but I’ve also done my research so I can be knowledgeable. As far as I can tell, location, population, and metro/rural dynamics have huge impacts on the supply and demand curves for nurses. In other words, many shortages are localized, and there are a lot of them. In this way, it absolutely affects my plans because my family and I could move if we wanted or needed to be closer to family or to take a great opportunity.

What’s been an unforgettable experience thus far?

Professionally: Being able to observe a laparoscopic procedure in the OR. I had no idea what surgery was like in real life (as opposed to what I’d seen on TV), and the experience definitely altered my perceptions.

Personally: I was caring for a patient who had a history of stroke and heart failure; this individual had an MI while I was in their room helping them get settled to eat. Observing the nurses work as a team to get labs, push meds, and stabilize them while continually providing reassurance and easing their anxiety was no easy task. It was yet another moment in my nursing education where I thought, “I really want to be good at this; oh my goodness- we’re saving a life!”

What is the best class you've taken here and why? 

I can’t pick just one, so I’ll give you two: Medical Surgical (Med Surg) and psychology. Med Surg because pathophysiology is one of my primary interests and I had the opportunity to learn about many different disease processes (my clinical instructor was fantastic). Psychology because of my clinical experience at the VA. It completely changed how I approach patient care. My time at the VA taught me that mental health isn’t a set of diagnoses that some patients fall into - it’s a layer of every patient. My psychology clinical instructor also was phenomenal. Then again, I haven’t had an instructor who isn’t.

We’ll be celebrating Father’s Day soon, and you’ve shared that you have children. Has your nursing education affected your role as a father or vice versa? If so, how? 

I think about health and behavior in a much more consistent way now. Before nursing, disease or trauma were incidents that I’d respond to more algorithmically as I was trained in EMT school. As a result of my nursing education, I think I am more compassionate. Don’t misunderstand me - I was compassionate as an EMT, but I didn’t always have prolonged periods of time with a patient. I acted quickly and often got the patient to the ER or hospital where nurses would deliver continued care. As a nursing student, I am delivering care, but I am also building relationships. I get to be more compassionate because I have more time with the patient. This dynamic has changed everything, including my relationship with my children. I find that I observe my children’s behavior, development, illnesses, and health all the time without the algorithms imposed by EMT training. Nursing has affected how I interact with my kids, my experiences when I take them to the doctor, and how I respond to coughs, falls, etc. I would say nursing has made me a more attentive and responsive dad, and I hope one day they’ll say the same.

What does the balance look like between being a full-time father and a full-time student? 

I have to prioritize and schedule aggressively. I haven’t been able to be as involved in student life as I’d like, but it’s essential for my wife and children to know that I’m there for them above all else. Sometimes it means missing milestones and moments, but those sacrifices will enable me to provide and be more present over the long term. I also have to shout out to my wife, Jayne. She worked in healthcare and suggested that I consider nursing. Jayne has kept our family running smoothly during the chaos of prerequisites and nursing school. I couldn’t balance anything or have done any of this without her.

Are your children curious about what you're studying?

As curious as they can be; they’re really young. My 2-year old knows where her heart is and tries to take our dog’s blood pressure with her Fisher Price med kit. I’m willing to bet took that cue from me and not the children’s books we read her.

If you’ve received a scholarship, what has that meant for you? Talk about the impact of receiving that scholarship.

I received the Dean’s 125th Anniversary scholarship last semester. The impact of that hit me recently when my wife and I were reviewing our student loans and the cost of future graduate school opportunities. Seeing how much we currently owe in student loans and how much more it would have been without the scholarship was eye-opening.  These gifts are so meaningful because they enable such a diverse group of people to become nurses, in this setting, under these nurse leaders, and I’m humbled to be able to call myself part of that group.

 

 

 

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Since 2010, the Janelle Othersen Visiting Professorship Lecture has contributed to broadening the educational experience of MUSC nursing students and faculty by bringing engaging and influential health care professionals to campus. Th annual presentation aims to encourage thought-provoking conversations and ideas, while also allowing dedicated nursing students be exposed to a diverse and vibrant array of nurse leaders, backgrounds, and ideas.
 
Incoming College of Nursing dean, Linda Weglicki, PhD, RN, MSN, will present, “Promoting Areas of Distinction: Navigating Challenges and Opportunities Collaboratively.” Dr. Weglicki will take over to lead the college beginning July 1 and comes to the role from Florida Atlantic University Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing where she was a professor and the associate dean for nursing research and scholarship and PhD studies 
 
All students, faculty, staff, regional alumni, donors and the South Carolina nursing community are invited to attend. The lecture will be presented on Wednesday, July 18 at 4:00 p.m. in the MUSC Drug Discovery Auditorium (70 President St.), followed by a reception.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Up Close & Personal with Dean Stuart

As can be expected, leaders come and go on MUSC's campus. While each brings fresh perspectives and ideas to the university, few have had the chance to see the impact of their vision. Dean Stuart's bold actions, tenacity, and forward thinking have not only changed the lives of MUSC's nursing students, but she also has left an indelible mark on the nation's mental health community.
 
We spoke to Dean Stuart, who announced she would be stepping down earlier this year, about her 47-year nursing career and what her plans after June 30th.
 

When you look back over your 45-year career, what do you believe to be your greatest personal and professional accomplishments?

That is a challenging question for me to answer because there are so many things I am proud of looking back in time. I would start with my ability to place family first. My children were always my first priority and I am immensely proud of them for the caring, productive, and socially responsible adults they are today. I also love their spouses as my extended children, and of course my five delightful, precocious and loving grandchildren have taken happy hostage of my heart!

Next I am proud of my textbook, Principles and Practice of Psychiatric Nursing, that was first published in 1979 and is now in its 10th and final edition. Through this book, I was able to touch the lives of so many nursing students, not only in this country but across the globe, as it has been translated into five languages. I am always moved when I am at a professional meeting and nurses come up to me and tell me that their perception of mental health and how to compassionately relate to the emotional needs of patients and families was shaped and molded by my book. It is truly humbling.

And this book also provided me the unexpected opportunity to help train nurses in Liberia, to provide mental health care after the devastation they experienced following a decade of civil war. Working, teaching and bonding with the nurses in this country has been an incredible journey and a lesson for me in resilience, strength and commitment. I have learned so much from my work in Liberia, and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to serve others across the ocean to help make a difference in their lives.  

Finally, but equally important to me, is what I have been able to accomplish here at MUSC. I have had the rare opportunity to contribute to so many aspects of the university including the Institute of Psychiatry and the Center for Health Care Research. But the shining light has been my ability to lead the College of Nursing as dean for the past 16 years. 

To be honest, when I was a nursing student at Georgetown University or a doctoral student at Johns Hopkins, I never aspired or expected to be the dean of a college of nursing. But when the opportunity presented itself here at MUSC, I had a vision that this college could be world class. And the one thing folks know about me is that when I have a vision I also have a plan, and I fully commit myself to making that vision a reality. And so bringing the CON into national prominence in academics, research and practice is a dream come true for me.  

And the “icing on the cake” was being able to renovate the college and transform our physical environment into a real gem of a building that honors and respects the 135-year history of the college, while infusing it with all the technology we need to propel ourselves into the future. It has been an honor to be dean here at MUSC.

How do you account for your success in all these activities?

My success is actually our success. We, the faculty, staff and I, have been able to accomplish so much here in the college because we are a fantastic team. The faculty and staff are an amazing group of committed, and talented individuals who strive for nothing less than excellence.  

On a personal level, I believe the success of a leader comes from having an open mind, a strong work ethic, solid communication skills, and the willingness to seize upon new strategic opportunities not knowing how they may turn out. A leader needs to be constantly scanning the environment, anticipating future changes, and be willing to take risks. I see risks as “experiments” – some have positive results and some have negative results but all results are important in guiding our future actions. Nothing is a failure…everything is a learning opportunity. You need to try something, learn from it, and move on. 

I also think that in working with others, a leader needs to be open, transparent, data-driven, honest, and accountable. To me, a visionary is someone who leads people to do together what they did not think they could do individually….and in so doing, together they reach new heights of achievement. I love the people here in the college and I will miss them greatly.

Which raises the next question, why retire now?

Sometimes I think there is never a good time to retire when you love what you are doing, and I do love this school and coming to work every day.

Being the dean for 16 years has been a treasured gift. Still, when I accepted this deanship I had set some goals I wanted to accomplish for the college. I wanted to:

•  Double our enrollment,
•  Rank in the top 15 schools in the country in NIH research funding,
•  Be nationally ranked for academics by U.S. News and World Report,
•  Renovate the building, and
•  Grow from one endowed chair to five. 

This past year I realized that I have achieved them all, and I think the CON has never been stronger in education, practice and research than it is now. So, I thought this may be the right time to pass the gift on to new leadership. That said, I am sure that June 30 will be bittersweet for me and I will feel happy, sad and proud all at the same time, and expectant for the great things that will unfold for the college in the days ahead.

Finally, using your book as an analogy, how will the next chapter of your life read?

Ah, that is a great question and the answer is even better – I actually am not sure; it is yet unwritten.  I hope that the plot will have new twists and adventures. I do know that I want to spend more time with my incredibly loving, active and talented family. I also would love to nurture other parts of my brain and spend time perhaps painting, reading novels, traveling with friends, writing reflections, walking on the beach, sorting my father’s coin collection or my brother’s baseball card collection, archiving family photos, and most of all, giving back to others. I am happily looking forward to the new story line that lies ahead for the next chapter of my life.

 

 

 

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On May 18, the College of Nursing recognized 138 students who completed their studies in the spring at a convocation ceremony that was held at the Charleston Music Hall. This year, 89 BSN, two MSN, 29 DNP, and 18 PhD students walked across the stage to be pinned (BSN) or hooded (DNP or PhD). Congratulations to the students and faculty listed below who were recently recognized for their achievements.

FACULTY AWARDS

Golden Lamp Award
Shannon D’Alton, MSN, APRN, CPNP

Outstanding Clinical Faculty Award
Amy Gulledge, MSN/Ed, RN, CNE

Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award
Carrie Cormack, DNP, APRN, CPNP-BC

 

STUDENT AWARDS & HONORS

Josephine Fogle Award
Alexander Brown

Men in Nursing Award
Park Ashley

Outstanding BSN Student Award
Leigh Rothgeb 

DNP Distinguished Graduate Award
Melissa Motes

Stewart Doctoral Dissertation Award
Lisa-Mae Williams

Sigma Theta Tau Inductees
Emma Aldridge
Andrea Alheit
Park Ashley
Emily Brame
Cordelia Bright
Alexander Brown
Alexis Carter
Jaclyn Hancock
Shannin Hatch
Lauren Havens
Lyndsey Hughes
Karen Jaramillo
Brooke Korte
Elisabeth McCarter
Erica McCaslin
Caroline Melton
Cameron Mercer
Stephanie Morris
Carlie Mzik
Jerri Newton
Katharine Newton
Emily Oakley
Allison Outlaw
Kelly Richardson
Leigh Rothgeb
William Ryan
Anna Saleeby
Meghan Sullivan
Ryan Taylor
Page Wise
Olivia Worsham
Caroline Wright

Raymond S. Greenberg Presidential Scholars
Ka’Dedra Creech
Ashley Kilcrease
Alexandra Rama

Hispanic Health Initiatives Scholars
Ryan Taylor
Park Ashley
Page Wise
Julia Holmes
Carlie Mzik
Nicolette Jacinto
Leigh Rothgeb
Caroline Wright

Mental Health Scholars
Annalise Baker-Whitcomb
Julia Holmes
Quinton Howell
Cameron Mercer
Savannah Perrin
Kenneth Simpson
Clay Wilklow
Page Wise

MUSC Gives Back College of Nursing Outstanding Volunteer of the Year
Carlie Mzik

MUSC Leadership Society Inductee
Margot Lally

 

 

 

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The College of Nursing would like to extend a warm welcome to our new dean, Linda Weglicki, PhD, RN, MSN. Weglicki begins June 1 and will be working closely with Gail Stuart, PhD, RN, FAAN, for the remainder of the month to get better acquainted with the college and university’s culture and practices. A talented educator, researcher and thought leader, Weglicki is coming to MUSC from Florida Atlantic University where she served as the associate dean for nursing research and scholarship and PhD studies of the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing in Boca Raton, FL. 

Weglicki’s arrival to MUSC coincides with the 8th Annual Janelle Othersen Visiting Professorship Lecture, therefore she is an obvious choice to give this year’s address. Her presentation, “Promoting areas of distinction: Navigating challenges and opportunities collaboratively,” will be presented on Wednesday, July 18 at 4:00 p.m. in the MUSC Drug Discovery Auditorium (70 President St.), followed by a reception. All students, faculty, staff, regional alumni, donors and the South Carolina nursing community are invited to attend. 

We are all looking forward to seeing how Weglicki’s leadership and vision will guide the future of nurse education at MUSC. 

Click here to read more about Weglicki’s career and accomplishments.

 

 

 

On May 18, advanced practice nurses across the state were elated when S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster signed senate bill S.345 into law. The new law increases the scope of practice for advanced nurse practitioners around the state, and in turn, grants more access to health care, especially for patients living in rural communities. 

“The passage of this bill is a true win for the people of South Carolina,” said Dean Gail Stuart, PhD, RN, FAAN. “It will allow nurses to bring the full force of their education and training to better meet the tremendous health care needs in this state. Nurses are the backbone of health care in this country and this bill recognizes their many contributions.” 

Effective July 1, nurse practitioners in South Carolina will be able to practice without direct approval from a supervising physician, write and sign off on certain prescriptions, and open a clinic beyond the 45-mile limit from the supervisor. 

This is excellent news for the citizens of South Carolina. Last year, the Palmetto State ranked 44th in America’s Health Rankings produced by the United Health Foundation. In a state where 19 of its 46 counties have 10 or fewer family physicians having highly educated and capable advanced practice nurses nearby will improve the state’s health challenges in rural areas.

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S.C. Bill R203 S345 (Sponsored by Senators Davis, McElveen, Scott and Fanning)

• Allows for nurse practitioner to work in a clinic beyond the previously enforced 45 miles from a supervising physician.

• Gives nurse practitioners the ability to write and sign off on certain prescriptions, including ADHD medications, painkillers, handicap placards and diabetic shoes.

 

 

 

Interview with Mary Catherine Gill, BSN student and mother of three 

What should we know about you?

My name is Mary Catherine Gill, and I've been a resident of the Charleston area for about 17 years. I'm the mother of three, and this is a second career that I'm under taking. My previous career was in banking, so this is quite a change. I retired from banking in time to be a stay at home mom for a bit. Between some health issues that arose for my children and myself and the experiences we encountered, I decided to pursue nursing. I am proud to say that I’ve wrapped up my fourth semester, and I'll be graduating in just a few short days!

What made you choose MUSC?

Because of the health issues that two of my children experienced, I had so much trust for the MUSC hospital itself- we received excellent care at MUSC. I thought about how confident and caring our nurses were and many of the nurses shared that they received their nursing education from the MUSC College of Nursing. I decided that I wanted to provide the level of quality care they did, so what better place to go than where they were educated.

Are you involved in any organizations through MUSC?

I'm a part of the Student Nursing Association (SNA). We do a lot, but my favorite part of SNA is volunteering. We do volunteer work throughout the course of the semester and participate in many activities around town. It’s a great way to plug into and serve the Charleston community while being a student.

Do you currently work outside of being a student?

I'm a full-time student, and a full-time Mommy. That's as much as I can handle!

What are your thoughts on the nursing shortage, and does it affect your
plans post-graduation?

From what I've seen and experienced through my preceptorships, the nursing shortage if not addressed is going to have a negative effect on the quality of care patients receive. As today’s workforce ages, we’re forecasting an increase in the need for well-educated and knowledgeable nurses. We’re also seeing an uptick in the number of individuals managing chronic health issues that require consistent oversight and regular care. Combine those two contributing factors to the fact that a lot of current nurses and nurses educators are retiring and your remaining licensed nurses will be stretched too thin to provide quality care and our nursing schools will not be able to educate the new work force fast enough because we will lack enough nurse educators to do so.

I’m just one person, but I’ve decided that I can do something to participate in addressing the shortage. In the fall I will begin to pursue my Doctorate of Nursing Practice; I’ll be able to practice and teach. Since I’m aware of the nursing shortage, I feel that have a responsibility to act by further educating myself so that I can treat patients and potentially educate the next generation of nurses.

What’s been an unforgettable experience thus far?

I was taking care of a patient in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU). He was only about 8 months old, and he needed to go in to have a shunt readjustment, which meant he needed to have surgery in his brain. His surgeon was fantastic and let me come into the surgery to observe; the surgeon kept encouraging me to come close and kept asking, “Can you see?” It was an incredible experience and gave me a real understanding of what operating room nurses do. You study and see photos in your text book, but there is nothing like your clinical experience! This was complete affirmation that I’m pursing the right vocation.

There was also a tender moment with another patient that I don’t think I will ever forget. One day I was caring for a patient who had trouble swallowing, thus it was difficult for him to eat. While I was helping feed him he held my hand. That warmed my heart because we often think of medical care as surgery or all these complicated procedures, but on that day, the medical care I offered were two simple gestures - feeding him and holding his hand. Sometimes we take so much for granted.

What is the best class you've taken at MUSC?

That's a toss-up. I've enjoyed the MedSurg classes because it's what affects all of us every day. It's the basics- the heart, brain, etc.; I use what I have learned in this class daily because it’s the class that teaches the basics. I also really enjoyed our mental health classes because they gave me greater insight into how to care for the whole person. William Osler put it best, “It is much more important to know the patient that has the disease than to know the disease that has the patient.” That quote is displayed in one of the stairwells at the college. When I read it it made complete sense. Take a mental health class and you will realize the implication of that statement. You’ll begin to try and understand a patient’s ailment, disease, etc. in the context of who they are- body, spirit, and mind.

What do your children think about you going back to school?

It’s funny you should ask this. My three children range in age from 4 to 13 years-old, and shortly after I started back to school my oldest said to me, "You know mom, this hasn't been as bad as I thought. I thought that by changing careers you would be around less, but you’re actually around a lot more. I’m appreciative of how your school has changed our family life. You’re here more.” I thought that was pretty insightful for a 13 year-old to say. My youngest has had the opposite adjustment to make because I’m no longer staying home like I did when I retired from banking, but she always greets me with a big hug when I return home from class.

What does the balance look like between being a full-time mother and a full-time student?

Time management, a support system, and communication are crucial in any endeavor but especially when you go back to school. In addition to my husband and children being supportive, we have a fantastic babysitter. When I’m not momming- that really ought to be a verb by now- I usually have a medical book in my lap.

 

 

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Debbie Chatman Bryant, DNP, RN, FAANAngela Stanley, DNP, MA, APRN-BC, NEA-BC, and Katherine Chike-Harris, DNP, APRN, CPNP, NE, (pictured above) have been named Palmetto Gold recipients for 2018. The three faculty members were recognized at the 17th annual Palmetto Gold Gala on April 21 in Columbia, SC. The Palmetto Gold Award is a program sponsored by the South Carolina Nurses Association that recognizes and honors nurses who have demonstrated excellence in the practice of nursing and a commitment to their professions.

Palmetto Gold, a subcommittee of the SC Nurses Foundation, is a statewide recognition program that both showcases the valuable contributions nurses make to patient care in SC and raises funds to endow scholarships for registered nurse students. 
 
 
 
 
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