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Judith Lupo Wold (left), 81MN, and
Lorine Spencer lead the Migrant Family
Health Program, which moved from
Georgia State to Emory this year.

 

 

Fields of Compassion
Migrant health project moves to Emory

This summer, an intrepid group of nursing students will head to southwest Georgia for what could be the most memorable nursing experience of their lives. They are the first Emory students to take part in the Migrant Family Health Program, which has come to roost in the School of Nursing.

Previously based at Georgia State University (GSU), the annual program provides health screening, health education, and episodic care for some 1,000 farm workers and their children. Dr. Judith Lupo Wold, 81MN, a visiting scholar at Emory who teaches on the GSU nursing faculty, was instrumental in orchestrating the program’s transition.

According to Lorine Spencer, the nursing consultant who started the program at GSU and now holds the reins at Emory, students can expect “an intensive immersion learning experience.”

For two consecutive weeks, about 30 baccalaureate and nurse practitioner students will work in an elementary school each morning to assess and examine 500 children enrolled in a summer education program. In the evening, the nursing students will staff a mobile clinic to assess, examine, and treat adults at work camps and packing houses in three counties. Most afternoons, students will attend seminars to discuss topics related to migrant health.

“This program helps students tremendously by exposing them to all types of health problems, people, and cultures,” says Spencer, who has had no trouble convincing Emory nursing faculty to go along. “We see a lot of Hispanic people as well as Haitians and people from other Caribbean Islands. It also exposes students to rural life. Some of them have never seen where fruits and vegetables come from, how they are grown, and what it takes to get those crops from the field to the grocery store to the table.”

Joining the group will be students from the dental hygiene department at Clayton State College and University and the physical therapy and psychology departments at GSU. Many other partners are involved, including the Southeastern Primary Care Consortium/Atlanta Area Health Education Center, South Georgia College (which supplies the Nightingale van that serves as the mobile clinic), the Georgia Department of Human Resources, the Colquitt County Health Department, and local farm owners, physicians, churches, businesses, and volunteers. In addition, volunteers from metro Atlanta accompany students and faculty to provide interpretive services and support. These volunteers also assist farm workers and their families in the fields and packing sheds where they work and the camps where they live.

The Migrant Family Health Program is based in Moultrie, Georgia, where students and faculty spend the night to regroup and recharge for the next day. Throughout the two weeks, they give out hundreds of goody bags filled with donated items to children and adults. Many students and faculty bring used clothing and household items to share with families.

On a hot day one previous summer, Spencer felt an eager tug on the leg of her pants. She looked down to see a 4-year-old Guatemalan boy wearing the pants and shirt she had helped him pick out the day before.

Any exhaustion she felt at the time quickly faded. As Spencer explains, “This is why I continue to do this work.”

 

 

A Voice
for
Nursing

Salmon joins
health care
philanthropy
board

 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has a stronger ear and voice on behalf of nursing, since Dean Marla Salmon was elected to the organization’s board of trustees.

Salmon brings her own brand of leadership to the board as an expert in national and international public health and health policy and administration. “Her research interests on the critical problem of the health care workforce will bring excellent background to the table as we think about the nation’s coming health and health care challenges,” notes foundation president and CEO Steven Schroeder.

Based in Princeton, New Jersey, the foundation is the nation’s largest philanthropy devoted to health and health care. The foundation works to assure that all Americans have access to health care at reasonable cost, improve care and support for people with chronic health conditions, promote healthy communities and lifestyles, and reduce the personal, social, and economic harm caused by tobacco, alcohol, and drug abuse.

 

 

Anne R. Bavier, 73MN

 

 

Nurse of Distinction
Bavier receives top staff honor from Emory

Emory honored Anne R. Bavier, 73MN, this spring as one of 12 individuals to receive a 2002 Award of Distinction, the university’s highest honor for staff members. Bavier joined the School of Nursing in 1997 and juggles lots of balls as assistant dean for development, alumni, and external relations.

Last year, Bavier spearheaded the dedication ceremony for the school’s new building and provided lead support to get the Lillian Carter Center for International Nursing up and running. She also oversees preparations for Alumni Weekend and other special events.

Dean Marla Salmon said it best in her letter nominating Bavier for the award. She wrote, “Anne has served with great distinction in a position that is uniquely complex, played multiple roles, and consistently kept the best interest of the university, the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, and the School of Nursing in the forefront of her concerns.”


 

Jean Stone Megenity

 

Teacher, Mentor, Leader, Friend
Professor Emerita Jean Megenity dies

Professor Emerita Jean Stone Megenity (left in photo) cared deeply about mothers and babies. And many others, too. Megenity, who taught at the School of Nursing for 20 years, passed away on March 16 at her home in Duluth, Georgia, from metastatic breast cancer.

Reared on a farm in Indiana, Megenity began her nursing career in 1949. Although primarily interested in maternity nursing, she worked in public health, school nursing, outpatient clinics, occupational health, and hospitals. She began her teaching career in 1968 at Prairie State College in Illinois and taught one year at the University of Florida before joining the School of Nursing in 1971.

From day one at Emory, Megenity touched the lives of many through teaching, scholarship, service, and leadership. “Students and faculty who were mentored by Jean loved her for her kindness and care while she challenged them to do their best,” remembers Rose Cannon, clinical associate professor of nursing. “She served as a role model, always demonstrating the difference a skilled practitioner could make in the delivery of health care.”

Megenity excelled in curriculum planning and implemented a new RN track in 1981. She designed an innovative undergraduate clinical experience where students provided support and teaching to childbearing families, before and after delivery. Attendance at the birth was mandatory—anytime, day or night. Megenity also organized an annual conference on breast-feeding, and the 14th gathering was held earlier this year. “Jean’s desire to promote and protect the health of mothers and babies was a vital motivating factor in developing the conference,”says Cannon.

Faculty also held Megenity in high regard for her efforts to create a research culture in the School of Nursing and across Georgia. She chaired the Alpha Epsilon Chapter Research Committee, resulting in the collegial study of touch in nursing practice. As a result, Megenity received a research award from the Alpha Epsilon Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International and was nominated by the Georgia Nurses Association (GNA) for the American Nurses Association (ANA) Research Award.

Megenity also liked to shake things up politically. She served as president of the Emory University Senate from 1982 to 1983 and was not shy about introducing young nurses to the advantages of GNA and ANA membership and the benefits of serving the profession, whether on a legislative phone tree, marching to the state capitol, or serving on committees.

She shared her passion for teaching with her husband, Jack, also an educator, and they produced a textbook together. Published in 1982, Patient Teaching: Theories, Techniques, and Strategies was widely used in nursing schools. They also raised two children and in recent years took great delight in their four grandsons.


Memorial gifts may be sent to the
Jean Stone Megenity Research Fund,
payable to the Alpha Epsilon Chapter of
Sigma Theta Tau International,
c/o the Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing,
1520 Clifton Road NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.

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Before giving this year’s Jowers lecture, Audrey Nelson met Edna and Marvin Jowers, who established the lectureship as a tribute to their son, David, who cared deeply about people and the environment.

 

Innovations in Patient Safety
VA nurse researcher presents Jowers lecture

Audrey Nelson, 80MN, is a self-confessed closet engineer. That suits her well as associate chief for nursing service research at the James A. Haley Veteran’s Hospital in Tampa, Florida, where she directs the Center for Patient Safety Inquiry. Nearly 5 years old, the center seeks to prevent falls among elderly and disabled patients and make the work environment safer for nurses and other experts who care for them.

Already, the center expects to reduce the incidence of falls by 50% in all Veterans Administration (VA) hospitals in Florida and by 30% in 45 VA hospitals nationwide. In addition, the center is looking to reduce the severity of staff injuries by 60% in 24 VA hospitals nationally. Nelson believes that success is even greater since 40 VA hospitals have adopted the center’s new ergonomics guide, which helps caregivers move patients more easily and safely and reduce the number of work injuries.

“That means nurses will stay in the field longer and more experienced nurses will be taking care of patients instead of brand new nurses,” Nelson told guests during the David Jowers Lectureship. Established by Edna and Marvin Jowers, the annual lectureship is a tribute to their late son, who cared deeply about the environment and the welfare of people.

This year, the School of Nursing and Wesley Woods Center, Emory’s geriatric health care facility, presented the lecture together. In doing so, they illustrated that caring for elderly and frail patients calls for interdisciplinary and interprofessional collaboration.

These partnerships drive the Center for Patient Safety Inquiry. During the past decade, Nelson and her colleagues have received more than $20 million in research funding to improve patient safety by looking at ways to prevent medical errors and adverse outcomes.

In doing so, the Center for Patient Safety Inquiry provides patients with more personal freedom and creates a “culture of safety” for clinicians working in VA hospitals in Florida and Puerto Rico. Nelson oversees this work in four research laboratories housed in a new nursing research building at the VA hospital in Tampa.

The labs are definitely state of the art. In the patient safety simulation lab, researchers use mannequins fitted with dignity monitors to measure different variables. By controlling the work environment, the task, and the equipment, researchers can clearly observe how a nurse gives care in order to increase the layers of defense for patients.

The Center for Patient Safety Inquiry is making inroads in other ways. Its biomechanics research laboratory has one of only two three-dimensional body-tracking systems in the country. This system captures data on how nurses move to perform their jobs. Researchers use a new gait and balance lab to study how certain movements cause falls and what can be done to prevent them. A fourth lab devoted to patient safety engineering tests new devices and technologies to help nurses perform their jobs efficiently and safety.

This lab is where Nelson puts on her engineering hat. She likes to quote TV sitcom star Roseanne, who once joked that “if more engineers had to do housework, we’d have riding vacuum cleaners by now.”

“I think the same is true for health care,” Nelson said. “If we use the talent of engineers and pull them in, so many of the patient defenses that I’m talking about could be buffered. Technology holds a lot of promise.”


To learn more about the Center for Patient Safety Inquiry, visit the website at www.patientsafetycenter.com.


 

Associate Professor Elizabeth Capezuti (left) knew from the start that Laura Wagner was destined to become a nurse scholar in geriatrics. Wagner is a PhD student who came to Emory to study with Capezuti.

 

One Good Turn Leads to Another
PhD student receives prestigious geriatrics grant

Emory doctoral student Laura Wagner is one of 20 nurse scholars nationwide to receive a $100,000 grant from the John A. Hartford Foundation. Her funding is part of a program to produce academicians, practitioners, researchers, and leaders in geriatric nursing. In turn, these individuals help cultivate the next generation of geriatrics practitioners and faculty.

Wagner began working on her PhD last fall on the advice of Associate Professor Elizabeth Capezuti, holder of the Independence Foundation– Wesley Woods Chair in Gerontologic Nursing. The two met at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, where Wagner received her master’s degree and Capezuti was a faculty member and geriatrics nursing researcher. Capezuti knew right away that Wagner was destined to become a nurse scholar.

“She had a strong interest in research, and she began working on several of my nursing home research projects,” says Capezuti. “Within a short time, she began coordinating some projects and was an excellent supervisor for the other student research assistants.”

Recognizing Wagner’s strengths, Capezuti suggested that she gain experience as a geriatric nurse practitioner in a nursing home to become familiar with what areas needed study. Wagner worked for two years at a nursing home in Columbus, Ohio, where she learned how nursing homes operate and how care can be improved. Through her doctoral studies at Emory, she is focusing on attracting younger nurses to geriatric nursing, improving the nursing care of residents in nursing homes, and researching innovative ways to reduce falls and fall-related injuries.

“Research in geriatric nursing is the vehicle for how practice and policy is changed in nursing homes,” explains Wagner, who came to Emory specifically to study with Capezuti. “I want to help change how care is delivered and the way that is done by changing current policy based on good research.”


 


Change

of Heart

 

Nursing
applications
jump
dramatically

 

It appears that some prospective students have had a change of heart in planning their careers. This spring, the School of Nursing experienced a remarkable 47% increase in undergraduate applications. Additionally, the school received 69% more inquiries from prospective students and a 52.8% increase in deposits compared with last year.

“I think September 11 is a very important factor,” says Dean Marla Salmon of the increases. “People are really thinking about their lives differently, and some people who may have made career decisions based on finances may be looking at careers differently.”

Salmon also believes the recent downturn in the economy may be a factor for people who have lost jobs and are looking for new careers.

Come fall, the school is looking to enroll 75 new undergraduates, which falls within the school’s ideal range of admitted students.

As for graduate students, the number of applicants remains steady. The school expects to enroll 60 to 65 advanced-degree students, which is comparable to recent years.

Nursing enrollment is on the rise nationwide as well. In its annual survey, the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) in Washington, DC, found that fall 2001 enrollment had risen 3.7%, based on responses from 548 (80.8%) of the nation’s nursing schools with bachelor’s and master’s programs. AACN members attribute the increase to stronger recruitment efforts, more news coverage of the nursing shortage, and the “Nurses for a Healthier Tomorrow” advertising campaign by Johnson & Johnson.


 



Cuba is noted for its excellent primary care system, which emphasizes prevention at the local level. Patients who need more specialized treatment seek care at regional polyclinics and facilities like the National Institute for Oncology (above).

A small group of Emory nursing students and faculty made history as the first participants in a course in Cuba designed for nurses by the School of Nursing and MEDICC.

 

A Primary Experience
Students, faculty study Cuban health system

What better way to begin the new year than by making history and getting credit for it at the same time? A small group of Emory nursing undergraduates began 2002 as the first participants in a course in Cuba designed for nurses by the School of Nursing and MEDICC (Medical Education Cooperation with Cuba), whose office is in the nursing school building. MEDICC collaborates with the National School of Public Health in Cuba to provide electives there for health sciences students from the United States.

For the five Emory nursing students and four faculty members who made the 12-day journey, preparing for the trip was excitement enough without the rare snowstorm that hit Atlanta on the day they left in early January. Once in Havana, they immersed themselves in a nation where “the people live as in a poor country but die as in a rich country,” says MEDICC director Diane Appelbaum, who led the group. “Cuba has the same leading causes of death as in the United States—heart disease, cancer, and stroke.”

But the students and faculty also found something very different from the United States. Through a series of lectures and field trips to clinics, hospitals, and health education institutes, they saw firsthand what their pre-trip seminars and readings had taught them—that Cuba has developed a successful primary care system that places a premium on health promotion and prevention.

“Cuba’s health care system is very grassroots and is geared toward education and prevention of diseases—each person has a nurse and a doctor who lives in their community. I had read a lot about it, and it seems to work well,” says D.J. Smith, an associate faculty member in adult and elder health at Emory.

What Smith and the others witnessed was a thriving primary care system comprised of thousands of consultorios—local clinics operated by doctor-nurse teams who live on the premises and care for approximately 150 families in the community. Patients who need more specialized services, such as x-rays or lab work, visit the polyclinic, which serves about 20 consultorios.

Because of its health system, Cuba provides a quality of care comparable to, and in some instances, better than the United States. As of 2000, life expectancy in Cuba was 76.3 years compared with 76.8 years in the United States. For every 10,000 people, Cuba has 58.2 doctors—more than double the number of US doctors—26.5—for the same number of people.

“We chose to study Cuba’s health care system because the people there have elevated the health of the population from levels similar to other countries in the area, such as Haiti and the Dominican Republic,” says nursing student Nicole Smith, 02N. “Forty years ago, Cuban statistics were in line with neighboring countries in the Caribbean and Central America. Cuba’s system is special because it has helped the people achieve this level of health. What’s more amazing is that it accomplished this in only 40 years.”

In preparation, students and faculty read up on Cuba’s history, including how the country rebuilt its health care system following Communist President Fidel Castro’s rise to power in 1959 and how US economic sanctions against Cuba and the collapse of the Soviet Union have forced the country to make do with little, including medical supplies.

“I went to Cuba with a certain amount of skepticism about how well the health care system works because the resources there are so limited,” admits Menaka Ponnambalam, 03N. “There’s a lot of emphasis on caring for mothers and children, and the doctors and nurses work closely with the families. The efficiency lies in the spirit of maintenance of the health care system. Everyone feels ownership in the system because they are part of the whole.”

Among other practices that Emory students and faculty in Cuba observed was the use of alternative medicine. Though it is a fairly recent addition to the medical and nursing school curricula in Cuba, health providers there regard it as an important part of treatment and prevention.

The next time Ponnambalam has a sinus headache, she may wish herself back to Havana, where Cuban physician Dr. Fe Bosch vanquished her pain by applying acupressure to points in her hands and head.

“I could literally feel my sinuses start to drain,” the student remembers. “The doctor was head of the pain clinic and head of anesthesiology, and she was 70 years old. She was absolutely amazing.”


 

 

A Walk on the Rainy Side
Wet weather doesn’t dampen enthusiasm for exercise

Hospital nurses do it every day. Madge Donnellan (third from right in photo), a clinical associate professor of nursing specializing in health education, figures they walk 10,000 steps or more each day. That’s a good thing when it comes to staying fit through exercise.

To make that point, faculty and staff in the School of Nursing put on the proper footwear this spring to walk with Michael Johns (third from left), director of the Woodruff Health Sciences Center (WHSC). Last fall, in a speech looking back at his first five years at Emory, Johns outlined a new set of goals and priorities for “Making People Healthy.” In keeping with that spirit, he sent pedometers to all WHSC employees, along with a charge to make themselves healthy by walking 10,000 steps a day. Of course, that includes faculty and staff in the nursing school.

In preparation for their walk with Johns, Donnellan gave everyone pointers on what type of shoes to wear and tips for setting their pedometers. Although showers forced the walkers indoors for part of the afternoon, the wet weather did not diminish their good intentions to eat right, sleep right, and take 10,000 steps a day.


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