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The Pulse of Indiana Nursing
A joint publication of the Indiana University School of Nursing and the Indiana University School of Nursing Alumni Association
Table of contents
While shows like “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Nurse Jackie” may be entertaining, the image they portray of nursing is often misleading—especially for young students weighing career choices. A unique “breaking the myths” summer camp, hosted by IU School of Nursing since 2011 and more recently in partnership with the IU schools of Dentistry and Medicine, provides high school students with an accurate, comprehensive view of health careers and what it takes to get there.
“We started the camp to educate high school students in grades 9-12 about nursing, so they can decide if the field is right for them,” said Marsha Baker, director of diversity and enrichment, IU School of Nursing. “While many students, including minority and underrepresented students, tend to think of nurses in only supportive roles, the camp helps them understand that there are many levels to nursing with opportunities to conduct research and earn doctorate degrees.”
“To learn that nurses are literally everywhere is an eye opener for some students,” said Lillian Stokes, PhD, RN, FAAN, representing Eta Chi Chapter, Chi Eta Phi Sorority, Inc., which has sponsored the camp since 2011. “The fact that nurses practice in a variety of settings and are employed as educators, researchers, administrators, consultants and more is new and exciting for many of the campers.”
With IU School of Dentistry joining the program in 2015 and IU School of Medicine this year, the camp, “Breaking the Myths of Nursing, Dentistry, and Medicine” has grown in both scope and length since its one-day debut six years ago. Today, up to 60 students spend three days learning skills, such as how to take blood pressure, perform CPR, ambulate patients and insert a nasogastric tube; listen to panel discussions with health care professionals; and visit the dental and cadaver labs. Campers gain insight and perspective from current students and also learn about the admissions process, prerequisites, costs and how they’ll need to prepare for college.
The camp, developed to enhance diversity among school applicants and within the professions themselves, is open to all students in grades 9-12 interested in learning more about careers in healthcare.
“Many students are searching for a career path during high school and sometimes well into their undergraduate years,” said Pamella Shaw, DMD, MPH, associate dean for diversity, equity and inclusion, IU School of Dentistry. “Breaking the Myths” allows us to speak to students about the dental profession, career options in dentistry and the educational process for each of the careers.”
Baker said several students who participated in the camp were accepted into and have graduated from IUSON. Other participants have reached out to learn more about the program.
“Breaking the Myths of Nursing, Dentistry, and Medicine is a great opportunity for prospective students to connect with IU faculty, staff and current students as they explore paths to becoming future health professionals,” she said.
Vince Holly’s first nurse role model was the woman he called mom. Watching her love for the profession unfold, Holly saw the satisfaction she gained from caring for others. Years later working in the behavioral health unit of then Bloomington Hospital, he encountered more examples of nurses making a profound impact in people’s lives.
“When I started college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” said Holly, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from IU Bloomington. “After seeing other nurses displaying the same hard work and professionalism as my mom, I was drawn to nursing. I’ve never looked back and feel I was truly called to this profession.”
Holly received a BSN degree from IU School of Nursing in 1996. To advance his education, he chose IUSON’s clinical nurse specialist (CNS) option in the Master’s in Nursing program based on the program’s national reputation and advice from colleagues and mentors at Bloomington Hospital and IUSON. He completed the program in 2005.
“Through all my years at IU School of Nursing the faculty emphasized nursing’s unique and independent contribution to health care,” said Holly, recalling what he remembers most about his IUSON education. “Both at the bachelor’s level—and especially the master’s level—faculty also placed great importance on the science of nursing—how research and evidence form the basis for our profession.”
As a CNS in critical care at IU Health Bloomington Hospital where he has worked for the past 26 years, Holly regularly applies the lessons he learned at IUSON and enjoys opportunities to use research to advance the practice of nursing.
“Being able to bridge the gap between what the research shows and what’s practiced at the bedside is extremely satisfying,” Holly said. “It’s rewarding to see the influence evidence-based practice has from the patient’s standpoint—how care and patient outcomes improve—and then to adopt it as standard nursing practice.”
In addition to caring for complex patients, Holly is also involved in national organizations. He’s currently the president of the National Association of Clinical Nurse Specialists (NACNS)—a position he earned after just 10 years with the organization.
“As I was completing my master’s degree, one of my CNS program preceptors encouraged me to become involved in NACNS, so I began attending the national conferences, serving on voluntary committees and networking,” explained Holly, who was first elected to the organization’s board in 2015. “Serving as president is quite an honor, and a lot of work, but I feel obligated to give back to the profession, and this is a great way to do it.”
Wisdom is a trademark of leaders, and Doris Froebe was both a leader and a wise woman. An emerita faculty member, she understood well when drafting her planned gift to IU School of Nursing how important nursing leadership would be for health systems in a changing environment. Today, Froebe, who passed away in July 2016, is remembered not only for her generosity and contributions, but for her foresight in helping to shape the nursing profession for years to come. Her planned gift funds a doctorally prepared faculty member focused on leadership in health systems.
“Doris was such an amazing person whose admiration for IU School of Nursing was evident each and every time you spoke to her,” said Robin Newhouse, dean, IU School of Nursing. “With the school’s strong, vibrant clinical and academic partnerships, this endowed professorship is exciting for its potential to advance nurse leadership in health administrations, a facet of nursing research our school is particularly interested in.”
Froebe earned her BSN from the University of Dayton, her master’s degree in nursing from Indiana University, and her PhD in educational administration from the University of Maryland. Her clinical leadership included serving as a head nurse at Miami Valley Hospital and director of in-service education at Johns Hopkins University Hospital.
“Doris is a great example of someone who supported IU School of Nursing throughout her career and then through a planned gift,” said Janet McCully, director of development. “Often, planned giving allows donors to make larger gifts than they thought possible.”
There are many ways for you to benefit the IU School of Nursing and help continue its mission. In addition to gifts of cash, stock, and real estate, you can also help give back to the School by docummenting a planned gift like Dorie Froebe's. Contact Janet McCully at firstname.lastname@example.org or (317) 274-4293.
Smartphones, apps, tablets and other technologies have made information easily accessible right in the palm of the hand. The benefits of technology are being explored everywhere—consumer settings, businesses and increasingly in health care and health-related research. Three IU School of Nursing faculty researchers are currently using technology to develop novel approaches and interventions to help patients manage their health and inform health care decision-making.
Rebecca Bartlett Ellis, PhD, RN
Smartphones and headsets are just two of a growing list of devices that employ Bluetooth technology. Add “pillbox” to the list with an innovative new research project led by Dr. Bartlett Ellis. Focused on helping people with chronic kidney disease manage their blood pressure medications, Dr. Bartlett Ellis has developed a “smart pillbox” with integrated sensors to record through time and date stamping when people open and close the lids and add and remove pills. Wireless Bluetooth technology built into the multi-compartment box transfers data to a smartphone app that tracks users’ medication-taking events to better understand how and when they occur.
“Through experiences with family members and caring for people transitioning to the home environment, I saw the real challenges patients face in trying to follow prescribed orders and regimens,” Dr. Bartlett Ellis said. “The situation becomes even more complex when patients take multiple medications, doses change, or different medications are added.”
Working in partnership with colleagues at the Schools of Engineering, Computer Science and at Herron School of Art and Design, Dr. Bartlett Ellis led the development of the first pillbox prototype in late 2015. Since then, the pillbox system—known as InterACT (Interactive Adaptable Connected Technologies)—has undergone usability testing by a co-design team of patients. This fall, Dr. Bartlett Ellis’ team will begin recruiting nephrology patients for a year-long pilot study to see if providing the medication-taking feedback through the app helps patients take their medications consistently and as prescribed.
“Nurses are ideally positioned to develop, test and implement new kinds of self-management interventions, especially in a health care system that’s becoming more and more focused on productivity with patient appointments scheduled every 15 minutes,” Dr. Bartlett Ellis explained. “Our goal is to bridge the gap between the clinic and home management to help patients be more successful with their treatment.”
Lisa Carter-Harris, PhD, APRN, ANP-C
Knowledge is power, and in the case of the computer-based decision support tool LungTalk, the power is informed decision-making for smokers considering lung cancer screening. It’s a complex topic that studies show isn’t easily or effectively communicated in a pamphlet, which is how most screening candidates receive the information.
“Research shows that people are coming into time-constrained clinic visits without the knowledge to make a decision about lung cancer screening,” explained Dr. Carter-Harris, who developed the tool to describe the screening, explain the risks and benefits and address why it may be the right decision for some people. “Unlike other types of screenings based on age or gender, lung cancer screening targets long-term smokers who may or may not be ideal candidates for screening based on other issues with their health.”
It’s also the only preventive screening that the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommends be conducted in a shared decision-making discussion with the provider. In fact, in order for the screening to be reimbursed by Medicare, the provider has to document that a shared discussion and counseling visit took place.
Through interactive technology, LungTalk helps prepare patients to engage with their provider in a meaningful discussion about screening. It can be delivered in two ways—emailed through a patient portal to a known screening-eligible patient a few days before he or she comes in for a visit; or shared via iPad in the clinic so the patient can review while waiting for the clinician. Messages are tailored based on the patient’s current smoking status (former or current). While LungTalk is currently in testing, the team is working to embed an interactive game targeted to current smokers that’s designed to increase negative thoughts about smoking in order to encourage a quit attempt.
“LungTalk was built to go beyond just explaining what lung screening is and the risks and benefits,” Dr. Carter-Harris said. “It also addresses lung health so people come away feeling as if they’ve made the right decision for them, which in the end produces better patient outcomes, encourages compliance and engagement and makes patients more open to smoking cessation as a teachable moment.”
Wendy Miller, PhD, RN, CCRN
Big data can translate into big benefits in helping people manage chronic disease. For the past two years, Dr. Miller has gathered and interpreted social media postings (a large, unorganized data set, which is the typical definition of “big data”) to develop an online, patient-centered self-management intervention for adults living with epilepsy.
“Unlike traditional research in which we ask patients a of set questions, mining social media allows us to find the real patient voice—those salient concerns and questions that may signal a gap in the programs and information we provide to help people effectively manage their disease,” Dr. Miller said. “Social media has proved to be a rich resource for discovering things we had no idea patients are concerned about.”
One example, cites Dr. Miller, is the frequency of questions and discussion in social media among epilepsy patients about alcohol consumption. Generally, people with epilepsy are discouraged by their health care providers from drinking alcohol.
“They’re [patients] not talking to their providers about it, but they’re using the social media platform to get more information,” explained Dr. Miller, who added that in the data set she’s gathered some patients are drinking. “This means that as health care providers we may need to take a different look at how we’re communicating about alcohol consumption, perhaps setting some parameters for how to consume alcohol safely if they’re going to do it.”
Currently under review for National Institutes of Health funding, the smart intervention uses “Amazon-like” algorithm technology to personalize the content based on user preferences and prior information consumption. For example, if a user spends a lot of time reading articles, the tool will send more articles; if a patient prefers to watch videos, he or she will receive information in that preferred format.
“We can get data faster and from a larger group of people with this method,” Dr. Miller said. “And with social media, we can do a quick run of data every year to see what new issues or concerns are popping up, so we can tailor our interventions accordingly.”
For Allison McCord, what started out as a personal interest in the Spanish and Latino cultures has turned into a professional pursuit and an opportunity to serve Latino youth through an innovative summer camp at IUPUI. She is pictured here working with students.
McCord’s mother, whose parents were missionaries, grew up in Guatemala and Honduras. Intrigued by stories of life in Central America, McCord studied Spanish in high school, traveled to Spain and minored in Spanish during her undergraduate years at IU School of Nursing. While in nursing school, she frequently used her second language to care for patients.
“I realized that I could be an advocate for the health of the Latino community because of my skills,” said McCord, who is a student in IUSON’s bachelor’s to PhD program. As part of her degree requirements, she’s currently conducting qualitative research interviewing Latina adolescents about their experiences with depression. “Data shows there are higher rates of depression and suicidal ideation among Latino youth; this was a glaring disparity to me, something I feel is really important and want to pursue further.”
Her personal and research interests led her to become involved in “Your Life, Your Story,” a camp for Latino middle and high school students founded in 2014 by McCord’s public health minor advisor, Silvia Bigatti, PhD, associate professor, IU Fairbanks School of Public Health. The week-long camp targets prevention and is designed to reinforce positive youth development.
“It’s all about resiliency—helping kids develop the coping and social support skills to face adversities and be able to overcome them,” said McCord, who has led resiliency sessions for the female campers for the past two years. “There’s a different theme each day focusing on where they come from, where they want to go and how they’re going to get there; how they’ll write their own story.”
Working collaboratively with Indianapolis’ Latino Health Organization to spread the word and recruit campers, Dr. Bigatti, McCord and other camp organizers work to ensure camp programming includes mentorship, information about college admissions and scholarships, and opportunities for participants to explore their creativity and talents through art, music and drama workshops.
“The camp is especially appealing to me because I’ve always been interested in preventing health problems; even in nursing school I was interested in community health and prevention of chronic disease,” McCord explained. “This camp takes a preventative approach in helping these kids develop good coping strategies before mental health problems can develop.”
For more information about “Your Life, Your Story,” visit http://ylysprogram.wixsite.com/ylys
Allie and Abby Horn share clothes, an apartment and a major. The identical twins are on track to earn BSN degrees from IU School of Nursing. But that’s only half the story. They also share their birthday with sisters Rachel and Emily—the other half of the Horn quadruplets also pursuing careers in health care. The quads are pictured left to right, Allie, Emily, Rachel, and Abby.
Until this semester, all four Horn sisters lived together near the IUPUI campus. Rachel is studying respiratory therapy, and Emily was studying biology until she was recently accepted into Purdue University’s pharmacy program. A fifth sister, Morgan, 18 months older than the quadruplets, just completed a degree in education and is working in a preschool in Anderson.
Since their early days at Fishers High School, Allie and Abby were interested in health careers. Loading up on science and math classes, they participated in the school’s medical club and took anatomy and physiology with an exceptional teacher, which helped shape their career aspirations.
“I wanted personal experience with patients, and I knew I would get that with nursing,” said Allie, who will graduate from the BSN program in May 2018.
Abby, who enrolled at IUPUI on a track and cross-country scholarship, completed two years of prerequisites for radiation therapy, but switched her major to nursing. She’s currently a sophomore at IUSON and preparing to start clinicals.
“The professors here always want the best for you, and the way students are organized into smaller block groups make it more personalized so faculty can teach hands-on skills,” said Abby, who decided to give up her college running career to devote more time to school, which she said, “is really the most important thing.”
Both girls work to help pay for their education. They are currently part of a small group of IUPUI students hired to care for a faculty member’s 97-year-old mother, who Abby describes as the “sweetest woman in the world and is like a third grandma to us.”
In addition to completing her final courses, Allie is working on the surgical progressive floor at IU Health University Hospital.
“I’ve used a lot of critical thinking skills and feel a lot more comfortable in the clinical setting,” said Allie, who has not yet decided on a specialty, but knows she wants to work in patient care.
As for life outside of class, the twins say living with their two other sisters isn’t much different than living at home in Fishers.
“We make dinner for each other and know each other’s quirks, so we don’t have some of the issues other roommates do,” Abby said.
As for future plans, both sisters would like to eventually pursue master’s degrees in nursing. And although they don’t know whether they’ll end up working in the same city, they’re open to new opportunities. When asked what it might be like to live apart, Abby looks at her sister and smiles.
“It’s been this way for 21 years. I really have no idea.”
After earning her bachelor’s degree from Indiana University School of Nursing in 1969, Patricia Gilchrist (McAllister), RN, had an exciting career filled with travel that fulfilled a dream that she never knew she had.
While attending school for a sociology degree, Patricia worked part-time as a nurses’ aide in a nursing home and instantly fell in love with the profession. She left sociology and began nursing classes in Bloomington, where she met her future husband, and then finished classes on the IUPUI campus.
“I loved my all-too-short Bloomington experience, but I grew up at what was then known as the Indianapolis Medical Center,” she said. “I learned my moral values and work ethic from my parents and grandparents growing up in Indiana, but IU made me a professional.”
After graduation, her husband’s naval service and business career took them to Chula Vista, California; Galveston, Texas; Wellsboro, Pennsylvania; Cumberland, Rhode Island, New Albany, Indiana and finally to Corning, New York in 1986. Gilchrist found jobs in hospitals and nursing homes in every location they lived.
“That’s the beauty of a nursing degree from IU – I was always able to work whenever and wherever,” she said.
From 1990 to 1993, she worked as a CPR and first aid instructor for the American Red Cross, but devoted most of her time to her three children and her community. In 1995, the deacon of their church asked if she would assist a fellow parishioner who was being discharged from the hospital.
“The woman had no family to assist her. She was a brittle diabetic and paraplegic and she wouldn’t have care from Social Services for three weeks,” Gilchrist recounted. “After this experience, the deacon and I created a task force to investigate the need and identify potential solutions for area residents who were ‘falling through the cracks’ of our health care system.”
The task force found that, at the time, the US Census Bureau reported more than 560,000 uninsured residents and an estimated 25,000 more in the surrounding counties of Chemung, Steuben and Schuyler in New York. Based on this need, Gilchrist led a handful of volunteer nurses and physicians in establishing a free health care clinic in September 1997. This effort quickly grew and the Health Ministry of the Southern Tier, a federation of five medical centers in Corning and cities in nearby counties, was founded.
Gilchrist served in a variety of positions including volunteer executive director, infection control nurse, assistant safety nurse, grant writer and Board of Directors officer. All operating costs were covered by donations and grants received. By 2010, the clinics were able to offer limited medical, dental and eye care, including physicals, health education services, dental extractions and eye exams.
“Most of our patients were the working poor – they had more than one part time job with no benefits and they didn’t receive any government assistance,” she said. “Many came to us with multiple chronic illnesses, and we learned that without the time constraint of the ‘for-profit world,’ we were able to teach healthier lifestyle behaviors.”
Due to the creation of affordable medical insurance and the expansion of Medicaid eligibility in the state of New York, the Health Ministry of the Southern Tier closed its doors on December 31, 2015. However, Gilchrist is proud of the work they did in an 18-year time span. She and the church deacon even published “A Magnificent Mission Successfully Accomplished” reflecting on their experience. Gilchrist was presented the Jefferson Award for Public Service (pictured above with Hillary Clinton) and the Paul Harris Award from the Corning Rotary Club for her efforts.
“We served more than 5,000 uninsured residents and distributed approximately $1 million of free medications per year from the drug companies’ Patient/Pharmaceutical Assistance Program,” she said. “After my full-time volunteer nursing work, I am proud of what our little 501(c)(3) accomplished.”
With this fulfilling body of work, Gilchrist is pleased that her career started with her studies at the IU School of Nursing and that she’s able to call herself an IU Nurse.
“I modestly admit that I was a leader throughout my career with my ‘take charge’ attitude and I believe we are all educators as we are still teaching and learning every day of our lives,” she said. “In addition, I was given the opportunity to mentor young student nurses at Corning Community College who volunteered at the Health Ministry of the Southern Tier for course credit.”
As a long-time advocate for the underserved in her community, Gilchrist offers this advice to future nursing leaders:
“Never feel that you are just one nurse and that your impact won’t make a difference. If it’s an injustice or simply a policy or procedure that you think can be improved – sell it, own it and fight for what you believe.”
Nursing students used to participate in many differnet types of organized social activities from dances to carnivals. Shown here are junior class members presenting a carnival called Dodge City Days in 1958.
Dean Robin Newhouse principle investigator for Indiana University's next Grand Challenge: Responding to the Addictions Crisis. Read more...
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