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June 2020

FAU Nurses Provide Face Masks for Homeless, Low-Income Individuals

FAU’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing is committed to helping those in greatest need during this pandemic: homeless and low income individuals. To address the dire needs of this community, Dr. Karethy Edwards, Professor and Associate Dean of Academic Programs, and Dr. Karen Wisdom-Chambers, Assistant Professor, are spearheading programs to provide lifesaving PPE and health care services for residents in a northwest neighborhood in West Palm Beach. In collaboration with the Northwest Community Health Alliance board, they and about 10 faculty and staff members distributed nearly 600 masks.

“As a family nurse practitioner volunteering at our FAU Community Health Center in this northwest neighborhood in West Palm Beach, I noticed so many homeless and low income people sitting close together without any face covering,” said Dr. Chambers. “People living in poverty as well as homeless individuals and those struggling with social determinants of health are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19 and dying from it. My colleagues and I were compelled to do something to help.” 

“This mask distribution initiative and our ongoing efforts to provide health care to vulnerable populations is at the core of who we are as a college of faculty, staff and students committed to caring on a deeper level,” said Dr. Safiya George, Dean of FAU’s College of Nursing. “During this pandemic, the need for face masks or other facial protection is a basic, critical need in order to reduce risk of viral transmission and acquisition, as well as to be able to enter a grocery store due to city ordinances. We are very fortunate to have Drs. Edwards and Chambers leading this effort at our Community Health Center with our partners from the Northwest Community Health Alliance. We are truly grateful for the generosity of our community in helping us serve those in need.”

For more on this story, click here.

Nursing Graduates on Front Lines of COVID

The members of FAU’s College of Nursing Class of 2020 will enter a workforce that has been forever changed by the COVID-19 crisis. Some of these graduates already have witnessed these changes firsthand, as they have been on the front lines taking care of patients. The pandemic has forced these graduates to jumpstart their career before officially receiving their degree.

Sean Gibson is one of these nurses. He received his bachelor’s degree in nursing from the College in May, yet the 52 year old was deployed on March 8 to Travis Air Force base in California with the sole purpose of assisting more than 900 passengers who were federally quarantined on the Grand Princess cruise ship.

FAU nursing student Tatiana Cavarretta, 22, was notified that her immersion was canceled due to COVID-19 and her coursework was finished, but she still had a desire to help. She started working full-time as a nurse extern at West Boca Medical Center. During the early stages of the pandemic, the unknown of which sick patients were infected with the coronavirus was a frightening thought to Tatiana, as she witnessed the resiliency of medical professionals firsthand. She was tasked with caring for patients during a time where there was a nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment.

Learn more about their stories here.

Caring through COVID: Nursing Students Face Challenges in the Wake of COVID-19

This global pandemic has been challenging for everyone, including our students. Many of our students are working on the frontlines of this crisis while continuing their studies. Others have traveled back to their homes to care for loved ones, and others are volunteering with the most vulnerable populations by providing meals and other essential items. Nearly two-thirds of FAU students work in service- or retail-sector positions as they earn their degrees. Many of their families also depend on them to provide financial support.
In the wake of COVID-19, their jobs have evaporated. Let’s make sure their dreams don’t disappear, too.
The Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing has in place an emergency fund to assist our students when they face unparalleled challenges. Due to this pandemic, we have had more than 350 nursing students already apply for emergency aid, with requests for financial assistance rising daily.
If you are in a position to do so, we encourage you to support our nursing students through the Skelly Cares Fund. Most of the applicants are seeking help with tuition, food, rent, or Wi-Fi to keep connected with remote classes. Without these funds, our students may have to take out additional loans or drop out of college altogether. 
The need for nurses has never been greater! Our students passion for nursing has only increased. By rallying together, we can take care of our struggling students now so they are equipped to take care of us in the future.

FAU Community Health Center at UB Kinsey Opens

The FAU Community Health Center (CHC) at UB Kinsey in West Palm Beach opened to accept patients on April 17 and began Telehealth visits on June 1. In partnership with the Northwest Community Health Alliance, this CHC site is offering quality accessible health care to one of the most vulnerable populations in the region. Almost a quarter of the population is uninsured and would normally seek medical attention in emergency rooms. Services at the CHC will include primary care, pediatric care, mental health, diabetes management and education, chronic disease management, telehealth, genetic testing, laboratory services, and individual/group support for lifestyle changes. 

College Celebrates National Nurses Week

FAU's College of Nursing honored the hard work and dedication of nurses and the impact they have on their patients' lives as part of National Nurses Week (May 6-12). The year 2020 is also the Year of the Nurse in honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale.

"As I witness the evolution of nursing, I am grateful to Ms. Florence Nightingale for her revolutionary efforts to create a profession with lasting and worldwide impact," said Dr. Karethy Edwards.

Student Spotlight

A student reflection, by Kendall H., Emergency Department Nurse -
"Every patient that walks through the doors I now consider a possible COVID threat. The symptoms are always changing, the ways to protect ourselves change by the hour, and the patients come from mild symptoms to severe. The last few weeks have been the scariest, as you see a patient come in for fever and cough, they are swabbed and discharged home stable. Two days will pass, and the same patient comes through the ambulance bay doors hypotensive, febrile, in respiratory distress, diaphoretic, pale, and knocking on heaven’s door. The nights before I have to work I wake up multiple times for no reason besides the underlying fear and anxiety this has caused." More from her reflection here.
FAU nursing students were recently recognized as part of virtual pinning ceremonies. When a student receives a pin from the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, it is an affirmation from faculty that they are prepared for a nursing career. It was such a joyous and special event. Congratulations, graduates! Recordings are available here (freshman direct students) and here (accelerated students).
Congratulations to Drs. Mercedes Rodriguez and Shannon Constantinides, who both successfully defended their dissertations. Mercedes discussed "Fleeing One’s Homeland: Health Challenge of Cuban Refugees from the Mariel Boatlift." The chair of her committee was Dr. Patricia Liehr. Committee members included Drs. Lynne Dunphy and Susan Love Brown. Shannon discussed "Thriving in Healthcare Providers: Relationship with Emotional Exhaustion & Impact on Primary Care Population Health Outcomes." Her committee chair was Dr. Debra Hain. Committee members included Drs. David Newman and Austin Bailey.

Faculty & Staff Spotlight

We are grateful to the many who have donated, made or assembled facemasks for the College's health centers and to offer to vulnerable populations in the community. A special thank you to Corina Mavrodin, Dr. Joy Longo, BeExxtra, Bill France (pictured) and others. We appreciate all you are doing to keep us healthy and safe.
Dr. Joy Longo, Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of Graduate Practice Programs, collaborated on a study led by Dr. Michael A. DeDonno, Assistant Professor at FAU's College of Education and Schmidt College of Medicine, and others to explore compliance and coping strategy behaviors of Florida residents due to COVID-19. More on the study can be found here.
Faculty and students from the College's Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner (PMHNP) concentration established "Let's Connect" as a way to meet and share during COVID-19. Group meetings are led by PMHNP students Thomas Schlepko, Katleen Thermezy Etienne, Gina Daye and Anthonia Ukaga and supported by faculty members, Drs. Beth King, Donna Linette, Diane Esposito and Anne Marie Rempala. The support group focuses on coping techniques, stress reduction measures and more. 
Dr. Cheryl Krause-Parello received a PCORI Engagement Award for "All Hands on Deck: Community Convening to Improve Research on Veteran Suicide Prevention." The objective is to devise better engagement strategies for concerned significant others in veteran suicide research in collaboration with chief security officers, providers and researchers. Dr. Krause-Parello is the project co-lead with Dr. Elisa Borah from the University of Texas-Austin.
Dr. Tarsha Jones received funding from Columbia University/NIH-NCI Cancer Prevention and Control Clinical Trials Grant Program for "Multicenter trial of decision support for breast cancer chemoprevention." 
Dr. Deborah D'Avolio recently transitioned to Affiliate Associate Professor. Her background is in gerontological research with specific training and expertise in key research and practice areas. Dr. D'Avolio has held a variety of academic appointments and has been awarded numerous grants. Widely published, she is recognized as an expert in gerontology regionally and nationally.
Anne-Marie Rempala, MSN, RN, Clinical Instructor, recently retired from the College. She worked as a psychiatric nurse for the past 30 years in acute and home health settings. Anne-Marie also served as the President of Iota Xi from 2017-2019, and she led the Sigma Iota Xi chapter through the application process culminating in a successful expansion fostering collaboration between FAU's College of Nursing and Broward College and Palm Beach College's RN to BSN programs. In her spare time, she will work part-time on the College's CAPE-V grant project, as well as volunteer on alumni society development projects and Iota Xi projects.
College of Nursing Dean Safiya George was selected as a winner of FAU Jupiter Campus Life's Confinement Poetry contest. Her submission was "Hostage."
Held hostage by knowledge,
I acknowledge the home-bound pilgrimage
To one’s sacred space
That is now the safest place
To stay while angels save the day—
Nurses & doctors paving the way,
Saving lives & sometimes losing theirs
Bravely caring despite a world of fear.
Therefore, I remain confined
to these walls while working online,
Watching the world unhinge & unwind
From a viral spiral of carnage
Where confinement is the only sure thing
That confers protection for a nation.
So holding ourselves hostage at home
Against our free will is duty shown
For our fellow man & the greater good
As everyone should
So hold your self dear, self-hostage,
in self-confinement with confidence
Embracing reruns, movies
and videoconferencing novelties.

Or instead choose regret,
ERs, ICUs & fleeting breaths
Needing rescue from viral bondage
And to be mechanically ventilated
To free lungs and hosts accosted
By an invisible agent — held hostage.
Better to be held hostage by knowledge
Safely in one’s home domain
Giving patronage & paying homage
To healthcare heroes and sheroes
As we race to flatten curves to zeros,
To accelerate returns to normalcy
Forgetting today’s fallacies,
Embracing our global community
Sharing pain, hope & victories.

News & Events

Dr. Katherine Heinze recently presented on the "Ethical Challenges Created by COVID-19" as part of the Virtual Research in Action series presented by FAU's Division of Research. She discussed the ethical dilemmas this crisis has brought to the forefront, including allocating scarce healthcare resources, challenges care providers are facing, vaccine development and more.
The College hosted a virtual Open Mic event at the close of the spring semester for students, alumni, faculty and staff. Thank you to all those who attended with their fun hats, and sang, played instruments, offered spoken words and more. What fun!
In the News: FAU Nurses Provide Face Masks for Homeless, Low-Income Individuals (South Florida Hospital News, Palm Beach Post, Sun-Sentinel and Boca Raton Tribune)
In the News: Salute to Nurses (South Florida Hospital News)
In the News: Nursing Consortium of South Florida elects five members to the Board of Directors (South Florida Hospital News)
In the News: Oh my aching back: Do yoga, tai chi or qigong help? (Zest)
FAU Community Health Center
Louis and Anne Green Memory & Wellness Center
Copyright © 2020 Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing, All rights reserved.

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777 Glades Road
Boca Raton, FL 33431

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