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December 2021

Cat's Meow: Robotic Pet Boosts Mood, Cognition in Adults with Dementia


With the help of a cuddly and “furry” companion, researchers from Florida Atlantic University’s Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing tested the effectiveness of affordable, interactive robotic pet cats to improve mood, behavior and cognition in older adults with mild to moderate dementia. 

For the study, published in Issues in Mental Health Nursing, researchers assessed mood and behavioral symptoms. Results showed that intervention with a robotic pet cat improved all mood scores over time. 

“Since there is no cure for dementia, our project offers a way to address symptoms naturally and without the use of pharmacological treatments, which may or may not be effective and have possible detrimental side effects,” said Dr. Bryanna Streit LaRose, APRN, lead author who conducted the study as a doctoral nursing student at FAU, together with co-authors Dr. Lisa Kirk Wiese, RN, Associate Professor, and Dr. María de los Ángeles Ortega, APRN, Professor and Director of FAU’s Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center. “Our intervention was affordable, safe, and noninvasive.” 

“In addition to improving mood, behaviors and cognition, these robotic pet cats provided our participants with an alternative way to express themselves,” said Dr. Wiese. “Importantly, improving overall mood and behavior in individuals with Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias may also improve quality of life for their caregivers and family members.”


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Nurse, Heal Thyself – Spiritual Practices in the Midst of a Pandemic


For nurses on the frontline, the COVID-19 pandemic has been especially disparaging, challenging and even life altering. Nurses have worked extremely long hours faced not only with the excessive, increased number of deaths of their patients, who were dying alone, but also grieved the loss of coworkers.

For most individuals faced with a stressful life event, self-preservation becomes their goal. Self-care involves various strategies, including spirituality, to mitigate the stress, anxiety, and depressive symptoms associated with the pandemic. Spiritual practices can assist people to make sense of their experiences of suffering, to instill hope, to provide comfort, to find inner strength, and to heal the spirit.  

Researchers from FAU's College of Nursing, which is nationally and internationally known for its excellence and philosophy of caring science, compared spirituality to religion in a graduate advanced practice nursing course. For the article, published in the journal Holistic Nursing Practice, they instructed nurses on the frontline who were in the midst of the pandemic to “make a date with themselves to engage in an activity that highlights their importance to them.” In the article, Dr. Dawn M. Hawthorne, RN, lead author, Associate Professor and RN-BSN Coordinator; and co-author Dr. Charlotte D. Barry, RN, Professor, highlighted examples from five of their students who used various spiritual practices to better cope with the pandemic and resulting stress.

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Veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury: M.O.M. to the Rescue

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is an invisible wound of war and a signature injury of military troops. About 30 percent of those who have served in recent conflicts have suffered a TBI, which often leads to cognitive disabilities.

FAU's College of Nursing received $250,000 from the Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Awards program, an initiative of the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, to fund a project titled “Mind Over Matter (M.O.M.)." Dr. Cheryl Krause-Parello, project lead, Professor, Interim Associate Dean for Nursing Research and Scholarship, Director of Canines Providing Assistance to Wounded Warriors (C-P.A.W.W.) and a Faculty Fellow of FAU’s Institute for Human Health and Disease Intervention (I-HEALTH), has joined forces with like-minded stakeholders across the country. She is spearheading the project with co-leader Dr. Elisa V. Borah, Research Associate Professor and Director, Institute for Military and Veteran Family Wellness in the Steve Hicks School of Social Work within the University of Texas at Austin.

The M.O.M. project, which will have four units in Ohio, Florida, South Carolina and Texas, engages veterans with TBI, their caregivers and other stakeholders to bolster patient-centered outcomes research and comparative effectiveness research in order to identify treatment options for TBI that are effective, acceptable, and meaningful to the veteran population. 

“There is no ‘one-size-fits-all’ to treat traumatic brain injury, which has profound effects on veterans and their families,” said Dr. Krause-Parello. “Veterans with traumatic brain injury face unique challenges in processing information, oftentimes relying upon caregiver support for accessing care. Sound treatment options and healthcare decision-making requires these veterans and their caregivers to have accurate, up to date, understandable information, and the decision-making capacity to process that information.”

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FAU/NCHA Community Health Center Hosts COVID-19 Booster Shot Day


On Friday, Nov. 12, the Florida Atlantic University/Northwest Community Health Alliance Community Health Center (CHC), operated by FAU's College of Nursing, provided free COVID-19 Pfizer and Moderna vaccine booster shots to eligible West Palm Beach residents. Twenty six nursing students joined the center for this special event. To date, the CHC has administered more than 100 booster shots to local residents.

The FAU/NCHA Community Health Center is part of the fabric of health care in lower income Palm Beach County. FAU and NCHA have partnered with several West Palm Beach organizations, which have been working for a number of years to establish additional health services in the historic part of the city. The FAU/NCHA Community Health Center has two sites providing primary health care services integrated with behavioral health services. One location is in Westgate and has been operated by the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing since 2014, and the other newer site is located at 720 Eighth St., at the U.B. Kinsey Educational Community Center in West Palm Beach. 

Consider Supporting FAU Nursing Students with End-of-Year Giving


The support of our community has buoyed the College through a challenging year. We remain grateful to our friends and donors who understand the power of philanthropy. We know you have many options when it comes to your end-of-year giving. We hope you will consider supporting the Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing. Gifts, both small and large, assist our students on their nursing journeys. All donations are tax-deductible, and all support is appreciated.

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Q&A with College Advisory Board Member Carrol Gubana, Vice Chair


What inspired you to get involved and support the College of Nursing as an advisory board member?

I was inspired to support the College of Nursing as an advisory board member after my husband passed away, following a battle with Leukemia, as well as Lymphoma. He had many rounds of chemo therapy and eventually a stem cell transplant which gave him an additional two years of quality life. I remembered the compassionate comfort and caring that every nurse in each of the local hospitals and the Cancer Center in Tampa had given to my husband as well as to me. I knew then that I wanted to be a part of helping nursing students reach their goals of graduation by advocating and fundraising for them in both local and surrounding communities.

What do you admire most about our students? 

I admire the enthusiasm and dedication that each nursing student has in learning the caring science of nursing each and every day. During this Covid-19 pandemic and because of the nursing shortage, many have stepped forward to help in any way they can while still carrying a full class schedule. Our students are from diverse cultures and backgrounds, and many plan to go back to their communities after graduation to care for those in need.

What is your hope for the future of the College?

I'd like to see the College continue to grow its various degree programs, maintain its leadership role in caring science, and expand enrollment to even more students with a passion for nursing.

Could you share professional and personal interests?

I have enjoyed living in South Florida for over 50 years. I retired a few years ago from a 16 year career in banking, lending, and investments. I really enjoyed helping my clients with the financial aspect of their lives. I previously worked in the airline industry as a flight attendant for 23 years. Today, I am still fulfilling my love of traveling the world, meeting people of all cultures and ethnicities, and enjoying Mother Nature's magnificent beauty.
Florida Atlantic University's Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing programs are
top-ranked in the nation. Learn more by watching this video.

Student News

Congratulations to the 31 students in the latest cohort who recently completed the telehealth certification course. These students have now acquired the knowledge needed to build out telehealth services with competence and care. They also obtained 20 CEU hours.
The IOTA XI At-Large Chapter received the chapter key award from Sigma International during its 46th Biennial Convention. This award honors Sigma chapters that demonstrate exemplary performance in chapter-related activities. The chapter is a second-time recipient of this key award. 
The Nurses Christian Fellowship recently sent personal Thanksgiving notes to FAU Nursing faculty and staff. If you are interested in joining in their activities, meetings are held on the third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. All are welcome. Contact Dr. Leavitt for more details.

Faculty & Staff Spotlights

The College welcomed Dr. Debarshi Datta, a postdoctoral fellow and practicing data scientist with experience in machine learning and artificial intelligence. He is working with Dean Safiya George and Dr. David Newman on a COVID-19 data science study. We also warmly welcome Robson Lima, Fiscal Administrative Coordinator, and Nerla Moise, Academic Advisor in the undergraduate program, to the College.
Dr. Debra Hain will be appointed Interim Director of the Doctor of Nursing Program (DNP), beginning January 2022. She is a tenured professor and will continue to serve as co-coordinator for the Adult/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) concentration. Dr. Hain has taught in the DNP program since 2008 and served as advisor to more than 30 students. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing, American Association of Nurse Practitioners, and National Kidney Foundation. 
Dr. Kitty Chadwell will be appointed co-coordinator of the Adult/Gerontological Nurse Practitioner (AGNP) concentration in collaboration with Dr. Hain, beginning January 2022. Dr. Chadwell has extensive clinical experience and has been teaching full-time since 2007. She is a clinical nurse specialist and board certified geriatric nurse practitioner who trained in primary care, acute care, and long term care.
Congratulations to FAU Nursing Professor Lisa Weise for her recognition as part of the 2021 Class of Distinguished Educators by the National Hartford Center of Gerontological Nursing Excellence. 
The Gerontological Society of America has awarded Dr. Armiel Suriaga the Mentoring and Career Development Technical Assistance Workshop Diversity Fellow Award. 
Dr. Rhonda Goodman was the recipient of the 2021 Sigma Audrey Hepburn Award for her contributions to the health and welfare of children. The Audrey Hepburn Award was established in 1993 to honor Ms. Hepburn's extraordinary work on behalf of children in need.

News & Events

The College held its annual ceremony and reception for its Lamplighters and the many students they support through scholarships. This year, a total of 60 Lamplighters supported every student who applied for the scholarship. Lamplighter gifts provide books, stethoscopes and additional supplies for nursing students. Thank you, Lamplighters, for your support of our nursing students.
We are grateful to the Caring Hearts Auxiliary Board and event planning committee for organizing the 15th annual Keep Memories Alive Walk. Approximately 200 guests participated in this event, raising more than $150,000 to support day center scholarships and caregiver programs at the Louis and Anne Green Memory and Wellness Center. To learn more about supporting the Center, click here.
Congratulations to FAU Nursing Advisory Board Member Tim Snow/George Snow Scholarship Fund for his induction into the Boca Raton Historical Society's Walk of Recognition. College of Nursing Advisory Board Chair Terry Fedele and board member Jay Van Vechten, 2020 recipients, were also honored this year. The recognition is for those who have demonstrated a long-term commitment to serving the interests and enriching the lives of those in Boca Raton. We're so proud of their accomplishments. 
For the holiday season, the College is participating in the virtual Spirit of Giving 2021 Holiday Gift Drive and collecting gifts in the Atrium to support local community organizations. We welcome your support!
The College will soon celebrate the holiday season and the retirement of our beloved colleagues, Drs. Cynthia Archibald, Charlotte Barry, Susan Bulfin and Nancey France. Additional details will be distributed via email. 
The College will host a pinning ceremony and graduation banquet for its second degree, part-time BSN track for working professionals students on FAU's Davie campus. The event will be held on Monday, December 13 at The Addison of Boca Raton.
To commemorate Veterans Day, Drs. Marilyn Ray and Marcia Potter co-moderated an event highlighting nearly a dozen veterans and their experiences related to caring science. Dr. Beth King organized the event as part of the College's Cape-V program.
Purrfect Pal: Robotic Cats May Help People With Dementia (U.S. News & World Report, November 1)
Economic Backbone: Adding Programs (Florida Trend, November 2021)
Join the FAU Nursing faculty: Explore the roles of Associate Dean of Research and Professor, Assistant Professor Tenure Track, Assistant Professor/Associate Professor Practice Teaching Track, Assistant Professor/Associate Professor Tenure Track and Clinical Adjunct on FAU's Boca Raton campus, and Assistant Professor Tenure Track and Instructor and Clinical Coordinator on FAU's Davie campus. 

Featured Publications

Adenmosun, E., Liehr, P. & Smith, M.J. (2021). Measuring ease: Content validity and early reliability of a newly developed measure. Applied Nursing Research, 6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apnr.2021.151459  

Chiang-Hanisko, L. (2021). Cannabis, COVID-19, and culture: Behind the mask. Journal of Transcultural Nursing. 32(6), 810. https://doi.org/10.1177/10436596211021487  

Ro, V., McGuinness, J. E., Guo, B., Trivedi, M. S., Jones, T., Chung, W. K., Rao, R., Levinson, E., Koval, C., Russo, D., Chilton, I., Kukafka, R., & Crew, K. D. (2021). Association Between Genetic Testing for Hereditary Breast Cancer and Contralateral Prophylactic Mastectomy Among Multiethnic Women Diagnosed With Early-Stage Breast Cancer. JCO Oncology Practice, OP2100322. Advance online publication. https://doi.org/10.1200/OP.21.00322  

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FAU College of Nursing · 777 Glades Rd · Boca Raton, FL 33431-6424 · USA

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