New dental clinic open to patients with urgent needs

 School of Dental Medicine  Comments Off on New dental clinic open to patients with urgent needs
Aug 142015
 

ECU School of Dental Medicine professor Dr. Kimberley Gise, left, and Zachary Swanner, fourth year dental student, assist a dental patient. Gise is director of the emergency care clinic.

ECU School of Dental Medicine professor Dr. Kimberley Gise, left, and Zachary Swanner, fourth year dental student, assist a dental patient. Gise is director of the emergency care clinic.

An East Carolina University School of Dental Medicine clinic is now treating local patients experiencing oral emergencies.

The Emergency Care Clinic, located in Ross Hall at 1851 MacGregor Downs Road, is open five days each week, Monday through Friday. Patients are encouraged to call for an appointment (252-737-7832).

Service to the local community is crucial to the training process for ECU’s dental students, who staff the clinic alongside faculty dentists.

“It’s important for our learners to experience an unplanned visit,” said Dr. Kimberley Gise, clinic director. Through emergency treatment, fourth-year dental students learn practice management techniques, how to treat an emergent situation and further hone their people skills, she explained.

They also get to put an important ECU dental tenet into practice: “Never treat a stranger.” Gise said students must be sure to learn about the medications a patient might be taking, their medical history, allergies and other important details before delivering care. They aren’t able to prepare in advance as they would for a regular patient visit.

Regardless of the educational benefits, Gise reminds patients that while an emergency visit may be a necessity, it should not be the only time an individual receives dental care.

“If you wait until you’re in pain, (then) it’s not just a cleaning or filling, it’s a root canal or an extraction,” Gise said.

She hopes that patients coming to receive emergency services will transition to comprehensive care at the School of Dental Medicine.

Gise came to ECU in 2014 with more than 15 years experience in public health dentistry in the U.S. and abroad, working in both urban and rural health systems. Before moving to North Carolina, she was a dentist for the Maricopa County Department of Oral Health in Arizona. Gise has also served as a dentist to Native Americans at Phoenix Indian Medical Center, inner city youth and Spanish immigrant populations as clinic director for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix’s Dental Clinic.

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New lung cancer treatment offered at cancer center

 uncategorized  Comments Off on New lung cancer treatment offered at cancer center
Aug 072015
 

Pictured from left are Khaki Stelten, communications and development manager, Lung Cancer Initiative of N.C.; Heather Gill Hooper, executive director, Lung Cancer Initiative of N.C.; Dr. Sulochana Cherukuri and Dr. Paul Walker, hematology/oncology physicians, Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center.

Pictured from left are Khaki Stelten, communications and development manager, Lung Cancer Initiative of N.C.; Heather Gill Hooper, executive director, Lung Cancer Initiative of N.C.; Dr. Sulochana Cherukuri and Dr. Paul Walker, hematology/oncology physicians, Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center.

Clinical trials of a new drug therapy will soon be available at the Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center for postmenopausal women with lung cancer.

The Lung Cancer Initiative of North Carolina – the state’s leading nonprofit organization supporting lung cancer research and education – recently awarded $25,000 to hematologist/oncologist Dr. Sulochana Cherukuri to study the effects of the drug anastrozole in female patients who have a certain type of metastatic lung cancer.

Emerging evidence suggests that some lung tumors grow more aggressively when the hormone estrogen is present, Cherukuri said. Her study involves adding this new drug – referred to as an aromatase inhibitor – to standard chemotherapy in order to disrupt the body’s production of estrogen.

“The thinking behind this is that less estrogen circulating in the body means there will be less fuel for the tumor,” Cherukuri said.

“Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in women,” she added. “This trial is unique in that it is focusing on treatment of women with lung cancer. Adding aromatase inhibitors will change the course and outcome of aggressive biology and open new avenues for other combination therapies or sequential treatments for better outcomes in women with lung cancer.”

Cherukuri is one of four participants in the 2015-2016 Lung Cancer Initiative’s Lung Cancer Research Fellows Program, whose purpose is to further the development of local lung cancer care and research programs across the state.

The Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center provides outpatient cancer services through a collaboration between Vidant Health and the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University. Through clinical trials, cancer patients have access to the latest, most promising treatments. The staff at Leo W. Jenkins Cancer Center is a resource for patients wanting to learn how to manage their illness and take advantage of services available close to home. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call 252-744-1888 or 800-223-9328.

Nursing course informs international audience about science of care

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on Nursing course informs international audience about science of care
Jul 272015
 

The East Carolina University College of Nursing’s first Massive Open Online Course, or MOOC, attracted a global audience of more than 700 to learn about the science behind caring.

Drawing primarily nursing professionals, the course enrollment included students from Australia, the South Pacific, Southeast Asia, Western Europe, South America, Africa and the Middle East. Two Iranian university educators attempted to take the course but were blocked due to U.S. trade sanctions. Course organizers are working with ECU’s Office of Research Integrity and Compliance to request permission to teach them the course through email.

ECU nursing professor Kathleen Sitzman was lead instructor for the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) offered by the ECU College of Nursing. The course on the science of caring drew a large international audience. (Photo by Gretchen Baugh)

ECU nursing professor Kathleen Sitzman was lead instructor for the first Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) offered by the ECU College of Nursing. The course on the science of caring drew a large international audience. (Photo by Gretchen Baugh)

Using reflective journaling, YouTube videos and online discussion boards as their primary teaching strategies, course developers anticipated possible language barriers. Participants were encouraged to use Google Translate as well as digital art to keep the dialogue going on the message boards. By the course’s end, there were more than 2,000 discussion board postings.

“It’s been a magical experience to have so many people talk about the simple concept of caring and what it means to care across varied disciplines, languages, and cultures,” said Kathleen Sitzman, professor of nursing at ECU and lead instructor for the MOOC.

The course provided tools to help professionals implement “caring science,” a practice that is meant to support a healthy life through the use of intentional caring toward self and others. In a clinical setting, actions based in caring science include mindfully connecting with patients on a human level and not just seeing them as a “case,” being open to and supportive of patients’ expression of feelings, and actively cultivating compassion and loving kindness in daily work activities. The course also explored the idea of mindfulness practice, in which a person focuses on what is happening right now rather than what has been or may be.

These practices have been shown to increase positive patient outcomes, Sitzman said.

“Patients tend to perceive the quality of care and of the contact they engaged in as more positive when interacting with people who practice caring science,” Sitzman said. “There is also evidence that it increases employee satisfaction and retention as well as patient satisfaction.”

Sitzman’s motivation for offering a MOOC was to make the course accessible to anyone, anywhere. Aside from nursing, enrollees work in health care administration, personal training, social work, teaching, sales, mental health, engineering, mediation and hospitality.

For more than 20 years, Sitzman has worked with Jean Watson, founder of the Watson Caring Science Institute and dean emerita of the University of Colorado Denver College of Nursing. They collaborate to develop knowledge about engaged professional caring, and conveying and sustaining caring in online classrooms.

Sitzman’s 2014 book, co-authored with Watson, shared its name with the online course – “Caring Science, Mindful Practice” – and was required reading for the MOOC students. The book’s publisher is currently translating the title into Chinese.

Held June 8 to July 6, the course was presented in partnership with the Watson Institute and Utah’s Weber State University.

Sitzman plans to offer “Caring Science, Mindful Practice,” again later this year. Visit www.canvas.net or contact sitzmank@ecu.edu for more information about the course.

Navigating the system through patients’ eyes

 Brody School of Medicine  Comments Off on Navigating the system through patients’ eyes
Jul 162015
 

Paige Driver

Paige Driver

AMA Wire Spotlight on Innovation post by Paige Driver, a second-year medical student at the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University.

At 6 a.m. on a Friday, most medical students are donning their white coats and heading to the hospital or a medical office practice to learn how to navigate the health care system through the eyes of physicians. However, the Brody School of Medicine at East Carolina University had a different idea for their first group of student leaders in a new program—to try navigating the system through the eyes of patients.

Five students from the Brody School of Medicine’s inaugural cohort of Leaders in INovative Care (LINC) Scholars program (including me) spent a day this summer shadowing patients’ entire experiences in a variety of health care settings to observe them navigating the very complex system of Vidant Medical Center and the school’s outpatient clinics.

I shadowed a patient in pediatric outpatient surgery, from parking the car to driving away, and I believe the exercise was integral to learning about patient-centered care and patient safety.

Most medical students have had the good fortune of never having been the patient, so we can’t expect to understand that experience. We will never truly achieve patient-centered care without putting ourselves in the shoes of a patient and family and getting lost in the system with them a time or two.

We used a module from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, “A Guide to Shadowing: Seeing Care Through the Eyes of Patients and Families,” to guide our experience. We presented our findings from these experiences, including recommendations for improving the care experience, at a session that included patient advisors from Vidant Medical Center who provided additional patient perspectives on navigating health care settings.

“The future success of health care improvement for all is tied to every participant’s understanding of just how much trust and mutual engagement plays a role in patient healing,” said Henry Skinner, a retired businessman and active patient advisor with the school. “Thanks for allowing us to participate and observe the awakening of five bright new minds to the world of participative care.”

The first LINC Scholars cohort is taking a summer immersion course that provides a deep dive into the principles of patient safety, quality improvement, population health and team-based care. At the end of our fourth year of medical school, we’ll take the National Association for Healthcare quality’s Certified Professional in Healthcare Quality exam and will graduate with a distinction in health care transformation and leadership.

The LINC Scholars program is part of East Carolina University’s REACH initiative.

Published courtesy of AMA Wire

College of Nursing receives 10 years of accreditation

 College of Nursing  Comments Off on College of Nursing receives 10 years of accreditation
Jul 102015
 

The East Carolina University College of Nursing has received 10 years of accreditation, the maximum granted by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education. The accreditation follows an extensive self-study and fall 2014 site visit, and applies to ECU’s baccalaureate, master’s and post-master’s certificate, and doctor of nursing practice programs. sim229

The DNP program, established in 2013, received the maximum five years allowed for programs undergoing initial accreditation. All of the ECU programs assessed met CCNE’s four accreditation standards and with no recommendations for changes.

“We are pleased to receive such a strong endorsement of the outstanding ongoing work of our faculty, staff and students,” said Dr. Sylvia Brown, dean of the College of Nursing. “The accreditation process itself was a team effort by every member of the college, both faculty and staff. We owe a special thanks to our taskforce for their extensive work in coordinating and collecting information for the self-study.”

The College of Nursing, which has been accredited since 1964, has more than 8,500 alumni and prepares the most new nurses of any institution in the state. It provides three pathways for nurses to earn their bachelor of science in nursing: the traditional BSN program, an accelerated second-degree option for students who already have a baccalaureate degree in another major, and the RN to BSN option for students who already have their two-year nursing degree and want to earn their BSN.

The college offers seven options in the master’s of science nursing program: adult-gerontology clinical nurse specialist, neonatal clinical nurse specialist, nurse anesthesia, neonatal nurse practitioner, nursing education, nursing leadership and nurse midwifery. The midwifery program, which is the only program of its kind in North Carolina, undergoes accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Midwifery Education. The nurse anesthesia also undergoes a process with a specialized accrediting body, with the Council on Accreditation of Nurse Anesthesia Educational Programs.

The doctor of nursing practice program offers a BSN to DNP option for students with an adult-gerontology nurse practitioner or family nurse practitioner focus. It also provides a post-master’s DNP option for advanced practice registered nurses. The college’s doctor of philosophy in nursing program prepares nurse scientists, with entry points for students who have their BSN, MSN or DNP.

A report provided by CCNE following the site-visit noted that testimonials from both students and community partners demonstrated the excellent quality of the college’s faculty. The accreditors also praised college staff, including the business and administrative affairs office, technology support, concept integration labs, student development and counseling, student services and marketing offices.

“The feedback we received from the accreditation team was stellar and the dedication of our faculty and staff was clearly evident,” Brown explained. “It takes a village to create such a positive learning environment for our students.”

The ECU College of Nursing is also designated as a National League for Nursing Center of Excellence in Nursing Education, an honor bestowed on just 35 schools nationwide for outstanding achievements in student learning and professional development.