The College of Nursing’s 15th Annual Health & Human Values Lecture Series: Promoting Human Dignity Throughout the Lifespan continued on Ocotber 5th with a special look at the diverse and highly effective efforts of Nursing faculty who addressed Promoting Dignity through Volunteerism.
Villanova’s campus community, students, and colleagues alike joined a faculty panel for a discussion of how they integrate their clinical expertise to uphold and promote the dignity of the individuals and groups with which they volunteer. Their volunteerism includes working with African American women with breast cancer (Patricia K. Bradley, PhD, RN), underserved immigrant populations in clinics (Elise Pizzi, MSN, CRNP), and those in the midst of ethical issues related to their health (Barbara Ott, PhD, RN).
Dr. Bradley spoke of the commonalities among the work of the three colleagues. Each gives a voice to the voiceless and, regardless of the area of specialization, “takes the talk and puts it into action.” She is tied to multiple advocacy groups for African American women with breast cancer. Dr. Bradley explained her work at the organizational level, for instance the national level of the American Cancer Society, where she is involved in discussion and decisions relating to healthcare access and diversity. She also helps smaller organizations access resources. While she works with policy, Dr. Bradley is also connected to people in the community.
Prof. Pizzi volunteers her time to assist Unity Clinic in South Philadelphia with its operations and future plans, as well as care for its underserved immigrant patients, most of who are from Indonesia. She illustrated the need for dedicated volunteers who keep an entity such as the clinic as vibrant as it can be for the neighborhood it serves. She also spoke about the importance of relationships with other health care resources—and funding sources—in being able to provide the continuum of care required by the population. In the near future, Unity Clinic hopes to move and expand its services deeper into the surrounding area through what will be a permanent home within a community center.
Dr. Ott explained the need for well-trained, experiences and diverse membership of an ethics committee. She volunteers her time with several ethics committees in large and small hospitals and a health care system. Her work at any given time might involve policy development and review, such as those relating to do-not-resuscitate orders, HIV testing and advanced directives; education of hospital staff, committee members, patients and families and community members; and case consultation for ethically troublesome cases. Dr. Ott also spoke of the benefit of prospective ethics review in the ICU where there can be early intervention in high risk cases. She noted the cross-cultural mandate to respect and protect human rights.