Thursday, March 25, 2010

Omani nursing students volunteer at local church

The members of St. Matthew's United Methodist church of Valley Forge, Pa. are more knowledgeable about their health thanks to four Villanova University College of Nursing students. The four women, who are nurses from the Sultanate of Oman and are completing their bachelor of science in nursing degree at Villanova, volunteered to assist with the congregation’s health fair on March 21st. “We learned more about volunteering and community service,” explains Wadha Al Mamari.

The students checked blood pressures, shared general cardiac health tips and follow up advice on any abnormal results. Their faculty, Joyce Willens, PhD, RN, assistant professor and a member of the church, taught CPR to the lay public gathered at the church, while the students offered the blood pressure screening. “They were very excited about the opportunity to serve the community and with the notion of seeing a different worship place,” says Dr. Willens. Villanova enjoys a 16-year relationship with Oman, providing BSN-completion, MSN, PhD and continuing education to its nurses and is enriched by having Omani students on its campus.

In these photos, Samiha Al Habsi checks the blood pressure of Pastor Dawn Taylor of St. Matthew’s Church. The health fair volunteers included (l to r) Raiya Al Hajri, Samiha Al Habsi, Dr. Joyce Willens, assistant professor, Mirfat Al Barwani and Wadha Al Mamari.

Dr. Dowdell to serve on American Nurses Foundation committee

Elizabeth Burgess Dowdell, Ph.D., R.N., CRNP has been invited to serve on the Nursing Research Grant Reviewer Committee of the American Nurses Foundation (ANF), the philanthropic arm of the American Nurses Association. The associate professor from Villanova University College of Nursing will serve a three year term. The invitation was extended on the recommendation of the ANF’s Board of Trustees because of her research prowess. An expert in parent-child nursing, Dr. Dowdell’s scholarly work focuses on health risk behaviors and vulnerability across the lifespan, victimology and issues of violence, and nursing care of children.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Nurse Anesthetist faculty to serve on State Board of Nursing

Bette M. Wildgust, MSN, MS, CRNA, is the newest member of the State Board of Nursing of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Wildgust was nominated by Governor Edward G. Rendell and approved by the Senate on March 16th. She is a certified nurse anesthetist and clinical associate professor who is program director for the Villanova University College of Nursing-Crozer Chester Medical Center School of Nurse Anesthesia. This is Wildgust’s first six-year term on the Board.

Wildgust has over 30 years experience in teaching nurse anesthesia students and the administration of anesthesia programs. She started her career as a program director 1979 when she began the first nurse anesthesia program at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Camden, N.J. Her commitment to the profession of nurse anesthesia and to the advancement of educational standards that further the art and science of anesthesiology and result in better patient care has been recognized with the Pennsylvania Association of Nurse Anesthetists (PANA) Didactic Instructor of the Year Award and the PANA Program Director of the Year Award.

The State Board of Nursing, based in Harrisburg, establishes rules and regulations for the licensure and practice of professional and practical nursing in the Commonwealth and provides for the examination of all applicants. The College of Nursing is approved by the State Board of Nursing of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dr. Barbara Ott in Haiti

Dr. Barbara Ott, associate professor and volunteer with Operation Smile, cares for a young Haitian woman who has just had surgery on her leg for an orthopedic trauma. Beds were low cots and floors were dry dirt in the post-operative care tent, making for a dusty and physically challenging care environment.

Transforming horror into hope in Haiti

Barbara Ott, Ph.D., R.N. is no stranger to challenging nursing environments. She has shared her critical care nursing skills in some of the most harsh places the world has to offer, caring for children through Norfolk, Virginia’s Operation Smile in such countries as Thailand, the Philippines, Honduras, China, Russia, Morocco and Brazil. She was compelled to volunteer for one of the organization’s recent teams sent to Haiti.

In late February, the associate professor at Villanova University College of Nursing joined about a dozen other health care professionals, including nurses, orthopedic surgeons, and nurse anesthetists, for the 10-day effort in Fond Parisien, just outside the capital Port-au-Prince where the January 12th catastrophic earthquake occurred. Some team members moved in and out so the number varied over time. Staff ate beans and rice twice a day, slept in tents and worked long hours in a physically demanding environment. Not trusting the safety of the buildings on the property of an orphanage and school, her team set up its operations in a small tent city next to a refugee camp run by the Harvard Humanitarian Initiative. It is a place where the “walking wounded”—people of all ages with recent amputations—are the new norm. Challenged by the scarcity of crutches, they are either immobile or lucky to find help.

Moving outside of its usual pediatric facial deformity repair surgery, the Operation Smile team handled at least 60 adult and pediatric orthopedic cases, including amputation revisions (removing more of an affected limb due to tissue death or infection), rod placement to stabilize bones, and removal of external fixation devices in bones that healed. The two operating rooms were sterile environments in tents. The triage and post-operative recovery areas were not, with 130 degree temperatures, dirt floors and an invasive, persistent layer of dust that settled over skin, sterile packaging and other equipment. Yet, the nurses provided high quality care, somehow managing to have zero infections at pin sites (pins are the small metal pieces inserted through the skin to keep a healing bone in place)—a fact duly noted by the naval commander of the USNS Comfort hospital ship that transported patients to and from the Operation Smile makeshift hospital.

Each pair of nurses shared a translator who spoke the native Kreyol. Among the 259 patients, Dr. Ott saw severe wounds, recalling one woman whose wound occurred when she was pulled out of a building, causing her skin and muscle to shear off her foot, exposing bone. Her options were to “become septic and die or to be a 79 year old amputee in Haiti,” notes Dr. Ott. The patients lived two in each tent, along with their family caregivers. There were also 47 unaccompanied minors who had lost their parents in the destructive force of 7.0 magnitude earthquake.

Despite the tragedy, Dr. Ott explains the future-oriented Haitians, “I was very taken with their attitude. I didn’t expect that. They were anticipating a better time in the near future.” How does she summarize her nursing experience in Haiti? “It was amazing work,” explains Dr. Ott, “We were dirty and tired but felt we were doing something important.”

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Faculty Position, Pediatric and/or Maternal Infant Nursing, BSN Program for College Graduates (BSN Express Program)

The College of Nursing invites applications for a full-time, 12-month faculty position for a highly qualified individual to provide classroom and clinical instruction for undergraduate students primarily in the accelerated BSN program for college graduates (BSN Express Program). For more info visit .