Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Future of Muslim-Christian Relationships in the Middle East

The College of Nursing and the Center for Arab and Islamic Studies invite the campus community to hear Dr. Abdulrahman al-Salimi’s lecture “The Future of Muslim-Christian Relationships in the Middle East” on Tuesday, March 22nd at 4:00 p.m. in the Driscoll Hall Auditorium. Dr. al-Salimi is chief editor of al-Tasamoh (Tolerance) Journal, Ministry of Endowments & Religious Affairs, Sultanate of Oman.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Health Promotion and the Arab-American Community

Ruth McDermott-Levy, PhD, RN, assistant professor (center) with AACDC's Associate Director Zeina El Halabi and Americorps volunteer Wiam Mutan.

Newly arrived immigrants who settle in the Greater Philadelphia area frequently seek assistance from the Arab-American Community Development Cooperation (AACDC). This non-profit organization which the College learned about from Marwan Kreidie, M.A., adjunct professor in the Political Science Department and executive director of AACDC, seeks to provide services addressing health care needs, citizenship learning, English as a second language and immigration issues to the estimated 30,000 Arab-Americans living in the five county area. Under the guidance of Ruth McDermott-Levy ’96 M.S.N., ’08 Ph.D., R.N., assistant professor, senior nursing students have the opportunity to participate in a community health clinical rotation at this social service agency. This experience provides students an opportunity to address health promotion strategies with the consideration of the culture and Muslim religious practices. While on the campus of the AACDC, the students who participate in this clinical rotation experience a kind of cultural immersion without traveling abroad.

“Immigrant populations are vulnerable to many of the social determinates that influence health such as poor quality housing, income, education, being powerless, and discrimination. The way population health data is collected, the Arab immigrant community does not usually show up on the ‘health needs radar screen,’ but they are subject to many of the same problems of other minority groups,” explains Dr. McDermott-Levy. She further notes, “I am able to use my experience with Arab-Muslim students from Oman to understand cultural, religious, and health practices to help students address the needs of this important group. My opportunities led to my doctoral dissertation concerning Muslim women college students studying in the United States.”

For the past three years, the AACDC provides a rich setting for student interactions with the community. After completion of a comprehensive community assessment of the Center which offers an Islamic day school for children, a food bank for families, job skill training, health education programs, support services to refugees and scholarly programs from visiting professors (which are open to the public), the Villanova Nursing students develop a health promotion program to meet the needs of the community. Our students have worked with an English-as-Second-Language (ESL) tutor to teach breast health, healthy food choices, managing stress related to acculturation and an integrative pest management program. Nursing students provide information regarding health insurance options for adults and children as well as health lessons and health screenings for children in the adjoining Islamic day school. As a positive consequence of the Villanova presence, one member of the community now offers weekly exercise classes for Arab women which are modeled after a presentation by the Villanova students. The students may also observe an Islamic worship service and sample Arab food during their clinical rotations which enriches their understanding of the culture and daily life of the community.

The relationship with this clinical site has enhanced the development of needed services for this immigrant community while providing the opportunity for nursing students to learn community assessment skills, health education, and cultural and religious competence through cultural immersion. Students have also had the opportunity to work with native speaking interpreters which provides experience that can be transferred when caring for those from other cultures who are not English speakers.

This fall, Dr. McDermott-Levy shared her experiences of working with our students through a presentation “Teaching the Needs of Immigrant Populations and Cultural Competence through Community Partnerships" at the American Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Exhibition in Denver. In the future, Dr. McDermott-Levy hopes to expand health promotion opportunities on topics of occupational health in the work settings where many of the members of the community are employed.

The nursing students’ experience with this new immigrant population is one example of how the College of Nursing extends its reach to diverse cultural groups and populations in the Greater Philadelphia area.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Inspiring young minds about education

The importance of staying in school and meeting goals through education was the message on February 4th for 20 sixth grade boys from the Delaplaine McDaniel School in south Philadelphia. The energetic students, their teachers and chaperones were hosted on campus by volunteers from the College of Nursing’s chapter of the Student Nurses’ Association of Pennsylvania (SNAP-Villanova), and members of Villanova's football team along with Allison Venella who is coordinator of Student Services in Athletics. SNAP’s faculty advisor, Carol Weingarten, Ph.D., R.N., ANEF, associate professor, facilitated the day while senior Kaitlyn Singlemann and sophomore Sarah Gross coordinated the SNAP volunteers. Both nursing students are SNAP's special liaisons to Athletics and chair SNAP's projects with the McDaniel School.

This initiative was a natural extension of existing relationships. SNAP and the football team already co-sponsor and collaborate on service projects, such as those with middle school children and the Andy Talley Bone Marrow Donor Drive. The College of Nursing has an existing relationship with the McDaniel school as it is a site for health promotion practica for senior students as well as other SNAP volunteer activities. This was the first time McDaniel students visited Villanova. Their questions spanned a variety of topics, including how long it takes to graduate from college, how Nursing’s clinical simulation models work, where the football team plays and whether or not basketball players walk around the campus.

There was palpable excitement when the boys toured the Pavilion and Davis Center and learned about the lives of student athletes. Their excitement was just as high with hands-on experience in the College’s clinical simulation lab. Each student had an opportunity to feel pulses and check oxygen levels of the computerized human patient simulators as well as explore how nursing students learn to take care of patients. After the academic portion of their tour, the visitors enjoyed having lunch with members of SNAP and the football team and visiting the University Shop.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Villanova Nursing call for abstracts for educator conference

Baltimore’s Inner Harbor is the site for the 38th Annual National Conference on Professional Nursing Development, Advancing and Empowering Nurse Educators: Charting a Course for the Future hosted by the College of Nursing at the Renaissance Harborplace Hotel on October 21-23, 2011. Abstracts are currently being submitted for consideration – . Deadline for abstract submission is April 30, 2011. Don’t miss this opportunity to discuss critical issues facing professional nursing education and development and network with international colleagues from all realms of nursing education.