The beginning of the fall semester proved to be a busy time at MGH Institute’s School of Nursing. From research updates to faculty recognition to alumni gatherings, it was a time of celebration, connection, and comradery.
MGH Nurse’s Alumni Association 2022 Homecoming
For the first time in two years, the School of Nursing welcomed the MGH Nurse’s Alumni Association to campus for their annual homecoming celebration. On a beautiful end of September day, alumni of Massachusetts General Hospital’s former nursing school toured campus, attended informational seminars, and heard from three students about their journey to the nursing profession.
Third-year Master of Science in Nursing student Meghan Bicomong spoke about the impact her brother's traumatic brain injury had on her and the way it influenced her to pursue a career in geriatric nursing. Bicomong, a Filipina American, also shared the rich history of Filipino nurses in the United States.
Second-year master’s student Leah Rothchild described her summer in Uganda working in a local NICU and why she will pursue a career working in global health as a future Nurse Practitioner. Rachel Van Skike, who is in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, outlined her journey from music history major to nursing student. “The IHP’s focus on justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion really motivated me to pursue my education here,” she said.
Honoring the hospital’s former nursing school, which operated 1973 – 1981, the MGHNAA maintains historical records and provides annual scholarships to IHP nursing students.
“We’re honored to continue the MGH School of Nursing’s legacy,” shared Institute School of Nursing Dean Ken White. “Their alumni shaped nursing as we know it today – from writing textbooks, to innovating care practices, to teaching the next generation - their impact is immeasurable.”
In the fall of 2023, MGHNAA will return to campus as it celebrates the 150th anniversary of the school’s founding.
An Afternoon of Research
Each semester, the School of Nursing hosts an afternoon symposium of research as an opportunity for faculty to provide updates on their various research projects and for students to learn more about the projects that they may be interested in getting involved with.
Highlights of this fall’s program included: a career overview from Dean White, who walked attendees through his unique journey from hospital administrator to palliative care provider to head of the nursing school. Assistant Professor Dr. Mary Coughlin then shared information on chronic sorrow or a prolonged feeling of loss in parents of children with autism spectrum disorder. Later in the afternoon, Associate Professor Dr. Rita Olans presented on antimicrobial stewardship as a form of patient safety while Instructor Rachel Salguero and Academic Support Counselor Julika Wocial shared data from their student’s virtual simulation experiences. All in all, more than a dozen faculty members shared research presentations.
“The research work going on at the School of Nursing is as vast as it is diverse,” said Dr. Ruth Palan Lopez, the Associate Dean of Research. “Events like this keep our research accessible to all members of the IHP community.”
Following formal presentations, students and other attendees were encouraged to mingle with faculty and inquire about involvement opportunities.
Master’s Students Reach Half-Way Mark
A standout among the fall’s events was the Generalist Completion and White Coat ceremony. A celebration of Master of Science in Nursing students who have reached the half-way mark of their three-year program and their entrance into the advanced practice portion of the program, more than 100 students received their pins and white coats, all in one celebration that commends their hard work and dedication. “We need you now, more than ever,” said Dean White in his opening remarks.
Faculty speaker, Instructor Karen Hunt praised the students hard work: “The old saying rings true – if it were easy, everyone would do it.”
Student speaker Chelsea Rose Duel encouraged classmates to always strive to give their patients their best. “Our patients need more than just someone who can put a white coat on,” she said. “They need someone who can go back to the literature when they don’t know the answer, someone who can ask for help, someone who can reflect on what they’re doing right and how can they improve.”
The night ended with a series of awards from the MGH Nurses Alumni Association. Leah Rothchild was awarded the Mary Flannery Caira Award for clinical proficiency, Rebecca “Kiki” Broadhurst was awarded the Adele Corkum Award for outstanding care and compassion to her classmates, and Sion Kim Harris was awarded the Ruth Sleeper Award for academic excellence. Assistant Professor Talli McCormick presented student Elizabeth Sarah Allbright with the Stephanie Macaluso ’88 Leadership Award.
A Return to In-Person Collaboration
For the first time since 2019, many faculty, staff, and other School of Nursing community members have been able to gather in-person for conferences, nursing association meetings, and other professional development activities.
Several faculty traveled to Las Vegas in September for the annual National League for Nursing (NLN) Summit, one of the largest gatherings of nurse educators in the world. Associate Professor Dr. Janet Monagle presented two sessions on student development. Members of the school’s Center for Climate Change, Climate Justice, and Health, including Director Dr. Patrice Nicholas, Associate Director Dr. Suellen Breakey, and steering committee members Assistant Professor Dr. Roksolana Starodub, Associate Professor, Dr. Kathy Simmonds, Associate Professor, Dr. Margie Sipe, Professor, Dr. Elaine Tagliareni, and Assistant Professor, Dr. Linda Evans presented a number of sessions on the following topics: the formation of the Center, assessing student and faculty knowledge of climate change, and advancing nursing practice regarding the health affects of today's climate emergency.
The school also held a preceptor appreciation event for the advanced practice preceptors who are so integral in the educational development of the school’s advance practice students. An all-day pharmacology symposium, it was an opportunity for preceptors to receive much-needed professional development credits close to home and without cost.
The end of October brought an opportunity for a collaboration with Massachusetts General Hospital’s Yvonne L. Munn Center for Nursing Research. Under the leadership of Dr. Gaurdia Banister who is also an adjunct faculty member at IHP, the Munn Center is housed within the hospital’s Institute for Patient Care, and promotes innovation, including funding and development, to support research initiatives that advance clinical practice and optimize quality patient-centered outcomes. Munn Center researchers joined IHP faculty, students, and staff for a night of networking.
“We’ve always been collaborators,” explained Banister in her opening remarks. “We’re celebrating a reinvigoration, but we know we’ve been working together for some time.”
A Time for Faculty Celebration and Recognition
This fall also marked the 50th anniversary of the New England Regional Black Nurses Association. Among the IHP faculty and staff who joined in the celebrations at its annual gala was Chief Equity Officer Kim Truong and faculty member Cassandra Mombrun, who also serves as NERBNA’s vice president. Faculty members, Dr. Clara Gona, Kenya Palmer, Dr. Abraham Ndiwane, and Dr. Eleonor Pusey-Reid were also honored at the event for their contributions to advancing black nurses in New England. IHP’s Dr. Tomisin Olayinka was honored last year.
The month concluded in Washington, DC as several faculty traveled to the nation’s capital for the American Academy of Nursing’s annual health policy conference.
“It is incredible to see so many of our faculty engaging with the AAN on a national stage,” said Dean White, who is in his second year as President of the Academy.
IHP Associate professors, Dr. Kathy Simmonds and Dr. Rita Olans, were both inducted as Fellows of the Academy, which cited their contributions in reproductive justice and anti-microbial stewardship respectively. It is the highest honor that nurses can receive from the organization.
MGH Institute Board of Trustees Chair and MGH Chief Nurse Emerita Dr. Jeanette Ives Erickson was named a Living Legend for her remarkable 50-year career of patient advocacy, innovative administration, problem solving, mentorship, and authoritative presence on nursing’s global landscape.
“To be nominated by the nurse leaders that I have incredible respect for is something special,” said Ives Erickson. “I’ve been on a career journey with many of them so to have them think I’m worthy of this recognition means a lot to me.”
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