News about Nursing

Nursing Students Gain Firsthand Sensitivity to Age-Related Impairment

Nursing students Katelyn I. Arthur, of Muncy, and Tayler D. Mathias, of Watsontown, attempt to read a health history form while wearing glasses that mimic glaucoma.

Karen L. Martin, associate professor of medical-surgical nursing, guides students in the Fundamentals of Nursing course through the exercise.

With taped and gloved fingers and a variety of visual impairments, students attempt to remove pills from bottles.

On Wednesday, Karen L. Martin, associate professor of medical-surgical nursing, engaged students in the Fundamentals of Nursing course in a hands-on activity intended to help them relate to patients and the changes that occur with the aging process. Students taped their fingers, placed cotton in their ears and wore glasses intended to mimic glaucoma, cataracts and macular degeneration. The students were then asked to fill out health history forms, look up a phone number, retrieve pills from medicine bottles and count change. The activity is meant to help students gain competency in the areas of communication, critical thinking and cultural sensitivity. The students expressed appreciation for the activity.
Photos courtesy of the Nursing Program

Diagnosis: Future – Campers Examine Potential Health Careers

Bambi A. Hawkins, learning laboratory coordinator for the paramedic program, shows a camper proper hand placement to create a “seal” when using a bag valve mask to provide oxygen.

An important part of a fitness assessment, campers record one another’s blood pressure in the exercise science major.

A camper uses a laparoscopic camera and surgical tools in the surgical technology lab.

With assistance from a Penn College student, a camper positions radiographic equipment as she prepares to X-ray her smartphone.

A camper shows the results of her work in the dental hygiene lab: a model of her teeth.

Penn College’s School of Health Sciences was the destination for 30 high schoolers attending Health Careers Camp, a joint, two-day program of the college and Susquehanna Health. The camp offers students a chance to explore careers in the health care field. Students entering grades nine to 12 attended hands-on workshops Wednesday and Thursday in the college’s exercise science, paramedic technology, occupational therapy assistant, physician assistant, nursing, radiography, dental hygiene and surgical technology majors. To round out their experience, they toured Susquehanna Health’s Williamsport Hospital.

Penn College Honors Three Alumni at Commencement

Pennsylvania College of Technology bestowed honors upon three alumni during Spring 2015 commencement ceremonies held May 15-16 at the Community Arts Center, Williamsport.

Adam J. Yoder, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, received the Alumni Volunteer of the Year Award on May 15. Joseph H. and Barbara A. Reynolds, of Williamsport, were presented with the Humanitarian/Citizenship Award during the same ceremony. Michael K. Patterson, of Oval, received a Mentorship Award on May 16.

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Practical Nursing Students Raise Funds for Wounded Warrior Charity

A group of Penn College practical nursing students, along with their faculty, recently raised $300 for the Wounded Warrior Project by hosting a dress-down day.

Students in Pennsylvania College of Technology’s practical nursing major recently raised $300 for the Wounded Warrior Project.

Students in the course Nursing Care for Adults 1 elected to host a dress-down day on April 6. On that day, each student donated $5 in exchange for donning “street” clothes in place of the clinical uniforms (“scrubs”) that are required each day they are in class or a clinical experience.

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Emergency Scenarios Aid Students’ Real-Life Readiness

While students from other majors observe, nursing student Amanda S. Kopczick, of Mifflinburg, takes the temperature of “patient” Kristina N. Varner, of Lewisburg.

Around 250 students and employees from the School of Health Sciences participated in three days’ worth of emergency simulations on campus this week. In its third year, the exercise is known as the Interdisciplinary Professional Event and provides a unique opportunity for students and faculty from different majors within the School of Health Sciences to collaboratively care for patients.

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Youngsters Stave Off Decay, Burn Off Energy

Brittany N. Hall, of York, with a young patient who just had sealants placed

The 13th annual Sealant Saturday event, held March 21 in Penn College’s dental clinic, was very successful (and busy). Dental hygiene students provided free services to 56 children between the ages of 6 and 15, and placed 290 sealants. All children also received a fluoride varnish treatment. In the real world, a dental sealant costs $35 to 60 per tooth, so, if you do the math, more than $10,000 worth of free care was provided to help the fight against tooth decay! Downstairs, meanwhile, students in a Pediatric Nursing class staffed a variety of stations in the atrium of the Breuder Advanced Technology and Health Sciences Center. Sealant Saturday participants and their siblings were invited to stations with painting, Play-Doh, puzzles, chess, Twister, coloring and gymnastics, filling the ATHS atrium with music and fun. (Requirements were that the activities be age-appropriate and not involve video screens.) Youngsters also received prizes, such as Penn College water bottles and lanyards, courtesy of President Davie Jane Gilmour’s office.

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Small-Group Discussions Reflect Big-Picture Import of Health Care Collaboration

Whit Worman, director of Penn College's physician assistant program, facilitates a discussion that includes Kyle G. Stavinski, an emergency medical services major from Elysburg (left) and physician assistant student Kevin Z. Richardson, of Williamsport.

Scott A. Geist (left foreground), director of the surgical technology program, and Cletus G. Waldman Jr. (right-center), clinical director of radiography, engage their roundtable participants.

Heather S. Dorman, clinical director of physician assistant, lays out a scenario during the interactive exercise.

Mark A. Trueman (center), director of paramedic technology programs at the college, follows the flowing conversation.

As part of an event that spanned northeastern and northcentral Pennsylvania and involved more than 1,000 students at various locations across the region, the sixth annual Collaborative Care Summit convened at Penn College on Wednesday. Nineteen dedicated  faculty/staff facilitators from a variety of health professions, including physicians, led discussions in the Bush Campus Center among students from several colleges and universities who are pursuing studies in a wide range of health disciplines. The Collaborative Care Summit is arranged by the Northeastern/Central Pennsylvania Interprofessional Education Coalition – of which Sharon K. Waters, associate dean of health sciences, is a member. Waters coordinated the Penn College event, and co-presented the opening session with Dr. Keith Shenberger, Susquehanna Health TCMC, which brought together about 100 students from Penn College, Lock Haven University, Wilkes University and The Commonwealth Medical College. The students participated in roundtable discussions of a medical case, learning from one another how each discipline contributes to a patient’s care. “The goal of interprofessional learning is to prepare all health professions students for deliberatively working together, with the goal of building a safer and better patient-centered and community-orientated health care system,” Waters explained. “It was impressive to hear what each student contributed to the interprofessional discussion and rewarding to know our students are being prepared to work  as a collaborative team toward quality patient care.” Student participants represented 10 professions, from paramedic to pharmacy to medicine to nursing. Simultaneous events were held in Scranton and Wilkes-Barre at Marywood University, The Commonwealth Medical College, The University of Scranton, Kings College and Misericordia University.

Health Sciences Students Talk Team Approach to Patient Care

Tushanna M. Habalar (right foreground), learning laboratory coordinator for nursing education, was among the facilitators for Friday's interdisciplinary exercise.

Students representing nearly all of the majors in the School of Health Sciences gathered in the Thompson Professional Development Center on Friday to learn from one another as they discussed their differing roles in a medical case. The “tabletop” Interdisciplinary Professional Event is designed to help Penn College students understand the perspectives and duties of others on a medical team in the interest of holistic treatment for their future patients. The school provides its students with a hands-on IPE in the spring, when actors simulate medical emergencies across campus.
Photo by Kim A. Speicher, dental hygiene instructor

Secretary of Aging Adds to Students’ Interaction at Health-Screening Clinic

Pennsylvania Secretary of Aging Brian Duke addresses a group at the Messiah Senior Community Center.

Nursing student Kira M. Cioffi, of Williamsport, practices her blood pressure-reading skills on Secretary of Aging Brian Duke during a health-screening clinic at the senior center.

Student Alex S. Bogler, of South Williamsport, checks a senior’s blood pressure as part of the health-screening clinic.

State Secretary of Aging Brian Duke encourages Penn College nursing students to consider their work with older adults.

Four first-semester students in Penn College’s associate-degree RN preparation major visited Messiah Senior Community Center in South Williamsport on Tuesday to provide free health screenings. Also visiting the center was the state’s secretary of aging, Brian Duke, who spoke about initiatives for the state’s older population. The relationship between Penn College’s nursing program and the STEP Office of Aging – which manages the senior center – was established nearly 20 years ago by Jane J. Benedict, associate professor of nursing, when she developed health-screening clinics for students. “Today, we continue to bring small groups of first-year … students to area STEP senior centers for health-screening clinics during each fall semester,” said Laurie A. Minium, instructor of nursing. “Our partnership with STEP is invaluable: The students are able to strengthen newly acquired nursing skills, while at the same time, the area’s older adults have the opportunity to receive free blood pressure and blood-glucose screenings. During the clinics, students interact with the seniors, staff and volunteers at the centers – focusing on proper skill technique, communication and client teaching.”

Nursing Faculty Member Earns Doctor of Nursing Practice

Joni J. Pyle

Pennsylvania College of Technology nursing instructor Joni J. Pyle recently completed her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Chatham University.

Pyle’s dissertation, titled “Increasing The Communication Self-Efficacy of Nurses: An Educational Intervention Using Motivational Interviewing,” was accepted for publication in Home Healthcare Nurse, a journal serving the educational and communication needs of home-care and hospice nurses. It is slated for publication in the journal’s February edition.

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New Penn State President Makes First Visit to Penn College

Penn State President Eric J. Barron (left) is joined on the verdant grounds of the Victorian House by (from right) Robert E. Dunham, chairman emeritus of the Penn College Board of Directors; state Sen. Gene Yaw, current board chairman; and Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour.

Penn State President Eric J. Barron traveled to Pennsylvania College of Technology on Tuesday, his first visit since assuming the presidency in May. In a timely trip to a main campus observing its 25th anniversary as a special mission affiliate of Penn State – as well as its yearlong Centennial celebration – Barron met with students, viewed three recent art installations, toured Madigan Library and student housing, explored the college’s role in the natural gas industry, and visited a variety of instructional labs. Joining Barron and his wife, Molly, on the tour were Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour; retired Penn College Board of Directors Chairman Robert E. Dunham and his wife, Maureen; Paul L. Starkey, vice president for academic affairs and provost; and police Chief Chris E. Miller. A reception in the Victorian House and dinner at Le Jeune Chef Restaurant, where the group was joined by state Sen. Gene Yaw, board chairman, followed.

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Faculty Member Earns Doctor of Nursing Practice

Dulcey J. Messersmith

Dulcey J. Messersmith, instructor of nursing at Pennsylvania College of Technology, recently received her Doctor of Nursing Practice from Chatham University.

Her dissertation was titled “Improving Pain in Older Adults Using a Focused Education Program With Practical Nursing Students.” Research for the dissertation was carried out at Penn College with advanced-level practical nursing students. Her goal is to improve pain-management outcomes in the older adult.

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Richmond Named Director of Nursing at Penn College

Sandra L. Richmond

Sandra L. Richmond has been appointed director of nursing at Pennsylvania College of Technology.

As director, Richmond, who has been a full-time faculty member at Penn College since 2012, will oversee the college’s five nursing majors.

“Sandy Richmond brings an impressive combination of clinical, educational and administrative experiences to the leadership of the Nursing Program,” said Paul L. Starkey, vice president for academic affairs and provost. “She is passionate about her profession and respected by her peers.”

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Teaching Honors Bestowed Upon Faculty Trio at Penn College

Awards for teaching were presented to three full-time faculty members at Pennsylvania College of Technology during commencement ceremonies held May 16-17 at the Community Arts Center, Williamsport.

As part of the Distinguished Teaching Awards program, Penn College President Davie Jane Gilmour presented the Veronica M. Muzic Master Teacher Award to Dorothy M. Mathers, associate professor of medical-surgical nursing.

Excellence in Teaching Awards were presented to Peter B. Kruppenbacher, assistant professor of building construction technology, and Kevin R. Derr, professor of legal assistant studies.

The Distinguished Teaching Awards are presented to full-time faculty at Penn College who have been nominated by their students and colleagues for excellence in instructional performance. Since the program’s inception in 1982, awards have been presented to 95 honorees (30 Master Teacher and 65 Excellence in Teaching).

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Retired Faculty Member Establishes Two Endowed Scholarships

Chalmer Van Horn (left) with his final engineering drafting student, William P. Woodley, in 1991

Chalmer Van Horn, a retired faculty member who taught engineering drafting for nearly three decades at Pennsylvania College of Technology and its two predecessor institutions, has endowed two scholarships at the college, including one that honors the memory of his wife of 56 years, Ruth Ann.

The Ruth Ann Van Horn Nursing Scholarship gives preference to full-time students who are enrolled in the practical nursing major, are prior recipients and are enrolled to earn their registered nursing or Bachelor of Science nursing degrees.

Ruth Ann Van Horn received a registered nursing degree from the Williamsport Hospital School of Nursing in 1953 and worked in the emergency room at Muncy Valley Hospital from 1956 until the late 1960s, when she left nursing due to ill health.

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