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Teaching and Learning During Nurse Exchange

Tuesday, Mar 17, 2015

A group of Native American nursing students completed clinical rotations at Doylestown Hospital last week. They hope that what they learn can benefit patients back home.

Their local hospital can’t treat a heart attack.

"Our hospital back in New Mexico is in a very rural area bordering on the reservation," said Michelle Kellywood, RN, MSN. "There are no cardiac services there. If a patient comes in with a heart attack, they have to go two hours away for treatment."

Michele accompanied a group of six Native American nursing students visiting Doylestown Hospital last week. They are the second group of what is an annual exchange program between nursing students at the University of New Mexico/Gallup and Doylestown Hospital nurses. Read about last year's visit in Expanding Horizons One Nurse at a Time blog post.

Through Bucks County-based nonprofit Americans for Native Americans (ANA), the students came to the area for clinical and cultural learning. This year’s group rotated through the cardiac cath lab, Cardiac Services, Emergency Department and VIA Maternity Center.

During one rotation, nurse educators Kim Mikula and Anne Dunlap from the Emergency Department taught the nursing students about emergency newborn care. The students were impressed by more than the technology and equipment they saw here. They learned about processes for patient care they could apply back home.

Post by Doylestown Health.

Student Angeliana Yazzie was interested by all facets of cardiac care she saw at Doylestown Hospital, particularly the protocol to handle heart attack. Doylestown Hospital excels at treating heart attack, quickly getting patients up to the cath lab for emergency angioplasty.

Doylestown Hospital's door-to-balloon time, which measures the time from when a patient enters the hospital to the time of a clogged artery is opened through angioplasty, averages about 60 minutes, which is 30 minutes faster than the national guideline. Teamwork between emergency responders, the Emergency Department and cath lab makes this possible.

"Seeing that whole pathway of care is very interesting to me," said Angelena. "I see how their success depends on everyone working together."

Michele Kellywood is passionate about expanding her students’ horizons. Kellywood is one of few Native Americans with an advanced nursing degree. A community leader and member of the Dine/Navajo Nation, Michele’s ultimate goal is to encourage these students to continue on for advanced degrees and have a real impact on the health of Native Americans.

"We are hoping these are experiences our students can take back with them and use to improve nursing care at home," said Kellywood.

A group of nurses from Doylestown Hospital visited New Mexico last fall and provided health screenings for students at the Baca/Dlo Yazhi Community School. Kim Mikula was among them and plans to return in September. Read about her experiences in Nurses Teach and Learn from Native Americans blog post.

Barbara Taubenberger, RN, MSN, CEN, director of Emergency Services at Doylestown Hospital, first visited New Mexico in October 2013. For her, the exchange is more than just a way to give back to the larger community. Taubenberger and her nurses learned a great deal from their experience, as well.

"The Navajo concept of walking in beauty is a concept of balance that we often try to bring to our lives but rarely achieve. Life is a constant journey and family, work, spirituality and health all play a part in our path. I personally think we have a lot more to learn from the Native American students then we could ever teach," said Taubenberger.

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