GNSA welcomes 2019-2020 newly elected officers

left to right,
Secretary: Harmoni Morales – First Year MEPN Student
Treasurer: Cynthia Ramirez – First Year MEPN Student
President: Sandra Pope, RN – Second Year DNP Student
Vice-President: Allison Bryden, RN – Second Year DNP Student

Congratulations to the newly elected GNSA officers for 2019-2020 school year. Kudos to all of you for taking on leadership roles in the School of Nursing.

Can’t wait to see what you have planned for the year to come.

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Did you know, curiosity can be a HIPAA violation?

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is shs_190312_jussie_smollett_250x188.jpg

“Empire” actor Jussie Smollett
photo by Scott Kirkland/Shutterstock

Dozens of employees at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, were reportedly fired last week, accused of violating the HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996) by accessing the electronic health record (EHR) of former “Empire” actor Jussie Smollett, according to several news reports.

NBC Chicago reported that “at least 50” employees were fired, citing anonymous sources.

Northwestern Medicine told Medscape Medical News that it could not comment on the reports of firings, citing privacy reasons.

Smollett reported to Chicago police in January that attackers assaulted him and yelled racial and homophobic slurs. He was taken to the hospital. Police and prosecutors now allege the report was a hoax meant to generate publicity, and Smollett now faces multiple felony charges.

The Chicago Sun-Times quotedan unnamed Northwestern hospital administrator as saying she was fired after an employee in another department came to her desk and asked if Smollett had been admitted under an alias.

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MEPN alums return to campus to pay it forward to current students

It was a special treat last week to welcome home 2018 MEPN alums who returned to campus to share tips on interviewing for new grad positions, studying for the NCLEX, and ah-ha moments during the first year as a nurse.

Second year MEPNs had great questions for the recently graduated alums who openly shared their experiences as a new nurse.

Special thanks to MEPN 2018 graduates:

Amena Adams, Diane-Marie Aguilar, Kristi Armstrong, Riley Cable, Evan Gum, Ann Lawani, Jessica Leatherman, Judith Ramirez, Carmel Roshan, Mallorie Schoesler, Jason Vazquez, Jennifer Zaldivar

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South Korean nursing students visit USD

This post is written by 2nd year MEPN, and guest writer, Natalie Marsh

Dr Kim from Chung-Ang University and Dean Jane Georges sign official memo of understanding documenting the relationship between the two universities

Two weeks after returning from our incredible trip to South Korea, MEPN students were excited to welcome our South Korean Buddies from Chung-Ang University, Seoul to the University of San Diego! Our buddies stayed for 11 days and were able to experience both San Diego and (for some) even Disneyland! After being welcomed to USD’s campus by Dean Georges, Dr. Marsh, and the MEPN faculty and students, the buddies spent their days touring many of San Diego’s hospitals and attending lectures about healthcare in the United States.

Dr Dean Georges delivering welcome remarks to South Korean students and faculty

During our immersion in South Korea, we were amazed at the many differences between Korean medicine and our own familiar hospitals. After visiting Sharp Memorial Hospital, UCSD Hillcrest, and Sharp Coronado Hospital, our buddies agreed- there are many differences! During our Farewell Dinner at La Gran Terraza on USD’s campus, one of our wonderful buddies reflected on her biggest takeaway from these tours by commenting on how she appreciated that hospitals in San Diego focus on supporting the mental, physical, and emotional well-being of their nurses. They took note of the drastically higher nurse retention rate in San Diego compared to their hospitals in Korea, where about 40% of nurses move away from the bedside within the first five years of their career. She shined a light on the importance of self-care within nursing and said, “They (Sharp Coronado) love their nurses!” 

Korean buddies touring University of San Diego

Our buddies were also surprised to see the amount of children there are everywhere they went in California. During our visit to Seoul, we learned a lot about the country’s low fertility rate, which is expected to drop below 1.0 births per woman in 2019. This, among many other factors, contributes to Korea’s “aging population”, which is a natural driving force in the structure of Korea’s healthcare system. The buddies were amazed to see so many children and infants here- both in our hospitals and in the “stroller parking” during their trip to Disneyland!

South Korean buddies and faculty after attending class with MEPN students

Second year MEPN, Natalie Mata, reflected, “Welcoming our Korean buddies into our school and our country has been such a gift, especially after they treated us so kindly and with such open arms during our visit to Seoul! It has been a privilege to learn from them, and I am grateful for the dialogue we have now entered into about healthcare efficiencies.” As a program, the MEPNs at USD are looking forward to our continued relationship with the nursing school at Chung Ang University, and are incredibly grateful for our new Korean friendships made along the way.

MEPN students, Vincent, Maille, Caleb and Hannah along with Korean buddies and faculty at Farewell Dinner held at La Gran Terraza
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Final memories from South Korea

This post is written by guest writer and 2nd year MEPN, Lihini Keenawinna

sk-welcome to rehab center

Immersion group with faculty post visit to the OJO Skin Rehabili Center
Clinical Lab and Academy

We started the day visiting the Oh-Jung-Ok Skin Rehabili Center Clinical Lab and Academy. Dr. Oh-Jung-Ok created the OJO method for use in skin rehabilitation, which is used with patients suffering severe burns or scarring. Her method consists of skin rehabilitation massage, aromatherapy, meridian pathway, cosmeceuticals, compression therapy, skin stretching and lymph circulation. The majority of the patients treated by Dr. Oh-Jung-Ok are between the ages of newborn and 3 years who are suffering from scalding injuries. After these patients have received treatment for their burns, they come to this clinic twice or three times a week over a varying period depending on the severity of the burn. They will receive skin rehabilitation massage that is a very gentle massaging of the skin in the direction of lymph circulation. After a number of sessions of skin rehabilitation nursing therapy (SRNT), the patients have a drastic improvement in their range of motion that would otherwise be restricted due to the contractures caused by the scarring, as well as reduction of the appearance and hyperpigmentation of the scars.

The before and after pictures shown to us were very impressive. What resonated for most of us was the fact that they were not just focused on
the outward appearance of the patients but also worked towards trying to
maintain psychological stability, and decrease stress and anxiety related to long-term self-esteem issues.  The main goal of the therapy is to being allow patients the opportunity to return to their lives and
once again become productive members of society.

After this visit, we ventured onward to the Korea University Anam Hospital, a state-of-the-art hospital with 1055 beds. The hospital has a cardiovascular center, digestive system center, cancer center, robotic surgery center, organ transplantation center, breast center, thyroid center, and international healthcare center. The international health center is a one-stop service center that helps patients take care of all their medical and non-medical services including transport, visas, and accommodations while they are in South Korea.


During our visit to the Korea University hospital, we heard from the President of the university, the Chief Nursing Officer (CNO), leaders in quality improvement, finance, nursing managers as well as representatives from their international office. From the quality improvement aspect, we heard about the ways in which they have implemented their evidence-based practice protocols specifically in falls prevention as well as their bloodless surgery protocols. We also learned about the structure and various other programs run by the quality improvement department. After spending the previous day at the National Healthcare Insurance Scheme (NHIS) Headquarters and Health Insurance Review and Assessment
(HIRA) agencies, the presentation from the finance department really served as a meaningful review of the structure of the universal healthcare system and how it is utilized within the hospital system. The CNO and her leadership team also took the time to educate us about the operationalization of nursing care delivery, the professional progression ladder, leadership structure, shared governance and dedication to educational excellence.


sk-lecture at hosp



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Tijuana Immersion Trip

This post is written by guest writer, and 1st year MEPN, Kelly Huerta 

Jessica Erickson and Dr Susie Hutchins teaching CPR to a few of the residents who attended the health fair.

A group of us recently had the opportunity to participate in a Mexico immersion trip where we had countless opportunities to connect and share with the La Morita community in Tijuana, Mexico. La Morita, located just 30 minutes south of the border, is a poor but humble community. The people struggle to receive basic healthcare and are often unaware about the consequences of poor health. On this four-day immersion, we had the opportunity to visit sick patients who could not make it to the clinic, triage patients in the clinic with the physician, conduct a community health fair, and learn from patients at the HIV/AIDS clinic, Casa de las Memorias.

Each patient we visited had a different story and a different reason for not being able to travel to the clinic, but each family graciously welcomed our group into their home. Seeing the strength and humility displayed by the patients and their families motivates us to continue educating ourselves as well as others who are less fortunate.

At the clinic we performed focused assessments, interviewed patients, and shadowed Doctora Guzman, the physician at the clinic. Then on Saturday, we held a health fair at the clinic where we educated and screened members of the community for hypertension and diabetes.

We were lucky to visit Casa de las Memorias during a communal celebration where we listened to many testimonies from the residents. We heard heartbreaking stories about their addictions and disease resulting in their search and arrival at Casa de las Memorias. We learned about the HIV stigma that is prevalent in the community and the strong unconditional love and support amongst the residents.

We ended our day with some home cooking, games, and a reflection on how we can better serve the community.

Ciara Silvestri, Mariah Winters, and Dane Jensen receiving a blessing from a patient after we visited the patient in her home.

Ciara Silvestri, Raxita Neupani, Dr Susie Hutchins, Kelly Heurta, Lauren Leverson, Mariah Winters and Dane jensen
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MEPNs receive USD Changemaker Award

This post is written by guest writer and 2nd year MEPN, and Lihini Keenawinna

A one-hour field trip to the Christ Ministry Center (CMC) in Normal Heights began a journey for the students in my community clinical group. Christ Ministry Center is a coalition of individuals, congregations, and organizations who care about refugees, immigrants, asylum seekers, migrants in detention and families broken by deportation.

We visited CMC simply to learn about community organizations located near our community site. Three hours after walking in the doors, each one of us in my clinical group left CMC with tears in our eyes and a feeling of great purpose. During that initial visit, we identified substantial needs of the clients we felt we could meet as nursing students. We wrote a letter to MEPN administrators explaining the needs of the clients at Christ Ministry Center and suggesting we work at the site during the fall semester for our community health clinical placement. At the time of our request, we were in the middle of our OB and pediatrics rotations, and convinced that the main needs at CMC were OB, pediatric care, and education.  Our hard work and encouragement from the MEPN leadership team paid off. We began working at CMC in past fall 2018 semester.

On the first day at CMC, in an effort to build trust with residents, we armed ourselves with playdough, hula-hoops, and bubbles. Our hope was if the parents saw us getting on the same level as their kids, they would begin to trust us as well.

After a few weeks at CMC, we decided that it was time to tackle the issue presented to us by Pastor William Jenkins, who runs the site. He had raised concerns over the mental health of residents, many of whom have experienced unthinkable traumas in their past lives. Initially, we thought that this request was beyond our scope as nursing students. However, after much searching, we found a screening tool specifically directed toward the population of asylum seekers and refugees. It is available in almost every language, and easy to administer. Building upon the foundation of trust that we had laid the first few weeks at CMC, we began screening residents.

What we found was alarming. Most residents screened positive for health concerns such as trauma, stress, anxiety, and depression. Ethically, we felt we could not screen the residents unless we provided mental health resources. We decided to reach out to the Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy (LMFT) program at USD, in hopes of a collaboration of some sort. After we met with LMFT, we realized that it was a very natural fit, and their enthusiasm for the cause cemented our desire to move forward.

Currently our clinical group is in the process of creating a Wellness Program that will run every Saturday, beginning February 2019. This program will offer physical and mental health screenings, provide residents with resources to cope with stressors, and provide play therapy to the children.

The USD Changemaker Challenge came at an opportune time. We thought it was a perfect way to fund our endeavor at CMC. During one of our clinical days, we made a two-minute video describing our current and future work at CMC. The MEPN video entry was a finalist out of the 109 video received submissions to the USD Changemaker Challenge.

Ultimately, we won second place in the challenge and voted “Best Original Idea” by the Changemaker judges.  Our MEPN clinical group received $2500 in prize money that will go towards furthering our work at CMC. This was an amazing opportunity offered by USD’s Changemaker Hub.

Our clinical group is thrilled to be a considered a Changemaker finalist. We are excited USD can be an anchor institution to Christ Ministry Center right here in San Diego.

Posted in University of San Diego | 2 Comments

Update from South Korea

This post is written by guest writer and 2nd year MPEN, Graham Wolfe

MEPN student Danny Smith in front of kettles which produce some of the
alternative Korean medicines

We had an opportunity to visit Dongukk University Ilsan Hospital which offered a unique collaboration of traditional Korean medicine and western medicine. At Ilsan Hospital we saw familiar treatments such as acupuncture and cupping and some practices that were less familiar including Sasang constitutional medicine and Chuna manual manipulation.

Sasang constitutional medicine categorizes patients into four types based on biopsychosocial traits. Korean medical doctors use the Sasang type to provide recommendations as each type has strengths and weakness physiologically. Chuna manual manipulation is a technique similar to chiropractic medicine but includes a broader range of manual manipulation like massage.

Korean Medicine resident explaining the Korean medicine pharmacy production to
Professor Alex Wong

Dr. Sang-yeon Min, a Korean medicine physician specializing in pediatrics, explained Korean medicine is used primarily for prevention. Dr. Min also informed us western medicine physicians and Korean medicine physicians will often collaborate in the same consultation session to provide the most comprehensive care for a patient. This collaborative effort is so incredibly valuable and is something that can be lacking in the western medical system. As nurses and especially as clinical nurse leaders it is our responsibility to coordinate our patient’s care. It can be difficult to stimulate collaborative efforts between specialties and disciplines. Experiencing a hospital system designed to facilitate integration between two different forms of medicine was inspiring.

I believe we all walked away impressed with the complete and conscientious medical services offered by Dongukk University Ilsan Hospital

From left to right Ellie Oliver, Graham Wolfe, Professor Alex Wong, Professor Allison Marsh, Nicole Wakayama, Jerrick Prudencio, Vincent Ng, Danny Smith, Caleb Kuo
Posted in Class of 2019, Guest Writer, Hahn School of Nursing, Health Policy, International Program | Tagged | 1 Comment

Nurses rated #1 most trusted profession for another year!

In Gallup’s annual poll ranking the most honest and ethical professions, nursing retained the top spot as the most highly rated profession for the 17th straight year. In 2018, 84 percent of Americans surveyed described nurses’ ethics and honesty as “very high” or “high.” Nurses have topped the honesty and ethics ranking every year since they were added to the list in 1999, except for 2001, when firefighters ranked number one in response to their work during and after the 9/11 attacks.

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Greetings from South Korea

This post is written by guest writer and 2nd year MEPN, Megan Lavalle

Group leaving from San Francisco to South Korea

We have been excitedly awaiting our trip to South Korea and it is finally here! The trip we are about to embark upon is a first for USD School of Nursing. The School of Nursing is able to bring 35 second year MEPN students to South Korea to learn about culture and healthcare delivery while on the trip. This will also be the first time MEPN students from USD participate in a trip that is really at the graduate level examining the influences of culture on healthcare delivery. This group of MEPN students and faculty are a part of a very important ‘first’ for the School of Nursing since a group of this size has never been representing USD internationally. 

My colleagues and I are coming on to this trip to South Korea with an open mind. We hope to take what we learn from lectures on alternative medicine and tours of the different South Korean hospitals and apply them to our personal practice back in the US. The South Korean healthcare system is very efficient and systematic. We hope to learn the ins and outs of South Korean healthcare delivery and how the culture impacts its operation. We look forward to the discussions we are about to dive into regarding the South Korean healthcare system and how it compares to  healthcare in the US. We are very excited for this upcoming adventure to South Korea.

Top left: Elle Oliver, Top right: Terry Wu, Bottom left: Favour Pankito, Bottom right: Kristin Nicholson. 

On the bus from the airport to Galaxy Hotel. 
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