Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Nursing professor who has multiple sclerosis teaches pediatric nursing.....and so much more!


Amy Boitnott


Kaylyn Christopher wrote the following about Amy Boitnott for UVA Today:

When class time is up, Boitnott, who keeps her balance steady by maintaining a sturdy grip on her podium, watches her students file out of the room. Then, she lowers herself onto her scooter and makes her way back to her office to tackle the next task of her day.

Eleven years ago, doctors diagnosed Boitnott with multiple sclerosis, a progressive disease that affects the central nervous system.  

“To teach a class is very taxing,” Boitnott said. “My body has to choose: I can either keep myself upright and balanced, or I can talk. It can be exhausting, so I use a scooter to get to and from class because I really can’t walk after I teach.”

“If I fall on the floor, they have to pick me up,” she said. “But it’s OK; we all need help in this world. It doesn’t mean I’m a weak person; I just have a weak body. I have a strong passion and a strong attitude about life, though, and I really hope my daughters and my students have seen that resiliency.”

Boitnott said she began to realize the magnitude of her impact when a student shared an honest confession with her about how she taught him to not pass judgment based on appearance.

“At first, that student thought ‘I got the disabled professor, the one who can’t walk,’” Boitnott said. “But now he knows he got the one who’s passionate about caring for kids. And that’s what I hope I’m remembered for.”

Read more about this inspirational nurse and educator at:
https://news.virginia.edu/content/balancing-act-pediatric-nursing-professor-manages-living-and-teaching-ms

Please share or leave a welcomed comment.

With thanks,

Donna

Friday, April 14, 2017

RIP Susan Jones: A congenital heart disease patient who beat the odds and became a cardiac nurse

Susan E. Jones, RN

Ed Blazina of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette wrote an obituary for Susan Jones.

For Susan E. Jones, the best way to deal with a congenital heart defect was to become part of the medical community herself.

Mrs. Jones was born with only one ventricle, rather than two, in her heart, leaving her skin blue because her blood wasn’t receiving enough oxygen to carry throughout her body. She had heart surgery a day after her birth and her family was told she probably wouldn’t live very long.

But Mrs. Jones regularly defied the odds for someone with her condition and became a cardiac care nurse, working with the doctors who had cared for her at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh before entering health care administration with insurance providers.

She attended St. Margaret Hospital’s School of Nursing and worked as a nurse in New Jersey for two years before joining the staff at Children’s Hospital to be closer to her regular doctors.
Despite numerous surgeries — including an updated Fontan revision at age 36 — Mrs. Jones built a solid career at Children’s, eventually working to improve the record-keeping system for the cardiac unit. She later moved to Coventry Healthcare and Aetna, where she was a national project manager

Read more about Susan's remarkable journey at:

http://www.post-gazette.com/news/obituaries/2017/02/18/Obituary-Susan-E-Jones-Heart-patient-cardiac-nurse-who-defied-the-odds/stories/201702170095?pgpageversion=pgevoke

http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/triblive-tribune-review/obituary.aspx?pid=184125215


RIP Susan!

Donna

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Anita Lesko, a nurse with Aspergers, invited to World Autism Day at the United Nations

Anita Lesko, RN, MS, CRNA
Toward Autonomy and Self-Determination-World Autism Awareness Day 2017

Anita Lesko has Asperger's syndrome. She is a nurse anesthetist, military aviation photojournalist, author, public speaker, advocate and founder of a non profit organization...and now invited speaker at the United Nations! 

The event was organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information and Department of Economic and Social Affairs, and co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Argentina, Armenia, Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Denmark, Ecuador, Israel, Italy, Kazakhstan and Poland.

We are so proud! Anita participated and gave voice to issues surrounding dating, marriage and parenthood for people with autism spectrum disorders.

Navigating Relationships: Dating, Marriage and Parenthood 
  • Moderator: Caren Zucker, Journalist and TV Producer, Co-author of “In a Different Key: The Story of Autism”
  • Dr. Julia Ejiogu, Founder and Director, Autism Care and Support Initiative, Nigeria
  • Hillary Freeman, Esq., Attorney, Freeman Law Offices
  • Anita Lesko, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist and Self-Advocate
  • Walter Suskind, Regional Spokesperson, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Advocate for Sibling Engagement http://www.un.org/en/events/autismday/2017/events.shtml

  • The full proceedings can be view on the United Nations web tv*You can see Anita at marker 1:48:35 (wearing her signature hat).
http://webtv.un.org/search/toward-autonomy-and-self-determination-world-autism-awareness-day-2017/5380816054001?term=autism#full-text



Bravo Anita!!!!

With thanks,

Donna 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Nurse amputee: Nobody told her not to try!


Mary Novotny Jeffries, RN, MS


At 11 years old, Mary Novotny Jeffries lost her leg to bone cancer. After discharge from the hospital she returned home to life with her 7 siblings; where nobody told her not to try. And, try is what she did!

She credits much of her success to her quick rebound to normal life. Between school and chores, she didn't have time to feel sorry for herself. 

In 1979, Mary launched the Families and Amputees in Motion support group while pursuing her master's degree in nursing at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her focus was on rehabilitation nursing. At the UIC Amputee Clinic, she conducted research exploring questions regarding amputees' adjustment to limb loss, particularly in terms of body image. 

After presenting her findings, physicians and nurses soon began asking Novotny to talk to new amputees and present her information at other venues. These experiences helped to shape her passion for peer visitation. 

She founded the Amputee Coalition of America in 1986 (amputee-coalition.org) and the National Limb Loss Information Center in 1997. 

Now, she counsels and trains amputees in locales as close as Chicago and as far away as Haiti, where she traveled after the devastating earthquake of 2010.

Mary considers herself a "lucky" cancer patient. 

"I rarely felt like what I did was work.... Giving to help others is not work. It rewards the giver far more than one can imagine."

Click on the articles below to read more about Mary's remarkable journey.


Cheers!

Donna

Monday, March 13, 2017

Exceptional Nurse celebrates Anne Bourque RN, a colon cancer survivor!



March is colorectal cancer awareness month. 
Exceptional Nurse celebrates, Anne Bourque RN, a colon cancer survivor!

In 2014, Anne wrote:

I am a registered nurse and started working at City of Hope in 1980 when I was 25. I can honestly say accepting a job here was one of the best decisions that I have made in my life. I have worked with some of the most talented and remarkable colleagues, and knowing many of them for 30-plus years has enriched my life tremendously.

Fast forward to 2002: Then, as now, I was the clinical nursing director of hematology and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. I was divorced, with two children  – Elizabeth, who was 19, and Gregory, who was 14.

I was 47, had some bleeding and went for a colonoscopy at a different hospital. I had no desire to have any City of Hope physician see me with less than my normal work clothes on, so naturally, I would have the test done elsewhere.

On Feb. 13, on the colonoscopy table, I found out that I had colon cancer.

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

No mud no lotus: True for nurses with disabilities?



"Thich Nhat Hanh, the Vietnames Zen Buddhist spiritual leader, has said, "No mud, no lotus." Without suffering through the mud, you cannot find the happiness of the lotus. Without grit, there is no pearl. He also believes that when we know how to suffer, we suffer less."

"Thich Nhat Hanh acknowledges that because suffering can feel so bad, we try to run away from it or cover it up by consuming. But unless we’re able to face our suffering, we can’t be present and available to life, and happiness will continue to elude us. Nhat Hanh shares how the practices of stopping, mindful breathing, and deep concentration can generate the energy of mindfulness within our daily lives."


Mucking around in the mud may be an essential part of the journey for many nurses and nursing students with disabilities. Do you agree?

Please share your thoughts,

Donna

https://www.amazon.com/No-Mud-Lotus-Transforming-Suffering/dp/1937006859/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1485022824&sr=1-1&keywords=no+mud+no+lotus

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Research project to address adults with autism: Nurse with autism on the research team!

Dr. Teal Benevides
On February 2, 2017, Danielle Harris, Senior Media Relations Coordinator at Augusta University announced the news of an exciting research project.

Research to address the needs of autistic adults remains relatively unchartered territory, but Augusta University Occupational Therapist Teal Benevides hopes to shed light on this population’s critical needs in her latest project “Priority Setting to Improve Health Outcomes: Autistic Adults and Other Stakeholders Engage Together.”

The prevalence of autism spectrum disorders has increased exponentially in the past decade. Although extensive resources are provided to support children with autism, adults with autism are at increased risk for a variety of chronic health conditions,” Benevides said. “Little is being done to address the health needs that are important to this group and our team and I are working hard to change that.”

For this project, Benevides will be working with a team of critically-acclaimed partners such as Autism Speaks board member and Adelphi University professor of special education Dr. Stephen Shore and Global Autism Consulting Organization founder Anita Lesko, a Columbia University graduate and certified registered nurse anesthetist. In addition to being scholars, Shore and Lesko bring a special perspective to the project as they both are adults with autism.


Anita Lesko, CRNA

Read more about this exciting project at:
http://jagwire.augusta.edu/archives/40792



Donna