Greetings from the Vietnam Mission Trip

This post is written by MEPN students and guest writers, Katie Lam, Anne Uyen Tran-Ho & Dana Yu on the USD trip to Vietnam.

vietnam 1

**Locals rush through rush hour trying to get home from work to pick up their children**

After a day of facing constant waves of oncoming motorbikes and cars we learned how to properly cross the busy intersections of Saigon with the assistance of kind locals. USD nursing students Katie Lam, Anne Uyen Tran-Ho, Dana Yu, and faculty Professor Molly McAmis and Dr. Lyn Puhek set off for Da Nang with the International Medical Relief (IMR) organization.

In Saigon, we held a team meeting and prepared to set up the clinic for our destination, a rural community located to the northeast, five hours away with a population of 26,000 people.  The team loaded up onto six vans, and we set off on our long trek. Rain fell throughout our drive up the mountains, and modern civilization slowly faded away into canopies of banana trees but also muddy roads.


vietnam 2

**Local body of water that some families used as a resource, when they cannot afford bottled water**


vietnam 3

** Our clinical site located within the mountains**

Stationed in a rural setting with few facilities and a large, overworked population of farmers, our health care services, education, and food donations provided a valuable service to the community. Over several days, we set up a clinic in the neighborhood auditorium. The windows, with a scenic view overlooking the foggy mountains were lined with spider webs and bees. We worked with an amazing, well-rounded team including nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, doctors, EMTs, dentists, and Vietnamese translators. With such a variety of strengths, we worked collaboratively to triage, assess, and provide care to 700 patients who walked or traversed long distances on motorbikes, up the windy mountain paths in the rain, arriving at 2 am for the opportunity to receive care and a bag of food for their family.

vietnam 4

** Professor Molly McAmis, Katie, Dana, Anne & Dr. Lyn Puhek getting ready to start their second shift at well baby checks**

The role of the USD nursing student  included intake of vital signs, triaging patients, doing well-baby checks, running labs, and providing health related community education. However, we could not have done any of this without our amazing team of Vietnamese translators.

At the clinic, we assessed a variety of patients, ages ranging from a few months to 100 years old. We saw many interesting patients including a case of scabies, infected g-tube, and the saddest case we saw was a 9 year old male with an abdominal tumor. With a limited supply of equipment and mere desks and chairs in the clinic, we were forced to create solutions with what we had available, not only in our assessments but also in our plan of care.

vietnam with translators

**Anne, Dana, and Katie working with translators when triaging the patients to define their chief complaint**

A family, all with rashes, was not an uncommon sight during our work. When a family of three came in with a rash, the initial assumption was measles. However, upon further assessment, the family practitioner determined the family was  infested with scabies. The pediatric patient had scabies for 4 months, and his sister had similar findings for 8 years. The rash covered the entire body of the infant, but he didn’t seem to be in pain. The family was given some medications and recommendations for hygiene.

There was a gentleman who arrived to the clinic with an infected G-tube. After being prescribed a course of antibiotics, the patient was sent to the nursing team to clean up the infected area. Due to the limited and cramped setting, it was difficult to find a private treatment area. We were eventually able to find a private room with a table used as a makeshift bed. As we were cleaning the area, we noticed that the patient hooked the end of his G-tube to his necklace to keep it in place, which demonstrated the resourcefulness and creativity of the patient. After the cleaning, he was sent back to the provider area for electrolytes and a referral to palliative care.

vietnam 5

** The local community hosted a New Year’s Eve party for the IMR Team**

Overall, this has been an eye opening and humbling experience. There is so much that we take for granted, all the while our hearts are warmed when the patients expressed their appreciation. Many of them left the clinic with a smile, their food donations in hand and waved as we passed by them. The community even threw us a New Year’s Party.

This was a fulfilling trip for everyone involved. It has been so rewarding to help the underserved, and the experience has truly showed us what global nursing really is all about.

**One of the little girls who was excited to receive food donations from the Vietnamese community.**


Posted in Class of 2017, Class of 2018, community involvement, Guest Writer, Hahn School of Nursing, International Program, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Nursing Students travel to Tijuana for Health Fair at Casa de Las Memorias

health fair with children

This post is written by guest writer, 2nd year MEPN, Amena Adams

On Saturday 12/2/2017, eighteen nursing students dedicated their time and effort to a Health Fair conducted at Casa de Las Memorias, in Tijuana, Mexico. The group was led by faculty leader Dr. Hutchins and student leaders Brittani De Riemer and Amena Adams. First and second year MEPN students, a DNP student, and a recent MEPN alum spent weeks prior to the Health Fair planning their teaching stations.

The Health Fair took place at Casa de Las Memorias, a facility that provides care and houses men, women, and children living with HIV/ AIDS and TB. Many of the patients there are longtime residents and contribute to the daily operations of the facility. Teaching stations were both culturally appropriate and specific to the needs of the residents: basic hand hygiene, nutrition, diabetes screening, TB, HIV, Hep A and Hep C, compressions only CPR, blood pressure readings and hypertension screening, and a children’s dental hygiene station.

“Health Passports” were distributed to facilitate the teaching sessions at each station. Upon completion of the “Health Passport,” residents received a gift bag of basic medical supplies. Local San Diego business and organizations such as Volunteers in Medicine, San Diego County Dental Society, and Carmel Valley Pediatrics donated supplies to fill these gift bags.

For something as seemingly simple as providing health education, our presence at Casa de Las Memorias had a profound impact on the residents and will leave a lasting impression on the nursing students who participated.

Health Fair-Dec2017

Posted in Class of 2018, Class of 2019, community involvement, International Program, Pipeline program, What is a MEPN program? | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

5 Tips to Help Students Focus Better.

As we get ready for finals, I thought you might like to read these 5 tips from Dr Andrea Dinardo on how to focus better. Good Luck!

Thriving Under Pressure

This post was inspired by the one question students ask year after year:

“How can I focus better when I study?”

Focus has as much to do with what happens before you study as what happens while you are studying.


1. Remove ALL distractions.

  • Shut off your phone. Better yet — put it awayJust looking at it takes up mental space
  • Research shows the mere presence of a smartphone on your desk impairs intellect and reduces brain power.
  • And if you can’t trust yourself to hit the switch – lock your phone in the trunk of your car and give a trusted friend the key until you are done studying. No kidding!
  • You’ll miss it for the first 20 minutes of your study session, then you’ll forget all about it.
  • Bonus = you’ll get twice as much work done in half the time.

2. Be an ACTIVE studier.

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A Report from the National Student Nurses’ Association Conference

This post is written by guest writer, Kristi Armstrong, 2nd year MEPN

NSNA Keynote with MEPNs 2017

(USD MEPN Students Brittani De Reimer, Evan Gum, Ann Lawani, Kristi Armstrong, Coco Watase, and Kira Adsit with keynote speaker Dr. Mary Foley)

Recently, I had the opportunity along with several of my fellow MEPN students to represent USD at the National Student Nurses’ Association (NSNA) Mid-Year Career Planning Conference. The meeting was held in San Diego but there was significant turnout from students and faculty across the country.

The first day culminated with the keynote address by Mary Foley, PhD, RN, FAAN, titled “The Future of Nursing: Tag You’re It!” In this address, Dr. Foley spoke to the exciting future of nursing related to changes in technology, workforce demographics and public views of healthcare. After the address, she answered questions from the audience and discussed her international work in Rwanda with USD students.

Over the period of several days, the conference offered interactive lectures ranging in topic from how to improve study skills, improve professional marketability and education about nursing licensure. The NSNA also provided many opportunities for networking and career planning. One panel in particular titled “The Leading Edge of Nursing” featured several emerging nursing roles in healthcare and included USD’s own Eileen Fry-Bowers, PhD, JD, RN, CPNP who discussed her career in child advocacy and health policy.

Eileen Fry Bowers at NSNA

(Dr. Eileen Fry Bowers addresses the NSNA Conference audience as part of the “Leading Edge in Nursing Panel”)

In addition, the exhibit hall allowed attendees to explore professional organizations, hospital systems, and nursing schools across the United States including some from our own backyard such as SHARP Healthcare, UCLA Health, and USD.  Although some were not applicable for my own intended career path, I enjoyed speaking with many representatives who were happy to discuss their healthcare expertise and provide valuable insight into the endless career opportunities for registered nurses.

Overall, I found the NSNA Mid-Year Conference experience invaluable for networking, career planning and learning more about the nursing profession. Thank you, Dr. Marsh, for your student sponsorship for this event! I highly recommend for MEPN students in the future!

NSNA Photo 3 - Fundraiser (1)

(USD students donate with photo to raise money for nursing scholarships)
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A Report from the 10th Annual Collaborative EBP Conference

This post is written by guest writer, Jason Vazquez, 2nd year MEPN student


(Jason Vazquez, Anne Vien, Dr Laurie ecoff, Evan Gum, & Amena Adams at conference)


Attention, current and future MEPNs…Evidence-Based Practice (EBP) is not going away so pay good and close attention in Dr. Stacey and Dr. Ecoff’s classes.

The 10th Annual Collaborative EBP Conference was held on Tuesday, November 7, 2017 and it was engaging and very informative.  It was exciting to see many local healthcare facilities take part in this event and see what issues nurses care most about.

EBP Conference Take-Aways:

  • Start small and don’t quit
  • Lead with passion
  • Sell the change via patient outcomes
  • Need consistent or constant coaching
  • “Early Adaptors” are key to diffuse information
  • Communication is key
  • Effective feedback is necessary
  • Coach-Coach-Coach
  • Can’t be an Agent of Change without being present

Notable Mentions:

  • Out of 15 poster presentations, 3 were voted in the following categories:
    • Best Design
      • “Identification of Preceptor Support Needs” by Heather Garcia and Casey Blalock from Rady’s Children Hospital
    • Most Likely to Adopt
      • “Jacobs ICU Nurse Mentorship Project” by Halley Yarvitz (USD MEPN Graduate) and Truong-Giang Huynh from UCSD Health
    • Best Innovation
      • “Impact of Education on Cell Phone Cleaning Knowledge and Practices Among NICU Visitors and Staff” by Molly Reid and Lynne Keegan from Sharp Mary Birch Hospital

We are fortunate to have EBP experts educate and prepare us for success, for we are all future agents of change!

EBP-EBP Fellows and Mentors

(EBP Fellows and Mentors)

Posted in Class of 2018, Evidenced Based Practice | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

MEPNs participate in USD Employee Wellness

Wellness fair-2017-Abby

This post is written by 2nd year MEPN, Abby Miceli

On October 19th, second year students in the Master’s Entry Program in Nursing (MEPN) attended the USD Health and Retirement Fair at the Hahn University Center.  The fair was geared towards promoting a healthy lifestyle and providing education towards future retirement. Under the supervision of Dr. Lyn Puhek, four students hosted a blood pressure and biometrics screening booth for interested USD employees.

Over the course of the event the students screened approximately 50 staff members using manual blood pressure cuffs and a sliding weight column scale to help identify at-risk employees. The MEPN students also handed out educational material from the Hahn School of Nursing with tips to reduce blood pressure and offered advice to faculty identified with high blood pressure or Body Mass Index (BMI).

Overall, it was a great opportunity to give back to the employees of the University and a chance to practice our manual blood pressure cuff skills.  Even the school mascot, Diego Torero, stopped by to get his blood pressure checked near the end of the event. Keep up whatever diet and exercise plan you are on Diego, your blood pressure is perfect!

Wellness fail-2017-2

Posted in Class of 2018, community involvement, Guest Writer, Hahn School of Nursing, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Volunteering at Emergency Department (ED) Kids Day. This post is written by guest writer and 2nd year MEPN, Kristna White

IMG_5769     On October 14, 2017, I had the opportunity to participate in Sharp Memorial’s Emergency Department (ED) Kids Day. This event, hosted every October, is staffed by the ED nurses at Sharp Memorial, under the direction of ED Nurse Educator, Lovely Bolano.

     Each year, more than 25.5 million children, under the age of 18 years old visit the ED. The goal of Kids Day is to educate children and parents on safety and to teach the community how to handle emergency situations.

At this event there were several stations set up where kids met with representatives from the San Diego County’s Sheriff Department, the Fire Department, and the staff of the ED. The kids took a tour through the emergency room and participated in a mock disaster drill.  My son, particularly liked being strapped to a stretcher and rolled through the decontamination tent, as nurses in Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) explained how to respond to a contamination disaster.

For the big finale, the Mercy Air helicopter did a few fly-bys and landed on the helipad.  It was a fun, informative way to reinforce safety habits so children do not end up in the ED.  I feel very fortunate to have been be able to volunteer my time for this worthwhile community outreach event.

IMG_5770 (1)

                        Ryder White (age 2 years) trying on safety helmet


Blake White (4 years old), getting a tour of Sheriff Iverson’s vehicle

Posted in Class of 2018, community involvement, Guest Writer | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Two hundred attend MEPN Open House

Campus (13 of 50)

It was a full house on Saturday morning as two hundred potential nursing students attended the MEPN Open House. After a short presentation by Dr Kathy Marsh, current MEPN students took to the stage for a question and answer session. Everything from letters of recommendation, volunteer hours, clinical sites,  preparing for the NCLEX exam, to balancing school and family was covered.

Special thanks to MEPN students for giving up a Saturday morning to ‘pay it forward’.


Amena Adams                        Kelsey Marckstadt

Kristi Armstrong                    Abby Miceli

Malie Cabugao                       Harmoni Morales

Nicole Conner                        Elizabeth Oliver

Evan Gum                               Sarah Rosenfeld

Ann Lawani                            Jason Vazquez

Hannah Lim

Ms. Cathleen Mumper, Director of Student Services, and assistant Ms Anne Pascuale were on site to answer specific questions related to the applications.

Questions about your MEPN application? Contact Ms Cathleen Mumper, Director of Student Services at:




Posted in Hahn School of Nursing, What is a MEPN program? | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Dean Georges begins academic year with a prayer

jane Georges-cropped

Today marked the start of the 2017-2018 academic year. Yesterday, Dean Jane Georges welcomed new students at the new student luncheon and today welcomed faculty back from summer break by offering a prayer for the new year. Let us pray…

Dear Creator of the universe, whom we know by many Names:

 Be with us as we gather together here.

 We ask for your help for this upcoming year.

Let our school be a place of transformation for all of us.

Let our school be a place of healing.

Let our school be a place of kindness.

In every committee meeting we attend and every email we send, let us show respect and humility.

 On days when the burden is heavy,

Let us remember You are with us.

 Let us be friends with You and friends with each other.

Let us bear one another’s burdens.

 We thank you for the miracle of this School

And the miracles that happen here every day.

 Our times are in Your Hands.

We ask this in Your name.


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New MEPNs welcomed into nursing at White Coat Ceremony

group shot

Friday evening, 64 MEPN students were welcomed into the nursing profession with a white coat ceremony . Faculty, family, and friends were in attendance as students walked across the stage to receive their white coat from lab faculty. The audience was addressed by Dr. Jane Georges and Dr. Kathy Marsh.

with students

Posted in Class of 2019, White Coat Ceremony | Tagged , | 1 Comment