MEPNs walk to support mental health issues

This post is written by guest writer, Evan Gum, 1st year MEPN

Evan Gum

1st year Evan Gum discusses new Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation treatment for severe depression

On a warm Saturday morning, April 29th several 1st year MEPN students elected to wake up early to participate in  the San Diego County’s National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) fundraising walk in Liberty Station. The walk was an excellent culmination of their psych clinical rotation demonstrating how patient advocacy continues beyond the hospital setting, and providing first hand insight into the resources available throughout the community. NAMI is an association of hundreds of local affiliates, state organizations and volunteers who work in communities nationwide as part of the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organizations. The organization works tirelessly to eliminate stigma and provide health services and support to the mentally ill using donations from fundraisers like the NAMI walk. Currently 1 in 5 Americans live with a mental health condition, and NAMI hopes to positively impact them all!


Sixteen students arrived at 7 AM sharp to check in and receive their official walk bibs as well as conduct a pre-brief with Professor Terri Fitzpatrick who was sponsoring the team. Several students even brought their family members who shared in the experience further promoting awareness of mental health issues. Before the start of the walk the group had the opportunity to engage with several of the sponsors of the event who set up booths along the starting line. Each booth represented a different community resource for the San Diego mentally ill population, which provided a diverse educational experience on the continuum of care.

group photo

From Left to Right: Karina Ochoa, Aya Dreze, Danika Johnson, Kristna White, Riley Cable, Ajay Kumra, Nichole Chung, Britney Aguirre, Katie Lam, Evan Gum, Krista Dwyer, Jean Hartley, Jason Vazquez, Sara Ryan, Rhonda Taylor, Abby Micieli and Terri Fitzpatrick pose at the start!

            The walk itself was a 5K along the beautiful shore of Liberty Station, and featured walkers from several hospital settings as well as sponsoring groups. Along the way students met many health care providers and patient advocates who modeled the community focused care model. After breaking a sweat the group reconvened to discuss what they had seen and learned throughout the day. Each remarked on how impressed they were by the outpouring of support for the event and the unique community resources available! The day was filled with smiles, laughter, and a positive outlook on the future. Students were grateful for the opportunity to expand their clinical experience to the community setting, and left the day with a much greater knowledge of the field!

Special thanks to Professor Terri Fitzpatrick for sponsoring the event and mentoring the MEPN students!

students learn about eating disorders

Students learn about eating disorders and local support resources

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Linda Vista Multicultural Fair attendees benefit from extensive health promotion teaching provided by MEPN students!

This post is written by guest writer, Dr Ann  Mayo

On Saturday April 22, USD MEPN students ran two Health Pavilion stations at the Linda Vista Multicultural Fair. Topics covered & delivered in English and Spanish to the very diverse community included oral hygiene, healthy eating, adult & infant CPR, and infant choking. Demonstrations of techniques were provided by the students followed by community member return demonstrations.

Students skillfully drew the community into the Health Pavilion area with the use of a bubble machine and a spinning wheel game with giveaway prizes. Colorful rulers, pencils and erasers were given to winners of the spinning wheel nutrition game. Toothpaste and toothbrushes were given away to those who demonstrated correct brushing techniques on the full mouth models. Interestingly, a number of community members asked if they could be certified/recertified in CPR at the students’ CPR demonstration station. While not set up for this, the students identified a community need – equally important and something to consider for the future.

Finally, USD MEPN students were responsible for checking that attendee Health Passports were signed off for each station in the Health Pavilion. For those who visited each station, the students provided a large bag of health-related items such as hand sanitizer, hand soap, and band aides. Thanks to all of the MEPN students who assembled these bags last week!

Drs. Hutchins, Mayo and Close had the privilege of supporting and being able to see first-hand these accomplished students in action!

Many thanks to 1st year MEPNs, Jean Hartley and Judith Ramirez for getting this event staffed and organized and to all of the MEPN students who attended the fair and provided such wonderful health promotion teaching to the Linda Vista community!


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MEPNs provide cardiac screenings for San Diego teens and young adults

This post is written by guest writer Manreet Sahota, 2nd year MEPN student

Save a life-2017-3

The first Eric Paredes, Save A Life Foundation’s Heart Screening at a university…OUR university, the UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO, was a success!

The Eric Paredes Foundation works tirelessly to make sure teens are screened for the possibility sudden cardiac death, the #1 killer of student athletes and contributes to the #2 medical cause of death under age 25, and the leading cause of death on school campuses.

When MEPNs awoke on Sunday morning, April 9th many did not realize they would help to SAVE A LIFE.

Sunday, April 9th, beginning at 7 am, about 60 MEPN nursing student volunteers displayed team work, compassion, and integrity while providing cardiac screening (EKGs) to teens and young adults. The event took place right here on campus in the School of Nursing and the Beyster Institute for Nursing Research (BINR).

Teens and parents checked in at the registration desk in the School of Nursing, then proceeded to a classroom where MEPN students taught teens and parents alike, the basics of CPR. Once participants could successfully demonstrate the technique of CPR, they moved into the BINR building where girls and boys were separated and received an EKG (a test that records the electrical activity of the heart over a period of time using electrodes placed on the skin).

After the EKG was completed, teens and parents moved to the cardiac echocardiogram station An echocardiogram [echo] is a test that uses high frequency sound waves (ultrasound). The test is also called echocardiography or diagnostic cardiac ultrasound. Volunteer echo techs and physicians specializing in cardiology discussed the likelihood of a sudden death experience happening to their child.

Throughout the day MEPN student leaders continued to receive compliments from parents about how well the nursing students were all doing. Parents were impressed with MEPN students ability to build rapport and engage the teen participants. MEPNS dedicated that day to helping 436 participants!

Just to put all of that into perspective for you, you screened:

436 students

at risk for Sudden Cardiac Death (SCA)

with previously undiagnosed cardiac abnormalities that require follow up

From learning how to properly use the new ECG machines to being so willing to float to each station, it is impossible to express the level of gratitude to the MEPN volunteers.

Many thanks to Dean Sally Hardin for all of her support with this student run project as well as; Dr. Cheryl Butera, Dr. Susie Hutchins, and Dr. Kathy Marsh.

Super, super thanks to 2nd year MEPNs Daniel Roderick and Kaylyn LaValle (especially for shopping for breakfast and lunch items).

Save a life-2017-4Evan GumAnn

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MEPNs prep for New-Grad Nursing interviews with ‘Mock Interviews’ in lab

Mock Interviews-2017

MEPNs came to lab last week dressed for success and ready for “Mock Interviews” (aka New grad Practice interviews) . A panel of 3-4 nurses interviewed each and every 2nd year MEPN. Each student was given a series of 3-4 interview questions to answer for the panel while classmates were in another room watching the interview on a big screen TV monitor and providing a critique. The interviews were video-recorded so students could go back and review whether or not they had the professional and polished look they were hoping for.

Good Luck on those interviews!

Dr. Marsh’s tips for your new grad interview

  1. Dress for Success – Keep your look basic and conservative, make sure you get your outfit cleaned, pressed, and tailored. Don’t forget about the little things: Shine your shoes, check for loose hems, and make sure your fingernails look manicured. This is the stuff that you don’t always think people notice, but they do!

Do a little pampering, because looking your best helps you feel your best. If that means you need a facial, haircut, razor shave, or even a new interview outfit, then by all means do it! Feeling good about yourself will boost your confidence.

Avoid low cut blouses, visible tattoos, and clothes that are too tight. You might be invited for a tour around the unit to which you are applying so avoid heels that are too high, making walking precarious.

  1. Know the hospital – Make sure you are familiar with the Mission and Vision for the hospital to which you are applying. Once you have mastered the mission and vision move on to the hospital’s website and Facebook page—the tone of the content on these sites will speak volumes. Or, try reading individual employees’ blogs to figure out what type of people work (and excel) there.

 3. Practice several interview questions with the no-fail, “Rocket Model”. Just like we practiced in the lab – you can avoid rambling by using the ‘Rocket Model’ which helps answer each interview question in 90 seconds, or less. All of our graduating MEPNs  have received a copy of the most recent ‘new grad’ interview questions. Review and practice.


                       Answer the message – ‘Yes’ or ‘No’

-‘My role was…’

– ‘Our goal was…’

Specific Proof – ‘for example…’

         Audience Connection – ‘this is important because…’

Conclusion  –  ‘to sum up…’

  1. Find out who will be on your interview panel – When you are informed of your interview time it is okay to ask who will be on your panel. Try to find out the department in  which the panelists work and their title. Bring enough copies of your resume as well as your portfolio so all panel members have their own copy during the interview.

5. Write a thank you note – just like mom always told you – Manners count. A short hand written thank you note lets interviewers know you appreciate the interview opportunity and you are looking forward to being a part of their team.

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1st year MEPNs in lab for schizophrenia case study

Psych case-2017

First year MEPN students were in the lab last week practicing newly acquired psychiatry nursing skills. Working in teams, students incorporated nursing theory and research to provide care to a standardized patient with a diagnosis of schizophrenia.

Psych faculty, Dr. Semira Asaro was pleased with the experience. “I believe our MEPN students will be well prepared to provide care to this patient population. Students practiced interviewing skills, and then as a group discussed treatment plans. Well done.”

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MEPN alums return to campus for champagne reception


Approximately fifty MEPN alums and their guests returned to campus on Tuesday evening, February 28th to celebrate their successful pursuit of nursing careers.  After opening remarks by Dean Hardin and Dr. Kathy Marsh guests enjoyed a tour of the Beyster Institute for Nursing Research and marveled at the changes to the School of Nursing since their graduation.

It was a wonderful evening to catch up with old friends, make new friends, and network with local nurses.




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Coronado High School participates in Pipeline Program

This post is written by guest writer, Tina Chung, 2nd year MEPN

Just a couple of weeks ago, we welcomed Coronado High School students to our Standardized Patient and Simulation lab to share a glimpse of what nursing is all about. The 34 Coronado High Students were enrolled in  a sports medicine/first aid class, and some students had some background knowledge regarding basic health education. After introductions, MEPN nursing students shared personal stories on their journey to nursing. We talked about the many types of nursing one can go into, from bedside nursing, school nursing, camp nursing, to even flight nursing!

Afterward, it was time for some tactile learning. We set up 5 different stations listed below:

  • Demonstrating a dressing change on a pressure ulcer and incision model
  • Listening to the heart and lungs of a baby, and how to hold and swaddle a newborn
  • How to palpate a radial pulse, using a Doppler to detect pulses, and taking a blood pressure
  • Running the simulation man and explaining what is happening
  • Showing differences between normal vs. abnormal eyes and ears

Photos 1 -4, left to right

Brittani De Riemer, 1st Year MEPN, demonstrating a dressing change.

Annette Diaz-Santana, 2nd Year MEPN, showing students how to swaddle an infant.

Anne Vien and Kira Adsit, 1st Year MEPNs, using a Doppler to detect a pulse.

Marissa Munsayac, DNP Student, teaching a student how to use the opthalmoscope to see differences between a normal and abnormal eye.

The Coronado High School students were very engaged and loved the hands-on activities. Each student learned how to use a stethoscope to listen to the heart and lungs, and asked questions such as, “What is the other side of the stethoscope (bell) used for?”


After a grand tour of our Beyster Institute for Nursing Research, we debriefed back in lab and answered questions about a career in nursing. A handful of students were inspired to learn more about nursing, and asked how they can become involved to see if this profession is a good fit for them. We mentioned a great starting point would be to volunteer at a hospital and shadow a nurse to learn what it’s like in a typical day.


The MEPN volunteers all enjoyed working with the high school students, teaching a few basic nursing skills, but more importantly opening the minds of the high school students to a possible career in nursing.

We hope Coronado High School students will keep nursing as a possible option when considering their future careers!

Special thank you to the MEPN volunteers noted below for helping out with this event:

  • Ann Lawani
    Anne Vien
    Annette Diaz
    Brittani De Riemer
    Evan Gum
    Jaime Carroll
    Kira Adsit
    Lindsey Binkle
    Marissa Munsayac
    Patrick Humphries
  • Tina Chung
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Michelle Glathe and Nicole Galicia receive Soroptomist scholarships


Nicole (left) and Michelle (right) with scholarship certificate

First year MEPN, Michelle Glathe and second year MEPN, Nicole Galicia each received a $5,000 scholarship from the Soroptimist International of Vista at the annual Awards Gala last Sunday. Both recipients eloquently shared with the audience their nursing plans post-graduation.

Last year’s winners, MEPN alums, Christina Dukovich and Sasha Leucke were also in attendance and both updated Soroptimist members on their nursing positions at Sharp Memorial in the SICU.

Soroptimist is an international volunteer organization for business and professional women who work to improve the lives of women and girls. The organization is committed to helping women and girls achieve their individual and collective potential, realize their aspirations and have an equal voice in creating strong, peaceful communities worldwide.

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Barack Obama talks about risks to American Health Care


The new White House administration has plans for the Affordable Care Act (ACA). As nurses, we need to know what is at risk for our patients. Past President, Mr. Barack Obama, has written a perspective for The New England Journal of Medicine. 

Be an advocate for your patients. Become informed. See article below.


Obama, B. H. (2017)  Repealing the ACA without a Replacement -The Risks to American Health Care. N Engl J Med, 376 (4) ,297-299, DOI: 10.1056/NEJMp1616577

Health care policy often shifts when the country’s leadership changes. That was true when I took office, and it will likely be true with President-elect Donald Trump. I am proud that my administration’s work, through the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and other policies, helped millions more Americans know the security of health care in a system that is more effective and efficient. At the same time, there is more work to do to ensure that all Americans have access to high-quality, affordable health care. What the past 8 years have taught us is that health care reform requires an evidence-based, careful approach, driven by what is best for the American people. That is why Republicans’ plan to repeal the ACA with no plan to replace and improve it is so reckless. Rather than jeopardize financial security and access to care for tens of millions of Americans, policymakers should develop a plan to build on what works before they unravel what is in place.

Thanks to the ACA, a larger share of Americans have health insurance than ever before.1 Increased coverage is translating into improved access to medical care — as well as greater financial security and better health. Meanwhile, the vast majority of Americans still get their health care through sources that predate the law, such as a job or Medicare, and are benefiting from improved consumer protections, such as free preventive services.

We have also made progress in how we pay for health care, including rewarding providers who deliver high-quality care rather than just a high quantity of care. These and other reforms in the ACA have helped slow health care cost growth to a fraction of historical rates while improving quality for patients. This includes better-quality and lower-cost care for tens of millions of seniors, individuals with disabilities, and low-income families covered by Medicare, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. And these benefits will grow in the years to come.

That being said, I am the first to say we can make improvements. Informed by the lessons we’ve learned during my presidency, I have put forward ideas in my budgets and a July 2016 article2 to address ongoing challenges — such as a lack of choice in some health insurance markets, premiums that remain unaffordable for some families, and high prescription-drug costs. For example, allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices could both reduce seniors’ spending and give private payers greater leverage. And I have always welcomed others’ ideas that meet the test of making the health system better. But persistent partisan resistance to the ACA has made small as well as significant improvements extremely difficult.

Now, Republican congressional leaders say they will repeal the ACA early this year, with a promise to replace it in subsequent legislation — which, if patterned after House Speaker Paul Ryan’s ideas, would be partly paid for by capping Medicare and Medicaid spending. They have yet to introduce that “replacement bill,” hold a hearing on it, or produce a cost analysis — let alone engage in the more than a year of public debate that preceded passage of the ACA. Instead, they say that such a debate will occur after the ACA is repealed. They claim that a 2- or 3-year delay will be sufficient to develop, pass, and implement a replacement bill.

This approach of “repeal first and replace later” is, simply put, irresponsible — and could slowly bleed the health care system that all of us depend on. (And, though not my focus here, executive actions could have similar consequential negative effects on our health system.) If a repeal with a delay is enacted, the health care system will be standing on the edge of a cliff, resulting in uncertainty and, in some cases, harm beginning immediately. Insurance companies may not want to participate in the Health Insurance Marketplace in 2018 or may significantly increase prices to prepare for changes in the next year or two, partly to try to avoid the blame for any change that is unpopular. Physician practices may stop investing in new approaches to care coordination if Medicare’s Innovation Center is eliminated. Hospitals may have to cut back services and jobs in the short run in anticipation of the surge in uncompensated care that will result from rolling back the Medicaid expansion. Employers may have to reduce raises or delay hiring to plan for faster growth in health care costs without the current law’s cost-saving incentives. And people with preexisting conditions may fear losing lifesaving health care that may no longer be affordable or accessible.

Furthermore, there is no guarantee of getting a second vote to avoid such a cliff, especially on something as difficult as comprehensive health care reform. Put aside the scope of health care reform — the federal health care budget is 50% bigger than that of the Department of Defense.3 Put aside how it personally touches every single American — practically every week, I get letters from people passionately sharing how the ACA is working for them and about how we can make it better. “Repeal and replace” is a deceptively catchy phrase — the truth is that health care reform is complex, with many interlocking pieces, so that undoing some of it may undo all of it.

Take, for example, preexisting conditions. For the first time, because of the ACA, people with preexisting conditions cannot be denied coverage, denied benefits, or charged exorbitant rates. I take my successor at his word: he wants to maintain protections for the 133 million Americans with preexisting conditions. Yet Republicans in Congress want to repeal the individual-responsibility portion of the law. I was initially against this Republican idea, but we learned from Massachusetts that individual responsibility, alongside financial assistance, is the only proven way to provide affordable, private, individual insurance to every American. Maintaining protections for people with preexisting conditions without requiring individual responsibility would cost millions of Americans their coverage and cause dramatic premium increases for millions more.4 This is just one of the many complex trade-offs in health care reform.

Given that Republicans have yet to craft a replacement plan, and that unforeseen events might overtake their planned agenda, there might never be a second vote on a plan to replace the ACA if it is repealed. And if a second vote does not happen, tens of millions of Americans will be harmed. A recent Urban Institute analysis estimated that a likely repeal bill would not only reverse recent gains in insurance coverage, but leave us with more uninsured and uncompensated care than when we started.5

Put simply, all our gains are at stake if Congress takes up repealing the health law without an alternative that covers more Americans, improves quality, and makes health care more affordable. That move takes away the opportunity to build on what works and fix what does not. It adds uncertainty to lives of patients, the work of their doctors, and the hospitals and health systems that care for them. And it jeopardizes the improvements in health care that millions of Americans now enjoy.

Congress can take a responsible, bipartisan approach to improving the health care system. This was how we overhauled Medicare’s flawed physician payment system less than 2 years ago. I will applaud legislation that improves Americans’ care, but Republicans should identify improvements and explain their plan from the start — they owe the American people nothing less.

Health care reform isn’t about a nameless, faceless “system.” It’s about the millions of lives at stake — from the cancer survivor who can now take a new job without fear of losing his insurance, to the young person who can stay on her parents’ insurance after college, to the countless Americans who now live healthier lives thanks to the law’s protections. Policymakers should therefore abide by the physician’s oath: “first, do no harm.”

Disclosure forms provided by the author are available at

The Massachusetts Medical Society copyright applies to the distinctive display of this New England Journal of Medicine article and not to the President’s work or words.

This article was published on January 6, 2017, at


Mr. Obama is the former President of the United States.


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Update from the students on the International trip to Mungeli, India

This Post is written by Guest writer, Professor Molly McAmis and the students accompanying her on the USD trip to CHRISTIAN HOSPITAL Mungeli, India



The bus driver drove  35 wild minutes into the community where we set up our mobile clinic. Making nothing into something to say the least. To see how we set up shop in an abandoned concrete structure was amazing. Half of the room was used for registration and triage, the other half was used for initial exams.

Once the villagers observed our presence they came in numbers. It became organized chaos! It was like an intrusive waiting game of who was going to be seen first. The triage team imputed patient information and took vitals for  all 56 patients  to be seen. From triage, the patients then headed over to see the physician. There was a trend of common diagnoses seen: fungal infections, gastritis, PID, and HTN. There were a few cases that stood out to us the most. First, was the woman who received cryotherapy for cervical cancer on the mobile clinic. Second, was a tribe of nomadic women who came with chief complaints of fever, dizziness, joint pain, and mouth ulcers. These women were known to chew tobacco and when they were told by the physician to stop chewing tobacco they literally laughed in his face. We were told that telling these women to stop chewing tobacco was like telling them to stop breathing.  After an eight hour day we were exhausted! However, it was an amazing day!



Second year MEPN student,  Hezekiah O’Neal with some of the CHM nursing students, provided health care to the local rural village.


Daniel Roderick, Marlisha Smith, and Bessie Coronado-Vigil boarding the mobile clinic bus.

Visiting the “bone-setter” or “QUACKS”


THE QUACKS ARE Practitioners of this type of medicine tell people that they can fix broken bones by applying certain oils and wrapping injured limbs in cardboard and string. The locals believe in this practice which makes it difficult for the medical doctors and staff at Christian Hospital Mungeli to intervene. The quacks lure the natives in with a 100% guarantee resolution of their ailments and an initially lower upfront cost. However, the price goes up as each day passes and the patient’s symptoms do not improve. Oftentimes, patients are coerced into staying at the Quack’s house for closer observation. Patient’s with broken bones are told they are unable to consume: milk products, meat, calcium, eggplant, sugar, and alcohol while healing. Today, we got to witness this first hand.

1.) Three adorable local village girls 2.) Pretti, a 7-year-old girl who fell off a roof 15 days and fractured her femur. She is “healing” at the quack’s house.  3) A local Quack

Daily Hospital Rounds and the school of nursing

 A day in the life of Christian MUNGELI Hostpial

Walking into the hospital impacts all of your senses. You walk through a group of at least 50 family members mingling outside of the ward entrance waiting anxiously in support of their loved one. Children are running and playing in the corridors and open areas. A little girl falls down, pops right back without notice, and goes on her way. As you’re standing there the smells of Indian food being cooked in the family area swift in and gets mixed with the construction of the new hospital going on and the diesel fuel from the row of motorcycles lining the left entrance of the ward. Dogs roam aimlessly and bask in the sun. An aviary houses a variety of birds and water fountains decorated with elephant statues in the middle. All around, you feel the energy of a constant buzz as hospital workers pass through with patients on gurneys. The OR (rather, OT-operation theater- as it is called here) is a short distance away from the ward. Passage is through the open corridors of the hospital. Machinery noises, crying babies, conversations, motorcycle rumbles, and music surrounds you and you’re at a standstill in awe that you’ve finally arrived to India.

As you walk through the doors, you’re welcomed with a doorman who controls how many family members enter the ward. To the left is the female ward and nursery. To the right is the male ward. In the middle, you have a step down/PACU unit and through the far side of that room you can access the Labor & Delivery room. Upstairs has the two ICUs and an overflow of the female ward. The outpatient department, dentist, pharmacy, injection room and offices are behind the OT. Upstairs the nursing school houses 3 classrooms and a library/conference room. There’s an organized flow to the hospital. Nursing students and staff nurses work alongside each other. At first you’re confused and overwhelmed with all the activity going on. But trust me, by your second and third day you’ve mastered the area well and don’t get lost going to the bathroom.

1.)Marlisha Smith promoting skin-to-skin to skin contact after delivery.

2.)Aishvarya Setlur teaching nursing students a Neuro assessment

3. ) Hezekiah O’Neal serving as a patient so nursing students can learn how to  perform a neuro assessment

4.) Marlisha Smith, Bessie Coronado-Vigil and Mungeli Nursing student Lolita.

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