Lumos Scholar Shares Her Experiences in Africa

Karah Waters standing with two Tanzanians

Lumos Scholar and recent Belmont  graduate Karah Waters is currently using her Nursing degree from the College of Health Sciences and Nursing to study healthcare in Tanzania.

Waters is currently interning and working as a nurse at Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es Salaam, a program that will last nine weeks. Her tenth and final week in Tanzania will be spent at the Kidodi Village Rural Healthcare Clinic.

She wrote, “I’ve also observed how different the lifestyles of the people are here and how that affects their health either positively or negatively and how it correlates with what I’ve seen in the hospital… I am in love with all of the people here and the various cultures are SO rich in Tanzania. I’ve learned so much!”

Waters is a recipient of the Lumos Award, coordinated through the Interdisciplinary Studies and Global Education department (ISGE).  The purpose of the award is to  transform the lives of young adults by enabling them to embark on a self-designed international working adventure. Recipients explore, engage and immerse themselves in local communities for a minimum of eight weeks in order to deepen their understanding of an issue, project or idea that impassions them.” Lumos Award recipients are expected to “travel with purpose.”

Belmont Adds ACE Resource Guide

The Gordon E. Inman Health Sciences building on a spring day with tulips in front of the building.

As part of a grant recently provided by Tennessee and administered through the Department of Children’s Services Building Strong Brains Initiative, Belmont’s College of Health Sciences and Nursing has developed a resource library to promote the understanding of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) for health care professionals. The library is part of Belmont’s Educating Trauma Information Professionals project.

Principal investigators Dean of the College of Health Sciences and Nursing Dr. Cathy Taylor and Associate Professor of Social Work Dr. Sabrina Sullenberger collaborated with Bunch Library faculty to develop the ACE Resource Guide. The guide provides access to the valuable library of materials collected to support professions that work alongside children and families during sensitive periods of development and beyond. The ACE Resource Guide is available to all Belmont students and faculty and can be accessed here.

Nursing Students Earn Top Honors at Internship Experience

Credo Winners with Dr. Leslie Folds

For the past seven weeks, 16 Belmont nursing students have participated in the Vanderbilt Experience: Student Nurse Internship Program (VESNIP), a summer internship program at Vanderbilt University Medical Center (VUMC), with students from four other regional nursing programs. Three Belmont nursing students were awarded the highest honors at the culminating awards ceremony held on Wednesday, June 29. Of the seven total awards given, three went to Belmont students.

VUMC credo behaviors identify those individuals that aspire to excellence and expert performance by making those they serve their highest priority, conducting themselves professionally, respecting confidentiality, communicating effectively, having a sense of ownership and exhibiting a commitment to colleagues. Carly Rabideau received the Credo Award for the Perioperative/PACU Track, Alexa Yatauro received the Credo Award in the Psychiatric Track and Sarah (Sally) Rogan received the Credo Award for the Critical Care Track.

The entire Belmont VESNIP group with Dr. Folds

All VESNIP participants with Dr. Leslie Folds (left).

This is the 12th year of the VESNIP program. The program began as a partnership between Belmont School of Nursing and Vanderbilt University Medical Center. It has now expanded to a total of 60+ students from four area nursing schools. VESNIP positions are very competitive and are considered elite opportunities for students from around the region. Associate Professor of Nursing Dr. Leslie Folds said, “Our students are exceptional and represent Belmont’s values throughout this program.  I was extremely impressed by not only the students’ professionalism, but their ability to engage in critical thinking, reflection and incorporation of evidence-based research to the clinical setting.”

All Credo Winners are pictured above with Dr. Folds.

Belmont Wins Inaugural Siloam Health’s Bridge Builder Award

Photo by Brad Moore / B.MOORE VISUALS. retired Belmont employees John and Nancy Le with University President Dr. Bob Fisher and Mrs. Judy Fisher.

Award given to recognize community partner committed to assisting Nashville’s New Americans

In honor of the University’s commitment to helping New Americans throughout the Nashville community, Belmont was recently honored with Siloam Health’s inaugural Bridge Builders Award. Belmont President Dr. Bob Fisher accepted the award at Siloam’s Amplify Nashville Awards Ceremony held on June 22 at Oz Arts. Belmont’s award by presented by Milton Johnson, CEO of HCA and Belmont trustee.

Siloam hosted the event to celebrate the immigrants and refugees who contribute to Nashville’s status as a growing, great city. The event celebrated four honorees for their tireless commitment to Nashville’s cultural diversity including:

  • Community Catalyst Award: Kasar Abdulla (Valor Collegiate Academies)
  • Good Neighbor Award: Fabian Bedne (Hispanic Family Foundation and Metro Council)
  • Culture Shaper Award: Cano and Esen Ozgener (OZ Arts Nashville)
  • Bridge Builder Award: Belmont University and Dr. Bob Fisher

Under Fisher’s leadership, Belmont consistently strives to align its vision with the ever-changing needs of its community and works to help New Americans get ahead with their education and in life. The University makes intentional efforts to hire documented, sponsored refugees, encouraging them to take advantage of the University’s educational offerings and covering the cost of ESL courses. Additionally, Belmont considers students living in the United States for admission without regard to immigration standing and offers support to assist foreign-born students with enrollment and the transition to college life.

Additionally, Belmont’s Colleges of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Nursing have been in partnership with Siloam for many years. Dr. Elissa Greene, assistant professor of pharmacy, practices at Siloam when she isn’t teaching at Belmont and hosts student pharmacists daily for clinical rotations. Students serve as resources for medical personnel, make recommendations on medication, provide patient and family counseling and make home visits, among other things. Nursing students also visit Siloam for clinical experiences, faculty members serve as regular volunteers and the College will be partnering with the organization’s faith-based, community health outreach program in the future.

John and Nancy Le, pictured above with Dr. and Mrs. Fisher, were also present at the ceremony. The Les, both retired Belmont employees, came to Nashville from Vietnam 25 years ago under Catholic Charities. They both worked at the University for more than 20 years, and four of their children and grandchildren have attended Belmont. Their story was shared at the event as an example of Belmont’s commitment to Nashville’s new Americans.

“It is so important for Belmont to serve the Nashville community,” Fisher said. “We are honored to call Nashville home, and it’s our privilege to serve our city’s newest residents through educational opportunities, employment and more. Siloam Health continues to do incredible work throughout our city, and we are so grateful to have been recognized with this award.”

Mission to Cambodia: Empowering Pharmacists at Hope Hospital

by Jade Readus Williams, Pharmacy Team

Illiteracy, especially health illiteracy, is a significant problem for many of the people in Cambodia. A few days ago, the Pharmacy team got the opportunity to teach the pharmacists at Hope Hospital how to communicate with patients with low health illiteracy. Throughout the presentation, we discussed how to use pictograms, body language, and verbal communication to educate patients about their medications. Afterwards, we asked the pharmacists to give examples of how they would explain certain medications to illiterate patients. The Hope Hospital pharmacists were eager to present their examples.  It was inspiring to see the pharmacists apply what we had taught them. It emphasized the fact that we can really make a change through teaching and empowering the people of Cambodia. I am so grateful to be a part of the awesome work that is happening here.

Simulation Lab Named in Honor of Memorial Foundation’s Founding President, J.D. Elliott

D. J. Elliott Simulation Lab presentation to the family at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. February 15, 2017.

In a ceremony held last semester, Belmont’s College of Health Sciences and Nursing named its pediatric/obstetric simulation lab in honor of one of the college’s benefactors, the late J.D. Elliott. Elliott served as the founding president of the Memorial Foundation, which has donated more than $2 million to Belmont University over the past 20 years, almost all of which has gone to support health science and nursing education. In 2013, the Foundation granted Belmont $217,000 to renovate the lab space, purchase a new simulation Sim Mom manikin and update the lab’s simulation equipment.

Dr. Perry Moulds, Belmont’s vice president for development and external relations, said, “J.D. Elliott was a legend in this town not simply due to his role leading the Memorial Foundation nor for the countless boards and nonprofits where he donated his time and energy. Rather, his reputation centered on how he did everything he did—with compassion, humility and heart. We are proud to name this lab in his honor and hope that generations of health science practitioners to come will be inspired be his legacy.”

Mr. Elliott’s wife Anita, along with his daughter and son-in-law, Juanita and Jeff Stewart, attended the naming ceremony which included a reception and brief demonstration of the lab. Several guests from The Memorial Foundation also attended the event, including Foundation President Scott Perry and Foundation Board Member Drew Maddux, who also serves on the Belmont University Board of Trustees.

Perry said, “Throughout his long, successful career in healthcare, Mr. Elliott was always a strong proponent of quality education for the next generation of health care providers. He believed it was critically important in helping to promote increased access to quality health care services for all people. He was particularly impressed with the advanced technology for instruction such as this simulation lab that provides the opportunity for hands-on, experiential learning and that bridges the gap between theory and practice in a safe environment. Although Mr. Elliott was a humble man, I believe he would be happy to see this new Simulation Lab and would be humbled to have it named in his honor.”

At the time of his death in 2015, Nashville Mayor Karl Dean noted, “J.D. was a great member of our community. He gave back in countless ways and touched many lives throughout Nashville and Middle Tennessee through his leadership of The Memorial Foundation and its charitable efforts.”

The Memorial Foundation’s mission is to improve the quality of life for people through support to nonprofit organizations. The Memorial Foundation responds to diverse community needs, assisting agencies that focus on: Access to Quality Health Care Services, Human & Social Services, Education, Senior Citizen Enrichment Services, Youth and Childhood Development, Substance Abuse Programs, and Community Services.

Mission to Cambodia: What I’ve Learned

by: Candida Damian

As our trip in Cambodia is coming to the final week, I have been looking back to everything that I have learned on this trip. Wow. What an amazing time I have had abroad in Cambodia. The experiences I have had here are unforgettable, and I can’t wait to bring stories back home to my family and friends.

Today, I had the opportunity of shadowing in the emergency department at CMH in Phnom Penh. The staff and nursing students were so open and nice to me while I was there. It is such an amazing privilege to be able to do what I love in another country. It makes me extremely proud to be a nurse in the near future. Nursing is needed everywhere in the world, and it is reassuring when nurses do things here similar to how we do things in the States. Nursing is so universal and it is vital in every place in the world.

Emergency departments have always interested me, so I was excited when I was able to shadow in the ED. It is very busy, but it can also be calm. The staff took great care of each and every patient, and it was nice to see when a patient could get up from the bed and walk away from the ED feeling better. I enjoyed comparing and contrasting the ED here in Phnom Penh to ED’s in the U.S. Even though certain things are different, at the end, they still both perform the same exact tasks. A nurse asked me if I wanted to perform an EKG on a patient. When I went up to the EKG machine, I noticed that it looked different from the EKG machines used in the States. The nurse then taught me how to use this machine. It is cool to see that even though they looked completely different exteriorly, it functioned the same way.

At the end of the day, we went to one of my favorite places for dinner. It is called ‘Friends’, and we all got tapas. The reason why I love this place so much is because we all share our food. I love sharing and I love food, so putting it together is great. The food is so good, and I left with a satisfied belly. Some of us ended the night with a massage. I really enjoy getting massages here because it is cheap, and the masseuse was extremely nice. In all, today was great and I’m looking forward to our final days here in this beautiful country.

Mission to Cambodia: Our Last Clinic

By Courtney Bell, Undergrad Nursing Student
Today our entire team traveled to our last clinic at a school called the Light of Future School. As we pulled into the large field outside of the village where the school was, we could see tiny specks of the school children in their uniforms coming together to greet us. The moment we stepped out of our vans, the kids were saying “Hello” simultaneously, and waving at us with excited smiles. I instantly received a hug that lasted a couple minutes from a young girl who I had never met before. Her sweet embrace and the bright eyes of the other school children was enough to wake us up from our sleepiness.
After stepping over a large pile of trash into the entrance of the village area, we walked down a narrow passageway leading to the living room sized area where we would be setting up the clinic. We passed an assortment of rooms on our left with a brick wall on our right separating us from the field outside. Every once in a while, a moto would pass through the narrow passageway, and the children would move their friends out of the way.
After having had several clinics beforehand, we felt like pro’s setting up the stations. Per usual, the stations included “gatekeeper” (who got everyone’s height and weight and monitored who was seen next), triage and vitals, eye exams and musculoskeletal tests, assessments and prescriptions from the nurse practitioner students, finishing with the pharmacy/ prayer station.
Although the majority of the patients were children in today’s clinic, there were a handful of adults who came through. The children waited patiently outside the fence with their backpacks and chairs, and we called in patients one by one. We had the chance to play games with the kids, teach them songs, learn Khmer from them, and get a bunch of hugs and giggles.
One of my favorite moments in the clinic was watching Candida, a nursing student, do a chicken walk with the children to test their musculoskeletal systems while balking like a chicken. The kids laughed and giggled with big smiles, as it was a fun innovation to our clinic.
We also had some interesting encounters with the squatty-potty today, as it was pitch black and flooded on the floor. Some individuals faced the unfortunate consequences of stepping in the puddle and soaking their feet, but this was not a trial too much worse from some of our other situations on this trip. As Dr. Taplin always quotes, “T.I.C.B.- This is Cambodia, Baby.”
We had a full clinic day with lots of sweat, some dehydration, laughter,  and a lovely applause after our very last patient. This was a bittersweet moment for us knowing that we were finished with clinics, but also recognizing our efforts and accomplishments through all the clinics we had on this trip.
Tonight we enjoyed dinner at Khmer Surin Restaurant, or as we know it, the place with the really pretty elephant plates and yummy mango sticky rice, and said farewell to our beloved nurse practitioner students, Kim and Paige, as they headed to the airport to make it home in time for classes.

Mission to Cambodia: Siem Reap to Phenom Penh

Today we traveled from Siem Reap back to Phenom Penh. Our time in Siem Reap on Friday night and Saturday was a relaxing break from the busy three days at clinic. On Sunday morning, we ate breakfast at the hotel and then all loaded onto our bus for the trip back to our Cambodian home, the Golden Gate Hotel. We started our bus ride with a devotion, as we do most days. Dr. Taplin quoted Mother Teresa about giving ourselves and our time to individuals and organizations rather than just giving only money – although both are so important! This was impactful because it related to our trip in that we have been giving our time and our hearts to the people of Cambodia, even if we sometimes feel that our efforts aren’t making much of a difference.

Many of us, including myself have struggled with feeling we aren’t making an impact. With the vast amount of help we can’t provide and the presence of bad, it can be difficult to reframe how we view things, and focus on the good. The positive we have experienced is that in only three days, we were able to work together to serve over two hundred people at clinics. That was hopefully impactful for each of the people who were able to come and was all due to God. His hand was evident in partnering with organizations here and bringing people to the clinics. On the other hand, I feel as if we aren’t able to do a lot for many of these people. Many come dehydrated. While we provide oral rehydration solution and teaching about clean water, the fact remains that clean water can be difficult to come by. Our translators are incredible, but it can still be difficult to communicate medication and teaching, so at that point we simply have to trust that God is in control. All this to say, this devotion was encouraging that we were making a difference – however big or small – on the people we interact with daily.

Since it was Sunday, we worshipped together after the devotion. We began with a song led by Dr. Taplin and then continued to worship for another hour. It was a really meaningful time for many of us, even though it wasn’t your traditional worship service. We just sang with our voices as we drove through the small provinces and looked out the windows, which was a unique experience. After a time of seeing much heartache and little time to process, this was an encouraging time to be reminded that God is in control and has His hand on each of the people of Cambodia.

Daily we do highs and lows, which is a really growing aspect of our group. Even though we spend the majority of each day together, we each have different experiences and perspectives. Since the last few days had been busy, we hadn’t had an opportunity to gather and share. Hearing about everyone’s experiences with our last clinic, visit to the temple, and all the in between moments was so insightful. By the time we had finished our devotion, worship, and highs and lows, it was already time to stop for lunch! After a long lunch – serving twenty people always seems to take a bit of time – we were back on the road.

A few hours later, we stopped at a market from the recommendation of our bus driver. As you can see from the pictures, it wasn’t your traditional market and had assorted bugs. Four of us brave souls ate a fried tarantula. This moment was one we had both looked forward to and dreaded for months coming up to the trip. Some also enjoyed fried crickets and rice filled bamboo. Others stuck to the comfort and coolness of ice cream. Each experience has been unique, and this market was no exception! The delicious treats aside, we were back on the road! We arrived back in Phenom Penh and had a relatively uneventful evening back at the Golden Gate. We enjoyed being welcomed back by Heim and the fellow staff and had dinner at the Blue Pumpkin. We feel rested from the weekend and are ready for this next week in Phenom Penh – the last for many of us!

Mission to Cambodia: First Day Back in Phnom Penh!

Today was a much needed recuperation day for us undergrads! We’re all so thankful to be back in Phnom Penh, because it’s really started to feel like home.

We began the morning with our familiar breakfast here at the Golden Gate Hotel (lots of mangoes for me!) and then had our daily devotional. We then broke into our individual pairs and prepped some for our teaching day later this week. We have the opportunity to teach some students at the hospitals, so we whipped our power points into shape and went over what we would say and do with our students. We had some free time this afternoon (a rare and beautiful thing) so a couple of us went to a local coffee shop to catch up on neglected school work. The shop we went to felt very much like home: modern, air-conditioned, and with good wifi. It’s cool to think about those shared experiences we have with the students here of going to trendy coffee shops to desperately try to study or write an assignment. It was also a huge relief to feel like I’m caught up with school and not let it distract me from all the amazing things we’re doing here. 

For lunch we ate at one of our favorite restaurants! It’s a favorite mostly because they serve amazing western food, including milkshakes. I know I left happy, and it looked like the rest of the table was pleased with their meals too. It’s hard to dine with so many people sometimes because Cambodians just bring out the food whenever it’s done, so by the time the last person gets their food half the table is usually finished. This bothered me a little when we first arrived because it felt rude to not wait for everyone but I think we’ve all learned that if we waited everything would get cold. It’s a small difference between here and the US, but it’s really noticeable with a group of 20 dining at a small establishment. 

The afternoon was free for us as well, so a group of us went to the central market! We’ve been to several markets before but I think this one was by far the largest. It was open air, though, and partially indoors in a spacious building, so it didn’t feel as suffocating as the Russian market feels. I proudly walked out without spending a penny, but several of us left with multiple sey, a small toy that you use to play a game similar to hacky sack. It’s our favorite game to play down in the lobby during the evenings, so I expect quite a few of you family members and friends will be introduced to it when we all get home. After the market, a large group decided to make their way back to a coffee shop to work. I, feeling that I had accomplished enough that morning, made the executive decision to take a nap instead. It was very much needed after our long days of travel and temples and clinics. 

Dinner was another lovely meal at our most frequent stop, Anise. They have such a good variety, so everyone leaves with something they liked. I know a few of us were feeling a little ill, but the group stayed positive and we had a great dinner regardless. There was plenty of lime soda all around!

To top off a very good day, a few of us played sey before heading off for a massage. This was my first massage experience here in Cambodia, and while it was fun I don’t think I’ll be joining the ranks of the massage enthusiasts. I am far too ticklish to have a stranger touch my feet, but I’m glad I finally experienced what all the hype was about! It was a peaceful way to wind down and de-stress a little on an absolute whirlwind of a trip.