Posts filed under ‘Features’

The Power of a Nurse: Penn State Health debuts photojournalistic project for National Nurses Week May 6-12

Mackenzie Bosse, a nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, leans over an older male patient and holds his hand. He is lying in a hospital bed and has a nasal cannula device for oxygen in his nose. A saline bag and other medications hang from a portable IV stand behind them, and a vital signs monitor is above the patient.

Mackenzie Bosse, a nurse in the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, helps a patient feel more comfortable.

By Carolyn Kimmel and Jenn Knepper

In nursing school, Chelsea Stoner learned all the necessary skills—patient assessment, medication calculations, charting—to train her for a career in health care, but nothing could prepare her for the raw emotions she would encounter.

“In every patient, I saw my neighbor, my father, my grandmother…I found myself crying in the supply room, in the parking garage and at home,” said Stoner, who works in Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s Medical Intermediate Care Unit (MIMCU). “To protect myself, I decided to shut it all off. I clocked in, did my job and left…But then I lost the most important part of nursing—the human connection.”

In time, Stoner, a registered nurse for four years, learned how to balance the many aspects of her role—technician, caretaker, physician partner, encourager—and contributor to some of the most important moments in a person’s life story.

“Some of these patients have lived for almost a century, and I get the honor of being the last person to care for them, to hold their hand and to pray with them,” she said. “This is what gets me through the day and helps me to keep doing what I’m doing.”


May 7, 2018 at 10:48 am Leave a comment

College of Medicine students combine teamwork, community health

Hershey Plaza Apartments resident Millie Taylor sits at a table and practices brushing a large set of plastic teeth as Penn State College of Medicine students look on. Taylor is wearing a patterned blouse, From left, the students are wearing a sweater jacket, a sweater and a lab coat. Behind them are bookshelves filled with books and games.

Penn State College of Medicine students teach Hershey Plaza Apartments resident Millie Taylor proper dental care.

By Carolyn Kimmel

Millie Taylor is stir-frying healthier dinners and not spending a fortune on them, thanks to information she learned from Penn State College of Medicine students at monthly health fairs that she doesn’t even have to leave home to attend.

“They taught me how to eat healthy on a limited budget and all kinds of other things, too,” the resident of Hershey Plaza Apartments said. “It’s a wonderful thing they’re doing. A lot of our neighbors here don’t get to the doctor or the dentist on a regular basis.”

Over the past three years, the College of Medicine’s Interprofessional Student Organization (IPSO) has facilitated 21 health fairs at the senior apartment complex that combine multidisciplinary learning with community health service.

Students from all disciplines—including the physician assistant program, nursing, medical, pharmacy, physical therapy and nutrition—plan and carry out the health fairs around themes such as diabetes and cardiovascular risk, medication safety and bone density evaluations.


May 2, 2018 at 12:40 pm Leave a comment

Cuban doctors work to reach their dreams through Hershey Medical Center program

By Diego Sandino

Participants use a heart monitor and mannequin to perform cardiology lab.

Participants of the International Medical Graduate Program work together on a cardiology lab exercise.

When Dr. Lidys Rivera Galvis arrived in the United States, one of her main goals was to take her licensing exam and then apply for residency to work as a doctor as she did in her native Colombia. What she didn’t know, however, was that achieving these goals would be a long and complex process — especially when one doesn’t know the language and has few economic resources or connections.

But with the help of Dr. Patricia Silveyra, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine, Dr. Daniel Weber, a retired obstetrician/gynecologist from Lancaster, Pa., and other community members, Rivera Galvis has successfully navigated her way through the system. She is currently serving as a fellow in Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center’s Simulation Education and Research Fellowship program and conducting her fellow project, an international medical graduate (IMG) program.

In January 2018, nine Cuban physicians began meeting at the Simulation Center once a week for four hours and learning from Rivera Galvis and Penn State College of Medicine faculty and students. After completing the yearlong program, these immigrant physicians will be better prepared to the United States Medical Licensing Examination. Step 1 of the exam assesses their knowledge and application of scientific concepts that are basic to practicing medicine.


April 25, 2018 at 12:01 pm Leave a comment

Music and inspiration take center stage at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Draped in polka dots, Mary-Kate Spring of the folk band Seasons plays a harp in the Penn State Cancer Institute lobby on Feb 8. She is wearing a polka dot top with a sweater.

Mary-Kate Spring of the Celtic folk band Seasons plucks the strings of her floor standing wooden harp in the Penn State Cancer Institute lobby.

By Michael Modes

Music is a universal language. It can inspire, nurture and calm the soul beyond words.

And at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, music is a soothing balm for patients, family and staff who flow throughout the facility daily, thanks to the Center Stage Arts in Health program. Lobbies, waiting rooms and common areas become comforting oases from the waves of stress, anxiety and drama found in any hospital environment.

The founders of Penn State College of Medicine blazed the trail for Center Stage by launching a humanities department in 1967. Like the College of Medicine’s Department of Family and Community Medicine—also celebrating its 50th anniversary—the Humanities Department was the first of its kind at any medical college in the U.S. As with anything new and different, people at the time questioned why a college of medicine needed a department associated with liberal arts education.

The answer was very simple.

The importance of humanistic treatment is the guiding principle of the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. And instilling this philosophy in the future doctors, nurses, faculty members and staff at the College of Medicine would result in a new breed of professionals providing care for the whole person – body, mind and soul – and elevate the college and its graduates in everyone’s eyes. The new department created a greenhouse for a variety of art and music therapies at the hospital like no other in the nation.

Center Stage Arts in Health - Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center

Some 50 years later, Center Stage arrived on the scene. “The program was a collaboration of hospital leadership, creative minds and the artist community.” said Claire de Boer, founder of Center Stage and current director of the Doctors Kienle Center for Humanistic Medicine, where Center Stage now resides. Today, Center Stage offers patients their choice of artworks to brighten their rooms, opportunities to create their own masterpieces while recuperating, creative writing classes with noted authors and more, in addition to its centerpiece of live music.


April 17, 2018 at 11:04 am Leave a comment

Man’s Best Friend Puts Young Patients at Ease

A Golden Retriever wearing a scarf sits on a radiology table with a three-year-old boy. The boy is wearing a hospital smock decorated with tigers. He is smiling and has his arm around the dog. In the background are radiology scanning equipment and a mural of a tree with birds.

Kaia helps Koltin Mason, a pediatric patient from York, get comfortable with the radiology equipment before his appointment in pediatric radiology.

By Marianne Clay

Four-year-old “Jake” wails as he crumples into a corner. Ten feet away looms a large, box-like machine, a CT scanner. For the last half hour, Jake’s parents, a Child Life specialist and a CT technician at Penn State Children’s Hospital, have been trying to both comfort and convince Jake to lie down on the scanner’s table at the machine’s center. “Look,” they say softly, “the table goes in and out of the tunnel like a train.” Their coaxing is not soothing Jake. Will Jake, like other young children, require anesthesia before they can perform this test?

“Kaia,” a pediatric radiologist suggests. “Let’s try Kaia.”

Kaia’s secondary handler and Child Life specialist for pediatric radiology, Alicia Cesare, quickly calls for Kaia. A few minutes later, a 50-pound golden retriever enters the room, her tail gently wagging. Ashley Kane, Child Life Program manager at the Children’s Hospital and Kaia’s handler, aka “mom,” walks over to Jake. Kaia slowly nuzzles the boy. Quietly, the dog and Jake visit together, and soon Kane and Cesare ask Kaia to climb on the scanner table. Kaia loves climbing on tables and looks so happy that Jake follows her. He pets Kaia. Eventually, he climbs on the table and lays down next to Kaia.

Kane suggests Jake give Kaia a high-five, so the boy raises his hands above his head, putting himself in perfect position for the scan. Kane whisks Kaia out of the room, while Jake’s parents stand nearby during his scan. Within moments, it’s finished, and Kane races Kaia back to rejoin Jake.


March 20, 2018 at 10:25 am Leave a comment

Strong Links in Chain of Survival Give Heart Attack Victim Second Chance

By Carolyn Kimmel

Cardiac arrest survivor Marty Woodfin smiles as she hugs Life Lion Paramedic Jeff Gewertz in the Life Lion garage. In the background, other paramedics smile and talk.

Marty Woodfin hugs Life Lion Paramedic Jeff Gewertz during a lunch to thank the first responders who saved her life.

When Penn State Children’s Hospital pediatrics nurse Marty Woodfin changed her walking routine from her neighborhood to the medical campus last July, she had no idea that decision would save her life—literally.

“It could have so easily been the end of my story that day,” said Woodfin, whose plan was to walk the path around the Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center before going home to nap and work nightshift in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.

Woodfin, 56, who has no health risks for cardiac arrest, was on the portion of the path that runs along Governor Road when she collapsed in view of passing traffic on Route 322.

“What happened on that day was a ‘perfect storm’ in the chain of survival, where all the links worked,” said Scott Buchle, Life Lion Emergency Medical Services (EMS) program manager. “They say it takes a village to raise a child. We say it take a small village of first responders to save a life.”


March 13, 2018 at 1:55 pm Leave a comment

College of Medicine Student Works to Improve Hygiene of Women and Girls in Nepal

Dozens of men, women and children from a village in Nepal sit in a semi-circle. Aditi Sharma, a student at Penn State College of Medicine, stands in the back row, second from left.

Penn State College of Medicine student Aditi Sharma, standing in the back row, second from left, and wearing a white top, poses with community members in Mid-west Nepal.

Aditi Sharma, a student in the doctor of public health program at Penn State College of Medicine, wants to enhance the quality of life for women and girls living in Nepal through a program that improves feminine hygiene.

A member of the Young Leaders Fellowship Program for the global advocacy group Women Deliver, Sharma was awarded a seed grant from Johnson & Johnson. Sharma developed an educational program for underserved populations living near Surkhet, Nepal, through a non-governmental organization that she co-founded called Kalyani. The program teaches women and girls the importance of feminine hygiene and aims to improve access to sanitary products and shed stigmas about menstruation.

“The aim of our project is not only to promote proper menstrual health and hygiene among women in Far- and Mid-west Nepal, but also to restore the dignity they have been denied for so long,” she said.


March 5, 2018 at 10:20 am Leave a comment

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