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PDF Recognizes Scholars of Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program for Outstanding Efforts in Nursing Education

The Parkinson’s Disease Foundation (PDF) congratulates Laura Kelly, Ph.D., R.N., A.N.P.-C., and Cheryl Leiningen, D.N.P., R.N., A.N.P.-C., Scholars of The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at PDF and 2016 recipients of the program’s annual Alumni Award for outstanding work in nursing education. Drs. Kelly and Leiningen were selected in recognition of their leadership and innovation as it relates to nursing education to improve care in Parkinson’s.

Dr. Kelly is Associate Professor and Program Director at Columbia University School of Nursing and Dr. Leiningen is Assistant Professor at Monmouth University School of Nursing & Health Studies. Both maintain clinical nursing practices.  In 2015, they completed The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at PDF, a 40-hour accredited “train the trainer” program which improves nursing care in Parkinson’s by training faculty leaders across the US. Afterwards, they worked to translate their experiences into new educational tools to help nursing students understand the patient’s journey living with Parkinson’s disease.

The pair developed a 15-week interactive educational activity “Meet Val and Holly: An experiential tour through the lives of a PD family,” for their nursing curriculums. It walks nursing students through the journey of a person with Parkinson’s and care partner as they cope with a new diagnosis.  Throughout the semester-long activity, as students read the journal of “Val and Holly” and submit assignments, they are introduced to the complexities of Parkinson’s — motor and nonmotor symptoms, medication management, nutrition, home safety, care partner stress, adaptive equipment and resources — and the role that nurses can play in helping people to cope and live well. Recently, Drs. Kelly and Leiningen presented their work on this tool at the 4th World Parkinson Congress in Portland, OR.

“When I was an undergraduate nursing student, my textbook included exactly one sentence on Parkinson’s and years later, I found that not much had changed.  But now, because of the efforts of educators like Drs. Kelly and Leiningen, we can be hopeful for a different kind of future for nursing care in Parkinson’s,” says Gwyn Vernon, M.S.N., R.N., C.R.N.P., Co-Founder and National Director of the program. “Congratulations to Dr. Kelly and Dr. Leiningen on well-deserved recognition for their work to prepare the next generation of nurses.”

About The Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at PDF

As part of its strategy to end Parkinson's disease, PDF mobilizes leaders in science, health care and the patient community. The cornerstone of its programming for health leaders is the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson's Disease Foundation, a 40-hour accredited "train the trainer" program which improves nursing care in Parkinson's disease by training faculty leaders. The program has trained more than 190 nurse faculty, who are in turn, sharing their knowledge with 18,000 undergraduate nursing students each year to ensure that the next generation of nurses is prepared to fight Parkinson's disease on the front lines. Many of the program's alumni have gone on to become local leaders in Parkinson's disease care, with some developing into national leaders who are changing nursing education. The program has been housed at the Parkinson's Disease Foundation since 2014.

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