Stories about: Education & Training

In Myanmar, oncology expertise travels from nurse to nurse

Image of global health team with nurses in Myanmar Through the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Global Health Initiative and World Child Cancer, oncology nurse Amy Federico, RN, CPNP, had the opportunity to travel to Yangon, Myanmar, to share her oncology expertise with the staff at Yangon Children’s Hospital. Amy’s interest in global health began eight years ago, but the trip to Myanmar in October 2017 strengthened her commitment to share her knowledge across borders. Amy, who is a nurse practitioner specializing in care of patients with solid tumors at the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center, reflects on her experience abroad:

My interest in global health care has developed over the past eight years since I started attending the Society of International Oncology Pediatric annual conferences. So when Lisa Morrissey, MPH, MSN, RN, CPHON, asked me to join her and Kathryn Barrandon, MPH, BSN, CPN, on an educational trip to Myanmar, I enthusiastically accepted.

One of the pediatric oncologists at Yangon Children’s Hospital requested solid tumor nursing education so I knew this would be a wonderful opportunity to share my years of oncology experience, especially my expertise in caring for patients with solid tumors. The experience would also give me a better global perspective of health care delivery in another part of the world.

On October 27, we set off on our 22-hour, three-leg, 8,300-mile journey from Boston to Yangon. I realize now, more than ever, that access to health care depends upon where you are born and where you live.

The day after our arrival, Lisa, Katie and I toured the oncology ward. I was astounded by the overly crowded — yet oddly quiet — patient bays, ill-looking children and desperate-yet-hopeful parents. Occasionally, a parent or patient would poke his or her head out a door or up to a window, curious about the three of us visitors. Admittedly, I was saddened by the environment.

The next day, I was relieved when we returned and were greeted by 32 energetic and excited nurses from nine hospitals across four Myanmar states. In addition to providing oncology education, our goals were to advocate for specialty nursing practice and to provide collegial support to conference attendees. …Read More

Breaking down language barriers: Strategies for working with LEP families

Doctor sitting down to explain something to a patient with limited English proficiency

Caring for patients with limited English proficiency (LEP) is a complex process that challenges clinicians in any setting. Being able to effectively communicate is crucial to ensuring the patient’s well-being and safety. But when this process is hindered by a patient or family’s language barrier, quality of care and patient outcomes could be compromised. Even with the assistance of an interpreter, how can we ensure that LEP patients and families truly understand their education? How much health knowledge and health literacy do they need in order to effectively synthesize and apply everything they learned during an encounter? There are a number of factors to consider. …Read More

A safer way to teach cleft lip surgery

A new cleft lip trainer makes surgery saferIn surgery, as in life, practice makes perfect. But in the case of a cleft lip, practice is tricky, because a mistake can result in permanent scarring or disfigurement of a child’s face. This was the problem Carolyn Rogers-Vizena, MD, a plastic and oral surgeon in the Cleft Lip and Palate Program at Boston Children’s Hospital, brought to the SIMPeds Engineering Studio. She needed a safer hands-on way to teach cleft lip surgery to residents and students.

“Very minute slip-ups can cause scarring that stays with a child as they grow. So as a surgeon it’s hard to let go of the reins and let my trainees take over,” says Rogers-Vizena.

Rogers-Vizena reached out to Andrew Hosmer, Project Manager at SIMPeds Engineering, part of Boston Children’s simulator program. SIMPeds is a collaborative cohort of engineers, doctors, educators, scientists, and business leaders devoted to increasing clinician preparedness through high-fidelity simulation. Hosmer and his fellow engineers spend their days creating “trainers” — highly realistic anatomical replicas that enable providers and students to practice procedures that can’t be learned on live patients.

“Ultimately, we’re in service to the hospital, with a purpose to train and reduce fear,” Hosmer says. …Read More

Paper Trail: Injection drug use, cast-saw burns, LGBTQ bullying prevention and more


Boston Children’s Hospital is at the forefront of clinical research. Stay connected with Paper Trail — a monthly feature highlighting recently published outcomes data and new approaches to the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of pediatric illnesses.

This edition of Paper Trail focuses on injection drug use and street-involved youth, cast-saw reduction rates, sleep apnea, LGBTQ bullying prevention and more. …Read More