Semester Favs!

Photo courtesy of me.

One of my favorite courses this semester is Disease, Safety and Environment with Dr. Lynne Bates. This course has been SO interesting. We have learned about the basic diseases and disorders as well as safety when environmental crisis’ strike. We each were assigned a disease at the beginning of the semester; mine is Dengue Fever. We then created a fact sheet, using our textbook, pictured left and the internet, about our disease. The fact sheet contains symptoms, preventions, treatments, where it’s most prevalent and some “fun” facts about our disease. Now, we are creating a web of causation using the software, Inspiration. I had never used, let alone heard of Inspiration. It is a really cool program that I will probably use in the future. The final piece of this semester long project is a power point about ALL the information we have gathered. When we present we should know our disease to a T and sound like an “expert”. Says our professor.

The other really cool project we did was our Safety Presentations. We were split up into groups and were assigned either a safety or environmental issue. Ours was on Natural Disasters.

The picture to the left, is depicting a winter storm. Winter storms are the most prevalent natural disaster here in New Hampshire. Each member of our group had two types of natural disasters and we created a GoogleDoc that explained preparedness, what to do and not to do during and the aftermath. Each group also made pamphlets that had the same information on it and passed it out to every student because the information from every presentation will be on our final. I learned a lot from this project. For example, in Recreational Safety, I had no idea about the Beach Flag Warning System. A Double Red flag means the water is closed to public use. A single Red flag means there are high hazards, such as rough conditions. A Yellow flag means a light surf or current. A Green flag means calm conditions and a Purple flag mean there is marine life present (jellyfish, stingrays, etc.). Also, I did not know that when riding your bicycle, you should use hand signals. I have honestly never seen anyone use them, but I can definitely see why cyclists should use hand signals. It can prevent crashing and injury. Overall this course has taught me so much about so much!

Photo courtesy of me.

Perspectives on Aging with Dr. Annemarie Conlon, who is an advisor for my Patient Advocacy Program, is another great class. This course talks about the concepts of aging, the aging process and how it can affect the individuals as well as the families. Our textbook, Aging Matters by Nancy Hooyman, Kevin Kawamoto, and Asuman Kiyak, goes into how the aging process differs depending on race, socioeconomic status and gender. Our big project in this course is conducting an interview with an adult, 65 and older. I have decided to interview my grandmother. The interview will show how she grew up, the lifestyle she lived, how times have changed. It will also explain her opinion on her current political and social perspectives.

These courses, both connect with my Patient Advocacy program. My program is specific to cancer patients. Cancer was a topic in my Disease, Safety, and Environment course. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. We learned all about what cancer actually is, the most common types, the prognosis of cancer and the treatments of cancer. That is so beneficial for me to know as I will be dealing with it every day.

My Gram had Uterine Cancer. She attended events at DHMC Norris Cotton Cancer Center with fellow cancer patients, referred to by her patient advocate. She is now cancer free!

Patients with cancer are primarily older adults. I’m not saying young children and young adults don’t get cancer because they do. I hated seeing children younger than me in the infusion room receiving chemo. It honestly broke my heart. It just isn’t fair and shouldn’t happen. But, thankfully children and young adults are not the majority. The course just explains in fine detail the general aging process which is so vital to me. I hope in years to come my knowledge of disease and aging only excel.

Even though we weren’t suppose to include our IDS course(s), I feel I have to. I am currently in Introduction to Interdisciplinary Studies and it is my other favorite class. I love this class because it has taught me so much about life in general. Discovering the IDS program last fall has honestly changed my life. I had no idea what I was going to do after deciding to remove myself from the nursing program. IDS has allowed me to believe there are absolutely,  good outcomes of bad things. I had essentially lost all hope. I am now more confident than ever with the direction my future is being taken. I wouldn’t be able to have done any of it without this program and IDS team of AMAZING professionals.


Interdisciplinary Trends in Higher Education

            The scholarly article that I read was Interdisciplinary Trends in Higher Education by James Jacob. The article explains how it is fully impossible to understand all disciplines of life such as economic, societal, environmental and much more, from one single perspective. By having multiple perspectives, specifically in higher education allows you to think on a completely different level. “Interdisciplinary practices in a higher education refers to the integration of two or more disciplines or fields of study in relation to research; instruction; and programme, certification and/or degree offerings.” The article further goes into how there has been an increase  in Interdisciplinary activities in higher education. But, historically interdisciplinary studies have been looked down upon in higher education. I’m personally baffled at the fact that employers and businesses would rather see a single discipline on a diploma versus having two or more.

            There is a list of ten characteristics that are essential for interdisciplinary teams to be successful.

  • Leadership and management
  • Effective communication
  • Personal rewards, training and development
  • Appropriate resources and procedures
  • Appropriate skills mix
  • Positive and enabling climate
  • Individual characteristics
  • Clarity of a shared vision
  • Quality and outcomes
  • Respecting and understanding roles

In order for Interdisciplinary Studies to be successful in higher education you need ALL of these characteristics. I feel so proud to a part of the Interdisciplinary Studies Program here at Plymouth State University. Our IDS program places seventeenth in the country by

There is evidence that shows an increase in IDS degrees over the past forty years. The most popular IDS fields are public health, political science, biomedical studies, history and music. The article enlightens the fact that employment demands are changing, and changing fast. As I said above, employers did not appreciate IDS degrees, but according to this article, they are finally becoming more open. They need employees that have overall knowledge of multiple disciplines.

I am so proud to be a part of this IDS Program. This article has furthermore justified why Interdisciplinary Studies is so important. I feel as though almost everyone should participate in interdisciplinary studies. Of course, there needs to be people who know strictly about one discipline, for example a heart surgeon. There are no negatives, that I have discovered yet, of interdisciplinary studies. I hope to see Interdisciplinary Studies programs flourish in the near future.

Photo Credit           

Medical Marijuana Cards



         The legalization for medical marijuana has been huge. The legislature of NH approved medical marijuana in 2013. In New Hampshire, cards were available December 2015 and dispensaries opened in the Spring of 2016. There is a background on why the state started issuing medical marijuana cards. A woman with terminal cancer actually sued the state of New Hampshire for an identification card so that she could go to Maine and buy marijuana. Which then, gave the legislation the push to pursue the ID cards.

         There is a list of qualifying medical conditions to be eligible for a medical marijuana card. For a few examples: HIV, Crohn’s Disease, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis, and cancer. Your physician or APRN needs to complete paperwork confirming that you have a “qualifying medical condition”. In bold on, it states that “Your medical provider is required to certify that you have BOTH a condition listed in the first paragraph AND a symptom listed in the second paragraph.” The card in New Hampshire, allows patients to legally possess up to two ounces of marijuana. This also allows them to purchase in other states without fear of facing charges.

          I, personally have a medical marijuana card. I take a spoonful of cannabis oil under my tongue, both in the morning and at night. But there are other forms too; HempVap, Hemp Oil, CanChew, HempOil shots, and more. Ever since we found out about my condition my dad has been doing nothing but researching different things for me to try because he did not like me being on chemo. He says “Chemo is healing you and killing you at the same time because yes it is working right now, but in five years you’ll most likely be diagnosed with another form of cancer.” My grandmother has Multiple Sclerosis and she has a card, too. Marijuana helps alleviate the pain of MS.

Medical marijuana cards combine Health, Science and Criminal Justice. Marijuana has been proven to help control epileptic seizures, help reverse the carcinogenic effects of tobacco and improve lung health, there’s a chemical in marijuana that stops cancer from spreading, and many more. Marijuana has historically been illegal for all things. But, through the evolution of technology and science it has been proven to have SO many positive effects. Through the court system, there are currently twenty-eight states that have legalized medical marijuana. Each state has different laws surrounding the legalization. For example, in California, you can possess eight ounces of usable; six mature or twelve immature plants and in Rhode Island you can possess 2.5 ounces of usable and 12 plants. The creation of medical marijuana cards is a great step forward for health care.