Nikkee Asashon ’21, RN is a student in our Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner program and an intensive care unit nurse in Lancaster County. She shared her devastating frontline experiences treating COVID-19 patients and an impassioned plea to the community to heed the critical safety measures necessary to battle the pandemic in this LNP column. (Not an LNP subscriber? A Nurse’s Plea to read a PDF version of Nikkee’s column).
Dear fellow alumni,
WOW! What a year it has been. As healthcare workers, we have risen to meet the challenges and demands of the COVID pandemic. First and foremost, I want to say THANK YOU! Thank you for all your sacrifices this past year as you worked tirelessly to care for our community. THANK YOU for all the time you put others first to make sure they were cared for.
As healthcare professionals, it is so natural for us to take care of others before taking care of ourselves. However, if we want to be our best self, we need to take care of ourselves. Taking care of ourselves first is not being selfish; it is being wise. We must remember to take care of our own self first, so that we can be at our best and provide exceptional care to others.
This holiday season, give yourself a gift – the gift of selfcare. Whether it is some alone time reading a favorite book, taking time to exercise, or pampering yourself with some self-indulgent holiday shopping, you deserve it!! Enjoy!!
On behalf of PA College, we are so incredibly grateful for the generosity we have seen from our alumni this past year. I hope during this season of giving, you will consider joining me and add the PA College Alumni Association Scholarship Fund to your “gift list.”
Have a wonderful and safe holiday season!
Tina Martin ’86, DNP, RN, NE-BC
Alumni Association President
We’re proud of the ambitions and accomplishments of our students and alumni – learn some of their stories in our monthly feature:
Kip Powell ‘21
Adult/Gerontology Acute Care Nurse Practitioner Program
Much of Kenneth “Kip” Powell’s bedside nursing career so far has been in the ICU. He spent seven years working in a Medical ICU at Hahnemann Hospital in center city Philadelphia and now works as an ICU resource nurse—rotating through the medical, surgical and cardiac ICUs at Einstein Medical Center in north Philadelphia. Deciding that he wanted to eventually work in an ICU in an intensivist role, Kip began applying to Nurse Practitioner programs in 2018. After learning about PA College’s new program from Associate Professor Dr. Andrea Wolf, Kip decided PA College was the best choice for him after a two-hour-plus phone conversation with Associate Professor and Director of our Graduate NP Program, Dr. Lisa Johnson, Kip notes: “She really got me excited about a small program with professors that are involved in the curriculum and cater to the many needs of the students. I definitely made the right choice!” Now, following his first NP clinical experience in neurology at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Hospital, Kip is considering shifting his focus to a role that does more diagnosing as opposed to treating. “It was also refreshing seeing more patients recover and eventually be discharged home for a change,” he adds.
And then the COVID-19 pandemic took hold. In late March, Kip took a leave of absence from Einstein Medical Center and took a temporary position at a large hospital in midtown Manhattan. Of this intense experience he shares: “I was asked to start immediately and when I arrived at the hospital on my first day I was greeted in the lobby by hundreds of nervously excited travel nurses from all over the United States. No one knew what to expect. After a brief three-hour orientation and N95 mask fit-test we were immediately put to work in one of the seven, 37-bed ICUs full-to-capacity with ventilated COVID-positive patients.
For comparison, my current hospital is considered very large with over 600 total beds, and we only have 48 total ICU beds. It was certainly uncharted territory for all of us as we were practicing without a New York nursing license, ordering our own labs and personally adjusting ventilator settings based on ABG lab results. We were given one N95 mask per week and most of the patients I cared for were being ventilated by outdated travel ventilators. Amazingly, we were adequately staffed with nurses in a hospital completely overwhelmed with patients. Since the hospital was significantly short on ICU trained physicians and respiratory therapists, the nursing staff was very involved in the decision-making process and plan of care for each crucially ill patient. It was inspiring to see so many nurses fearlessly answer the call when the biggest city in the world was in so much distress.”
Kip lives with his wife Katie and their dog Ziggy in South Philadelphia. He is an avid ice hockey player, and so eagerly awaits the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine so he can get back on the ice!
Seeking People of PA College
Do you know an exceptional current student or alumnus whose experiences and accomplishments would help tell the PA College story? Or someone who has overcome an obstacle or reached a challenging milestone during their PA College experience? Please email your suggested names (and identify them in one of these categories) to Karen Jenkins. Self-nominations are also welcome!
Each PA College baccalaureate degree student completes a service learning project as part of their program requirements. RN to BSN student Amanda Dixon ’21, RN chose to volunteer with Lifesong Hospice & Palliative Care. She began by visiting residents at Country Meadows of Hershey, but when the coronavirus pandemic limited her ability to serve in person, Amanda collaborated with Lifesong to create a newsletter profiling their volunteers. Read more about Amanda in this special publication.
Two Alumna Honored with Inaugural Killinger Scholarship for Oncology Nurses at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health
After a courageous fight, Matthew Killinger passed away from recurrent leukemia in 2006 at age 29. Matt was a graduate of Pequea Valley High School and Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology. He began working in printing after graduating from Thaddeus Stevens. Matt loved sports and spending time with his family and friends. His loving family – parents James and Cheryl, wife Lisa, children Haley and Cameron, and siblings Michael and Michelle – wanted to honor his memory and the exceptional oncology care he received from Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. In 2020, they established the Killinger Scholarship for Oncology Nurses at LGH. The fund will provide financial assistance for educational advancement and/or certification to nurses and patient care assistants employed by the health system who have a strong interest in oncology care.
This year, the inaugural Killinger Scholarships were awarded to two PA College alumna, Julie Justice Klunk ’11 ’14, BSN, RN, OCN, CBCN and Danielle Robertson ’18, BSN, RN, OCN.
Julie, a two-time PA College graduate is an Oncology Nurse Navigator at the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute. She is also a current student in our Nurse Practitioner program, to earn her MSN-FNP in 2022. She shares: “It is such an honor to share this inaugural scholarship with Danielle. Oncology nursing is an ever-changing science. Being recognized for the dedication to the advancement of oncology nursing education is humbling. This support will help to offset of the financial cost of pursuing my graduate degree as I work to become a nurse practitioner with a focus in Oncology.”
Danielle is an Oncology Clinical Nurse Specialist Fellow with Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health and is also continuing her education in the University of Detroit Mercy, MSN-AGCNS program, with an anticipated graduation December 2021. She notes: “I am so incredibly honored and grateful to share this scholarship with my colleague Julie. Being an oncology nurse has truly changed my life. Thank you to the Killinger family for this amazing and generous gift, which will help me achieve my dream of becoming a Clinical Nurse Specialist specializing in oncology.”
The Killinger family had an opportunity to meet this year’s scholarship recipients and they were humbled by Julie and Danielle’s dedication to oncology patient care, which honors the legacy of Matt’s life. Matt’s brother, Mike Killinger ’92, MSN, RN – a nursing graduate of PA College, and now Director of Nursing at LGH, shared: “Our family is eternally grateful that we are able to memorialize my brother, Matt, in this way. To build a legacy in Matt’s honor that recognizes nurses and other health professionals who have a strong interest in oncology nursing here at Penn Medicine Lancaster General. He would be so proud of these individuals and of their accomplishments.” Matt’s daughter Haley Killinger is also currently enrolled in PA College in the ’21 Radiology Program. Having been with her Dad during many of his diagnostic testing appointments, she is interested in specializing in CT Scanning.