Wellness Begins with We

Lancaster Osteopathic Health Foundation’s scholarship program, now in its fifteenth year, supports the education of exceptional nursing students who demonstrate strong academic ability and genuine passion for the nursing profession. Our nurse scholars represent LOHF in all areas of nursing, often taking on leadership positions within their workplace and in the community.

On September 22, we held a reception at Cork and Cap Factory to honor our most recent scholars. And in turn, we were treated to inspiring remarks from two of our scholarship alumni who are truly making a worthwhile difference in our community every day.

Amanda Yost, BSN, RN-BC, CCDP
Amanda works at Lancaster General Health with patients with co-occurring disorders. She acknowledged that mental health and substance disorders are serious public health problems that can result in significant morbidity and mortality and therefore are seen by everyone working in healthcare. By pushing through the stigma of mental illness and collaborating on delivering patient-centered care, we can treat the whole person and achieve positive results. Amanda outlined some specific challenges that she encountered while working with patients with co-occurring disorders:

  • Inability to recognize consequences of actions
  • Lower cognitive abilities
  • Difficulty planning, organizing and remembering
  • Display limited attention or impaired judgement

According to Amanda, the care that is required for this population can be very time-intensive. Amanda shared the following tips regarding patient care:

  • Many of these patients with co-occurring disorders also have trauma histories which may have either preceded their illnesses or occurred as a result of vulnerability because of their illnesses
  • Many carry around a lot of shame which makes them more likely to act
  • Abuse/trauma issues often go unassessed and untreated, which further exacerbates problems

“Even our most challenging patients need compassion which requires us to be self-aware. We must examine our personal feelings, actions, and reactions and keep ourselves and each other in check,” said Amanda.

By focusing on the patients’ strengths, medical professionals can more easily avoid inadvertently triggering some deep rooted shame issues that patients’ face.

Amanda continued, “And when we are more empathetic rather than reactive, our patients often feel more comfortable being open with us.”

Amanda closed in sharing her optimism for her profession and acknowledged the amazing thrill she receives when she witnesses someone move away from what may appear on the surface as selfishness and toward meaningful connections and activities.

For a complete listing of 2015 Scholarship Award recipients, please visit http://lohf.org/2015-nursing-scholars/