Clinical Instructor of Nursing participates in Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation

File Under: Academic Excellence

Lori Cooke, clinical instructor of nursing, was recently accepted to the distinguished Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation.

“Several years ago my aunt passed away from complications secondary to Parkinson’s,” Cooke said. “Our family felt unprepared in to manage her disease and deal with her decline in health. We understand Parkinson’s better today than we did then, and I believe it’s important for nursing students to be equipped with this information in order to better serve patients and their families.”

The highly prestigious 40-hour accredited “train the trainer” Nurse Faculty Program improves Parkinson’s Disease nursing care through training faculty leaders across the United States who educate nursing students.

“I feel blessed to have been given an opportunity to help dispel misconceptions surrounding this disease process and to educate students and colleagues on how to treat Parkinson’s patients holistically,” she said.

The rigorous coursework includes didactics, clinical time with patients, participation in Parkinson’s Disease support groups, and an opportunity to develop an independent project.

“I hope to develop a case scenario that is reflective of the impact Parkinson’s has on multiple systems of the body,” Cooke said. “Ideally, I would like to work with our simulation coordinator and the IT department to create a virtual reality scenario for nursing students to experience during their spring semester.”

Cooke is one of only 35 faculty members accepted to the program this year. She will be counted among an elite group of 228 alumni, Parkinson’s Foundation Nurse Scholars, who have completed the intensive training over the last nine years. She will also receive a stipend for completing the program.

“Our Nurse Scholars educate more than 20,000 nursing students on Parkinson’s Disease each year,” said Camila Gadala-Maria of the Parkinson’s Foundation. “The number of people living with Parkinson’s is expected to double by 2040 to nearly 13 million globally. This informs how we teach nursing students as we prepare them to treat Parkinson’s patients after they graduate.”

“This experience will enhance how I present material about Parkinson’s in the classroom moving forward,” Cooke said. “Before this training, I only knew what changes occurred in the brain that caused these symptoms, but now I know why these changes occur and the importance of medication adherence and exercise as a way to manage symptoms. Parkinson’s patients are living longer with improved quality of life due to better management, and I want to share this sense of hope as research continues to work toward finding a cure.”