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Two Alums Write the Book on Nursing Ideas

Fall-Dickson Leads Research Team at NIH


Two Alums Write the Book on Nursing Ideas

By Ron Supan

Linda Andrist

Karen Wolf

“Nursing ideas do not exist in isolation, but in the context from which they arise, and while nursing does hold some unique ideas and ideals, it is generally reflective of the social context and knowledge paradigms of the times,” says Linda Andrist ’69, co-author with Karen Wolf ’73 of the new nursing textbook A History of Nursing Ideas (Jones and Bartlett Publishers). Andrist and Wolf, both faculty members at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) Institute of Health Professions, set out to provide graduate nursing students with a contextual understanding of the nursing profession while combining nursing history, nursing theory, and social issues that impact nursing “ideas.” The book’s third co-author is their MGH colleague Patrice K. Nicholas.

As a community nursing generalist, Wolf’s practice and education focuses on keeping individuals, families, and communities healthy and empowered to seek better health. “My intent was to balance the realities and challenges with an appreciation of the richness of our accomplishments and the potential for even greater contributions to society in the future,” says Wolf, of the new book. Andrist, coordinator of the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner specialty at the MGH Institute, is an expert in women’s health and nursing history. She has written widely on the relationship between women’s health and feminism.

Andrist and Wolf, who both earned their doctorates from Brandeis University, have wonderful memories of their experiences at the Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, where they earned their RN diplomas. Says Wolf, “I came to Hopkins through an alumni scholarship. The education I had at Hopkins extended beyond the curriculum. We were exposed to new knowledge, technologies, and people from around the world.”

Adds Andrist, ” I fell in love with nursing history when I realized that some of the early leaders in nursing started their careers at Hopkins.”

Wolf is currently the chairperson of the first portion of the entry-level master’s program at MGH. “I must admit that while I appreciate the richness of the MGH environment, I continue to be envious of the Hopkins university-based School of Nursing,” she says. Andrist, associate professor in the Graduate Nursing Program at MGH, is currently on sabbatical. She is doing some writing on women’s health issues and preparing an upcoming project on older women and eating disorders.

Both women are optimistic about the impact their book will have. “My hope is that students will contribute to the evolution of nursing as a profession with a focus on the health of the global community,” says Wolf. Andrist adds, “I want readers to appreciate that the growth of American nursing has profound social, economic, and political roots. I have been privileged to teach the next generation of nurses who will make a difference.”

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Fall-Dickson Leads Research Team at NIH

By Ron Supan and Kelly Brooks-Staub

Dr. Jane Fall-Dickson

“The key to hypothesis-driven clinical research,” says Jane Fall-Dickson, PhD ’00, RN, “is an environment that allows the investigator time to think creatively, plan realistically, and promotes collegiality among researchers.” She strives to create such an environment for her research team each day as they seek to discover ways to alleviate the oral pain of cancer patients.

Fall-Dickson is a tenure track investigator with the Intramural Research program of the National Institute for Nursing Research, a branch of the National Institutes of Health. She serves as director of the Mucosal Injury Unit (MIU), which tests topical anti-inflammatory interventions to help cancer patients whose oral mucosa – the mucous membrane that covers all structures inside the oral cavity except the teeth – has been damaged by chemotherapy or radiation treatment.

Fall-Dickson’s commitment to research in symptom management and oral complications of cancer treatment began during her doctoral studies at Johns Hopkins University. Her outstanding dissertation research on the stomatitis-related acute oral pain experience of breast cancer autotransplant patients led to the receipt of the Sue K. Donaldson Dissertation Award in 2000. After receiving her PhD, Fall-Dickson accepted a post-doctoral fellowship (2001-2004) in the Pain and Neurosensory Mechanisms Branch of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research at the NIH.

She joined the Mucosal Injury Unit in 2004, and began working to create an interdisciplinary program of clinical research. Her research team today includes a senior research nurse, a molecular biologist, a post-doctoral fellow, and a data manager. “Dr. Fall-Dickson’s enthusiasm and vision for clinical research and collaborative relationships with other researchers and physicians at the NIH allow her to successfully lead and manage the MIU,” says Pat Woltz, RN, BSN, senior research nurse specialist for the MIU.

NINR Scientific Director, Raymond A. Dionne, DDS, PhD is in agreement: “Dr. Fall-Dickson demonstrates the unique contributions that a nurse researcher is able to make within the NIH intramural program.”
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