Feb. 15, 2016Vol. 46, Issue 4


Carol Huston, Nursing

Carol Huston, Nursing

Editor’s Note: The next full Achievements section will run in the April 4 edition. Submit items for consideration to insidechicostate@csuchico.edu through March 18.

Leading the Local Hospital

Professor and former director of the School of Nursing Carol Huston was named chair of Enloe Medical Center’s Board of Trustees in January.

Congratulations on your new role. What’s it like serving as chair of the board?

This is an interesting and challenging time in health care. With the Affordable Care Act, reimbursements have changed. And while the trend is to consolidate into a large healthcare system, Enloe is an independent hospital; we are unique in that regard. It puts a greater onus on the board to ensure we are providing the greatest care possible at the best price.

What do you hope to accomplish as chair?

To continue to improve the quality of our health care. I chaired the (board’s) quality committee for the last several years, and (now) I see a totally different Enloe. The quality of the leadership is wonderful. I’m impressed with the dedication of resources to patient safety and quality measures. And we’ve moved toward patient-centered care—putting the patient front and center to achieve his or her health care goals.

We’re also doing a great job managing our fiscal resources in a time when healthcare reimbursements continues to shrink. So our goals are fiscal stewardship, continuing to monitor quality and patient safety, and making sure our efforts are transparent. Overall, we’re trying to improve the health of the population in Northern California by balancing acute care with prevention, with outpatient services. And it starts with prevention and education.

How do you incorporate your role on the hospital board with your teaching in the School of Nursing?

All the things (I do on the board) directly relate to my teaching. Enloe has always been a real partner with the campus for teaching-learning. My serving on the board is another way we can forge and strengthen the link between the two institutions. Faculty have served in leadership roles in the hospital, and we have volunteers and employees who are students. The College of Business has also served as a consultant for the hospital.

When I think of the fabric of the community, I think of Enloe and the University. Not only are they the largest employers in town, but the mission statements of both are about improving the community, through education and healthcare, respectively. Their goals are synergetic. Education and healthcare go hand-in-hand.

What’s it like going back to teaching after directing the school for five years?

I’m so enjoying being back in the classroom. I enjoyed my time as director, and fortunately the department is in fabulous hands (with new Director Peggy Rowberg). But I’m also a good teacher. I love having a direct influence on students and making them excited about learning. I’m on several national advisory boards, so between my board experience, and my other associations, I have a lot to bring to students.  

Finding His Voice

Troy Jollimore, Philosophy

Troy Jollimore, Philosophy

Philosophy professor Troy Jollimore’s new poetry collection, Syllabus of Errors, was included in The New York Times’ list of 10 Best Poetry Books of 2015.

How would you describe this new collection?

It’s a little more personal than my previous work and more overtly philosophical. In my first book, I used humor to keep personal things at bay. I think in the new book there are some poems that are pretty close to being in my voice, and at least some of the time I’m writing about things that happened to me.

Is there a topic or style you haven’t written about yet you’d like to?

I haven’t done a lot of political poems—I find them very difficult to write. And I haven’t written really long poems—my longest is probably 12 to 14 pages. It would be interesting to try; I don’t know if it would happen. But something interesting might come from it.

What do you enjoy—and what’s hardest—about writing poetry?

The two most enjoyable stages are the very early stage, when you get an idea that you think could grow into a poem, and in the end; if it comes off, that feels great. The middle can be great too but can be really frustrating. I’ve gotten stuck for years sometimes. It’s there, I can almost feel it, but you don’t know what it is it needs.

I would be a terrible poet laureate; I don’t like writing on assignment. They’d request a poem for a wedding and I’d come back with something about horses. I don’t know how people do it.

What steps do you take to write?

Getting stuff on paper, and listening—to others and to myself. Once it’s started, giving it enough time and not trying to rush it. The poem is largely written by the unconscious part of the brain. When I’m stuck, I do something completely different from writing: I go for a bike ride, go outside, sleep, take a shower. Do something to distract yourself and let your unconscious mind do the work. I always tell students, you hardly ever write a good poem in one try. You come back to it four or five times. Your brain will be working on it in the meantime.

How has being at CSU, Chico helped your creativity and development?

I’d love to have more time off to write, but certainly there are people here who’ve inspired me and people in the community who write together with me. I think that teaching in general is good for various forms of writing. Much of what I’ve written starts in the classroom—something a student says, a conversation. Having a job where the primary part of that job is talking with people (is helpful). Every day I end up in one way or another trying to get clear on ideas, get things straight. It also exposes you to different things—people with different lives and different ways of looking at things. 

A New Way of Counseling

From left, Dawn Clifford, Nutrition and Food Science; and alumna Laura Curtis

From left, Dawn Clifford, Nutrition and Food Science; and alumna Laura Curtis

Nutrition and food sciences professor Dawn Clifford, with dietician and Chico State alumna Laura Curtis, recently published Motivational Interviewing in Nutrition and Fitness.

What is motivational interviewing?

It was developed in the 1980s by William R. Miller and Stephen Rollnick—they published a book in 1991 called Motivational Interviewing.

Old-school nutrition counseling was to teach clients as many facts as you could about nutrition, and then talk them into good nutrition by pointing out all of the threats of not complying: they could die of heart attack, etc.

In motivational interviewing, the client is expert on his or her life and choices. “Interviewing” means you’re asking strategic questions to get clients to think about what their personal motivation is for change: How would the change make your life better? You try to get them to contemplate that—not pressuring, but by listening to them. It involves expressing empathy, acceptance, and compassion, all of which make the client have more of an interest in change.

What gave you the idea to write the book?

I wasn’t originally trained in motivational interviewing but heard more and more about it at Chico State. What’s neat is that it is used across disciplines. This method is being taught in medical school, nursing programs, health coaching programs, marriage and family therapy programs, and in criminal justice. Anytime you want someone to make a behavior change, motivational interviewing is the way to do it. It makes sense for dieticians to pick up.

I found books on motivational interviewing in nursing, health care, and other fields. But they didn’t work for nutrition courses—the examples and dialogue were on topics dietitians would not be addressing. For example, we didn’t want students thinking alcohol counseling was in their purview. We saw a gap in the literature.

You coauthored the book with a former student. What was that like?

Laura Curtis is a Chico State grad and holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the dietetic internship program—I was her graduate research advisor. While I am in the classroom and do research, she’s in practice now and sees clients daily. What started out as a mentorship has blossomed into a really rewarding friendship.

Has the book changed the way you teach?

I’m using the book this semester in a one-unit motivational interviewing class. The students are practicing the concepts on each other and doing a training internship. Once they do that, they can be a mentor for the FitU nutrition mentorship program the next semester. The role-playing techniques in the class make them feel confident.

FitU (which trains students to mentor their peers in nutrition) has been on campus for more than six years now, and students say that the experience helped them gain employment in nutrition and health coaching. It’s been so rewarding to watch students learn, understand, and apply these concepts—and express that gratitude.

Inside Chico State editor Sarah Langford may be reached at sglangford@csuchico.edu

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