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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University > Alumni & Friends > Stay Connected > Millikin Quarterly > Posts > Teaching and Learning How to Heal

During his first advising appointment, nursing major John Blakeman ’13 of Taylorville, Ill., expressed interest in research. His adviser, Dr. Sheryl Samuelson, professor of nursing, handed him an 8-by-10 photo of a piece of embroidery made by a woman who rarely spoke after being diagnosed with schizophrenia in the 1960s. Blakeman, along with Dr. Samuelson and Kimberly McEvoy ’11, who earned a bachelor of science degree in nursing, conducted a qualitative research project of this woman’s condition based on the characters in the embroidery. They called the project, “Analysis of a Silent Voice.” The result of the research was a commentary on nursing practice, Blakeman says. “We found that there were many aspects the profession of nursing was missing, like awareness of the importance of milieu, that silence should not be inferred to be detachment and that nurses should continue to develop new ways to engage patients who may prefer to communicate in nontraditional ways.”

Blakeman has presented his findings at multiple venues, including the 2010 American Psychiatric Nurses Association Conference, Rush University Medical Center and Millikin’s Celebration of Scholarship. The poster for the project also won the People’s Choice award at Memorial Medical Center’s 2011 research day. “Analysis of a Silent Voice” has reaffirmed Blakeman’s mission to work with patients, not against them. “We are here to work with patients to get them better, not make them better,” he says. “We get focused on being in an authoritative position over patients, when really we’re there to work with them and help them become healthier.” Blakeman applies this nursing philosophy to geriatrics, a field he has found a passion for through his family life. “I have always been really close to my grandparents,” he says. “I saw them every day when I was little. I think what drew me in the most were their stories. When you listen to people talk about their lives, you begin to see what makes them special.”

He also inherited a love of teaching through his family. “My mom has been teaching third grade for more than 30 years, my grandpa was a teacher and principal, my grandma was a teacher, and my dad has his degree in secondary education. And now I’m always teaching people,” Blakeman says. “My favorite time of the week is probably tutoring.” Dr. Gregg Marcello, assistant professor of biology, has noticed Blakeman’s drive to assist his fellow students. “John was an excellent student in my class,” he says, “but what makes him worthy of special recognition is the interest he shows in improving the performance of his classmates.”

Blakeman works to ensure a positive experience for his fellow nursing students as a member of the school of nursing’s curriculum committee and serves as the vice president of academic affairs on Student Senate. “I always want to be a student and a teacher,” Blakeman says. “That’s what I live by. So when I am in clinicals or in class, I try to learn from everyone, and I also try to teach.”

by Jackson Lewis

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Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
 
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL
Millikin University - Decatur, IL