Yale School of Nursing, Yale University's Graduate Nursing Programs

Linda Pellico Selected for Josephine Dolan Award for Nursing Education

September 2, 2011

Linda Pellico.Linda H. Pellico, PhD, APRN, has been selected by Connecticut Nurses' Association (CNA) to receive the 2011 Josephine A. Dolan Award for Outstanding Contributions to Nursing Education. Dr. Pellico is an associate professor at Yale University School of Nursing (YSN).

Read the "Yale Nurses Win Highest Honors in State" article in the Yale Daily News

The Dolan award is one of several Diamond Jubilee Awards established by CNA to honor individuals or organizations that have made outstanding contributions to nursing in the areas of practice, education, administration, political action and service.

Specifically, the Dolan Award recognizes innovations and achievements in areas such as improving the quality of the educational (undergraduate, graduate, continuing education) experience, enhancing the learning environment, conceiving new analytical approaches to subject matter, improving pedagogy, increasing access, applying technology, developing curriculum, allocating resources, assessing learning, strengthening faculty, securing support, clarifying and enlarging nursing education’s role in society, or developing public policy.

The award will be presented to Dr. Pellico on October 27.

Dr. Pellico recognized the need to utilize a variety of teaching strategies that builds upon the arts and humanities that many possess. She sought to integrate and test the use of the humanities, arts, and music as a way of connecting the familiar to the unfamiliar or the known to the unknown. One of her earliest strategies included collaboration with the Yale Center for British Art and their Curator of Education, Linda Friedlander. The resulting program, Looking is Not Seeing, seeks to improve the diagnostic, observational, and reflective skills of students through the medium of fine art. Skill in pattern recognition and identification of important cues are critical to effective, accurate physical diagnosis and health assessment. Interpreting and appreciating patterns in fine art are used to hone these critical skills. Because of the rich art inventories available, students observe many details, cluster observations, and patterns. When students reveal different interpretations about underlying themes, they recognize that background and experience influence analysis. Equally important, students also learn when they too quickly “diagnose” without considering alternative viewpoints, or ignore details simply because they did not fit into their initial analysis. Students later observe patient photographs with varying pathology using the skills developed with the artwork.The findings of this unique approach to teaching new nursing students are in press in the Journal of Nursing Education. Building on and extending the Looking is Not Seeing program, Dr. Pellico designed a similar approach to hone listening skills, Listening is Not Hearing, that was funded by the National League of Nursing, the Society for the Arts in Healthcare, and Johnson & Johnson. In collaboration with Thomas Duffy, Professor at Yale School of Music, Dr. Pellico has integrated the use of music in all its variations in an attempt to refine critical listening skills. The results of this study will soon be published in Nursing Education Perspectives.

Another example of Dr. Pellico’s innovation in professional nursing education is the Do You See What I See – Creative Writing Award program that she established not only to recognize the creative expression of student nurses but also to increase student nursing’s visibility, to educate the public about the work of nursing, and to inspire new generations to consider the nursing profession. The award program grew out of a requirement for first year GEPN students to journal about their experiences as student nurses. Students are encouraged to continue recording their experiences beyond their GEPN year ultimately serving as a record of their journey while at YSN. The students write eloquently about what is often seen as “invisible‟ work. They describe nursing with sensitivity and insight. These stories help others appreciate the work of nursing: caring for vulnerable individuals, families, and communities. Students’ entries have been published in professional journals, appeared on web pages, presented at other venues and are available on the Yale website as downloadable iTunes selections.