NEWS

Mount professor presents research on care for mourning families

December 04, 2019
NEWBURGH, N.Y -
Colleen Fleming-Damon, an assistant professor of Nursing at Mount Saint Mary College, recently presented her research on end-of-life vigils.
Colleen Fleming-Damon, an assistant professor of Nursing at Mount Saint Mary College, recently presented her research on end-of-life vigils.

Colleen Fleming-Damon, an assistant professor of Nursing at Mount Saint Mary College, fascinated attendees with her research on end-of-life vigils at a recent talk.

The presentation was part of the Mount’s Investigating Research on Campus (iROC) program, which aims to provide a forum for Mount faculty, staff, and students to showcase their research endeavors with both Mount Saint Mary College and the local community.

Fleming-Damon describes an end-of-life vigil as a phenomenon where people gather by a family member’s bedside during the final days, weeks, or hours of that family member’s life.

With limited academic literature about end-of-life vigils, Fleming-Damon immersed herself not only in the relevant academic literature, but in creative literature and art pertaining to the topic as well.

Fleming-Damon discussed Midnight Vigil, a Harlem Hospital wall mural by artist Charles Austin. The mural depicted an end-of-life vigil, leading Fleming Damon to examine the piece for her research and to take special note of one important aspect.

“What this [mural] represents to me as someone who has immersed herself in vigil keeping is the varied responses of family members around that bedside,” said Fleming-Damon “There are some people that are joyous, that are celebrating that person’s life – you see people reflective, you see people really, very scared.”

Fleming-Damon says that when present during end-of-life vigils, nurses should take note of these varied responses to figure out who needs their help.

Throughout Fleming-Damon’s research, she interviewed numerous people who had experienced loss and noticed that one of the most frequent needs of families was a constant amidst the change. Fleming-Damon believes that acting as this constant is a key way that healthcare professionals can help the families of passing patients.

The Mount’s prestigious Nursing program is a popular major among incoming first-year students. Mount Nursing students enjoy state-of-the-art simulation labs and clinical relationships with more than 40 area hospitals. The college’s passionate faculty are dedicated to the success of both their undergraduate and graduate students.

Earlier this year, the college’s programs in its School of Nursing were reaccredited by the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE) for 10 years, the maximum available accreditation period. Specifically, the baccalaureate degree program in Nursing, the master’s degree program in Nursing, and the post-graduate APRN certificate program at Mount Saint Mary College are accredited by CCNE (http://www.ccneaccreditation.org).