A man with eyeglasses wearing a suit and tie and a woman wearing a scarf and blazer — both standing — speak with three women seated at a table.
Danny G. Willis, DNS, dean of the University of Rhode Island College of. Nursing, and CNPH Dean Deborah Hunt, PhD '12, at CNPH's first Buckley Scholars Lecture since the pandemic.

According to Danny G. Willis, DNS, dean of the University of Rhode Island (URI) College of Nursing, who spoke at the Adelphi University College of Nursing and Public Health’s (CNPH) 15th Buckley Scholars Lecture on March 27, wellbecoming is the way we can promote a healthy mindset-“[it] is who we are and how we react,” he said. “We create our world with our mind.”

Ani Jacob, DNP, clinical associate professor and CNPH Research Council co-chair, said that not only was this the first hybrid Buckley Scholars Lecture, it was the first one since 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Willis’ lecture was on “Promotion of Human Wellbecoming—Beyond Fragmentation Into Wholeness.” The CNPH Research Council presents the Buckley Scholars Lecture.

Dr. Willis was introduced to the nearly 110 attendees, including 50 in the Ruth S. Harley University Center, by the council’s other co-chair, Edwin-Nikko Kabigting, PhD, assistant professor, who also has done considerable humanbecoming research.

Dr. Willis, dean at URI since January, was previously dean and a professor at Saint Louis University’s Trudy Busch Valentine School of Nursing. Earlier, he chaired the American Academy of Nursing’s Expert Panel on Nursing Theory-Guided Practice and was on the expert panel on well-being and healing for male survivors of traumatic experiences.

A psychiatric mental health nursing expert, Dr. Willis has focused his research on nursing promotion of health, well-being and healing in the aftermath of traumatic experiences. Earlier in his clinical career, he worked in hospitals’ adult, geriatric and child psychology units. As such, he cared for people who were “fractured, not whole,” in hopes of making them “harmonious, whole,” he said.

“Wellbecoming is participating in one’s changing pattern and its manifestations for the betterment of rhythms of living and transcending as energy spirit,” Dr. Willis said. “Wellbecoming for me is embracing awareness of myself.” The concept of human wellbecoming was coined by New York University Professor John Phillips, PhD, he noted.

Dr. Willis pointed out that while we each work on our own wellbecoming, we should try to see not only ourselves but others as whole. As humans, we have the ability to shift and change our perceptions, which allows the opportunity to change one’s mindset.

“Focus on Progress, Not Perfection”

It is important for each of us to say to ourselves, “I rule my mind, which I alone must rule.” If we hold positive thought, he said, that will work on our behalf to manifest what we believe. Ways of participating in wellbecoming are numerous—including meditation, prayer, music, dancing, poetry and art, he added. These are all parts of creative expression, and part of Dr. Willis’ research on trauma survivor healing.

In addition, Dr. Willis cited various ways of achieving wellbecoming that included physical activity, minding one’s metabolism, eating nourishing foods and limiting snacks and alcohol—in other words, “building wellness habits.”

It’s through an active and focused mind that we can all reach wellbecoming. “Focus on progress, not perfection,” Dr. Willis observed.

During the lecture’s Q&A segment, several attendees praised Dr. Willis for his research. One professor lauded him for “helping us see the metaphysical power of nursing.” Another felt that the human wellbecoming concept might help alleviate nurse burnout. Acknowledging that “huge issue,” Dr. Willis said he has hired “a wellbecoming coordinator to just help people.”

Another faculty member said her students are puzzled at hearing terminology such as this, at least initially. “It’s not easy,” Dr. Willis agreed. “We need to make it decipherable in ways people can understand.”

At the ninth Buckley Scholars Lecture in 2013, Patrick Coonan ’78, EdD, who was the College’s dean at that time, recalled how this event came into being, sponsored by the Marion Buckley Endowment for Faculty Development. “Two people met during World War II—a naval officer and a naval nurse,” Dr. Coonan said. “After the war, she went on to [attend] Adelphi. After she—Marion Buckley—passed, her husband wanted to leave a legacy. The Buckley scholarship set up an endowment to provide lectures for nurses.”

CNPH Presenters at 2024 ENRS Event

A number of CNPH faculty members presented their research at the Eastern Nursing Research Society’s (ENRS) Scientific Sessions conference April 4–5 in Boston—including two focused on the newly formed National Consortium of Academic Nurse Educators (NC-ANE).

Professor Edmund J.Y. Pajarillo, PhD, NC-ANE founding co-president, and Dr. Kabigting, NC-ANE research committee co-chair, presented on NC-ANE-related subjects. Dr. Kabigting’s presentations were about “Policy implications to improve work-life balance of academic nurse educators” and also “The effects of the shortage of academic nurse educators to consumers of healthcare,” while Dr. Pajarillo’s was on “Academic institutional models to help recruit and retain academic nurse educators.”

Two other faculty members zeroed in on elder care topics. Delivering two podium presentations, Zainab Toteh Osakwe ’06, PhD, associate professor, presented on “Trends and geographic variation in utilization of home healthcare among individuals with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and congestive heart failure in the U.S.” and also on “Development of a novel screening tool to achieve equitable transitions to hospice among individuals with a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease-related dementias in the home healthcare setting.”

Professor Yiyuan Sun, DNSc, presented with a professor from China’s Foshan University about “Diabetes knowledge, self-management behavior and coping in older adults in China.”

Dr. Jacob presented with a PhD nursing student, Tesi Thomas, on “Perceptions of postpartum mothers of their care received during the COVID-19 crisis.”

Irene Auteri ’79, PhD ’22, assistant professor, spoke about “Patient Safety Factors: Comparison Between Undergraduate and Experienced RNs.”

In addition, Teresa Bertozzi-Greco, a nursing PHD candidate, was CNPH’s selection to present at ENRS on “Self-Care in a Sample of Young Adults with Asthma: A Descriptive Correlational Study Related to the Relationship of Patient Activation and Coping.”

Dr. Kabigting and Karen Mancini, PhD ’16, assistant professor and chair, co-chaired the ENRS Research Interest Groups’ theory development committee and reported on that committee. Dr. Mancini filled in for Ditsapelo McFarland, PhD, associate professor, who did not attend this year.

In April 2013, the last time the ENRS event was held in Boston, a massive police search was conducted to capture the two Boston Marathon bombing suspects.

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