PA College Magazine - Fall 2021 - 6

TEACHING
& LEARNING
TEACHING
& LEARNING
FACULTY PROFILE
Writing as Outlet
By Sarah Achenbach
Photo by Eric Forberger
Stories from front-line health care
providers have never felt more
important. The personal insights
from nurses and other clinicians during
the COVID-19 pandemic shone a
light on health care and brought
people together.
For the past decade, Assistant Professor
Meghan MacNamara, MFA, who
teaches English Composition at PA
College, has expertly transformed
nursing, health care administration,
and health sciences students into
storytellers. Their personal essays -
many are published in Humanity, PA
College's online literary magazine,
which MacNamara edits - capture
the challenges health care professions
face and their resiliency.
" Communication in the health care
environment is critically important, "
says MacNamara. " Nurses often witness
awful things in practice. I have found
that writing and having the ability to
debrief are incredibly helpful. "
6
PACOLLEGE.EDU
She shares an excerpt from " Nursing in
a Pandemic, " written last semester by
one of her students, Kendra Tishhouse
'22, RN to BSN program, which, she
says, aptly captures her mission for her
composition classes:
" . . . The impersonalness of masks, the
grief of so much loss of life, patients
who have not seen a loved one for
weeks or months, people dying
surrounded by strangers in masks
rather than loved family; it has been
a lot to hold. The grief is heavy, the
loss is great, and hope can feel distant.
Yet I cling to hope and remind myself,
even in a pandemic, there is always
hope. This will not last forever, and I
will once again experience the joy of
caring for people with my smile as well
as my hands. "
MacNamara, who pursued a pre-med
track at Franklin & Marshall College,
had dreams of being a doctor. While
studying for the MCATs, she was
diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and
chose to pursue her other love, writing.
She earned an MFA in creative writing
at Vermont College and has had her
poems and essays published in Memoir
Magazine, Journal of Creative Nursing,
and The Citron Review, among others.
Her colleagues from every discipline
encourage students to explore their
personal stories and publish in
Humanity. " Our students have different
roles across health care but a lot of
shared experiences, " she says. " Writing
helps our students make meaning out
of their work - it makes the chaos
meaningful. "
MacNamara says the most treasured
compliment she has received was when
a student asked how MacNamara
could be a writer when she thinks like
a scientist.
" PA College is an incredibly impactful
environment for me, " says MacNamara.
" I understand the medical aspects of
things my students write about, and I
am incredibly curious. " n
http://www.PACOLLEGE.EDU

PA College Magazine - Fall 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of PA College Magazine - Fall 2021

Contents
PA College Magazine - Fall 2021 - Cover1
PA College Magazine - Fall 2021 - Cover2
PA College Magazine - Fall 2021 - 1
PA College Magazine - Fall 2021 - Contents
PA College Magazine - Fall 2021 - 3
PA College Magazine - Fall 2021 - 4
PA College Magazine - Fall 2021 - 5
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PA College Magazine - Fall 2021 - Cover3
PA College Magazine - Fall 2021 - Cover4
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