Dr. Dimitra Loukissa teaches at North Park University for the personal connections with students and the urban location with access to many hospitals and healthcare settings. “I enjoy teaching at a smaller university located in the heart of the city, where I have the opportunity to get to know my students individually,” she says. “North Park’s School of Nursing offers a dynamic, personalized program to those who want to excel in the field.”
Dr. Loukissa also wants her students to get to know each other and their patients, regardless of their cultural background, so she plans getting to know your neighbor exercises in classes, includes diversity-related content into readings and discussions, and supports hands-on clinical care of patients from different backgrounds and parts of the globe.
One way she does this is by encouraging nursing students to participate in health fairs around Chicago, including shelters and community centers, where they offer much-needed health services to diverse and underserved populations of all ages. Students also have opportunities to practice working in different health-related scenarios in the School of Nursing simulation lab “where thinking is challenged in a protective faculty-guided environment,” Dr. Loukissa says.
There are other ways that nursing faculty support students, who graduate from the program with a variety of employment opportunities in the traditional hospital setting, community, or sub-acute care. “Our nursing program offers a unique blend of highly educated faculty who have clinical connections with various hospitals in the wider Chicagoland area, thus allowing them to guide students through meaningful clinical experiences in a complex and fast-paced clinical world,” she says. “This is an exciting time for healthcare, and there are multiple opportunities available for those who enjoy working with people.”
Dr. Loukissa has maintained her clinical practice and kept her practical skills current by working with individuals who suffer from a variety of mental health issues, substance abuse, cognitive decline, and emotional problems in an acute inpatient setting. This practice allows her to experience first-hand how new treatments help individuals with psychiatric disorders find emotional stability and a new balance in their lives. “Working directly with patients makes me a better teacher all around. Students always appreciate patient stories I share with them in the classroom as it helps them understand and remember the material,” she says. “Students also know that my ongoing experience and expertise will help them learn valuable lessons, whether it is about a patient with complex care needs, a new medication, or a new therapy.”
Loukissa, D. (2013). “Building Teams Through Communication and Partnerships.” Chapter Review in Yoder-Wise. Leading and Managing in Nursing, 6th edition, Elsevier.
Loukissa, D. (2011). “Words of Wisdom: Ten Tips on How to Survive your Psychiatric Clinical Rotation.” In L. Payne, The Nursing Student’s Guide to Clinical Success (pp.187-188). Sunbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett Publishers.
Loukissa, D. (2010) Addressing the Challenge of the Chemically Dependent Nursing Student (Featured Article). CHART, Journal of Illinois Nursing, 107 (1), 15.