UPMC Hamot 7th Annual Nursing Symposium: Building Your Wellness Toolbox: Finding Balance in the Nursing Profession

Erie, PA US
September 27, 2024

The 2024 edition of the UPMC Hamot Symposium will help nursing professionals build their wellness toolbox and find balance in their profession. Faculty for the program will include nationally recognized leaders in nursing as well as knowledgeable experts from UPMC and UPMC Hamot — a two-time Magnet®-designated hospital.


Featured Speaker:

Katie Boston-Leary, PhD, MBA, MHA, RN, NEA-BC

Dr. Katie Boston-Leary is the Director of Nursing Programs at the American Nurses Association overseeing the Nursing Practice and Work Environment Division and Healthy Nurse Healthy Nation. She is also the Co-Lead for Project Firstline, a multi-million-dollar grant collaborative with the CDC for training on Infection Prevention and Control.  As a Chief Nursing Officer and Senior Executive, Katie has led organizations to obtain numerous accolades for quality and safety including an ANCC Pathway to Excellence designation and to win the coveted annual ANCC Pathway to Excellence award in 2017.

She was recently identified August 2019 Health Leaders Journal as “One of Five Chief Nursing Officers Changing Healthcare”.  Her most recent research was a qualitative study on nurses’ perceptions of power dynamics in the hospital setting.  She is a well-known speaker nationally and internationally with many publications and podcast guest invitations.  She recently completed her PhD at Walden University in Health Services, obtained a dual degree MBA and MHA from the University of Maryland Global Campus and her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Bowie State University in Maryland.  She is a board-certified Nurse Executive and obtained a nurse executive leadership certificate from Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.  She has been interviewed for stories in numerous print, online and televised media outlets namely CNBC, Cheddar TV, HR Maximizer and Bloomberg News. She recently co-authored an article titled, The US COVID‐19 Crisis: Facts, Science and Solidarity, which was published in the International Nursing Review (INR), the official journal of the International Council of Nurses (ICN).

Featured Speaker:

Kevin P. Merrigan

Kevin P. Merrigan is the founder and director of Orlando Tai Chi + Qigong, a health, educational and worksite wellness company currently offering the benefits of mind/body practices to Orlando residents. Kevin started studying Chinese Martial & Energy Arts in 1970. He studied and taught Chinese Kenpo, Yang Tai Chi Long Form, Qigong, and Traditional Chinese Medicine.

Kevin has studied under various teachers and Masters including Dr Russell Amundson, MD; Master Ed Parker; Grand Master Pui Chan & Simu Susy Chan; Sherry Zhang; Dr. Phu Duthinh OMD, Jeff Premack, and Dr. Roger Jahnke, OMD. Jahnke is the founder of the Institute of Integral Qigong and Tai Chi where Kevin is certified as an Integral Qigong & Tai Chi Teacher, Level 3. 

Target Audience

UPMC Hamot is excited to welcome nurses, advanced practice providers, allied health professionals, nursing faculty and nursing students to attend this extraordinary day. 

Learning Objectives

At the conclusion of this activity, the participants should be able to:

  • Describe the current state of nurses’ health.
  • Determine data-driven strategies for engagement and improvement; and make the business case for health and wellness.
  • Identify resources for nurses’ health and well-being including Healthy Nurse, Healthy Nation free resources.
  • Discuss the health benefits of qigong and explain why Western doctors recommend it for promoting longevity and overall health.
  • Describe the Relaxation Response by Dr. Herbert Benson and outline how daily practice can reverse the harmful effects of stress and contribute to healthy aging.
  • Demonstrate proper nasal and abdominal breathing techniques to strengthen the diaphragm and alleviate heart strain.
  • Describe the value of an adjustable self-care plan.
  • Identify 5 strategies for maintaining balanced wellness within the workday.
  • Describe the complementary therapy therapeutic touch.
  • Practice energy assessment techniques.
  • Describe the evidence supporting therapeutic touch for comfort management and ease of suffering. 
  • Describe the benefits of the use of therapeutic touch and holistic practice for the nurse. 
  • Describe the impact of recognition and gratitude on nurse well-being.
Course summary
Available credit: 
  • 6.00 ANCC
    UPMC Provider Unit is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation
  • 6.00 Attendance
Course opens: 
Course expires: 
Event starts: 
09/27/2024 - 8:00am EDT
Event ends: 
09/27/2024 - 4:00pm EDT

7 – 8 a.m.

Registration and Continental Breakfast

8 – 8:10 a.m.


James E. Donnelly, MBA, BSN, RN

8:10 – 9:10 a.m.

The Nursing Care Plan for Nurses' Well-being

Katie Boston-Leary, PHD, MHA, MBA, RN, NEA-BC

9:10 – 10:10 a.m.

How To Nourish Yourself with Traditional Chinese Medicine

Kevin Merrigan

10:10 – 10:30 a.m.


10:30 – 11:30 a.m.

Re-Balancing the Scales: Brief Tools for the Evolving Day

Mandy Fauble, PhD, LCSW

11:30 – 12:40 p.m.

Lunch and Poster Viewing

12:40 – 1:40 p.m.

Building and Rebuilding Purpose: Transplant & CORE Panel

Debra Weismiller, MSN, RN, NE-BC; Makenzie Beach, BSN, RN; Rachel Gurgiolo, PharmD; Sandy Siegel, RN, CCTC; Alley Mikovich, RN, CCTC; Donny McDowell, RN, CEN, PHRN

1:40 – 2:00 p.m.


2:00 – 2:45 p.m.

Therapeutic Touch: An Innovation for Comfort Management in Nursing Practice

Cate Stiller, PhD, RN, CNE

2:45 – 3:00 p.m.

Promoting Wellness through Recognition and Gratitude: Awarding Excellence in Nursing

James E. Donnelly, MBA, BSN, RN

3:00 – 3:15 p.m.

Q&A and Evaluations

3:15 p.m.


Ambassador Banquet & Conference Center
7794 Peach St.
Erie, PA 16509
United States
+1 (814) 455-1260



In Person at the Ambassador Banquet & Conference Center in Erie, PA.

Registration fees include the seminar, continental breakfast, refreshment breaks and lunch.


Virtually through Zoom

Registrants will be e-mailed a Zoom link 3 days prior to the conference. Virtual attendees will be able to ask questions using the Q&A function in Zoom.


Special Needs

Participation by all individuals is encouraged. Advance notification of any special needs will help us provide better service. Please notify us of your needs at least two weeks in advance of the program by calling UPMC Hamot Center for Education at 814-877-2513.


Attire for the conference is business casual. Since meeting room temperatures can vary, it is recommended that you dress in layers and bring a light jacket or sweater with you to the conference.


Course Director:

James E. Donnelly, MBA, BSN, RN

Chief Nursing Office

UPMC Hamot

Vice President, Patient Care Services 

Keynote Speaker:

Katie Boston-Leary, PhD, MHA, MBA, RN, NEA-BC


Nursing Programs

American Nurses Association

Silver Spring, MD 


Makenzie Beach, BSN, RN

UPMC Hamot

Mandy Fauble, Ph.D., LCSW

Director of Clinical Care Services

UPMC Western Behavioral Health at Safe Harbor

UPMC Chautauqua, Ambulatory Behavioral Health

UPMC Jameson, Ambulatory Behavioral Health

Rachel Gurgiolo, PharmD

Clinical Pharmacist 

UPMC Hamot


UPMC Hamot

Kevin Merrigan

Founder and Director

Orlando Tai Chi + Qigong

Orlando, FL

Alley Mikovich, RN, CCTC

UPMC Hamot

Sandy Siegel, RN, CCTC

UPMC Hamot

Cate Stiller, Ph.D., RN, CNE

Assistant Teaching Professor, Nursing

Penn State Behrend

Erie, PA

Debra Weismiller, MSN, RN, NE-BC

Director, Transplant Center

UPMC Hamot


In support of improving patient care, the University of Pittsburgh is jointly accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME), the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE), and the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), to provide continuing education for the healthcare team.


A maximum of 6.5 nursing contact hours will be awarded. Participants will be able to claim credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the program.


Other health care professionals will receive a certificate of attendance confirming the number of contact hours commensurate with the extent of participation in this activity.

Available Credit

  • 6.00 ANCC
    UPMC Provider Unit is accredited as a provider of continuing nursing education by the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Commission on Accreditation
  • 6.00 Attendance


Please login or register to take this course.

Nursing Students & Instructors 

Nursing students and instructors can register using the UPMC scholarship option. This scholarship will cover the full cost of the registration fees listed above. Please indicate your school affiliation in the text box. If you are an instructor, please specify "instructor" and the name of your school.

MEB SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS available for UPMC Hamot nurses

If you are a UPMC Hamot nurse and you would like to use MEB funds, please fill out the form below:

PDF icon MEB Tracking Form reviewed 7-6-2020.pdf


 Please notify UPMC Hamot’s CME Department of substitutions and cancellations, via email to ham_cme@upmc.edu or by telephone at 814-877-5691.


Please contact the UPMC Hamot CME Department at:  814-877-5691 or e-mail: HAM_CME@UPMC.EDU