KCON students learn about medicine, life through new community partnership
In an aggressive market like nursing, distinction and community service are prized by employers, and the advent of a new program developed by the Kirkhof College of Nursing and the United Methodist Community House hopes to help students move toward those goals and set themselves apart from the competition.
The United Methodist Community House has certainly withstood the test of time, serving for 110 years in the Grand Rapids area. It began a new chapter in its history on May 7 of this year, when it joined forces with GVSU’s Kirkhof College of Nursing.
The program, the brainchild of Anita Christopher, director of community relations and senior program manager, allows nursing students the ability to work with senior citizens in numerous capacities.
The students are able to practice their clinical work with the seniors, such as taking blood pressure and conducting dietary programs.
“By working with a diverse population, the students benefit in the long term,” Christopher said.
Susan Littler, a nursing student at GVSU, said the program allows for the practical application of their medical education.
“Being able to get out of the classroom,” Littler said, “broadens my horizon.”
The class offers them a chance to interact with real people, with real medical conditions. A forthcoming program will have the students examine patient’s feet in order to prevent future amputations, due to diabetes and other ailments. Senior citizens often lose their mobility due to such amputations, which, are often preventable if dealt with early.
Not all of the programs offered to seniors are medically driven. The senior’s annual prom will be held in conjunction with students on June 23.
“Encouraging seniors to share their lives” is a significant aspect of the program, said Brenda Hoss, an adjunct faculty member of KCON and liaison between the two organizations.
Through gardening and physical activities, such as the prom, the aim is to “teach people better habits,” Hoss said.
This is not the only venture that nursing students are involved with. Other sites, such as Mount Mercy and the Other Way Ministries are also utilizing students’ energy in community outreach.
“We feel very honored to be involved in the program,” Christopher said. “It’s a good fit to have nurses bring an individual touch.”
KCON students say the program has taught them more than just practical medical experience – it’s taught them life lessons; among them, the value of getting to know a patient and the honesty that comes with it.
Christopher said the program has been “very well received by the seniors” and that the future looks promising for the new partners.
“We’re always looking to upgrade our services,” Christopher said. “It’s an honor.”
Pictures of the Year 2012-2013
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11:00 am | GVSU Track & Field at NCAA Championships
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