Students in the senior level community nursing course complete their clinical in Nurse Managed Centers located in York city. In these Centers, students work under the supervision of community health faculty. They provide health promotion and disease prevention services to low income York city residents. Most students come into the community health course uncertain about what to expect in this clinical.
Mike Fields and Sean McDonough were like other students, not sure what to think or even if they would enjoy this Nurse Managed Center clinical. With Professor Audra Johns as their clinical professor, they cared for various patients through the Nurse Managed Center at Union Church.
To their surprise, they developed a new perspective about health care. “I had never before considered the idea of stopping problems before they occur may be a better wellness strategy than managing them as they occur. Working in this community helped me develop better communication skills. I have become better at teaching health information in such a way that my patients can understand,” said Mike as he summarized the eye-opening experience he had in this clinical.
Sean concluded, “Caring for my patients in their home setting helped me see the patient as a whole and tailor my care to what they needed the most. I have adjusted my previous judgments and have developed empathy for patients living in poverty. I now understand there are many reasons why patients do not follow the prescribed health plan.”
Because the Nurse Managed Centers remain open when the College is not in session, students in the community health clinical course are given the opportunity to apply for paid student intern positions. Sean and Mike enjoyed their Nurse Managed Center clinical and the relationships they had built with several of their patients. They both applied for and were offered positions for the 2011-2012 winter break.
Although this opportunity cut short their “vacation” time with their families, it allowed them to continue caring for the patients they were following and opened them up to meeting patients from other centers.
Both Mike and Sean said the shortened vacation time was a fair trade off. They enjoyed connecting with patients who relied on the Nurse Managed Centers to help with their health care. Mike said, “Having a sense of autonomy and feeling like you made a difference for your patient was very rewarding.”