On the Shoulders of Giants
Jul 22, 2015 11:00 AM
Neighborhood House and Gerontology Rotation
The nonprofit Neighborhood House offers affordable daytime care and support services for older adults. University of Utah College of Nursing’s community health rotation program with a gerontology focus has teamed up with them for a rotation experience that changes lives. Instead of skill building, the gerontology rotation’s unique focus is on proficiencies like compassionate care, person centered care, and therapeutic communication.
Through interactions with older adults the students learn that these individuals have stories and are people of value. Dementia and other conditions often occurring in later life do not remove personhood or need for respect and dignity.
Nanci McLeskey is a clinical instructor in the College of Nursing’s Gerontology Interdisciplinary Program (GIP) and the creative force behind the partnership with Neighborhood House. McLeskey is passionate about caring for individuals as they age. “While there are many points of learning for students from this experience,” McLeskey says, “the collaboration ultimately teaches students that geriatric nursing is complex and a great nursing specialty.”
|“I was moved to tears so many times by the stories of these sweet people and their families. One of my favorite quotes is from John of Salisbury: ’We are like dwarfs on the shoulders of giants, so that we can see more than them, and things at a greater distance.’ I am so grateful I had the chance to learn from these giants!” - Nursing Student|
Students in this rotation often remember many positive experiences with clients and come away resolved to provide the same care to older adults that they would want for themselves and their families as they age. One student wrote: “This is a fascinating rotation that encompasses the mind, body and soul. The gerontology rotation afforded me clinical nursing skills, but the gerontology rotation also afforded a different set of skills such as therapeutic communication, compassion, empathy, hope and so much more.”
Our aging population is increasing rapidly. One in seven Americans is over age 65. That’s 13.7 percent of the U.S. population, and that is projected to increase. By 2030, one in five Americans will be over age 65. Nursing students must be educated to meet the needs this complex patient population will present. In partnership with Neighborhood House, the College of Nursing is working to make it happen.