By Beth David, Editor
It’s hard to decide who made out better on the deal: The nursing students in the UMassDartmouth College of Nursing, or the Acushnet Council on Aging/Senior Center and the people they serve.
“It was a great experience on both sides,” said Heather Chew, Director of the Acushnet COA. “We both learned a lot from each other.”
The students, she said, were most likely a little taken aback at how much they learned from the seniors at the COA. And everyone benefited from the information the students gathered and then shared with everyone.
The students spent their clinical rotation for community nursing at the senior center in Acushnet, using it as their base of operations for the work they did around the Greater New Bedford area. That work included going out into neighborhoods, conducting interviews, talking to residents, and working to identify a variety of resources that can help improve the health of people in the community.
Students conducted a needs assessment of the New Bedford area that included finding out about health insurance, nutrition, and other health needs. It became apparent that food insecurity and nutrition were major areas of concern that negatively affected the health of area residents.
Students also found that, although there are a lot of resources available to area residents, there are also a lot of barriers keeping those resources from those who need them most.
The majority of resources are located in New Bedford at a few places, but not necessarily easy to get to for those without cars.
“Community Nursing is a lot different than we expected,” said Azia, adding that she thought it would be more structured, but it was truly out in the community. “It’s so different than a hospital setting.”
Allison said going into the community gave her a sense of humility and humanitarianism.
Jillian said she did not realize how many opportunities there are in community nursing.
“It was really different for me,” she said, adding it was an “excellent program” for her.
Meaghan’s mother was a community nurse, so she at least knew what it was. She said some of her classmates had no idea.
“I didn’t realize where you live affects your health,” said Jillian. “The opportunities available in a community really affect health.”
“Community Nursing is for the people,” said Meaghan, and not just to help when they are sick, but to work on prevention with education, especially nutrition education.
The students gave a presentation to small group at the Acushnet senior center on Thursday, 4/21/22. They explained their findings and their experiences.
The key to good health, they found, is in good nutrition. Their presentation focused on making good food choices, how to save money at the grocery store, how to read nutrition labels, and where to find resources to help alleviate food insecurity.
Click here to download the entire 4/28/22 issue: 04-28-22 WestIsl5K
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