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Nursing students become familiar with community resources

July 1, 2016

From anatomy and physiology to medication principles and psychology, nursing students learn a lot.

Equally important to learning the fundamentals of the field is knowing what resources are available to patients. It’s something you won’t find in a textbook, which is why Dean of Health and Human Services Becky LaMont created a nursing On the busfield trip.

LaMont describes the field trip as a scavenger hunt similar to the show The Amazing Race. Divided into teams, nursing students receive various scenarios where they are presented with a health issue and must find their way to community resources and establishments to take care of the issue all while riding public transportation.

“Their destination could be a standard doctor’s office or maybe the health department,” explained LaMont. “Once they get there, it’s up to them to learn about all the resources available to treat their health issue.”

The purpose of the activity is to get students familiar with the community and to give them a better sense of what patients might go through before they reach a doctor’s office. Scenarios could include getting a grandparent help for eye pain or finding dental care for a child. Students check in on a private Facebook group where LaMont might throw in an extra question to test their new-found knowledge.

pamphletsFor example, nursing student Alyssa Polen learned the McLean County Health Department has dental services for all ages and also provides several pamphlets of information in different languages. When communicating her discovery on Facebook, LaMont asks, “Will they help you today?”

“By appointment only on Fridays,” said Polen.

Student Brandy Hamilton found the activity to be valuable and it gave her a better sense of patient perspective. “It’s nice to get a firsthand look at how stressful and time consuming it can be to rely on public transit.” 

Textbooks teach nursing students how to treat symptoms. Knowing how to treat the patient as a whole is a valuable skill to have. “By definition, nurses help people regain their health and improve their quality of life. Being able to refer someone to additional resources and assistance is something that will make our students even better nurses,” said LaMont.

Photo Credits

Hannah Denney

Jennifer Lessman

Alyssa Polen

Written by: Becky Gropp