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Community Outreach Shows the Home Side of Healthcare

While many people may consider healthcare to be something that happens in a hospital or clinic, PHS staff, patients and families know it extends far beyond that. For many of the kiddos we care for, staying healthy means 24/7 support and therapy, whether provided in a facility or living room.

To educate nursing students on the world of home care, PHS partners with University of Northwestern in St. Paul to provide a community-based nursing roundtable event that gives them a better understanding of the care clinicians at PHS provide.

Mock patients provide understanding

DSC_5091“We have three mock patients we create, and the students receive information ahead of time that describes the diagnosis, prognosis, and details of each patient,” explains Becca Pasch, PHS Nurse Training Supervisor. “Then when they come to the PHS office, students go patient by patient and rotate through the stations that focus on each service. At the respiratory table, an RT talks about the equipment and cares that they would need the nurse focusing on related to respiratory, and then the student goes on to infusion, nutrition, social work, and home care nursing to have a better understanding of what each aspect might look like for this patient.”

By providing this experience, nursing students are exposed to healthcare options beyond a facility as this is likely their first introduction to home care as nursing programs rarely explore home care as a career option. Students also leave with a better understanding of how care providers across a number of settings need to work together and communicate to provide the most comprehensive care, regardless of where they pursue a career.

A growing need for home care

DSC_5099Thanks to advances in technology, patients today are able to go home with complex needs sooner – meaning families can be a unit again, and healing can happen surrounded by the comforts only a familiar setting can provide. This also means the demand for homecare nurses is increasing, as a patient who requires 24/7 nursing has an average of 10-12 nurses filling shifts.

Educating future nurses on the benefits and impact home care has on the healthcare field and children with medical complexities changes stereotypes and perceptions of home care, helping to address the need for a growing home care providers. As students recognize that a career outside a traditional health care facility can be rewarding and challenging, the home care nursing profession can grow and patients stable enough to be at home are able to discharge, rather than wait in the hospital.

Looking forward

In 2016, we will be providing this roundtable opportunity for UNW once in the spring and once in the fall to provide the opportunity for both of their programs. If you’re interested in putting a program like this together, please contact PHS at 651-642-1825 and ask for Becca to receive more information.

Originally published: May 29, 2015