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School Partnerships Provide Education Opportunities for Students

Receiving hands-on experience during college can be a great step in ensuring students are prepared to enter the job force after graduation. After all, lectures and books can give young professionals the knowledge to do a job well, but applying that knowledge in the field and understanding the day to day details of a profession are immeasurably important.

Preparing Health Care Students

After recognizing a gap in the education students receive on the home care industry, PHS began providing educational partnerships with area colleges and universities to offer learning opportunities and build relationships. Programs are specifically designed to help prepare students for their career outside of the academic setting by shadowing a clinician, observing patient care, charting, and more, based on their field.

Students from universities and technical colleges in Minnesota and surrounding areas have participated in the following roles:

  • Respiratory Therapy: Students spend up to two weeks shadowing and observing day-to-day cares and responsibilities.
  • Infusion Nursing: Nursing students spend up to 120 hours studying case management and in-home care for infusion patients.
  • IMG_2127Home Care Nursing: Students come to PHS each semester to complete 30 to 100 hours of experience. Students participate in a variety of assignments, from attending classes and job shadowing to patient home visits and hands-on care.
  • Nutrition Service: Students gain exposure to clinical nutrition support outside a facility setting by working with PHS’s nutrition department for either one day or 60 hours, based on their program education needs. Students have the opportunity to make home visits and do in-depth calculations for nutrition needs.
  • Social Work: Social work students have the opportunity to intern at PHS for 400 hours. Interns are immersed in clinical social work duties, including electronic charting, play therapy observation, or resource generation for families, alongside a clinical social worker.

“Through these opportunities, students can see the benefits and complexity of home care firsthand,” said Judy Giel, Senior Vice President of Clinical Services. “We’re dedicated to expanding students’ knowledge base and their understanding of how these services are provided at home, and we look forward to building strong relationships within our community.”

From Student to PHS Nurse

When PHS infusion nurse Janelle Wilkens, RN, BSN, CRNI, learned she was placed here for her clinical rotation, she was initially jealous of her classmates who were placed in hospitals.

_T6K5837“My thought was that I wouldn’t get the experience needed to find a job after graduation,” Janelle remembers. “But I was immediately in love with the culture at PHS, and knew I was in the right place. As a new nurse I was eager to learn the intense, challenging, and high skill sets to enhance my nursing profession – and I quickly found infusion home care has all of this. PHS has the ability to take care of children with extensive medical complexities in the home setting, and that is an incredible thing.”

When Janelle initially came to PHS to complete a clinical rotation, she spent time shadowing nurses and completing a project where she proposed a method for identifying if a child was diagnosed with MRSA. She was invited back for a Leadership and Development rotation, where she learned more about how PHS staff are involved in different areas of care and leadership roles.

“I found it most insightful to see who involved PHS is in everything from safety committees and strategic initiatives to groups focusing on infection control, process improvement, and employee satisfaction. PHS staff were highly involved in making every aspect of PHS the best it can be,” says Janelle.

A Greater Understanding

Following her rotations, Janelle had a deeper knowledge of central lines, infection prevention, and how to deliver training to caregivers – skills that immediately transferred beyond the classroom and into a career setting. Janelle has now been an infusion nurse at PHS for over three years, _T6K2789and utilizes the skills she learned during her rotations daily.

“The most important question I ask before leaving the home or hanging up the phone is, ‘is the child taken care of?’ If your answer is no, then keep working until he or she is,” Janelle explains. “This philosophy is so eye opening because often people avoid patient rooms at hospitals or inpatient settings because of the angry parents or caregivers, when really the avoidance can affect the child’s well-being.”

Thanks to the education and training Janelle received during her rotations with PHS, she now has the opportunity to provide exceptional care to kiddos while building relationships with caregivers to ensure each patient is receiving the best care 24/7. To continue educating students on the comprehensive and clinically sophisticated opportunities in home care, PHS looks forward to providing partnerships with area schools while strengthening relationships with future health care professionals.

Originally published: September 9, 2014