More than Medicine
A nurse educator and Project HOPE volunteer teaches nursing students volunteerism.
Students at Wuhan HOPE School of Nursing Offer Excellent Care
Community service is one of the major activities of nursing students at Wuhan HOPE School of Nursing, in Wuhan, China, where I have been volunteering for the Spring 2016 semester. For several years, students have volunteered each Sunday at a local nursing home after having been introduced to this facility during their Community Health nursing course. This facility also serves as a clinical practice site for student nurses in the Nursing Assessment course. Students have the opportunity to listen to heart and lung sounds of residents at the nursing home, as well as perform other health assessments. This benefits both residents and students, as there are no professional nurses employed at the home. Blood pressure, hearing and vision screening, blood glucose monitoring, and other assessments of the mouth, teeth, skin, hair and nails, as well as mobility are completed. The students then present their findings to a nurse from a Chinese community health center who visits the home each month.
During their clinical experience, the students recognized that many residents lacked family support and opportunities for recreation and education, so they took it upon themselves to expand their presence through weekly Sunday visits. Students plan recreation activities such as listening to music, group singing, physical exercise and playing various games. These are accompanied by discussions of health issues such as correct use of a cane, walker or wheelchair, oral hygiene, handwashing and other topics. My role as a Project HOPE nurse educator is to supervise students in their clinical experiences at this home and also support the students in their community outreach efforts.
I recently organized a program with the help of a grant from the Gamma Pi-at-Large Chapter of Sigma Theta Tau International Nursing Society – an organization to which I belong. This provided for the purchase of bibs, small towels, toothbrushes and toothpaste to be donated to the nursing home. The Wuhan student nurses’ volunteer group also asked nursing faculty and staff to participate by donating additional toothbrushes and toothpaste to supplement the grant. Students observed that residents have major dental problems, and lack fine muscle control and self-care abilities. Their clothes are often soiled after eating and need protection, which is why students chose to use the grant funds to buy bibs and small towels.
Students planned a special program to present the supplies to the director of the home. This was well-attended by students and faculty, and the director chose to have the event documented by a videographer so that the activities could be shared with nursing home administrators. Residents gathered and music was provided. Residents also organized and presented their own musical selections. One resident – a former opera star with the Beijing Opera – sang for the group.
The entertainment portion of the program was followed by an education presentation for assistive personnel working at the nursing home about dental hygiene and feeding techniques for residents needing assistance. Residents had their blood pressure checked and students also provided blood glucose monitoring for residents needing this assessment.
As a Project HOPE nurse educator in Wuhan, my job is varied. Outreach to the community, fostering educational experiences in settings with limited resources, and promoting volunteerism are examples of how the mission of Project HOPE can become a reality.
Dr. Sharon Redding is from Omaha, NE. She has a doctorate in Education and a Master’s Degree in Nursing. She was a former HOPE Nursing Educator in Brazil for seven years in the 1970s and 1980s. She is now a volunteer teaching in both the undergraduate and graduate programs at Wuhan HOPE School of Nursing. This school was established in 2002 with the cooperation of Project HOPE and offers the only baccalaureate nursing program in English in China. Dr. Redding works with faculty in implementing creative teaching strategies, evaluating the curriculum and the use of appropriate testing. She assists graduate students in developing their research proposals and writing their theses. Helping faculty to design research to develop evidence-based practice is another of her activities. She is also called upon to do presentations and workshops at colleges and medical centers in Wuhan and nearby provinces.