Brown Bag meetings bring the community to SCC Nursing students

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Participants from Hearthstone retirement community participated in a panel on aging for the Nursing students of Shoreline Community College. Panel participants from left to right: Mrs. Jan Park, Mr. Verbeck Smith, Mrs. Ann Anderson, Mrs. Jean Kretzler, Mrs. Phyllis Swenson, and Mrs. Lynn Burnett. Photo courtesy SCC.

The Shoreline Community College Association of Nursing Students (SCCANS), a student-led club, facilitates a weekly Monday brown bag session aimed at broadening the scope of nursing education by providing discussion panels of social, educational, and political import. While panels often focus on topics related to career development, they also serve to broaden our nursing students’ connection to community.

On Monday, February 1, SCAANS welcomed a panel of six older adults from the local independent-living retirement community, Hearthstone. The panel discussion focused on aging, and gave students insight into a segment of the population they don’t always have ready access to: older adults who are aging independently.

“Our students are most readily exposed to older adults who are engaged in long-term care for issues of physical or mental decline,” said Nursing faculty member Corki Budnick. “The mobile nature of students and families now have left us with students who are disconnected from their own families or don’t have regular contact with them. This event was a valuable opportunity to remind students that the majority of older adults are living independently and are lucid and fun.”

The brown bag was a huge success, with approximately 80 nursing students in attendance. The older adults from Hearthstone were enthusiastic about the experience and very much engaged in demonstrating that there’s tremendous life and vitality after the age of 65.

“The adults from Hearthstone were exactly the type of older adults our students needed to be exposed to,” said Budnick. “Lively, alert, and with decades of healthy living left. Adults aging independently are a community with vastly different needs than what our students experience with adults aging in long-term care programs. Understanding that there is a wide range of ways people experience aging is crucial to our students’ abilities to meet all the needs along the spectrum.”

And meeting the needs of the community is a mission that speaks to nursing students and the core values of the college at large. “It’s really important that our students succeed in their mission of being connected to the community,” said Budnick, “and we’re so grateful to Hearthstone for helping us meet that end.”


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