Last year, BSN student Paige O'Brien earned a glimpse into life as a cancer patient while interning with a local radiation oncologist.
Fellow second-year Lesley Childress observed that the day the home-visiting nurse came to visit was always the best part of her great-grandfather's week.
And Rosy Ix grew close to the elderly residents in the nursing home where she worked, many of whom had no family, and few visitors.
The kind of work the first Wisdom in Nursing cohort will do is "really why I wanted to become a nurse," said second-year student Sarah Franklin, who keenly observed the nurses who cared for her father during his struggle with cancer, recalling an off-duty nurse who brought him the grape juice he craved. "It's the little things that nurses do that really matter the most."
"When I worked in a nursing home, I saw how hard it is for people who have no one to navigate appointments alone. It's really nice to build those relationships. People really just want to be heard."Rosy Ix, 2nd year BSN student and Wisdom in Nursing program participant
Through the School's new Wisdom in Nursing program, this first cohort of students will, by January, 2019, be matched to local patients who need assistance navigating issues related to their health. Students will work one-on-one with their assigned Care Partners over the course of more than two years. Care Partners are UVA Health System patients who live within 45 miles of Charlottesville, and agree to have an undergraduate nursing student provide the connective tissue between them, their families, an their healthcare teams.
Students act as advocates, confidants, and caregivers, while Care Partners shape and inform the practice of future nurses.
"This is a chance for students to develop a real bond with someone in need, and a chance for members of the community to fell like they're really contributing to someone's education," explains program director Susanna Williams, who helped establish a similar program in the School of Medicine. "It's a powerful exchange."
Wisdom in Nursing students may attend Care Partners' medical visits, speak with clinicians about their patient's needs, call and visit their Care Partners at home, answer basic questions about medicines and procedures, and contact healthcare team with questions or concerns.
The Wisdom in Nursing program is for motivated nursing students to learn skills that go beyond the traditional curriculum and clinical rotations, achieving practical, real-world experience in the long-term care of a single patient over time.
Deadline for undergraduates to apply for the second cohort is spring, 2019. Please contact your advisor or Susanna Williams or your advisor to apply.