Academic journal article ABNF Journal

The Nursing Wellness Center: A Win-Win Situation for Faculty

Academic journal article ABNF Journal

The Nursing Wellness Center: A Win-Win Situation for Faculty

Article excerpt

Abstract: This article discusses the community-based wellness center as a solution to faculty needs for communitybased student clinical practice sites, faculty practice and the mission of service to the community. The development of the concept at our school is traced, and the benefits of such a program to faculty, students, and the University are explored.

Key Words: Nursing Wellness Center; Faculty Practice; Community-based Care; Community Service

The increasing cost of medical care is leading to alterations in the way we normally think about nursing practice and nursing education. Hospitals are reducing not only length of stay but also the numbers of hospital beds available, leading to fewer sites for practice for nursing students. Increasingly, health care is offered in communitybased settings. Prairie View A&M University College of Nursing is attempting to respond to these trends with the development of Nursing Wellness Centers in communitybased locations. The Centers serve a threefold purpose: to provide sites for student learning as well as faculty practice, and to provide needed wellness-focused care to culturally diverse, vulnerable aggregates to promote healthy lifestyles.

DEVELOPMENT OF THE CONCEPT

As an HBCU, the mission of the College of Nursing, consistent with that of the larger university, is to promote research and community service with a focus on providing services to impact the health of predominantly minority, vulnerable groups in the community. Consistent with this mission, we received a grant from the Kellogg Foundation to develop community-based clinical experiences for students throughout the curriculum. As an outcome of this grant, first semester students practice communication and health assessment skills in senior citizen centers. In future semesters they progress with experiences in assessment, teaching and referral to clients with health concerns in adult health nursing, teaching programs to school-aged children and pregnant teens in Childbearing and Child Health Nursing, and working with groups of clients in community mental health settings. They culminate this type of practice in the final semester with complete functional health assessment and care plans for clients who are homebound. These services have been episodic, and have not provided continuity of care or follow up for clients who can benefit from continued health promotion/maintenance support.

As our nursing students became visible in these community settings, the College of Nursing began to receive inquiries from housing projects, asking for wellness and health maintenance programs for their residents. One faculty works in collaboration with a local charitable organization and, with students sees clients at a senior nutrition site in a local neighborhood center on a weekly basis for screening, health maintenance activities and health education. One privately owned residential facility for independent seniors included in their plans for their community center an office for a nursing program, and another general housing project in the planning stage has offered space for an ongoing program to be added to their planned renovation.

As we contemplated these offers, it became apparent that we were facing opportunities to develop sites for not only student learning experiences, but for faculty to provide continuity of care through faculty practice. The type of practice proposed would be appropriate for advanced practice faculty and students, but also for faculty interested in working with health maintenance issues in chronic physical and mental conditions and in general health promotion. This type of wellness center does not require faculty with complex knowledge of problems, as it focuses on self-care and healthy lifestyles, but can utilize the skills of faculty and provide appropriate undergraduate learning experiences. It will, however, be favorable to expansion of programs as our school moves into advanced nursing practice education. …

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