News, Events & GHP

Six Denver College of Nursing Students Provide Care for Hundreds of Denver’s Seniors, Homeless

Tuesday, August 9, 2016 5:35 PM

Students Provide Eight Days of Healthcare, Education, Meal Service for Six Denver Nonprofits 

Six Denver College of Nursing (DCN) students, assisted by a DCN faculty member who is a mental health specialist, provided healthcare, performed assessments and educated seniors and homeless individuals about health issues at Denver area nonprofits and for veterans undergoing treatment at the Veterans Administration (VA) Hospital in Aurora, said Marguerite Distel, RN, DCN assistant professor.

For Denver Urban Ministries (, students assessed and performed intakes for the underprivileged, monitoring their blood pressure and conducting blood sugar tests.  They assisted them in shopping at DeNum’s food pantry so they could choose healthy and nutritionally balanced food options. Also, in collaboration with Food Bank of the Rockies (, students unloaded the food truck and restocked DeNum’s food stocks.

Students conducted community outreach for Colfax Community Network, where children and families who have endured abuse, addiction, crime, harassment, hunger, loss of employment and neglect, receive care, medical clinic assistance, food and housing in a network of “motel communities.” (

Interacting with over 70 homeless people over the age of 55 at Senior Support Services, which provides outreach and needed services to low-income and homeless seniors, DCN students prepared and served breakfast two mornings in a row and conducted a health fair, connecting the underserved to service organizations. (

For those cared for at Denver Rescue Mission’s The Crossing (, students arrived at dawn to prepared and serve breakfast to hundreds of homeless people and continued work there, preparing food for that day’s lunch services for hundreds more.

For five days, in a clinical partnership with the Veteran’s Administration Hospital, students, under the supervision of their clinical faculty, placed IVs, dosed medications orally, intravenously and intramuscularly and performed several head-to-toe assessments.

The six DCN students who participated included Alyssa Benjamin, Daya Bhakta, Anna Maynard, Megan Mitchell, Emily Moats and Lisa Shurter. They were mentored by DCN faculty member Toni Esperanza, assistant professor and a mental healthcare specialist.

Each quarter, DCN students engage in service-learning globally as part of their participation in the Global Health Perspectives (GHP) program. DCN conducts clinical internships with homeless and at-need populations of Denver inner-city organizations twice yearly as part of the GHP program.