In their first-ever provision of healthcare to Denver inner-city nonprofits and the Veterans Administration Hospital, four Denver College of Nursing (DCN) students provided care and community health education over an intensive two-week-long period in multiple settings, said Diana Kostrzewski, DCN dean of nursing education programs.
DCN students participated in a service-learning clinical partnership with the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in the emergency department, gastrointestinal clinic and the oncology clinic. “There, our students spent two full days in patient transport, a full day of triage and a day in the emergency department where they attended to patients with a wide range of health issues, ranging from diabetes to amputation,” said DCN’s Micah Hughes, assistant professor and director of the nursing college’s Global Health Perspectives (GHP) program.
“It’s through DCN’s GHP program that our students both engage in community health outreach and complete valuable clinical hours in the community,” he added. The GHP program is a service learning program at Denver College of Nursing that partners with like-minded NGOs and sustainable international and domestic clinical programs.
The four DCN students who participated included Leslie Carlos, Mary Morrissey, Gina Naccarato and Amy Pape, and were mentored by DCN faculty member Toni Esperanza, assistant professor and a mental healthcare specialist, and Julie Lohre, DCN adjunct clinical instructor.
Other nonprofits served by DCN’s team included Brandon House and Irving House, both under the auspices of Volunteers of America, Denver Urban Ministries, The Gathering Place, Lawrence Street Shelter, Lutheran Family Services and the Senior Support Services Center.“These internships really changed us,” DCN student Morrissey said. “As nurses, we all now have a better understanding of our community, especially as it relates to needs of and the resources for our homeless, our mental health patients and our veterans. I now feel better able to serve our populations as a result of this GHP internship.”
DCN will conduct clinical internships with homeless and at-need populations of inner-city organizations every six months as part of the nursing college’s GHP program. In December, 2015, five DCN students will serve healthcare internships with those Denver organizations, Hughes said.