College Nursing Students Learn at Franke Tobey Jones

nurses in a group photo

Students I n entry level Masters of Science in Nursing  program at Pacific Lutheran University spent 5 weeks this summer at the Franke Tobey Jones Care Center and received their first exposure in a clinical setting.  These students had already completed a non-nursing Bachelors degree. During this nursing program, they will complete 625 hours in a clinical setting, 42 of these hours in a long-term care or adult family home setting with the goal of becoming RNs.  After sitting for RN licensure, the ELMSN students continue with graduate level coursework and graduate with an MSN degree.  In the pre-licensure portion of the master’s program they shadow Register Nurses and CNAs, receiving hands on training in physical care, communicating with patients, mobility training, skin integrity, sensory perception and more.  In the fall and spring, groups of BSN (Bachelors of Science in Nursing) students also spend clinical hours at FTJ.

“What makes this hands-on collaboration meaningful is that the students can see what happens in real life,” says Jodi Erickson, PhD, RN, CLN and Assistant Professor and ELMSN Coordinator at Pacific Lutheran University.  “It’s a unique opportunity to work with older adults right here in our community.  This work exposes them to the services that are available, and they can put what they have learned theoretically in school into practice.  They learn to treat people as individuals and to care for them with dignity.  Long term care is not the typical “sexy” nursing environment like delivering babies or being in the ER, but lots of students enjoy working with the elderly, so working at Franke Tobey Jones is good exposure for firsthand experience with the senior population.  The students also may experience for the first-time end-of-life decision making, and even witness their first death.  Although this is very sad and difficult to go through, it gives them the opportunity to learn how to deal with these sensitive topics and situations.  In the process they not only learn about the resident, but also about themselves.”

“Some of the students are apprehensive at first to work in a long-term care setting.  But, once they experience working with the senior population, they realize how impactful it is to hear their stories, that a person is a person no matter their health condition, and that everyone deserves to be treated with patience, kindness and care.  By the end of the five weeks the students are much more comfortable with interpersonal communication, are more confident in their abilities and have a sense of how they want to move forward in their nursing career.”

“The PLU nursing students add a bright light to our resident’s day,” says Kristina Atkins, FTJ Skilled Nursing Resident Care Supervisor.  “We are glad the students are getting the opportunity for some practical experience here in our skilled nursing center at FTJ.  A resident reported ‘The students are kind, thoughtful, and eager to learn.’  I can see what the students bring by the smiles on the residents’ faces. Caring for the elderly takes a certain type of individual.  It is a constant learning experience full of rewards and enlightenment.  It may not be the most prestigious nursing environment, however, to care for those who once cared for us is one of the highest honors.”

We thank the PLU nursing students and their clinical instructors for choosing to learn in our wonderful new FTJ Care Center.  It’s a win-win all the way around.

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