Nursing students reach out to elderly

For at least 10 years, students and faculty in Gannon University’s Villa Maria School of Nursing have volunteered their time and attention to the residents of Erie’s Mid-City Towers.

Groups from Gannon regularly walk to its location on East Ninth Street to provide blood pressure screenings and other forms of health education.

The 132-unit, high-rise apartment building caters exclusively to seniors over age 62 and those with disabilities. It offers a variety of pleasing amenities to tenants – controlled entry access, 24-hour emergency maintenance, a free weekly bus for grocery shopping and a fitness center, according to its listing from NDC Real Estate Management.

Gannon supplements these services by meeting with residents to make sure they’re staying on top of their health.

“We’d meet [residents] in their community room, and we’d take a group of 10 nursing students over with a faculty member,” Patricia A. Marshall, director of the undergraduate nursing program, said in a Gannon press release.

“For students, it’s a clinical opportunity and a service-learning opportunity,” she said in the release. “The students gain so much out of it, even including feeling wanted. The residents are so welcoming to us and to the students. It’s a pleasure to go over and provide this service.”

Marshall said that the students’ presence is not only greatly appreciated, but noticed when no longer there.

“Some of the residents, during the summer, ask, ‘When are the young ones coming back?’” she said. “They missed the students coming to talk with them and share with them.”

Kathleen T. Patterson, Ph.D, director of the nursing school in Gannon’s Morosky College of Health Sciences and Professions, said that the nursing groups do not go over out of obligation, however.

“We’re not playing doctor or even nurse practitioner,” she said in the press release. “It’s the service that we feel we want to do.”


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