Walk in their shoes One way to improve community health is to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes. Literally. During one clinical experience, Jake Creviston ’08, assistant professor of nursing, led his students along the busy streets of Multnomah Village in Southwest Portland that included a large population of elderly residents. The students soon realized there were no crosswalks for nearly a mile and attended a neighborhood meeting to propose changes. “The most important thing about community health is to open the eyes of students to creative perspectives of health and treatments,” said Creviston, a psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner who teaches at Linfield and sees patients one day a week at an integrative care clinic. “Community health promotes prevention and keeping people out of the hospital – some of the biggest cost savings in health care.” That big picture thinking pushed Creviston out of the hospital setting because it felt too late to help patients by the time they arrived there. “I kept asking, ‘But why are they ending up here?’” he said. “If we can prevent someone’s depression, maybe we can prevent the insomnia and weight loss that goes along with it, and the physical issues that manifest and can spiral out of control. Suddenly, they’re diabetic and have kidney failure. It’s important to look at the whole picture.” Like Creviston, many of the Linfield faculty are practicing nurses with advanced degrees, who offer a practical as well as theoretical perspective. As a practicing bilingual nurse practitioner in Multnomah County, assistant professor Jackie Webb helps her students understand the challenges and struggles of families with limited resources by sharing her own experiences and providing volunteer opportunities. Students get hands-on knowledge doing screenings of children of migrant workers at Head Start – weight, blood pressure, eyes, hearing, anemia – while also learning about the role of the nurse practitioner. Webb developed a home visit clinical rotation so students can see how patients manage their chronic illnesses. Students learn first-hand how to assess for the many variables impacting an individual’s ability to heal. “At the end of the day, I want our students to understand the unique positions they find themselves in when they choose to be nurses,” Webb said. “It is a privilege to be in somebody’s life when they are absolutely vulnerable. We can have a tremendous impact on the outcome.” Luke Puerini ’16 understands being able to respond when someone is in a susceptible situation is crucial. “In nursing, you’re dealing with people who have complicated problems and you’re dealing with them in their most helpless moments and sometimes on the worst day of their lives,” he said. “It’s important to adapt. In a split second, everything can change.” A former wildland firefighter, Puerini enrolled in Linfield’s accelerated program after completing degrees in management and human resources. As an EMT on the fire crew, he worked extensively with Medivac helicopters and became interested in flight nursing. “Firefighting is a hard job and I was wearing down,” said Puerini, who will complete his Linfield degree in 15 months. “It’s a brutal schedule. I worked 16 16-hour days in a row, and then got two days off. I was ready for something different.” “Let’s Diabeathis” Patients with diabetes now have access to an easy-to-use tool to stay healthy, thanks to the work of three Linfield students. Erica Bailey ’11, a clinical instructor, leads students in home visits with at-risk patients. She and three students – Troy Howington ’16, Cecily Thompson ’16 and Luke Puerini ’16 – developed a tool for patients with diabetes during their primary care home visit rotation with Legacy Medical Group-Good Samaritan Clinic. The project, “Let’s Diabeatthis,” is a color-coded monthly calendar for patients to easily record and track their blood sugar level. By entering their capillary blood glucose, patients can easily see whether their blood sugar levels are within normal or not. “It is an incredibly rewarding experience for the students to see first-hand the challenges some patients face in caring for themselves,” said Bailey. 1 0 - l i n f i e l d m a g a z i n e Summer 2016 From left, Sara Hussein ’16, Patrick McKinney ’16, Luke Puerini ’16 and Elisabeth Martinez-Mendoza ’16 are in their final year of study at Linfield. Guided by a liberal arts core of study, Linfield nursing students are immersed in community-based health, both in on-campus classes and off-campus clinicals.
2016 Linfield Magazine Summer
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