Spring 2010 - Vol V Issue 1
Freshman Nursing Seminar Inspires Students
When nursing student Lorraine Wong signed up for the freshman seminar, “Nursing in the Jesuit Tradition,” she didn’t expect to be so inspired that she would create a new club on campus, yet that’s precisely what happened.
While taking the course last semester and learning about vulnerable populations and their access to medical care, Wong also found out a close friend of hers was diagnosed with cancer. “It just really surprised me how close it could be to your life,” Wong said. Determined to do something, Wong organized “Students for Cancer Awareness,” which aims to raise students’ awareness of cancer through monthly activities.
The club—which already has about 15 members—also has volunteered at Family House, an organization that provides temporary housing to families of children with cancer and other life-threatening conditions who are receiving treatment at UCSF’s Children’s Hospital.
“I’m really proud of what I’ve done,” Wong said. “It amazes me how much of an impact a small group of students can have in a short amount of time.”
Fellow student Stephanie Marchello also saw that impact when she came up with the idea—during class—to donate extra money from her student dining account to buy sandwiches, drinks, and blankets for the homeless on Haight Street. When a student overheard she was doing this, he took it to the next level by going around campus and asking other students for donations from their accounts so that even more food could be donated.
“It was really wonderful, especially around the holidays, to be able to do that,” she wrote in a letter to School of Nursing Dean Judith Karshmer.
Seeing students so moved by the class goes beyond what instructors Mary Lou De Natale and Sr. Brian Kelber, S.M. expected when they first began teaching the seminar last fall. The class, required of all freshman nursing students, is designed to “provide a strong foundation for a humanistic approach to nursing,” Sr. Kelber said. That includes giving students a foundation—before clinical nursing courses—to develop an awareness of the health care needs of vulnerable populations, locally and globally.
Students are divided into small groups, with each presenting on a particular health care-related topic, including HIV/AIDS patients, the homeless population, and end-of-life care.
The class is one of two new freshman seminars. The other, also required of all freshman, provides students with an overview of the nursing profession.
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