Orvis School of Nursing (OSN)
A Community-Campus Partnership:
Orvis School of Nursing (OSN) students in their Community and Mental Health Practicum and Senior Outreach Services (SOS) volunteers, Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, Sanford Center for Aging
Creating healthier communities require collaborative solutions. Community-campus partnerships involve communities and higher educational institutions as mutual partners, and may address such areas as health professions education (i.e., through service-learning), health care delivery, research (i.e., through community-based participatory research), community service, community-wide health improvement (i.e., through Healthy Communities initiatives), and community/economic development.
Our partnership was formed to meet the health needs (physical, mental, social, spiritual, and environmental) of the vulnerable population, the homebound senior receiving SOS volunteer supportive services and the student need for service-learning. Service-learning, a curricular teaching and learning strategy, integrates community service and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility, and strengthen communities.
The comprehensive in-home care provided by the nursing students, overseen by faculty, closes the health care gap, i.e., access to care, volunteer supportive services could not, yet has long been identified as the missing link in the overall objective of “aging in place” for this vulnerable population.
This mutually beneficial partnership has built upon the assets, strengths and capacities of each partner and is characterized by mutual trust, respect, genuineness, and commitment. Both students and seniors have benefitted from this interdisciplinary and intergenerational community-campus partnership. Students benefit from the opportunity to enhance their clinical and communication skills as they relate to senior clients. Seniors benefit from well-trained, supervised students attentive to their medical needs.
Cathy Butler, MSN, RN, CNS, AHNC (OSN)
Sina Ward, Ed.D (SOS)