Dear Queen's Supporter,
“I’m a person, not a pathology.”
These words belong to Jim, a leukemia patient in the final stages of the disease. To nurses, his point may seem all too obvious. Certainly, the desire to help people is what draws our Nursing students to Queen’s. But once students get involved with their heavy course load and demanding doses of theory in the classroom, it can be easy to forget that Nursing, at its heart, is about caring for people.
The Compassionate Care Forum helps our students reconnect with the human element of their work. Created by the Faculty of Health Science’s Office of Interprofessional Education and Practice (OIPEP), the forum consists of lively discussion between students and an expert panel – a family doctor, a spiritual care giver, and a student nurse – who discuss the place of compassionate care in their practices.
But the centerpiece is A Story about Care, a film focusing on Jim and his wife, who suffers from Huntington’s. In a very forthright fashion, Jim talks about his own illness and how the smallest indications of care – even something as simple as a nurse holding his hand during a tough procedure – can help.
A former teacher, Jim quotes poetry and emphasizes the importance of the word care when we speak of medical care. Patients are so much more than their illnesses and, as Nursing student Peter Su says, “It is a good reminder of why we chose the discipline of Nursing.”
If that were the only lesson our students took away from the Compassionate Care Forum, it would be enough. But the forum gives them more. Because it’s not just Nursing students – Medical and Rehabilitation Therapy students are involved as well. Typically working within their own disciplines, this is a chance for them to learn with, fromand abouteach other.
Collaboration leads to innovation. That’s the idea behind OIPEP’s Health Care Team Challenge™ as well. The challenge gives students from Medicine, Nursing, and Rehabilitation Therapy, as well as Clinical Psychology, the task of developing an interdisciplinary health care plan under the guidance of a faculty mentor. After three weeks, they present their plans to a panel of experts, with the winning team going on to the national championships.
Our Nursing students are thriving in this collaborative environment. As Nursing student Brittany Fiddler describes it, “It is important going into the workforce that we can all work well together.”
Here at the School of Nursing, we are educating a generation of caring, compassionate nurses who know how to work with other health care professionals to put their patients first. But we can’t do it without you. Please join me today in adding your support to the Nursing Initiatives Fund, where every gift creates opportunity.
Jennifer Medves, RN, Ph.D
Vice-Dean (Health Sciences) and Director of the School of Nursing