Respecting Choices Sidebar Story:

Genesee Community College Students Take Class to the Community

Do your loved ones know your wishes? Have you talked to them about your feelings on end of life care? These are the types of questions Genesee Community College nursing students are asking in their communities. From the Valley Inn in Warsaw, the United Methodist Church in Lyndonville, the Senior Citizen’s Center in Cattaraugus, to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, Pioneer Credit in Perry, and individual homes throughout the area, nursing students are organizing group presentations to discuss advance care planning.

“This is a huge service to the community,” said Kathy Hankel, Director of Nursing at Genesee Community College. “This is an important issue, especially for our aging population, and the response to these students has been great.”
The community group presentation is the final assignment for Perspectives in Nursing, a course that examines issues relevant to contemporary professional nursing. Using power point presentations and hand-outs, students teach the group about legal issues such as living wills, power of attorney, and health care proxy as well as giving tips to help seniors and their families feel more comfortable discussing this difficult topic.

Beth Bragg, a nursing student, said that people were stopping to talk to her as she hung posters advertising their group presentation in the local supermarket. “We ended up having about 16 people attend our presentation at the Arcade Campus,” she said. “It has posed a lot of thinking for all of us. There are a lot of people who think their loved ones know their wishes but they do not.”

Genesee Community College’s Nursing Program is emerging as a leader in the field of advance care planning. In addition to the unique assignment requiring nursing students to present information to community groups, the College is sending two faculty members to attend a three-day Respecting Choices Advance Care Planning course at the renowned Gundersen Lutheran Medical Foundation in La Crosse, WI, in October.
For more information about Genesee Community College’s nursing program, contact Kathy Hankel at (585) 343-0055 x6367.

Editor’s Note: National Nurses Week begins each year on May 6 and ends on May 12, Florence Nightingale’s birthday. The purpose of National Nurses Week is to raise awareness of the value of nursing and help educate the public about the role nurses play in meeting the health care needs of the American people.