Wayne State University

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College of Nursing partnership with local shelter gives students community health experience

College of Nursing partnership with local shelter gives students community health experience

Nursing students in their final semester of Wayne State's Bachelor of Science in Nursing program are gaining a unique understanding of community health as they care for the homeless of Oakland County.

Every week during the school year, teams of students spend a day at the Welcome Inn, a Royal Oak daytime shelter that operates December through March at Starr Presbyterian Church. An average of 400 people seek assistance each winter.

When the adults arrive every morning from neighboring overnight shelters, each meets with a social worker and a nurse. Students assist with health assessments, bandage wounds, tend to colds and infections, and handle referrals to area clinics and hospitals.

The students say they have developed special bonds with people they see every week, and wonder about those they cared for once and haven't seen again.

The College of Nursing has a seven-year partnership with Welcome Inn. The initiative continually expands as new rotations of student nurses offer their ideas, says Assistant Professor Judith Fouladbakhsh, who developed the program.

She also recently created the Volunteer Holistic Health Team, which includes practicing and retired nurses, students and other professionals who donate their time to address health needs of the homeless in winter.