At Catholic Charities of Oregon (CCO) we are blessed with a robust community of volunteers throughout our various programs. Today we would like to highlight the partnership between the University of Portland’s school of nursing and our resident services.
In 2020 a nursing instructor at University of Portland reached out to our Chief Program Officer, Rose Bak, about developing a new partnership with the U of P School of Nursing for their summer and fall semesters. In one of their nursing courses, students learn health promotion and prevention strategies to promote holistic health and wellness. Part of this program is giving students opportunity to work directly with clients and organizations to further develop their assessment and communications skills, giving them hands on experience.
A handful of CCO’s housing sites partnered with the program to provide an opportunity for the nursing students to work directly with our residents while the residents could receive free care such as checking blood pressure, testing blood sugar, taking temperatures, answering questions about prescriptions and refill procedures, applying for benefits and making doctor appointments, and just being there to connect with and listen to our residents.
After a positive and successful experience last year, the school offered to have another cohort of students volunteer this year. From August, 23 through December, 3 we had 36 nursing students volunteering twice a week with our residents. These students put in more than 2,300 volunteer hours at 5 of our housing sites including St. Francis Park, The Plaza, The Villa, Sacred Heart, McCoy Village, and Kenton Women’s Village. In addition to the services provided, they also developed a Guide to Heart Health and a Healthy Cookbook Guide for our residents –The recipes found in the cookbook were based on items residents grow in their garden boxes.
Resident Services Coordinator, Reva Mauck, shared “The students ask to help whenever they are not busy and seem to love all the interactions they have with the residents. The residents seem to love having them here. They truly have been wonderful.”
Thank you to all of the nursing students for sharing your time and talent with us and thank you to The University of Portland School of Nursing for this incredible opportunity. We hope to continue supporting this program and are immensely grateful for the benefits and care our residents receive through this partnership.