Nursing students provide community support

Jess Paterson and Nursing students
AB Paterson College student, Jessica Paterson, with Griffith Uni Nursing students Natalee Sanderson, Maria Price and Chenoa Murdoch.

Gaining ‘hands on’ real life clinical experience is not always easy for undergraduate nursing students.

But with a special program created to support a young student from the Gold Coast’s A.B Paterson College, a new opportunity has proved a win win situation for both parties.

Grade 6 student, 12 year old Jess Paterson, suffers from severe epilepsy and could have a major life threatening seizure at any moment.

Her epilepsy is so severe that her mum Michelle acts as Jess’ full time carer, attending school with her on a full-time basis.

Support arrived from Griffith in the form of the JESS Project – the Joint Education Support Student project – which has seen Griffith nursing students attend school with Jess so that her mum can have some much needed respite from her responsibilities.

“Griffith undergraduate nursing students participate in a variety of ‘hands on’ clinical experience during the course of their degree,” says Dr Louise Ward, deputy head of the School of Nursing and Midwifery. “The A.B Paterson placement was initially created to support Jess, who required assistance within the classroom.

Inspiration to support creates opportunity

“Our nursing students were inspired by the opportunity to help and to date have provided Jess with lots of support and care. Their assistance has enabled Jess’ mum to have some freedom from her responsibilities. Now the placement has developed and our students have been able to participate in many activities under the guidance of the school nurse.

“The placement has been evaluated and we have seen the benefits of innovative clinical teaching opportunities reflected by the overall satisfaction of all students who participated.”

“This was a brilliant opportunity for me in the area of community school nursing,” says Griffith Bachelor of Nursing student Chenoa Murdoch. “It’s been good to put into action some of the things we learnt on the degree program and get good ‘hands on’ experience in the real world.”

A.B Paterson College principal Brian Grimes has been equally supportive.

“The nurses in this program have been fantastic. We take teaching and learning very seriously at A.B Paterson and now we are hoping to lead the way in providing leadership
in schools to provide the next generation of nurses.”

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