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Inside Look: Nursing Care of Children


Throughout the spring semester, students in the Nursing Care of Children course shared a unique learning opportunity with homeschool students, each group learning from the other.

Over the course of the semester, small groups of nursing students invited small groups of homeschoolers to campus. Each student group developed a short education session – topics included fire safety and tooth care – then engaged the children in checking blood pressures and heart rates, testing hearing, and other activities.

While Penn College students have an opportunity to learn from healthy children, the children get credit for the lessons they learn about health care and nursing careers.

The experiences are arranged by Tonja R. Pennycoff, instructor of nursing programs.

As part of the Nursing Care of Children course, the students, who are pursuing associate degrees in nursing, also spend three to four clinical days with an instructor in Geisinger Medical Center Children’s medical/surgical units, where they actively care for patients, giving medications, providing patient teaching, working with the staff nurses and experiencing an interdisciplinary team approach through pediatric team rounds.

They also observe local school nurses, do observations at Geisinger Medical Center’s pediatric sedation unit, and spend a day with an instructor at Geisinger Medical Center’s pediatric recovery unit, where they see infants and children getting prepared for surgery and when they come out for recovery. They actively work to recover the patients, provide discharge teaching to families and complete an educational bulletin board at the unit, explained Tanae A. Traister, clinical director of nursing.

The students visit Bostley’s Child Care and Preschool Learning Centers for a clinical day, as well. There, they complete basic assessments and teach 3- and 4-year-olds about a health topic, including an activity to help children learn the point.

The course is taught by Traister. Clinical experiences are led by Pennycoff and Leyna E. Kipp, part-time instructor in nursing.

“Leyna and Tonja … deliver these excellent experiences to my students each semester and I am so thankful for them,” Traister said.

– Photos by Jennifer A. Cline, writer/magazine editor

Students in one of several lab groups for the course Nursing Care of Children show homeschoolers around an instructional lab following a lesson on Fire Safety. (Photo courtesy of Morgan E. Sheddy, who graduated in May.)
Students in one of several lab groups for the course Nursing Care of Children show homeschoolers around an instructional lab following a lesson on Fire Safety. (Photo courtesy of Morgan E. Sheddy, who graduated in May.)

Meckenzie K. Mills, of Halifax, checks a child’s height.
Meckenzie K. Mills, of Halifax, checks a child’s height.

Mariah E. Aber, of Bellefonte, brings out an oversized toothbrush to connect play with a lesson on tooth care.
Mariah E. Aber, of Bellefonte, brings out an oversized toothbrush to connect play with a lesson on tooth care.

Dawin J. Melendez, of Berwick, checks a child’s hearing.
Dawin J. Melendez, of Berwick, checks a child’s hearing.

With Carra M. Rishel, of Danville, a child learns how IVs work.
With Carra M. Rishel, of Danville, a child learns how IVs work.

With good humor, Nursing Care of Children students answer questions about their future work. From left are Rishel, Mills, Melendez, Aber and Janelle M. Caruso, of Hughesville.
With good humor, Nursing Care of Children students answer questions about their future work. From left are Rishel, Mills, Melendez, Aber and Janelle M. Caruso, of Hughesville.

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