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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

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