Fall 2007 Cover
SCAN"College of St. Catherine The College of St. Catherine

Fall 2007
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Educating Through Partnerships

St. Kate's community partners help make "immersion experiences" available to St. Kate's students. And no matter if students work with a shelter, a center, a school or achurch, they're preparing for a future of interdisciplinary care.

"Being a leader is not always being the big-L leader," says Alice Swan, associate dean of nursing. "It's doing what has to be done, which might be through collaborating, by holding back or by lifting other people up."

People Serving People

St. Kate's has long been a partner with People Serving People, a homeless shelter in Minneapolis. Nursing students attend a class on-site and then work with residents on whatever is needed — from intakes to blood-pressure checks to foot care.

Christine Reller, project manager at Healthcare for the Homeless, Hennepin County, says it takes more than good clinical skills — or even good communication skills — to build relationships with the stressed and transitional residents of People Serving People.

"You have a mom who is sick as a dog, and she comes in with a baby, and all she wants is a baby bottle; you need to respect that and give her that bottle. And then she'll come back the next day and take care of herself," she says. "If you don't respect a patient's own priorities, you're going to lose her. It's so important that you know how to engage clients in a non-threatening way, and St. Kate's students do that 100 percent of the time. They understand the concept of looking at the whole person and meeting them where they are now."

Powderhorn Phillips Cultural Wellness Center

At the Powderhorn Phillips Cultural Wellness Center, which focuses on spiritual, physical and emotional wellness, St. Kate's students who are earning their master of arts degree in holistic healing learn diverse healing philosophies and techniques through a course taught by elders from various communities: Native American, Hmong, African American and African national groups, such as Somali.

Centro Cultural Chicano

In Minneapolis, occupational therapy and physical therapy students work at "Centro," or the Centro Cultural Chicano. This Latino community center has a clinic, a crisis center, women's services and a drop-in center for Latino senior citizens.

Jane Addams School for Democracy

St. Kate's students from all the two-year programs have worked for years at the Jane Addams School for Democracy in St. Paul, mostly with students of Hmong and Latino descent in health and wellness circles.

YWCA Youth Achievement Program

Also in St. Paul, nursing students and faculty work with youth at the YWCA, where 80 percent of members are African American. The Youth Achievement program focuses on health and fitness, and St. Kate's students also conduct health and fitness initiatives with people in transitional housing.

Catholic Senior Health Services

St. Kate's recently formalized a partnership with Catholic Senior Health Services — and will soon begin a pilot program for nurses at the organization's various residences, each of which offers different levels of care: apartments with optional, as-needed nursing care, assisted-living apartments and nursing homes.

The pilot program is for associate-degree nursing students because nursing is the greatest immediate need, but doctoral students will soon follow because of the many research opportunities available. Pilots for physical therapy and occupational therapy are planned for the future.