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Currents: helping hearts

Jessica Dorgai '08, a Communication Studies major from Winslow, Maine, discusses her senior Capstone project on the Lake Sunapee Region Visiting Nurse Association's hospice program. At Colby-Sawyer, Dorgai has been involved in the Radio Club, Eboard, the art gallery, and took part in the work/study program. Because of her outstanding interest and excellent work done in her major, Dorgai was chosen by faculty to receive the Baccalaureate Award for Communication Studies. She plans to return to Maine after graduating. The Capstone project, which involves extensive research and presentation, is the culmination of each student's academic experience and part of the Liberal Education Program at Colby-Sawyer College.

Describe the subject of your Capstone project and why you chose to focus on this subject.

The subject of my Capstone is the Lake Sunapee Region Visiting Nurse Association's hospice program. My mother is a hospice volunteer and I am a psychology minor, so hospice interested me. It's a great program, but often people are misinformed or have stereotypes about hospice care. My main goal was to dispel those misconceptions.

What research did you conduct for this project?

I met with hospice volunteers and staff, as well as a woman whose husband had been a hospice patient. I also researched the program through its web site as well as the web site of the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization (NHPCO), an organization advocating for the needs of people facing life-limiting illness.

My Capstone is an audio series in four parts. Segment one is “General Information about Hospice”; the second focuses on “The Role of the Medical Director”; the third looks at the volunteer program; and the fourth is about bereavement support groups.

What did you learn through your Capstone project, and in what ways is it a culmination of your learning experiences at Colby-Sawyer?

I learned to be organized and to work with others in a professional setting. I learned to compromise with the needs of my client as well as my personal goals of the project. I also learned from talking with the volunteers to live life to the fullest. Each day is important!

This project allowed me to show my technical, organizational and communication skills, all skills I have gained at Colby-Sawyer.

What was most fun and rewarding for you in the process of creating your Capstone?

The most rewarding part of the program was knowing that I was supporting such a positive program. I met with several people who were very thankful and excited about the project. The service to the hospice program was rewarding.

What did you find most challenging and difficult about the project?

I am used to working on my own schedule, but for this project I needed to arrange interviews with other people, and many of them had busy schedules. I'm used to diving into a project, but with this one there were times when I had to wait for others in order to continue working.

What do you hope will be the lasting value of your Capstone project, both for you and others?

I learned about the benefits of the hospice program as well as my own strengths in a professional environment. I feel my Capstone is informative and will educate people about the programs that the Lake Sunapee Region Visiting Nurse Association has to offer.

-Kate Dunlop Seamans