MARCH 2008: Collaborations with Colby-Sawyer College • A Win-Win for the Community








Collaborations with
Colby-Sawyer College ...
An Investment in the Future!

Over ten years ago, the Lake Sunapee Region VNA & HOSPICE began a mutually beneficial relationship with the Colby-Sawyer College (CSC) nursing program. The nursing program at CSC requires, as part of the nursing curriculum, that junior and senior nursing students complete a certain number of clinical rotation hours. Lake Sunapee Region VNA & HOSPICE has been privileged to serve as a mentor for the "home care rotation" to help train and educate nursing students. During a typical four-week rotation, eight to twelve students would shadow VNA nurses and therapists, review cases and care plans, assist with the care of selected patients and learn from educational presentations by senior staff members. Joyce Teele, RN and COO at LSVNA, describes the project by saying, "This has been such a positive and meaningful experience for both our staff and, of course, the students."

"Senior Capstone Projects" TOP OFF COLLEGE CAREER

Colby-Sawyer College requires all seniors to research, implement and present a "Senior Capstone Project" in their major. Students are assigned a project center such an area health care provider, organization or business. They analyze a particular need based on observation and staff interviews and develop a solution that will best serve this need. Once approval of the project is received, students begin researching methods to meet this need and ways to implement their findings. The project culminates with a presentation at the college about the process and conclusions formulated from the experience. Lake Sunapee Region VNA & HOSPICE has hosted many capstone students in many majors over the years, and is currently participating in two capstone projects, one on chronic pain management and another on hospice care awareness.

The pain management capstone project was selected to address the chronic pain of hospice and home care patients without the use of traditional prescription medication. The students chose this project because of the acute need for non-pharmacological pain management and their perceived ability to develop a valuable solution to this need. Ryan Dunstan, one of six senior nursing students involved in this project, said "it was a huge task to see someone in chronic pain and come up with a solution to that. We wanted to focus on pain management because it would be so beneficial to the community and the patients at the VNA." After extensive observation and interviews with patients and staff, in addition to their research, the students created twenty colorful baskets filled with items that would help to alleviate chronic pain. The items included a rice and lavender filled pack that can be heated or chilled, a soothing oil, an aromatherapy spray, handmade icy-hot gel and several soothing visual images that help to foster a sense of calm and peacefulness. They also included a brochure about each product in the basket and a daily pain log so that any effects from the products could be recorded. Erica Kerwin, one of the nursing students that worked on this project, stated that "it was nice to find a way to implement a project that would improve the quality of life for patients and then to see the pain logs prove [that the products] were helping." Erica recalled one patient who did not want to take more medication for his pain because he was not as aware when his family came to visit and he could not enjoy his time with them as much. The nursing students recognize the importance of pain management as a quality of life issue now more than ever.

The second capstone project this year with the VNA is a hospice awareness project focusing on public awareness of the hospice program and dispelling some myths and misconceptions that exist within the community. Jessica Dorgai, a senior communications major at Colby-Sawyer College, has written and produced a four-part radio program to help the community better understand hospice care. "People in need of hospice services may be hesitant to walk into the office and speak with a staff member. The radio show will provide valuable information for the community in general and may provide a more comfortable way of learning about hospice" says Jessica. Each of the four parts of the radio broadcast address different but key areas of the VNA’s hospice program. Part one discussed the history, definition, goals and services of hospice, addressing any myths in these areas and correcting them. It also focused on hospice eligibility and costs, supplemented by hospice patient interviews. The second segment described the function and impact of the new hospice medical director and the importance of this expanded position to the hospice program. Part three described the hospice volunteer program, including opportunities to serve and interviews with current volunteers. The last segment of the broadcast focuses on the bereavement process, including support groups and other services available for patients and families as they cope with the complex emotions of grief and loss. CLICK HERE for more information about Hospice Care at Lake Sunapee Region VNA & HOSPICE.

NOTE: The radio show is titled "Helping Hearts" and will air on the Colby-Sawyer College radio station WSCS 90.9 FM in mid-April. Please contact Cathy Raymond at or visit the WSCS web page for dates and times. You may also call Cathy Raymond at 603.526.4077.


A Win-Win For The Community

It is true that many students at Colby-Sawyer College have benefited greatly from their observation of and interaction with a variety of highly skilled VNA staff members through capstone projects and nursing rotations, the practical implementation of their years of education. However, Cathy Raymond, the Director of Development for the LSRVNA, reminds us that the relationship is mutually beneficial. She says, "There is a deep satisfaction in working with these students and helping them to pursue a particular career, some of which are truly in need of more trained professionals such as nursing. It also helps to promote and educate the community about the work and mission of the VNA". Cathy adds, "Further, as a non-profit health care organization, the VNA is required by law to annually report on ways the it gives back to the community it serves through its ‘Community Benefit Report’. This report reflects activities and programs offered to the community at no charge that help to enhance the overall health and well-being of the region. Our special collaborations with Colby-Sawyer College certainly count in this category!"

All of the 2008 Senior Capstone Projects are being presented on April 23rd at the Ivey Science Center at Colby-Sawyer College. For information about these presentations, which are open to the public, contact Colby-Sawyer College at 526-3000 and ask for David Sourwine.