For CCC students, health care means reaching out to the community

Article by: Janet Paulson

CCC nursing students were visiting poor, isolated residents of a downtown Portland hotel when one of their regulars told them about a man who needed help.

He wasn’t on their caseload, but the students checked on him. They could see right away he was very sick.
The students reported his condition to the nonprofit they work with, The McDonald Center, which got the man medical care and arranged for hospice services and chaplain visits. He did so well on hospice, he was taken off hospice and lived a while longer before succumbing to the disease.

This is just one of many ways CCC nursing students are bettering the lives of those in their community, says nursing instructor Carol Dodson.

Students also assist with a women’s shelter and a Catholic chapel that aids the homeless.

“We’ve been doing this work for 15 years,” Dodson says. “I’m so proud of our students. They’re reaching out to people who often have nobody. Many have mental illnesses, substance abuse problems and lack coping skills. For some, these students are their only visitors.”

Nursing students also participate in free childhood immunization clinics. At Veterans Health Fairs, they provide education and screenings to veterans and their families.

This work has become an integral part of CCC’s health care curriculum, says Barb Cannon, chair of the Nursing Department.

“More and more, nursing jobs are not just in hospitals, they’re in the community where there’s more focus on preventive health care,” Cannon says. “We can’t imagine not making this connection. It helps our students become well-rounded, holistic nurses.”

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