PA College Magazine - Summer 2022 - 10
PA COLLEGE / FEATURE
says that in the simulation students
encounter a patient (a life-like manikin)
in a hospital room as the decision is
made to discontinue treatment. They
revisit the patient again at home when
death is imminent. They are joined by
the patient's long-term partner and a
chaplain at the patient's bedside.
" As nurses, our students will encounter
death at some point in their career, no
matter what area of nursing they enter.
The simulation reinforces what they
learn in the classroom. You remember
something better when you do it than
just by reading about it in a textbook, "
The simulation provides learning
opportunities on several levels. There's a
clinical aspect, in which students learn
what to do when a patient dies and
how to determine if death has occurred
by listening for a heartbeat, feeling for
a pulse and checking respiration. But
Dommel says they also learn to read
cues family members may be giving as
they sit at the bedside of their dying
loved one. " It's important to develop
the skill to communicate with family
members - the terminology that's used
is very important. It's an emotional
time for family members, so while it
may sound blunt, the nurse has to say
the patient 'died,' " she explains.
The end-of-life simulation also provides
an opportunity for students to explore
their own emotions as they deal with
the death of a patient and conveying
that information to loved ones.
PA College also offers an elective
humanities course, " Death, Dying
and Bereavement, " which helps
students understand personal, social,
psychological and medical attitudes
toward death and dying.
All nursing and health science
baccalaureate students complete a
Capstone Service-Learning Project as
part of their graduation requirements.
Some students choose to do their
projects in hospice settings.
Emeka Okereh '22, BSN, chose
Aseracare Hospice in York for his
Capstone Project. " I wanted to get
more of a hands-on experience in a
hospice setting. Being at Aseracare has
given me a new perspective on life. It's
helped me understand the mind-bodyspirit
connection and has made me
value and appreciate life and my own
spiritual life, " he said.
The experience also helped him
develop his communication skills
and compassion. " Compassion is an
important quality in end-of-life care, "
he says. The experience also provided
him with an understanding of the
multi-disciplinary approach of care
involving social workers, occupational
and physical therapists, chaplains and
nurses all working as a team. Okereh
plans to start his nursing career in
another area but says he may decide to
pursue palliative care or hospice later in
PA College's simulation
lab prepares students
for end-of-life care -
both educationally and
Jackie Fuhrman '22, BSN, chose Penn
Medicine Hospice in West Chester as
the setting for her Capstone Project.
Her choice was inspired by the fact
that her mother is a hospice nurse.
" It's always interested me. I wanted
to get into a hospice setting to better
understand it, " she says, describing her
experience as " eye-opening. "
" It's beautiful that people can die
the way they want, " Fuhrman says.
" The focus is on patient comfort and
end-of-life wishes. It takes a special
person to be a hospice nurse. Families
are reluctant to let their loved ones go.
Hospice nurses not only work with the
patient, but they also work with the
families and have those sometimesdifficult
conversations. " Because she
will work as an emergency department
nurse, she also wants to learn the right
words to speak with families about endof-life
PA College Magazine - Summer 2022
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PA College Magazine - Summer 2022 - Cover1
PA College Magazine - Summer 2022 - Contents
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