Students studying to be nurses and doctors gain vital insights by visiting patients in their community to see how their home life can impact their health through a partnership with Goodwill Industries.
IUPUI has an ongoing partnership with Goodwill of Central and Southern Indiana’s Nurse-Family Partnership program, geared toward supporting new mothers caring for their infants and themselves with a goal of lowering infant mortality. Through this partnership, nursing students get clinical experience with patients, and pediatric residents get job shadowing experience.
“We felt it was important for future pediatricians to go into homes with nurses, see inside homes, things they would never see in the office, and allow them to better understand the situation their patients face,” Senior Director of the Nurse Family Partnership at Goodwill Industries Lisa Crane said.
At the same time, future doctors can also see the role of the nurse in action, in a way they may not see otherwise, she said.
In addition to home visits, nursing students also work on public health issue projects surrounding the Near West, including analyzing food deserts and unsafe living conditions, along with continuous quality improvement projects, giving them a deeper look into public health, Crane said.
The program also partnered with the IU School of Medicine and the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health on an intersession unit, where medical students work with a community partner on a public issue. The projects focused on creating a safe sleep module and developing a stronger referral program with the Nurse Family Partnership and the Student Outreach Clinic. The goal is for the clinic to give vaccinations and ultrasounds to mothers-to-be, but that project was delayed due to COVID-19, she said.
Research is also a key focus of the partnership. Those projects focused on a range of issues, including empowering mothers to become advocates for community health, exploring the feelings and emotions of first-time fathers, and better educating families on sleep-safe habits.
Being a part of that research helps guide the way health care professionals do their work in the community, such as how they educate new mothers about safe sleeping practices, Crane said.
“We were able to use that learning, but also confirm what we were learning was also what nurses were hearing in the community,” Crane said.