Students on campus on Jan. 18 might have felt like they were living in a big city, as homeless people wandered around campus begging for money and holding "Will Work For Food" signs.
This was an activity organized by the nursing department and participated in by all junior nursing majors. Students were given the choice of dressing as an elderly person and walking around town asking for help or directions, or dressing as a homeless person and holding cups for students to put money in.
The purpose of this activity was to teach students empathy toward the homeless and elderly. It was also to help them be more compassionate in their nursing careers.
"We do this every year so students will understand what it is to have empathy and compassion," said Anita Shaw, assistant professor of Nursing. "We also hope to bring awareness to the campus community that the problem of what the nursing community calls 'vulnerable peoples' does exist, even though they may not see it on a daily basis."
Students who participated is this activity were not graded; instead they met afterwards and were encouraged to discuss their experiences. Those who participated as homeless people collected $59 from students on campus, which they later donated to the Student Nursing Association.
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© The Voice, 2005
Revised 050128 http://www.uamont.edu/Organizations/TheVoice/2_9/nursing.htm