Preparing a new generation of caregivers
One of the best ways to reverse stigma is to educate the younger generation.
In a new partnership between Hospice and the Department of Nursing at Hood College, future healthcare providers are getting hands-on experience while learning about hospice care, its many benefits and when a patient should begin their hospice journey. The collaboration started in the fall of 2023, and already, the first participants have transformed their understanding of hospice.
Hood College seniors Anna Hubbard and Caitlin McTamany are part of the Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program led by Department Chair and Associate Professor Jennifer Cooper, DNP, RN, PHNA-BC, CNE. Anna and Caitlin both spent around three hours per week at Kline Hospice House shadowing Charge Nurse Patricia “Trisha” Kruger, and caring for two clients each. At the end of the semester, Caitlin and Anna will share their experience with the rest of their class. “Caitlin and Anna have jumped right in and are taking advantage of every opportunity to learn,” said Trisha in the fall semester. “The patients have been grateful that the students are using their clinical experience to help care for them at the end of their lives. They enjoy spending time with them.”
As a nurse, Jennifer witnessed many heartbreaking instances of families finding out about hospice services too late. A joint effort between a local college and hospice house seemed like a perfect place to start shifting public views of hospice and help more families find services quickly. Jennifer brought the idea to Hospice in the spring of 2023 and suggested that a Hospice RN could teach students as adjunct Hood faculty. Trisha eagerly accepted the role, and the partnership was born. “The students didn’t fully realize what hospice was or what services it provided, until now,” said Jennifer.
As the aging population grows, students will likely face end-of-life decisions. The lessons they learn at Kline Hospice House will help them share the benefits of hospice with future clients.