Student Nurses Teach – and Learn Too

Bay Ridge Center is proud to pair up with the Nursing Programs at St. Francis College and Long Island University for a series of health talks throughout the fall.

The St. Francis students present Early Morning Health Chat every Tuesday and Thursday at 9 a.m. You can call in by phone or join through the internet on your computer or device. And, you can bring your coffee – or your whole breakfast – too!

Health Matters! is offered every Friday morning at 11 a.m. by the student nurses from Long Island University.

All the sessions involve 4, 5, or 6 of the students, plus their faculty supervisor, and Bay Ridge Center’s Health Management Specialist, Mary Ann Coughlin. The topic changes for each session, and the students put together a slide show of information — sometimes including short videos — and the presentation is followed by questions or open discussion.

The Morning Health Chat on October 8 covered Falls and Fall Prevention for older adults. The students started off with some facts and figures showing that the number of falls among seniors is going up. They covered reasons for falls and then spent a good deal of time of prevention, including simple things each of us can do in our homes to remove hazards. They also explained that in meeting with older adults a fall assessment is often part of the health review, considering medications that might make falls more likely and assessing diet and supplements that can help with falls prevention.

It was a good, thorough presentation and sparked a lively discussion with the older participants offering their own suggestions for preventing falls, such as using a cane outdoors, being aware of uneven steps or sidewalks, using railings, taking exercise classes that enhance balance, and such.

A few take-aways for all of us:

  • Age gracefully – if you need a cane, use it. Embrace where we are in life.

  • Celebrate Bay Ridge! It’s a great place to age because you can walk to so many stores and services. If you are thinking of moving, consider how it will be to age there.

  • Bay Ridge Connects is part of a NORC, a naturally occurring retirement community. Because of our location within a NORC, Connects can advocate for seniors in the neighborhood. Community issues that come to your attention, like needing an elevator at a subway entrance, can be brought to Connects, which can take that concern to the proper authority and advocate for that change for them.

Where We Are At With Covid-19?

The LIU students covered everything to do with Covid-19 during a recent Friday program. Their presentation included slides and short videos with medical facts about the disease and prevention and safety tips. A big topic is dealing with the anxiety we all have felt — or still feel — during these challenging months.

This time the discussion brought up some first-hand stories about friends or relatives who got the virus. The stories showed how much symptoms vary for nearly every case, which made it clear that there is still a lot to be learned about the coronavirus.

Learning Goes Both Ways

Each of the nurses’ sessions is packed with good information. Not only are these programs a chance for seniors to learn about a particular health topic or pick up some new tips, but it’s also an opportunity for the students to practice their skills and learn from you.

The discussion time is a chance to let them know things you have learned from experience and what is important to seniors. Your input will help them in their future work with older adults and will surely be a factor in making them the best nurses possible.

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