Community health program is a win-win for SHA residents and SU students

By John Yost

SHA resident

This quarter Seattle University’s College of Nursing assigned two students to work with residents at Bell Tower, three at Green Lake Plaza and three at Jefferson Terrace.
“Promotion of Health in Communities” is a course that includes a clinical component of hands-on community health nursing in a community setting like Seattle Housing Authority buildings.
Helping oversee the students is Lisa Skow, a registered nurse and professor at SU.
Skow says that when the students complete their schooling, they will be nurse practitioners in geriatrics, family medicine, midwifery and community/public health nursing.
“By working with Bell Tower residents the student nurses learn about working with residents with a number of medical and mental health issues like diabetes, hypertension, depression and so many more,” Skow says.
“In order to provide medical care to their future patients, many of whom will be on restricted incomes, these students need to know what it’s like to live on $800 per month and how this can constrain choices that patients make about their health.”
The College of Nursing adds to Bell Tower Apartment’s quality of life for our residents. They host classes on cooking, foot care and health of our mind, body and spirit.

Seattle University College of Nursing students Mary Ann Fombu and Bridgett Chandler apply their clinical skills to treat residents of Bell Tower. The pair created workshops on nutrition, stress management, foot care, and health bingo to help satisfy the requirements of a course they are taking this quarter called Promotion of Health in Communities.

Seattle University College of Nursing students Mary Ann Fombu and Bridgett Chandler apply their clinical skills to treat residents of Bell Tower. The pair created workshops on nutrition, stress management, foot care, and health bingo to help satisfy the requirements of a course they are taking this quarter called Promotion of Health in Communities.

Skow and her two nurses assigned to Bell Tower will unfortunately be leaving us after fall quarter. They do such a great job for our residents. I have watched her and she sees quite a few of our residents when she comes to us in our office. This is a program I would recommend for all SHA sites. Many residents need the extra care and attention to ensure they are physically and mentally well.
Bridgett Chandler and Mary Ann Fombu are this quarter’s students from the Seattle University College of Nursing. They have done an outstanding job caring for us. Both say they got started in the field of nursing for the one-on-one care they can provide. They enjoy the friendships and results that nursing care brings. They have provided many smiles and conversations. We will miss these women dearly but look forward to new nurses visiting us next year.
The Bell Tower Resident Council shares the office with the nurses and both have similar mission statements: both want to provide an enhanced quality of life for our residents.
Sure, medical care is not the Council’s responsibility, but providing a better living experience is. Our Council tries to make residents’ lives more fulfilling by hosting holiday dinners, lobbying for needed services like more security, and communicating with SHA management about holding extra activities to bring more fun to all.
SHA has been and continues to be great partners in this journey of better living. Together we created a nice garden on our property. We now have Wi-Fi available in the community room, and a library for the residents. We are proud of our community and these accomplishments.
What this all means is that with agencies like the College of Nursing, lives are changed and quality of life is greatly improved. Let’s continue these kinds of partnerships for the greater good of everyone!

Yost is president of Bell Tower Resident Council.

 

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