Students' Helping American Retired People Project (SHARP)

Tuesday, 19 November 2013: 9:10 AM

Bonnie Hammack, MSN. ARNP
School of Nursing, Miami Dade College, Miami, FL

Nursing education has expanded to create a seamless connection between the didactic and the hands-on clinical component with service learning activities.  To address the complexities of current healthcare trends requires that nurse educators provide students with active roles in meeting the holistic healthcare needs of their clients (IOM, 2010).  Particularly, the healthcare needs of the aging population.  Collaborative applications of evidence-based care amplify the significance of interdisciplinary partnerships (Thibault, 2011) that must be purposely fostered in students. This presentation describes an innovative program for nursing students that was created from a one-time community service class that became weekly sessions and evolved into influential teaching strategies promoting student socialization and supporting the ANA Standards of Care.  The HUD housing facility for the elderly became a teaching/learning laboratory for proving hands-on learning using real-time clinical health concerns for the elderly.  Over the past fifteen years approximately 500 students have volunteered for the opportunity to participate in the Student’s Helping America’s Retired People Project (SHARP) project on a weekly basis.  Students organize a Health Promotion activity every Friday.  The residents proudly refer to this day as “Happy Fridays.”  The activities include blood pressure screening, thirty-minute exercise routine using one pound weights and music, medication and nutrition review, safety in living environments, and presentations on health prevention screening and disease processes such as hypertension, strokes, or other requested topics. The SHARP project has made an educational impact on the students who have participated as they received hands-on knowledge and experience not duplicated in a classroom setting.  The residents of the housing project benefitted from nursing, social, and personal attention that otherwise they may not have been provided.  Every semester is met with excitement by both the nursing educator and the elderly residents as the new students will bring unique and challenging learning experiences.