Once again, this summer, nursing students who enrolled in Dr. Amy Luckowski's Faith-Based Nursing class volunteered their time and talents to help others. Luckowski developed this class a few years ago as a community outreach opportunity for Neumann University nursing students.
This course exposes nursing students to the concept of "faith-community nursing." Through this class, students discover the connection between faith and health and explore the community nurse's role in a faith-based community.
According to Luckowski, this elective was recently approved as a permanent course. She was approached a few years ago by former dean Dr. Kathy Hoover who gave Luckowski the task of creating an elective with a faith-based focus. She had to teach the class three times and then go through the approval process with the curriculum committee and faculty senate.
Nursing major Lauren Ruggiero volunteered at Camp Innabah, a camp for individuals with special needs in Spring City, Pennsylvania. This is also the camp where Luckowski has volunteered as a nurse for the past several years. It is a faith-based camp that services campers between the ages of 14 and 80.
"I was already at the camp, so I thought it would be the perfect marriage between the two groups," Luckowski said. "The (students) who came to camp volunteered by interacting with the campers and helped me give medications. They did a variety of presentations like water safety, fire safety, hand hygiene, and sunburn and tick prevention."
Ruggiero selected this volunteering option because of several reasons. She has a particular desire to help individuals with special needs and instill in them a sense of worth and motivation. Ruggiero conducted a hand-washing exercise for the campers during her time at the camp.
"I believed coming to Camp Innabah would be a particularly fulfilling choice, so I decided to finish my volunteer work there. The ability to educate and engage with individuals in my community was the biggest takeaway for me. This experience also helped me hone the skills I already had from my work experiences and the skills I learned from Neumann's nursing program," Ruggiero explained.
Nursing student Sr. Esther Ndambiri also volunteered at Camp Innabah and helped with the hand-washing presentation. Instead of teaching the campers to say the ABCs while washing, which takes roughly the 20 seconds recommended by the CDC to wash one's hands properly, Sr. Esther taught the campers the Hail Mary and had them recite the prayer while they washed.
Other nursing students volunteered at the Assisi House, teaching the sisters tai chi, doing blood pressure checks at a local church, and helping at a food bank in Delaware County.