Local Partnership Provides Hands-on Experience for Students Interested in Healthcare

May 11, 2022

Ava Miller ’25

Six students surround nursing home attendant who demonstrates how to help patients up steps
Photo credit: Clarissa Heart '20

Oberlin College’s Pre-Medicine and Health Careers Program has entered into a partnership with Welcome Nursing Home that will provide students interested in a career in healthcare with an opportunity to gain clinical knowledge and grow their interpersonal skills. 

Located in Oberlin, just a few minutes from campus, Welcome is a long-term care facility with nearly 100 residents. This past Winter Term, Aaron Ho ’23, Brielle Lam ’25, Cortny Robinson ’23, Youssaf Rouiha ’22, Revanth Sudhireddy ’25, and Michael Verret ’25 worked as temporary State Tested Nursing Assistants (STNAs) at Welcome. To participate in this experience, they had to complete an eight-hour online course approved by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. 

“This collaboration allows pre-healthcare students to engage deeply with the systemic challenges associated with supporting people dealing with age-related and other health conditions that require full-time residential care,” said Professor of Biology and Pre-Medicine and Health Careers Program Director Maureen Peters. “The students interacted with a wide variety of health professionals who work to ensure that residents' physical, mental, and emotional needs are met.”

Students spent their days alongside nurses, psychologists, and psychiatrists, as well as physical, occupational, and speech therapists. Shadowing these employees gave them an inside look into the daily routines and tasks of healthcare professionals. Welcome Nursing Home Vice President Heidi Freas values the importance of the students’ involvement. “I believe this partnership with Oberlin College could really grow into a powerful tool to help students on the pre-med track gain hands-on knowledge and skills as they navigate their education and future career.”

Aside from gaining essential clinical knowledge, the students learned to apply values of empathy and compassion to their work. At Welcome, the students worked with the activities program team to assist residents with crafts and games. These bonding experiences emphasized the importance of getting to know the residents and their lived experiences. 

First-year Brielle Lam says she has learned a lot through this partnership. “Learning how to interact with residents and see the importance of an empathetic bedside manner is critical to developing well rounded healthcare employees.” 

Amani Green, assistant director for career readiness in the college’s Career Development Center, describes the project as mutually beneficial. “Oberlin students were able to receive quality pre-medical training, Welcome Nursing Home appreciated more help in caring for residents, and residents were able to form bonds with passionate students,” said Green.

This partnership serves as an example of the many career-related opportunities Oberlin provides. Peters initiated the partnership in close alignment with Oberlin College’s tradition of labor and learning. “Oberlin students provided hands-on support to enrich their own knowledge but also brightened the lives of local community members.” 

Several of the students have followed through on the opportunity to keep working at the facility after their Winter Term experience was completed. In the future, the Pre-Medicine and Health Careers Program and the Career Development Center will continue to cultivate opportunities that support the goals of students interested in healthcare while working to forge strong connections with the Oberlin community.

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