St. Thomas Magazine_Spring 2022

The School of Nursing at St. Thomas defines diversity more broadly than just by race or gender. The school seeks to enroll a significant number of students from rural communities, students who are first- generation, students of color, and students who have otherwise been historically excluded from higher education. It will initially accommodate 100 students between the four-year bachelor‘s degree program and the 20-month master‘s program, with both programs designed to help students become RNs. Diversity

“I‘d love to see things like pop-up clinics, where students can provide health promotion and health education,“ Scheckel said. “For example, blood pressure screening might be one of the most important prevention activities a nurse does. It‘s not a high-tech intervention, but it could prevent a stroke.“ When Hang discusses how students will have real-life learning experiences with individuals who experience trauma, such as the unhoused population, she hears some people ask: “Won‘t that be scary for students?“ Hang responds: “We‘re human beings; we can‘t be scared of the people we‘re serving.

among nurses is a good start, but it is just one of the building blocks for more equitable health care, said Scheckel, a community and public health nursing expert who came onboard as the school‘s founding director in fall 2020.

“The skills required to truly advance health equity include critical thinking, clinical judgment and actions from nurses to address needs of diverse patients, far beyond their own social identities,“ she said. “Though you take care of the individual‘s physical,

We have to expose students to what they will see when they finish school as nurses. They will see homeless people, whether they‘re in an emergency room trying to preserve life or caring for kids who have cancer.“ Hang knows that these issues are intersectional. “Half the people in Minnesota who are living on the streets are children under the age of 18. Our nurses have to know how to serve them.“ Because the mission of St. Thomas is focused on Catholic social teaching and serving the common good, Hang and Scheckel see such placements as transformational opportunities for students in a supportive, high-touch learning environment guided by experienced nursing faculty. “You‘ll know when a registered nurse is a Tommie nurse,“ said Scheckel. “It‘s a signature that shows that the student came from an outstanding program and is an excellent nurse because of it.“ n

emotional and spiritual needs, you also need to be very attentive to the social determinants of health, including where people live, work and play.“ EDUCATING THE ‘TOMMIE NURSE‘ Built into the School of Nursing curricula are clinical placements to help students better understand how socioeconomic factors play into health care. In addition to practicing acute care at medical centers, placements will occur in unique community settings such as the Minneapolis Downtown Improvement District where students will engage in “boots on the ground“ outreach.

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