Click here for information and updates about the University’s response to COVID-19.
MTSU
READING

MTSU nursing students become ‘guardians of the com...

MTSU nursing students become ‘guardians of the community’ at Nashville shelter 

Middle Tennessee State University School of Nursing students who volunteered to prepare and serve food in the spring 2021 semester pose in the kitchen of the Nashville Rescue Mission. (Photo provided)

Some of Barbara Lancaster’s students in the MTSU School of Nursing wonder what volunteering to prepare food for residents of the Nashville Rescue Mission has to do with their future profession.

“It is helping them to see their … future role as a registered nurse, how they can use this to help others,” said the associate professor of nursing. “It’s the essence of altruism.” 

This service learning component is a part of Lancaster’s Community Public Health Nursing course, which she has taught since 2018. This semester, nine students will prepare and serve food at the mission on Feb. 12, followed by six students on Feb. 26, seven students on Feb. 27 and seven students on April 9.

Nursing students from MTSU prepare yellow bell peppers during their volunteer service at the Nashville Rescue Mission during the Spring 2021 semester. Students in the nursing program will resume visits this semester. (Photo provided)

Nursing students from MTSU prepare yellow bell peppers during their volunteer service at the Nashville Rescue Mission during the Spring 2021 semester. Students in the nursing program will resume visits this semester. (Photo provided)

Lancaster said a typical day begins at 9 a.m. with a tour to acquaint them with the mission’s plans and goals. The kitchen work begins around 10 a.m.

Dr. Barbara Lancaster, assistant professor of nursing (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

Dr. Barbara Lancaster

“They may be back there cutting up potatoes,” Lancaster said. “They may be back there washing apples, you know, whatever is needed.”

The volunteers serve lunch beginning around noon, and, after some interaction with the residents, they participate in the clean-up, leaving at around 1:30 or 2 p.m.

“I can really tell when a student has understood it, when they say that it has been a life-changing experience for them, that they realize that nursing isn’t just about heart monitors and injections and things like that, but it’s about reaching people where they are,” Lancaster said.

All students must write reflection papers about their volunteerism. Some students initially are afraid to enter the mission, not knowing what they might encounter. However, Lancaster said they usually find that it takes their minds off themselves and prompts them to think about other people.School of Nursing logo

She remembered a particular reflection paper in which a student said, “I left the experience understanding that nurses are the guardians of the community.”

For more information, contact Lancaster at 615-494-8488 or barbara.lancaster@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

These MTSU nursing students volunteered to prepare and serve meals at the Nashville Rescue Mission in the Fall 2020 semester. Students in the nursing program will resume visits this semester. (Photo provided)

These MTSU nursing students volunteered to prepare and serve meals at the Nashville Rescue Mission in the Fall 2020 semester. Students in the nursing program will resume visits this semester. (Photo provided)

MTSU nursing students pose in the Nashville Rescue Mission kitchen while preparing food as part of a volunteer experience in the Spring 2021. (Photo provided)

MTSU nursing students pose in the Nashville Rescue Mission kitchen while preparing food as part of a volunteer experience in the Spring 2021. (Photo provided)

 


COMMENTS ARE OFF THIS POST

WE ARE TRUE BLUE