Motivated by the belief that health care is a basic human right and driven by a Vincentian mission, St. John’s University Physician Assistant Program incorporates service minded educational experiences created to expose students to the necessity to reach those most in need—“the poor, alienated and the aged.” In Spring 2018, in conjunction with the SJU Academic Service-Learning program, a geriatric service assignment was integrated into the geriatric course curriculum. Working with Selfhelp Virtual Senior Center, local senior centers and nursing homes, students participated in an outreach project to serve senior citizens. Students shared their experiences through reflection and pre- and post-experience surveys. The reflections included open-ended questions to encourage students to examine and explore ideas regarding older patient’s unique needs to promote empathy and understanding. Conscious and subconscious prejudices and assumptions regarding “old people” were challenged. Students found that participants were more knowledgeable and willing to try new things than they thought. They also discovered that seniors were able to utilize technology and were much more informed than the students anticipated. Together with the teachings of St. Vincent, this AS-L program not only provided an opportunity for senior citizen participants to socialize with the community, but helped our students grow personally and professionally. The results and student reflections collected favor providing service opportunities to enhance the learning objectives of the geriatric course, as well as instill or reinforce compassion and service to aged underserved communities.
Quinlan, Alyssa; Gregory-Fernandez, Pamela; Alois, Corinne; and Hernandez Goodman, Carla
"Academic Service-Learning Experience Embraces the Vincentian Mission in Physician Assistant Education,"
Journal of Vincentian Social Action: Vol. 4
, Article 6.
Available at: https://scholar.stjohns.edu/jovsa/vol4/iss3/6