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Nursing students make a difference at local centre


St. Lawrence College students spend a lot of their educational experience in community placements. During these placements, they become part of the organization or institution and often bring new energy and creativity to their workplace.

For both Jodi Herfkens from Crysler and Amanda Childs from Ottawa, their placement at Cornwall's Open Hands Day Centre for Individuals with Developmental Disabilities was a first. These Bachelor of Science in Nursing students from the St. Lawrence College/Laurentian University program worked for one month helping the organization develop a Health Promotion program that would remain long after they were gone. "We educated the participants on health topics such as hygiene, nutrition, smoking, parenting, physical activity and motivation", explained Jodi. "Our biggest challenge was identifying the learning needs of the participants and adjusting our delivery accordingly", said Amanda. This was the first time the Centre accepted nursing students for a placement opportunity.

During their first few days at the Centre, the nursing students were quick to discover that the arts and crafts material for the Centre was almost non-existent. "The Centre depends heavily on volunteers and donations," explains Amanda. It was obvious from day one that there was a need for materials, music and instruments. "When the participants gathered for Arts and Crafts, they only had a few colouring books and limited crayons", she said.

Amanda and Jodi were determined to change that. At first they simply asked their classmates to help them raise $20 for Easter cards. After picking up over $60 from their classmates, they decided to solicit the help of the nursing faculty and other nursing classes at the College. In addition, Amanda’s employer, St. Hubert’s in Ottawa, provided a large quantity of crayons and 1000 activity sheets. Maurice Gould and his colleagues from the Toronto-Dominion Private Investment Advice in Ottawa also made a significant donation to the cause. All total, the girls were able to present the Centre with $700 worth of arts and crafts materials, recreational activities and needed supplies.

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