Senior students from three local nursing programs will come to the Wilson College campus Oct. 8 for a day of learning, discussion, and lectures. This year’s Collaborative Healthcare Day will focus on the care of diverse populations – specifically, the care of the LGBTQIA+ patient population. This is a Wilson College-initiated and coordinated event to foster an understanding of all patient populations which nursing students may serve in Franklin County.
The event will bring together students from Wilson’s bachelor’s degree nursing programs, Penn State Mont Alto’s bachelor’s degree nursing program, and Franklin County Career and Technology Center’s practical nursing program. The event is funded in part by a generous grant from the Franklin County Community Foundation, a regional foundation of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC). Because the event addresses community needs education, TFEC provided monies for the speakers who will be presenting. In addition, WellSpan Health will financially support the day as it will function as a recruiting event for the healthcare organization.
Heightening awareness of patient population
While the broader subject of diversity in patient population care will be discussed, the focus of the day will be on the unique needs of the LGBTQIA+ population. The goals are to heighten student awareness of this patient population and issues specific to this group. Presentations and panel discussions will reference the numerous research articles that address the needs of LGBTQIA+ clients – high levels of depression, increased suicide, hormone usage, surgical reconstruction, communication finesse, and social/healthcare support.
As part of this informative day, Wilson College will be implementing an “empathy lab” to help improve empathy/communication/understanding amongst nursing students. This will be a first-time launch for a potential Empathy Center to be created on campus. The lab will be organized and directed by professors Melanie Gregg and Adam DelMarcelle.
Wilson College is well positioned to offer the day as it recognizes the diverse population of its own campus community. The college began conducting an annual campus climate survey in 2015, in which students often report various other incidents. The most recent survey, conducted in April 2022, had 218 participants in which 17.01% identified as male, 79.90% identified as female, 0.52% identified as transgendered male, 2.06% identified as gender-nonconforming, and 0.52% identified as other. Respondents identified their sexual orientation as 3.16% gay or lesbian, 75.79% heterosexual, 4.74% questioning, and 16.32% other.