By Paige Carswell
Staff reporter

It’s every student’s dream to attend a class where they don’t need to sit through lecture after lecture while keeping their eyes pried open in case they hear something relevant to the upcoming test.

For students in nursing instructor Melanie Johnson’s class, that dream is a reality through Nov. 19.

Twenty-one nursing students will partner up and visit 14 different health agencies, one each Thursday, during the tenure of that part of the class.

Johnson said that the goal of the program was for students to become more aware of the needs of various groups of people and the services provided to those people in the community.

Each Thursday, the pairs of students will visit their scheduled agencies for at least four to six hours. The students will visit the Arkansas City Senior Center, the Cowley County Health Department, Cowley County Mental Health, Cowley County Special Services Cooperative, Creative Community Living, Creekstone Farms, Hospice Care of Kansas, King’s Treatment Center, Little Builder’s Preschool, Parents as First Teachers, USD 465, William Newton Home Health, Winfield Correctional Facility and GraceMed Clinic in Wichita.

Jordan Unruh, nursing junior, and her partner, Amy Pierson, nursing junior, have visited GraceMed, Hospice Care of Kansas, Little Builders, Parents as Teachers and Cowley County Mental Health. Unruh said that the experience they get by visiting the agencies is invaluable.

“It gives you real-life experience,” Unruh said. “It’s a lot more interesting than to sit in class and listen to a lecture. We can do hands-on things and it gives you a lot of experience, it’s nice.”

The students have a set of questions they have to ask at each agency that they are awarded points for and can take vital signs like blood pressure, breathing sounds and pulse. Unruh said that although she has received her CNA, it still makes her anxious to go to the agencies.

“It’s a little bit nerve-racking,” Unruh said. “A majority of these people see their clients on a regular basis, so it’s just a matter of whether they’re going to be comfortable with you or not.”

Paige Carswell is a sophomore majoring in journalism. You may e-mail her at