Better Living through Better Knowledge
Health is proactive.
A healthier and more vital community starts with education, so that each individual is empowered to make better choices, recognize signs of distress, and understand how health impacts their everyday life.
The key is to put the necessary tools in the hands of those who need them.
IPFW Clinical Assistant Professor Denise Jordan is at the forefront of this push to educate citizens of northeast Indiana on how to take charge of their healthcare, and she’s training a new generation of nurses to keep up the good fight.
Empowering Those in Need
Like any other discipline, education for Jordan’s students begins in the classroom.
But to accomplish their goal of empowering those in need, she and her students move beyond the classroom walls and into the community, where their expertise is needed most.
This direct interaction with citizens—from individuals with preexisting health conditions to those who simply want to make better, more informed decisions about their healthcare—is a real opportunity to put clinical theory into practice.
A Different Perspective on Healthcare
“When they come to Community Public Health Nursing, they’re using to being in a hospital at the bedside where they’re doing tasks,” explains Jordan.
Nursing students who are used to strictly clinical environments, or the classrooms where they are trained, may have too narrow of a perspective on what it means to be a healthcare provider. They expect hanging ID tags, distributing medication, and changing dressings to be the vast majority of their work in patient care.
All of which are important. But to Jordan and her students, these tasks are only part of the job description.
“It’s kind of a paradigm shift when I get them in the community to realize, well you know, education is our thing,” she says. “We can heal, and save, and we can do a lot more with preventative health than you can ever do on the opposite end.”
A More Proactive Education
Jordan impresses upon her students the need to be well rounded, well informed, and able to adapt to the tasks at hand.
In addition to clinical knowledge and a push for community empowerment, she encourages her nurses-in-training to understand the less-obvious facets of their careers in healthcare. This might include how to organize a community health fair or other community events focused on promoting better health practices.
“I tell them that, at the senior level, you don’t just walk into an event and just walk out. It is important that you know what happened, what transpired to create this community health event, because as graduate, you may be asked to do this,” she says.
With this philosophy in mind, along with the education ideals outlined in IPFW’s baccalaureate framework, Jordan prepares her students for life after Commencement.
She trains her students on how to become better communicators—not only with their patients, but prospective employers as well.
Her students come away from her courses prepared not only to excel at the bedside or a public health information session, but also in a job interview.
“We say that when our students graduate from IPFW, they can walk into the boardroom at Parkview, at BAE, or wherever,” she explains.
This is Jordan’s philosophy of teaching: that with a better education comes empowerment—and with it, a healthier, better life.
Program Snapshot: Department of Nursing
Follow your calling to help others. IPFW nursing students enjoy access to the booming regional healthcare industry, professional expertise, and hands-on experiential learning opportunities. We graduate nurses, technicians, healthcare advocates, and more. Our program includes maternity nursing, transcultural healthcare, leadership in nursing, and medical ethics. Learn more.