Nursing Professors Participate in Parkinson’s Foundation Program

Bethel nursing faculty members Beth Anderson and Kristin Sandau went back to class this summer to learn how to educate their students on Parkinson’s Disease nursing care.

By Suzanne McInroy, director of communications

August 22, 2019 | 2 p.m.

This summer, two Bethel nursing professors participated in the Edmond J. Safra Visiting Nurse Faculty Program at the Parkinson’s Foundation. Assistant Professor of Nursing Beth Anderson and Professor of Nursing Kristin Sandau were two of 24 nursing faculty members accepted into the program for 2019.

The 40-hour accredited “train the trainer” Nurse Faculty Program improves Parkinson’s Disease nursing care by training faculty leaders across the U.S. to educate nursing students. The rigorous course includes didactics, clinical time with patients, participation in a Parkinson’s support group and the opportunity to develop an independent project.

Sandau says they both have professional and personal interests in learning more about Parkinson’s nursing care. “While most Americans are aware that heart disease and cancer are very common, far fewer are aware of how common Parkinson's is,” Sandau says. “There are about 1 million people in our country with Parkinson's, which is more than the combined number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, and Lou Gehrig's disease. This disease needs more awareness so we can better equip people with Parkinson's to lead more independent and active lives.”

With this new training, Anderson and Sandau will collaborate at Bethel to create a learning experience designed to support junior nursing students as they develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes required to provide safe, patient-centered care to person's with Parkinson's Disease.

“Students will be engaged and challenged as they learn about Parkinson's Disease through didactic content, application of classroom learning to case studies, and hands-on-experience, collaborating with inter- and intra-professional team members, formal and informal caregivers, and the client to ensure the delivery of high-quality care through simulation,” explains Anderson.

Through these experiences, Anderson and Sandau hope students will better recognize the importance of a nurse’s role as care provider and care coordinator when supporting their patients and their caregivers.

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