Engaging Young Adults in Health Care Planning (Nursing 431)

We are dedicated to bringing a range of voices to health care planning discussions. Including individuals of all ages will ensure that BC’s health care system reflects the needs of BC’s communities. Carol Stathers, Engagement Leader for the Interior region, shares how she partnered with two nursing students to encourage engagement among young adults.

This past fall, I had the pleasure of working with two nursing students from the University of Victoria at Selkirk College. Led by Interior Health’s East Kootenay Transformation Lead and Field Guide Supervisor for the students, Jo-Ann Tisserand, we partnered to explore how to better engage young adults in health care planning.

The intent of the project was to explore how to include the voices of young adults in the Interior region in the Kootenay Boundary Collaborative Service Committee (KBCSC) initiatives.

Introducing the students:  As a pilot project, fourth-year students Nicole Hardy and Emma Lesnik spent the semester conducting engagement and research-based work, using the student population at Selkirk College. In the early stages of their project, Nicole and Emma identified that the Patient Voices Network was an effective and already established means of recruiting younger voices for health care planning.

Nursing students partner with Patient Voices Network

Fourth-year students Nicole Hardy and Emma Lesnik

Sixteen new volunteers and more coming in weekly: To date, their work has resulted in up to 16 new volunteers expressing interest in PVN from the college. Through their project, Nicole and Emma identified a number of factors that contributed to their success, which included:

  • Connecting with staff (both administration and instruction staff) to share information with students through different modes, including in-class presentations
  • Developing in-person relationships with new volunteers to foster a relationship of trust with PVN, as well as its health care partners
  • Encouraging health care partners to explore how they can provide flexibility in their projects to allow students to participate despite their busy and ever-changing schedules
  • Considering using electronic means of communication for participation in health care improvement projects (particularly with the rural location of Selkirk College)

Next Steps: As a follow up to the great work that both Nicole and Emma have done, they outlined a succession plan in their project.  This has resulted in two third-year students continuing the project and, with my support, moving the project into the community.

I am looking forward to working with the two new students as we continue to explore how we can support the inclusion of younger voices in the Patient Voices Network.

Guest post written by Carol Stathers

With a background in community development, project management, education and clinical practice as a Registered Nurse, Carol supports patient engagement in the Okanagan. She has worked with the Patient Voices Network since its inception, and her goal is to continue to use her passion for quality improvement in health care through patient and community engagement, education, and health promotion.

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