Fisher Prime Care Nursing Center: One Year Later
In 2012, Excellus BlueCross BlueShield announced a $1 million grant to St. John Fisher College to be used over five years to expand primary health care and mental health care for Rochester’s underserved populations. Dr. Dianne Cooney Miner, Dean, Wegmans School of Nursing, was instrumental in securing the grant.
The College used the money to create the Fisher Prime Care Nursing Center at St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center, working closely with Executive Director, Sister Christine Wagner. The center provides new patient, acute, follow-up, and primary care services for up to 60 patients on a weekly basis, and expands educational opportunities for students in the School of Nursing. After having its doors open for a full year of service, Dr. Virginia Krebbeks, Medical Director of the center and Assistant Professor in the School of Nursing, says so far, so good.
Krebbeks said that the collaboration has led to several positive outcomes. One of those has been the ability of Fisher’s nursing staff to obtain clinical data for statistical analysis, which has contributed to the concept that advanced practice nursing and mental health counseling students—guided by experienced faculty—have a positive influence on the advancement of health care for the uninsured and undocumented members of the Rochester community. Since the center opened, four students have been given clinical experience in primary care—three with direct care and one providing assistance with case study testing for the advanced practice nursing students. To date, there are approximately 170 patients registered with the center.
“Prime Care has made a significant contribution during its inaugural year of operation – specifically, we have provided primary care and mental health counseling for underserved and vulnerable populations in the Rochester community and contributed to the education of nursing and mental health counseling students,” said Cooney Miner.
Starting this year, additional nursing faculty will be providing primary and women's health care for patients at the center, giving students additional opportunities for clinical experience. In addition, the center is now offering mental health care to patients, provided by Fisher’s mental health counseling students who are supervised by Dr. Doug Bufano, faculty member in the School of Nursing’s Mental Health Counseling program. In addition, students are gaining experience with an electronic medical record system, including electronic prescribing.
“The biggest benefit to students is the exposure to the multiple ethnic cultures from our patients. Communication with those who do not speak English, have different health priorities, and those with no or limited work experience or financial resources have given our students a flavor for these community concerns. A real-life experience with ethnic diversity provides an experience that cannot be obtained by a textbook alone,” said Krebbeks.
She added that seeing and experiencing patients’ health improve has been an “immeasurable” opportunity for the students. Also, through the use of current, research-based information, students and faculty have successfully taught better healthcare to patients, assisting them with obesity, hypertension, and diabetes.
“A common statement is, ‘it takes a whole community to teach a child,’ but it also takes a whole community to provide health care to patients,” said Krebbeks. “The patients who come to St. Joseph's Neighborhood Center belong to all of us who live, work, and play in this community, so it is our collective responsibility to give what we can to those in need. The students and faculty who are providing healthcare to those in need develop a oneness within the community, which is a benefit and satisfaction for all involved.”
Dr. Ginger Krebbeks and Nicole Fochesato, a graduate student, work with a patient at the center.