Skip to main content

Pictured: (front L to R) Melanie Leuer, RN, Sheila Cole, RN, (back L to R) Julie Morton, RN and Brian Pitts, RN, set up the medical library in preparation for their nursing students

Over the past decade, the Affordable Care Act placed an emphasis on accessible healthcare for all. Still today, Brooks-TLC Hospital System, Inc. is helping to ensure the next generation of nurses are prepared for the unique challenges facing rural populations relative to healthcare accessibility.

Through its academic affiliations with Jamestown Community College, Erie II BOCES, Job Corp and now Trocaire College, the Brooks Campus in Dunkirk provides clinical rotation opportunities for LPN and RN students in its Med-Surg Telemetry department. In addition to learning clinical skills in cardiac monitoring, nursing students at Brooks are exposed to competencies in community health.

According to Melanie Leuer, RN, BSN, Brooks-TLC clinical education coordinator, “A rotation experience at Brooks provides students with meaningful engagement in service of a rural population. The practical hands-on experience with a cross section of our population demonstrates how access to healthcare services is critical to good health.”

With a high percentage of Medicaid population, many patients in this type of rural setting face a variety of access barriers including financial challenges to pay for services, lack of transportation, communication barriers, and more.

Melanie and clinical nursing instructors are working to incorporate critical thinking into lessons that focus on establishment of trust with patients, active listening, patient empowerment, etc. Ultimately, the end goal is to provide students with an immersive clinical experience in a culturally diverse setting.

The current clinical rotation began on January 22 and extends through May 2020.