Building Empathy for Patients
The University of New Mexico College of Nursing held its first Poverty Simulation Workshop on Wednesday, March 8. Students were asked to take on a role in a struggling fictional family. Most students find these scenarios are very different from their own life, and they learn firsthand about the challenges of overcoming family hardship.
“I felt really stressed because members of my fictional family were giving up, and I was taking on more responsibility while caring for my infant child,” says nurse-midwifery student Emily Johnson. “I was really struck by the amount of pressure I felt in an hour’s time and how it would affect my health.”
The exercise gives students a glimpse into what their future patients might be going through, thus preparing them to be better nurses.
“I love that it was a way for students to understand poverty without just sitting and listening to a lecture,” says Carolyn Montoya, PhD, RN, associate dean of clinical affairs.
“I know first-hand what it’s like to be poor. Given that New Mexico has one of the highest rates of poverty in the country, it is important for all of our health care providers to understand the effects of poverty on their patients.”
The event was conducted by New York-based Coordinated Care Services, Inc., and funded by the Advanced Nursing Education Workforce grant from the U.S. Health Resources Services Administration.
These Interprofessional Poverty Workshops will be held annually as part of the College of Nursing’s initiative to educate students outside the classroom.