Local Nurses Volunteer to Enhance Skills

nursingstudents2016 marked the third consecutive year the Maxine S. Jacobs Student Nurses Association (MSJ SNA) of Reno has lent their time, energy, and unbridled enthusiasm to their local Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Jenelle Castillo, President of the MSJ SNA, explains why the student-run club is committed to volunteering, and how the nurses’ collaboration with the Alzheimer’s Association has had profound effects for everyone involved.

How did you get involved with the Alzheimer’s Association?

Each month, the MSJ SNA hones in on awareness about a different organization, which is initially how we came to get involved with the Alzheimer’s Association. With awareness-building as a core part of our curriculum, the students had the opportunity to learn more about an important health issue and cause.

It’s a combination of education and volunteering that provided the opportunity to spread word about the Alzheimer’s Association. Put simply, volunteering cements our students’ learning process. That’s why as a club, the Student Nursing Association places high value on the act of volunteering as a way to give back to the community.

Our journey with the Alzheimer’s Association began with curious inquiry into how we might get involved. Most of our members have had patients in the clinical setting that have had Alzheimer’s, and they expressed a need for more awareness.

It’s not just about the person that has Alzheimer’s but the family as well. We decided as a group that this was something we were going to volunteer for and provide resources and whatever the community needed from us with the help of the Alzheimer’s Association.

What has your experience been with the Reno Sparks Walk to End Alzheimer’s?

nursingstudents1Work for the walk begins months in advance. The MSJ SNA is split into two groups – one manages the process of collecting awareness cards which are sent to Congress. The second group focuses on fundraising and helping the Walk directly through volunteering.

On the day of the walk, we help direct participants and family caregivers toward helpful resources and information. It’s great to see how everybody comes together as a community. Everybody’s willing to help everybody.

The walk event isn’t only useful for people looking for information, but our nurses themselves, who have the chance to speak to caregivers and those affected by Alzheimer’s face-to-face. It is a great chance for them to get a better understanding of how Alzheimer’s affects patients and families. It gives us more resources to provide for patients and their families in a clinical setting as well as in the community.

We’re all there for the same thing: we want to find the cure to end Alzheimer’s. We want to help people. For the student nurses, helping people is why they joined the nursing field. And as large as the event is, it’s very warming to be part of it. Everybody is very welcoming and full of smiles. You do shed some tears because some of the personal stories are very heartfelt and touching, but overall the experience is amazing. I recommend everybody volunteer for a walk at least once, then they’ll be hooked.

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