November 8, 2022 —Pace University and Kendal on Hudson Benefit from Sharon Wexler’s Expertise and Leadership
“What can nurses do? What can we do in general to get older adults to age well in the community?”
Sharon Wexler, Department Chairperson at Pace University’s College of Health Professionals, often asks herself this question and saw the existing partnership between Kendal on Hudson and Pace University as a step in the right direction. So, when she was asked to join the board of directors at Kendal on Hudson, she jumped at the opportunity.
Since joining the board in 2020, Sharon has been an invaluable partner for Kendal on Hudson, especially as they accept interns from various programs at the community. This summer, Sharon acted as a clinical instructor for nursing interns from Pace University working at Kendal on Hudson, designing a valuable program with her institutional knowledge of Kendal and extensive history with gerontology.
A True Partnership
Kendal on Hudson provides the interactive experience nursing students need as they advance toward graduation and consider which avenue of nursing they want to pursue. In turn, the residents benefit from the relationships and experiences the students provide over the semester.
This summer, residents at Sunnyside, the Memory Support Community at Kendal, grew familiar with the students at Pace University, nicknaming them the “blue people” because of their iconic blue scrubs. Lisa Wacht, Health Services Administrator at Kendal on Hudson, shares, “They love it when they come here.”
The residents at Sunnyside are just one neighborhood of residents who engage with the nursing student interns. Over the summer, the students interacted and attended resident programming, including a group called the Tuesday Morning Club. This social club brings people from across the community together for music, conversation, games and more. The students also assisted in a balance clinic where they supported the program and learned to do assessments in the fitness center.
The students are truly part of the community when they intern at Kendal on Hudson. Lisa adds, “I’ve been really pleased with the caliber of students that Pace has sent us. They’re bright and engaged, and it gives me a lot of hope for the future. It’s nice to see younger people excited to go into health professions.”
Opening the Door to Different Career Paths
Often, students who graduate from nursing programs gravitate toward the traditional hospital setting. But Kendal provides a different depth of care and relationship building that the internship program introduces them to. “Nursing students don’t even realize there are places like Kendal available,” says Sharon Wexler. “Most students have this idea that older adults are either living independently in the community or in a skilled nursing center.” She continues to share that interning at Kendal provides vast benefits and allows nursing students to see the different levels of health care and wellness services available and the seamless transition that a life plan community provides.
This continuum of care is one of the reasons that Sharon counts Kendal as an invaluable internship site, “The students have the opportunity to see the range of services that Kendal offers, and the richness of experiences they were provided was absolutely priceless.”
Lisa, who acts as the primary liaison with the interns from Pace University, echoes the unique benefits students have while interning at the residence, “At a hospital, you have a new patient every day or every couple of days. But, at Kendal, you work in someone’s home and have that relationship with them. You’re part of their home. You’re part of their extended family.”
Both Sharon and Lisa hope that this internship experience will spark a new passion for nursing students to consider the field of gerontology and seek employment in long-term care.