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Brookhaven College employee newsletter: Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Student Discovers Passion Through Service-Learning

Student Discovers Passion Through Service-Learning

Hospice, as a field, isn’t for everyone.

Travis Masters, R.N. and case manager at New Century Hospice, knew he could handle it, though, long before he accepted the position.

While working toward his associate of nursing at Brookhaven College, Masters volunteered for two years at New Century through service-learning. The experience gave him not only a glimpse into what hospice care was like, preparing him for his career, but also a job offer, he said.

“It was like a two-year interview,” he said. “You see the field from a new perspective and learn how to deal and work with the patients.”

Hospice requires a palliative approach to nursing – one that focuses not on curing a patient, but on helping a patient die comfortably and with dignity. For many nurses, trained through the curative approach, the hospice mindset is difficult to accept, said Pamela Smith, chaplain and volunteer coordinator at New Century Hospice.

That’s why she recommends service-learning before graduation.

Through the New Century Hospice service-learning program, nursing students are able to get a feel for the field before making a career choice that will affect them after graduation. That statement rings true for service-learning opportunities in all fields.

Masters and Smith were at the Service Agency Fair Feb. 18 to recruit other students to get involved. Each year, hundreds of Brookhaven College students donate thousands of hours volunteering as part of service-learning programs, and, for many, it offers a glimpse into a future career field they might not have considered.