Nurses pursuing a master's degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee College of Nursing have just completed a stint at Grand Avenue Club as part of their training.
They have spent 2 days a week with us, working side by side with GAC colleagues in our work units and participating in our weekly Colleague Training sessions. They have learned a lot about the impact of GAC on members' lives via a powerful pedagogy, coming to know Clubhouse by being actively engaged in a strong Clubhouse.
We loved having the students and their instructor here.
Here is what they have to say about us:
Ali Akbar: "I saw the profound effect that GAC has on its members. I heard stories from members about how some of them turned their lives around and felt better by being in a place that valued their contributions. Experiencing this gave me something I will certainly need as a nurse. Now I have a keen understanding about how relating to people in a certain way can remove the stigma that still surrounds the lives of people with mental illness."
Sofia Beatriz Sandoval: "At GAC I learned how to communicate and provide education in a way that goes at the individual's pace. Members taught me how to be receptive to all their needs. Because I learned a lot about barriers to care, I am now eager to promote people having more access to the information they need: information about primary care providers, heart disease prevention, how to access vaccines. GAC provides all these opportunities."
Pia Khiani: "I had the opportunity to learn from members and staff how GAC operates and see its impact. The pride that members have in GAC and the feeling of acceptance that they experience is remarkable. So many feel that GAC is their home away from home. The connections that many members have built is beautiful. Their confidence in their own abilities is inspiring. I also learned techniques that will be helpful to me as a nurse. I learned from a GAC staff member how to build trust with members. The setting in which I will work will be different, but I know that I will utilize this skill throughout my nursing career."
Emily Boyd: "GAC is an all-inclusive supportive environment for its members. I saw how GAC fosters their growth while they become comfortable with themselves and others. GAC really does provide people with a safe place to be themselves, while fostering their development at their own pace. This sets them up for success. I am going to think a lot about how this can be made relevant to bedside care."
Carolyn A. Ziebert, DNP, RN, Clinical Assistant Professor: "GAC has been a great experience for my students. Staff and members have been welcoming and have shared their stories. In nursing school much effort is placed on learning technical skills and competencies. Every single student has commented about how their time spent at GAC has given them the opportunity to work on their therapeutic communication skills. They really got to know the members as people who just happen to have a mental health diagnosis.
In terms of students' future practice, at some point they will care for patients with mental health issues. They now can include GAC, a great community resource, in their toolkit and can refer patients to GAC. It is also important for students to discover how much the members can rely on a community resource like GAC to sustain them in their daily lives."