By NARISSA MAWJI
A project team of nursing students and faculty members participated in an 8-week I-CAN project sponsored by IHI Open School to take action in improving pre-existing services provided at monthly footcare clinics run by nursing students at the Union Gospel Mission (UGM). Foot care disorders impede the health and well-being of the underserved inner city clients at the UGM and promoting health and preventing disease is a goal of providing quality nursing care.
The I-CAN curriculum, provided by IHI Open School provided the students with tools in improvement, leadership and community organization to help create change in a real-world setting. By participating in this project, students were able to connect with various stakeholders, including UGM staff the clients themselves, to be able to gauge what their foot care and other medically related needs were. The team of students were then able to interview stakeholders in the area to build capacity, build mutual respect and work as a team to mobilize resources to meet the requested needs of connecting them to primary care health services in the Downtown Eastside. The outcomes of the project included 3 deliverables that could be used by nursing volunteers during the foot soak clinic: a “Foot Care Tips” card for clients; a referral process for clients and staff; and videos on foot assessment for student volunteers.
Although the nursing students initially believed that making an impact in such a short amount of time and within a new and challenging environment would be difficult, they were soon inspired and impressed with their ability to enact change, describing the experience as “empowering”, “energizing”, and “eye-opening. In addition, this project team was recently named runner-up for the Quality Culture Trailblazer award from the BC Patient Safety & Quality Council. Congratulations to the team!