Hear how the Front Porch Project connects Radford University nursing students with geriatric patients, even during a pandemic

As part of rotations through clinical specialty areas, the Radford University Nursing program normally offers students the opportunity to work with geriatric patients.

However, since older adults are at particular risk during the global COVID-19 pandemic, adjustments had to be made to the curriculum. That prompted Sarah Gilbert ‘80, MS ’05, an associate professor in the Radford University School of Nursing, and Assistant Professor of Nursing Darleen Hoffert, to create the Front Porch Project, giving nursing students an opportunity to connect with the adults they are learning to care for.

During the project, each student enlisted an older adult volunteer or family member and spent time with that person to learn their story.

After the visit, students wrote a narrative about the participant’s story and presented it to their fellow students and instructors.

The Front Porch Project combines assessments and life review, which is key to helping older adults maintain their independence, Gilbert said.

Gilbert spoke recently about the Front Porch Project in a recorded interview for the With Good Reason public radio program. The interview available as a podcast at withgoodreason.org.

The “With Good Reason” radio program is produced by Virginia Humanities for the Virginia Higher Education Broadcasting Consortium, which comprises all of Virginia’s public colleges and universities.

The award-winning program is heard by an estimated 100,000 people each week on public radio stations in 33 states, including Virginia and Washington, D.C. Thousands more download the episodes via iTunes.

Jul 8, 2021
Chad Osborne