Nursing Students Deliver Frontline Care

Street Nursing Program Connects Students With Community


For third-year Selkirk College nursing student Chelsey McKellar, a practice experience on the streets of her own community provided an opportunity to recognize and appreciate a side of Nelson she’d never before seen.

“It was really difficult seeing how prevalent homelessness and mental illness is in Nelson,” says McKellar. “It was a huge eye opener.”

Street Nursing Bigger

Selkirk College nursing student Chelsey McKellar had an opportunity to learn about the vulnerable population living in her own community as part of a practical experience. Wearing plain clothes and carrying a well-stocked backpack, she met with people on the street and offered much-needed support.

The community nursing practice experience has been an integral component of Selkirk College’s Nursing Program for the last seven years. Six students spend one day a week, working in pairs with partner agencies such as Nelson CARES, Stepping Stones, ANKORS, Our Daily Bread and the Nelson Clubhouse.

Community health nursing speaks to the importance of establishing relationships, continuity of care, working with people on issues of importance to them, and viewing advocacy and involvement in public policy. These important nursing actions address the crucial social determinants of health such as inadequate housing, early childhood trauma, and poverty which predispose people to developing chronic diseases and addictions.

For McKellar, it was a rewarding experience.

“I loved it. This was by far the most impactful local practice experience through all my three years of education so far,” she says. “This has taken my blinders off as I see how many people are in need and that it’s just not the people coming in after bike crashes or with chronic diseases like diabetes. Some of these people never had a chance. We want to help them figure it out.”

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