Nursing students reflect on evening of community service

| Der-Fa Lu

Dr. Der-Fa Lu, associate professor of nursing, and five UW-Eau Claire junior nursing peer mentors, Jessica Johnson, Morgan Karasek, Amanda Koenig, Elizabeth Moran and Alexandra Tupy, provided hand massages to local community caregivers at the Chippewa Valley Family Caregiving Alliance 17th Annual Caregiver Resource Fair, Dinner and Town Hall, “A Caregivers’ Magical Night Out,” Nov. 11 at Florian Gardens in Eau Claire. A total of 206 community caregivers and 29 vendors participated in the event.

The nursing students provided the following reflections after the event:

Jessica Johnson

This was a great opportunity to engage with members of the community and offer a simple yet relaxing service to those who spend their days caring for others. Providing the caregivers (guests) with hand massages was beneficial in promoting the importance of self-care and effectiveness of nonpharmacological treatments on pain, stress, etc. The Caregiver Night Out was an excellent service-learning experience that I would happily take part in again.

Morgan Karasek

The Magical Night Out was an amazing experience that benefited both me and the community that participated. Not only was the food amazing, with a great catering company; but it was a stress reduction, and relationship-building experience I didn’t know I needed. Often, caregivers get caught up in taking care of others, and neglect their own self-care, leading to burnout. For me to be able to sit down, have a nice conversation and provide a hand massage to people who always give their attention to others, was a mind-opening experience. Often nurses and nursing students get so busy we forget to look at the small things and really notice how we are making a difference in people’s lives. This event allowed me to see how such a simple gesture can truly be appreciated.

Amanda Koenig

After volunteering at the CVFCA Magical Night Out, I left with a sense of gratitude that I was able to participate in such a special event. Not only was I providing stress relief and comfort for someone else, but I was also allowing myself time to relax and reflect on the impact we as nursing students can have out in the community. The simple act of providing a hand massage allowed us to interact and provide comfort to others, while allowing myself to forget my own stress and connect with other caregivers. This was a very rewarding experience beyond what I had anticipated, and I hope to participate again in the years to come.

Elizabeth Moran

I had an absolutely wonderful time at the Magical Night Out! I was pleasantly surprised by how many people showed up to receive hand massages, and it was so lovely meeting others from the community and getting to know them a little bit. I felt like I was really making a difference. I would gladly participate in this event next year! Thank you for this incredible opportunity.

Alexandra Tupy

From the event on Monday, I really enjoyed being able to help the caregivers who work so hard a night of self-care. I also appreciated the ability to form a quick, trusting relationship with each individual I met through the hand massages.

Photo caption: UW-Eau Claire nursing peer mentors (from left) Morgan Karasek, Alexandra Tupy, Elizabeth Moran, Amanda Koenig and Jessica Johnson recently provided hand massages to local community caregivers at the Chippewa Valley Family Caregiving Alliance 17th Annual Caregiver Resource Fair, Dinner and Town Hall.