Students today are searching for more than a college degree.
They’re searching for academic programs that have a mission and purpose; that offer practical experiences within the community and prepare them for their professional field; that make the world a better place; and that allow them to help and advocate for others.
Students crave hands-on and application-focused learning.
They want to know exactly what they’ll be doing in their field before they graduate and how their learning will translate to the real-world.
That’s why Winona State University launched Bridges Health, a community clinic that’s student-led and supervised by clinical faculty members.
Bridges Health provides free healthcare services to individuals, families, and communities alike, bridging the gap in access to health care.
The clinic also provides our students with a unique engaged and service learning opportunity, as they’re the ones who personally care for clients.
Check out what some WSU students have to say about the value of collaborating with other students and giving back to the community through Bridges Health.
Bridges Health Facts
- Operates a variety of services based on the needs of the site and/or county. Services include a wide range of preventive and primary care, wellness, and health promotion for clients of all ages.
- Gives WSU Public Health, Nursing, Social Work, and Athletic Training students as well as RCTC Dental Hygiene students experience working in a clinic setting.
- Received multiple local, state, and national awards for community impact.
- Located in Winona, Olmsted, Buffalo, and Trempealeau counties.
At Bridges Health, students from several disciplines all work together and refer to one another to deliver quality care to each client.
My experience at Bridges Health has prepared me for my career because it enables me to learn how to collaborate with individuals from a variety of professions. It also enables me to learn how to assess and promote health topics in a real-world setting.
My favorite memory from my time at Bridges Health is when a client personally told my colleagues and I what a positive difference we’re making in their life.
Bridges Health is contributing positively to the Winona community by providing services that can help improve an individual’s physical, emotional, and mental health and overall wellbeing.
The value of working with Bridges Health is profound. I was captivated by the work that was being done and inspired that I could be a part of such an amazing community outreach program as a nurse practitioner.
As someone who is pursuing an Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) degree and is passionate about caring for members of the community in a primary care setting, it’s important for me to not only understand my own role as a provider, but also to recognize the interconnectedness of other practices and how they relate to the health of my clients.
This experience has helped me prepare for my role as an APRN by expanding my clinical knowledge and increasing my awareness surrounding issues, which allows me to be more precise in my health promotion efforts.
For me, there were no average days at Bridges Health.
Every moment provided me an opportunity to bring my best self and to apply my course learning in interactions with clients, team members, and community members.
The emphasis on real-world, person-centered care and the culture of interprofessional collaboration were both evident from the orientation session, to the first day in the clinic, to the last meeting of the school year.
Bridges Health delivers services well by allowing students to focus on their individual educational and professional goals while participating inter-professionally for the greater good of the university, the organization, and the populations served.
That about sums it up: where there is need, Bridges Health delivers.
Before this program, when I did my initial assessments, I’d look in the mouth and provide the appropriate treatment but wouldn’t consider a client’s overall health. Since being in this program, I feel like I’m much more attentive to providing the best oral care I can while relating it to the whole body.
I think it’s easy to get tunnel vision in whatever career you’re in. But because of Bridges Health, I feel better educated on how to communicate within different professions and provide oral care and comprehensive health education. This is helpful in expanding my ‘vision’ and looking at health altogether.
This program provides important health care to individuals who might not have otherwise received it. Accessibility is a huge problem in health care and dental care, and this program is expanding that access.
These student testimonials have been lightly edited for grammar, clarity, and length.
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