You’ll recall I visited with the Widener University nursing students a few weeks ago at the Stinson Tower in Chester. These students are there as part of their studies to get experience with real people in the Chester City community.

How special is it to have a team a nurses serving a senior center a couple days a week for free? Although not a nursing home, I’m sure there’s a number of seniors challenged with health and wellness issues just because of their advancing age. There are several signs posted in and around the lobby letting them know the days and times the nurses will be there so they can come down and get checked without having to navigate getting to a doctor’s office if it’s nothing too serious.

These students knock on every door in the building to ask the residents if they are okay and would like to have their vital signs checked. Seems like a great service I’m sure every senior housing development should be entitled to.

I thought I was asking a simple question that would get a simple answer when I questioned what type of response do the nursing students get when they knock on doors? The real answer was not what I expected. It seems there’s a bit of resistance from more than a few residents who are annoyed at the nurses. Some seniors are more polite about it than others, but I get a sense the students aren’t seeing as many residents as they anticipated.

While I was with them for the hour or so, two residents interrupted my visit by stopping by the room. One rolled through in his wheelchair to get his blood pressure checked – and it was high. The other guy with a bubbly personality walked in to say hi and I could tell he was a regular with the students.

Now that coronavirus could likely land in the Stinson building, who will be there to check their vital signs? Widener students won’t be back for the foreseeable future and the luxury of having a team a nurses on hand is gone when they are needed the most.

I bet, after all the smoke clears, the Widener nurses will be a lot more appreciated when they get back to Stinson.