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Nursing students get a lesson in rural health care

SARANAC LAKE - Nursing students from New York University got some first-hand experience in rural health care recently through a two-week program offered at Adirondack Medical Center.

According to Tony Leiker, a faculty member with the College of Nursing at NYU, the three nursing students were at AMC from Jan. 5 to Jan. 16. Their rotation through the various departments at AMC allowed the students to immerse themselves in all aspects of rural health care.

The program at AMC was initiated during discussions between John W. Mills, president of Paul Smith's College, and Terry Fulmer, College of Nursing Dean at NYU. Paul Smith's College, which has explored the possibility of adding a bachelor's-level nursing degree to its own curriculum, supported the initiative by providing housing for the NYU students at its Saranac Lake residence hall.

"High-quality nursing care is essential everywhere, but it faces unique challenges in a rural environment," said John W. Mills, president of Paul Smith's College. "We want to keep these health-care issues on our local radar, and we're pleased to work with both the Adirondack Medical Center and NYU on highlighting the importance of training prospective nurses to meet these challenges."

This was the first time the program had been offered at NYU, and was developed out of a strong feeling rural health needs to be taught as part of the curriculum at the nursing college.

Margaret Sorensen, chief nursing officer for AMC, guided the students through their experience.

"This is an excellent opportunity for the students to leave the city environment and gain a fresh perspective on providing care in a rural setting," she noted. "Equally important is that they can take that knowledge back with them, rounding out what is already an exceptional education."

AMC hopes to host more students from the NYU College of Nursing in the future.

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