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Nursing Students Learn about Older Generations in Pilot Program at Augustana Care

October 15, 2014

As the number of older Americans increases, worker shortages loom nationwide in agriculture, health care, manufacturing, technology and customer service. What will the impact of these shortages be as more people reach their 80s, 90s and beyond and need long-term care?


While the average 75-year-old suffers from three chronic conditions and takes five prescription medications, the number of health-care workers is declining. Thirty percent of hospitals report shortages in specialty services and more than 19,000 registered-nurse (RN) vacancies exist in long-term care settings. Along with an additional 116,000 open positions in hospitals, total RN vacancies in the U.S. exceed 135,000. This translates into a national RN vacancy rate of more than eight percent. Shortages in other occupations will also affect services needed by older generations.

To address anticipated worker shortages, Augustana Care has provided learning opportunities to students interested in nursing, spiritual care and other fields for several years. A new partnership between St. Catherine University and Augustana Care will bring nursing students to the Augustana Residential Care of Minneapolis weekly.

Students will work alongside registered nurses to learn about residential care through the eyes of the resident. They will also be paired with resident mentors throughout the semester to deepen their learning process.

“The clinical experience students will gain is crucial for them to learn more about the unique needs of older generations,” says Associate Professor Kathleen Dudley, who teaches at the Henrietta Schmoll School of Health at St. Catherine’s University.

Students will conduct health screenings such as blood pressure assessments to determine if residents have high blood pressure and if their medications are effective. In addition, students will visit residents in their homes, conduct foot clinics and offer talks on health care topics that mirror residents’ interests and concerns. Topics include fall prevention, memory health and nutritional needs for older adults.

Students will also assess what resources are available to older generations in the community surrounding Augustana Care’s Minneapolis campus. In addition, “students will take what they learn about growing older and apply this learning to other settings which serve older adults,” Dudley adds.

HHA-recruitment-flyer.jpgTo learn more about the partnership, contact Director of Health Services Denise Wolff at or 612-238-5047.

Interested in a home health aide position at Augustana Care? You can download a flyer by clicking here, or view open positions and apply online by visiting

Augustana Care: Fostering Fullness of Life for Older Adults and Others in Need

Augustana Care is a non-profit organization that provides senior housing, health care and community-based services to older generations and others in need—and helps residents live the lives that most inspire them. The principles that guide our work are as follows:

  • To value older generations’ talents and experience
  • To provide the care residents need, when and where they need it
  • To connect residents to the people and things that mean the most to them
  • To support residents and families with spiritual care that speaks to who they are

About St. Catherine University

St. Catherine University educates students to lead and influence. Inspired by its visionary founding in 1905 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, more than a century later the University serves diverse students, with a baccalaureate college for women at its heart and graduate and associate programs for women and men. Committed to excellence and opportunity, St. Catherine University develops ethical, reflective and socially responsible leaders.