Professor Diane Martins (center left) teaches at the new Nursing Education Center with Nursing Graduate students in the Nursing Philosophy & Theory course.

populations, such as the homeless, as has been typical of other studies, she takes a different angle, focusing instead on the homeless persons perceptions of our health care system to gain insight and discover ways to better serve the population. “I felt it was very important for us as health care providers, as researchers, to say, ‘Can you share with us what your healthcare experience has been like,’ to go to the people themselves to share their stories,” she says. Not only do vulnerable populations benefit from Martins’ work, her nursing students do as well. By being exposed to real-life situations such as working with people experiencing homelessness, incarceration, or being an immigrant, the students gain caretaking skills they otherwise wouldn’t learn in the classroom. These students also gain an important life lesson – an appreciation for diversity. “The more exposure you have as a student to people that are different than yourself your ability to appreciate and respect that culture increases,” Martin explains. “And, hopefully, they become better nurses.”

Professor Diane Martins.

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