Samantha Utter is studying Nursing at Grand Valley State University and plans to graduate at the end of the fall semester in 2014. Utter was recently honored with the 2014 Outstanding Undergraduate Student in Nursing award and was recognized during Student Scholars Day for her poster, “Integration of Community Health Care Services.” Utter is one of the many students pursuing a career in the medical field but has also been involved with the Bonnie Wesorick Center for Health Care Transformation.
The Wesorick Center is an endowed program within the Kirkhof College of Nursing and is dedicated to improving patient-centered health care practices. The center focuses on inter-professional engagement and supports students, faculty and community partners to collaborate and develop sustainable projects that transform the way health care is delivered.
“I found myself asking questions pertaining to the patient,” Utter said. “I don’t think I would have understood that as well if I hadn’t been a part of the Wesorick Center.”
Integrated care is an idea that is at the center of the philosophy which drives the Wesorick Center. This idea calls for high levels of coordination between the various stages and components involved in a patient’s treatment plan.
“Integrated care has to do with a lot of different factors,” Utter said. “We looked at a lot of players that don’t necessarily get looked at but are really key components of integrating care and bringing that to the bedside.”
The Wesorick Center is unique in that it works with and mentors Grand Valley students as part of the partnership the two institutions have. In this setting the students have a voice to express areas of health care that they believe need to be addressed.
The Wesorick Center is “taking Grand Valley students, putting them in the spotlight and asking them what needs to be improved within health care,” Utter said.
Like Grand Valley, the Wesorick Center has direct applications to the West Michigan community and to health care professionals across the globe. The landscape of the medical field has shifted due to the research and collaborative efforts of the Wesorick Center which benefits each patient’s treatment and, in turn, will result in better health care programs.
“The bottom line is you’re taking a group of people who want to make this world a better place, breaking down barriers and going from ‘I want to do this’ to ‘let’s see how we can do this’,” Utter said.
The funding the Wesorick Center receives allows them to further research and share the philosophy of transforming current health care practices. With the continued support from Grand Valley and the community the center strives to improve outcomes for those who give and receive care, develop visionary future leaders and make health care more cost effective.
“When you support a philosophy that puts patients in the center,” Utter said, “you are only bettering your community.”