28 June 2019 •
Yearly conclusion of the Buddy Project HBO Nursing at The Hague University of Applied Sciences
First-hear HBO nursing students at The Hague University of Applied Sciences spent a year being a buddy to a lonely senior, a child with a difficult home situation, someone with a physical limitation or anyone else who could really use a buddy. The project teaches students to see their future clients from the perspective of a care recipient and not a caregiver. On Tuesday 25 June, the Buddy Project was concluded with an event attended by students, clients and staff members of de Zonnebloem, one of the participating organisations.
What impact does illness have on your social functioning? What does it mean when you cannot easily participate in society? And above all: How do you live a rewarding life when your health deteriorates? First-year HBO nursing students spent time in their first year (including over the holidays) exploring these life lessons. And the lecturers? Those are their future clients, their ‘buddies’. In the Buddy Project students undertake an ‘internship with the client’, and learn to see care from the perspective of the receiver.
Students aren’t given a nursing assignment nor do they define specific goals. Their only task is to build a relationship with another person and learn from that person, from their life, their values and norms. What is quality of life, what impact do you (and your words) have as a caregiver, what happens when we age? These are all issues that the students encounter and will discuss with each other in their degree programme.
Carla de Ruyter, district chief of Zonnebloem in the region of Zuid-Holland: “Guests of Zonnebloem enjoy the company of a young volunteer/student. It reminds them of their own grandchildren. This about the connection between young and old, with students learning from the older generation and the seniors enjoying extra visits.”
“I now have a good understanding of the impact that a disease can have on someone’s life. Because of my buddy’s illness I experienced up close how this affects a person.”
“An illness or a limitation doesn’t mean that the person doesn’t want to or cannot do anything. My buddy still wanted to be independent, even though this wasn’t easy.”
“Through this project I have become aware of the importance of non-verbal communication. Parkinson patients often have difficulties with facial expressions. My buddy often seemed angry or disinterested. But that wasn’t the case at all.”
“As you age a lot of people around you start to die. My buddy only has one friend left who is still alive. But it’s difficult for them to see each other because they both have mobility issues. The woman only goes out if we, her buddies, visit her.”
Part of the HBO nursing programme, the Buddy Project is a partnership between (wellness) organisations such as Buddy Netwerk, Vitalis, Zonnebloem and GGZ-Rivierduinen.