Children laughing and playing, older folks walking down the street, some new homes, new schools and green areas — this is Baxter/Madison.

Long-term partnership

The Baxter/Madison Neighborhood and Calvin College Department of Nursing formed a partnership in 2002. The goal of the partnership is to provide community-based experiences for students which meet curriculum objectives and promote the health of the residents in the Baxter/Madison neighborhoods.

While working in Baxter/Madison, you will have the chance to get to know people in their own environment. Much of a nurse’s work is done in a hospital-like setting, so this is also a great opportunity to really meet with people where they are comfortable.

In the first semester of your junior year you’ll have had a wide variety of experiences in the neighborhoods. You’ll each spend a day working with a nurse in the holistic health clinic located in the enlarged/remodeled Baxter Community Center. You'll partner up with another student and teach two health-related topics (nutrition, exercise etc.) to students in Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy.

As a student, you are able to spend part of a day shadowing a school nurse to see what their role is in caring for the children of the neighborhood and assisting the nurse as appropriate.

You will also meet with a resident in a neighborhood senior housing facility. In addition to getting to know the person, they complete an extensive health assessment, and from that an area of need for health teaching is completed with the resident.

Survey results

Recently, seniors have had the chance to do research in Baxter/Madison. After a survey in the neighborhood revealed women were interested in learning more about their bodies, seniors were able to partner with a community health worker and do home visits. Surveys were done in 2003, 2010 and 2017.

  • 30% agree that lack of health insurance prevents them from receiving the health care they need
  • 48% have at least one person in the household with hypertension
  • 33% have at least one person in the household with asthma
  • 27% have at least one person in the household with depression
  • 24% have at least one person with diabetes
  • 20% state they had a time where they needed prescription medications but could not get them because of cost 

This has been a very beneficial partnership for both the neighborhood and the nursing students. You will be provided with a variety of valuable learning experiences while responding to needs of and serving a diverse, vulnerable population, Jesus' own precious children - young and old alike.