Faculty Profile: Debra Bossenbroek & Suzan Couzens, nursing

Profs. Bossenbroek and Couzens lead Calvin's
Profs. Bossenbroek and Couzens lead Calvin's "Rural Health in India" interim.

Most Calvin profs are busy with teaching and research, but nursing professors Suzan Couzens and Debra Bossenbroek add something else to their plate: intense community involvement. Both are community nursing coordinators who spend work and personal time in their Grand Rapids neighborhoods. They also co-lead the nursing trip to rural India.

Debra Bossenbroek, MSN, FNP-BC

One of the first things Professor Bossenbroek's students do when they begin their clinical rotation in the Creston/Belknap neighborhood is walk through the area. They visit the local food pantry, a community garden and several homes that are being renovated for the neighborhood's low-income residents. The effect? The Calvin nursing students start to understand that health isn't just something done in the hospital or doctor's office: It starts at home and in a person's neighborhood. She hopes that some of her students will discover a calling to work in the community setting.

"Nursing opportunities abound in the day-to-day lives of underserved people. I encourage students to be still, listen and look for God working around us in community. God continues His restoration work in the world, and nurses have a prime opportunity to come alongside discerning where God is calling them," Bossenbroek said.

Suzan Couzens, MS, RN, FCN

Recognized by the Alliance for Health as a West Michigan "Health Hero" in 2012, Professor Couzens brings Calvin nursing students to Grand Rapids' Heartside district for learning and service. In this needy neighborhood, she co-founded the Health Depot, a clinic that provides health services to area residents. One of her favorite services is a walking group for homeless residents. Calvin nursing students join these residents for regular walks and help them work on health goals. The result has been measurable improvements in the residents' cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels.

"We ask [the walking club participants] what they like about the program and they say, 'Walking with the students.' By getting to know them on a deeper level, they're very open when [the students] ask them about their health," Couzens said.

VERGE: fall 2013

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