Nursing Student Brightens Holidays for Hospital Patients
Junior Kristina Dube is leading a donation drive to fill stockings for patients at Strong West.
Kristina Dube ’18, a nursing major at SUNY Brockport, is bringing some extra comfort and joy to patients at Strong West this holiday season.
Dube is a volunteer with the Friends of Strong, an organization of nearly 1,500 volunteers who work with Strong Memorial Hospital, including its Strong West branch in Brockport, to provide services to patients and their families, promote the hospital in the community, and assist with fundraisers.
The Friends of Strong is holding its second annual campaign to stuff stockings for children and teenagers who will be in the Emergency Department during the holidays, and Dube is taking a leading role.
“Kristina wanted to get some college students involved, so she set it up over at Brockport all on her own,” said Jill Martin, volunteer coordinator for Strong West. “She is always trying to think outside the box and create opportunities.”
Dube pitched the project to her classmates and faculty. She also approached the Student Nursing Organization for its support. Together, they have set up collection boxes in Lathrop Hall, home of the Department of Nursing, to gather donations that will soon fill stockings.
“Kristina explained that these stockings will not only help the children and teens feel comfortable in the Emergency Department, which can be scary, but also provide some needed items to families living in poverty or near-poverty,” said Clinical Assistant Professor of Nursing Jennifer Chesebro.
The group will donate many of the stockings to the Brockport Food Shelf for area families in need, along with items gathered through its annual food drive.
Dube is encouraging her peers to donate items for teenagers in particular. Given their perspective as recent teens themselves, many with teenaged siblings, she feels they’re in a position to provide items those patients will appreciate.
She and her fellow Friends of Strong have already collected hundreds of items, and they will continue to accept donations through December 9. During the week of December 12, amid final exams, Dube will help wrap up the campaign.
In addition to her volunteer work, Dube works weekend overnights as a secretary at Strong West. This role will allow her to help distribute the stockings to patients. She looks forward to seeing the looks on the recipients’ faces.
“Kids coming in are going to be upset. They don’t want to get poked for an IV or blood draw,” she said. “So when you give them something like this, you help them make the best out of it.”
Dube has found her work at Strong West to be invaluable career preparation, as she interacts closely with patients and communicates regularly with nurses and doctors.
“It opens your eyes quite a bit,” she said. “It makes you realize there are a lot of people out there who need help, and you’re there to help them.”
She has also found that her work with Strong and her nursing coursework supplement each other well.
While learning in class about diabetes and glucose, Dube saw a patient at Strong West who had hypoglycemia (low blood glucose), and she was struck by her deeper understanding of the situation thanks to her coursework.
Then, when her class worked with a simulation mannequin demonstrating hypoglycemia, she felt prepared to take action by drawing on her hospital experience.
“Some people were, understandably, saying, ‘What do I do?’ And I was able to say, ‘We’re gonna act! Let’s go!’” said Dube. “The work experience I have helps me better understand the classroom material.”
Dube has seen that Emergency Department nurses often have to act quickly, sometimes without doctor’s orders. That exposure, so early in her career, has boosted her self-assurance.
“The Emergency Department can be very demanding, but Kristina handles it with confidence and grace,” said Martin. “She has such a friendly and positive demeanor and is eager to help those in need.”
That drive to help others is what hospital work is all about for Dube. It’s the reason she’s drawn to the field.
“You’re there, communicating with a family, at such a crucial time in their lives,” she said. “It’s rewarding to see them coming in needing help and then walking out the door okay.”
Last fall, the Friends of Strong honored Dube with the Evening/Weekend Award in recognition of her outstanding service.