Hebrew SeniorLife's commitment to education and its culture of learning extends throughout all levels of the organization. In 2007, HSL enrolled its first cohort of students into its Career Development Program, which provides a pipeline for individuals seeking to advance in the nursing field. Today, the program includes English, math, and reading classes on-site at Hebrew Rehabilitation Center in Roslindale, in addition to various pathways for career advancement including a licensed practical nurse (LPN) to registered nurse (RN) track, a CNA to LPN track, a new CNA to RN track, and an Associate’s degree RN to Bachelor’s degree RN track.
To date, 38 CNAs have completed the program to become LPNs and over 260 HSL employees have participated in some aspect of the Career Development Program. As a teaching hospital and affiliate of Harvard Medical School, HSL also trains medical and Nursing and Allied Health students during their clinical rotations, bringing the total number of healthcare professionals trained by HSL to over 700 annually. HSL offers training to direct care workers in other specialty areas including palliative care and chaplaincy, and, for its non-caregiving staff, HSL University offers opportunities for middle managers to acquire leadership skills that will sustain them and further their careers.
HSL annually trains more than 700 students, interns, residents and fellows in multiple geriatric disciplines to prepare them to be the clinicians, leaders, researchers and policy-makers of tomorrow.
HSL's mission driven initiatives to educate the health-care work force of today and tomorrow are more relevant than ever.
By 2030 the population of people over 75 will increase from 19 million to 33.5 million as the baby boomers cross the threshold from middle age to senior citizen, and the current ratio of one geriatrician for every 2,546 older Americans is predicted to become one per 4,254.
The shortage of the nation's nurses is projected to grow to more than one million nurses by the year 2020.
Similar shortages are forecast for physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech-language pathologists, social workers, chaplains, psychologists, and dentists to care for older patients, especially in long-term care facilities and home care.
When students come to Hebrew Rehabilitation Center for training, they often expect to find a homogenous group of older people with age-related medical problems. By the time they complete their rotation, the HRC patients and residents and staff have taught them that seniors have a wide range of health issues, functional abilities, spiritual concerns, cognitive abilities, and life perspectives. Students leave HRC enriched by their clinical and personal contact with residents, patients and staff, and with exposure to the principals and practices of geriatric caregiving.
The framework behind every HSL program is composed of dedicated, expert teachers. When health-care professionals begin their training, they make career decisions based on experiences with faculty role models, the satisfaction level of the professionals they work with, and the opportunity a specialty offers for integrating science and humanity into cutting edge treatment. For many students, their experience at HSL is their first encounter with a geriatric resident/patient, and the interaction is mutually enriching. The seniors enjoy the students who infuse the environment with energy and enthusiasm, and help staff provide more individualized care. Students learn to appreciate that the seniors in their care have lived long and complex lives and have a wealth of experience to share.