Nursing Student Completes Preceptorship in Ireland

February 13, 2020

Wegmans School of Nursing student Meghan Pesce recently traveled to Waterford, Ireland to complete her nursing preceptorship in intellectual disability nursing. The preceptorship took place at the Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT), which holds a partnership with St. John Fisher College through the Golisano Institute for Developmental Disability Nursing.

Megan Pesce (middle) traveled to Waterford, Ireland to complete her nursing preceptorship in intellectual disability nursing.

Pesce was the first student from Fisher to study disability nursing at WIT. She serves on a team at the University of Rochester Medical Center that helps patients with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, and Fisher’s partnership with WIT presented a valuable opportunity to learn more about caring for a population with unique needs.

In her first assignment, Pesce worked with young adults with profound cognitive impairment and limited mobility. Many required alternative feeding, such as through a feeding tube or modified textures to prevent choking. Here, she did crafts and activities, and helped patients with daily living and hygiene tasks.

Her second assignment was early intervention, where she worked with children between the ages of two to six years old with various disabilities. She practiced early intervention skills including modified sign language and picture boards to help the children develop skills.

“I was so fortunate to have a wide variety of activities,” said Pesce. “I was also able to see the unified approach taken with nursing, education, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.”

Her final assignment was palliative home care for those with an intellectual disability. This was another unique opportunity as she was able to work with individuals who have complex and mixed needs, including COPD, autism, Down syndrome, and dementia.

“If we give people the tools they need to be successful, then we can prevent a lot of issues later on,” Pesce said. For example, teaching children modified sign language and giving them picture boards can better improve their own agency through communication, which might help prevent feelings of frustration and behavioral issues down the line. “It made me think about the inpatient setting and what I can do to help people be independent, understood, and make their own decisions.”

During her time abroad, she served as a guest lecturer at WIT, talking about her experiences caring for those with intellectual disabilities in the United States, and the differences between the two health care systems.

Pesce also said there was a strong sense of community and compassion among professors at WIT and those working in the field, adding that the WIT faculty helped her learn, settle in, and gave her the resources to make a difference. “I will always remember the feeling of compassion that led to critical thinking to improve someone’s quality of life,” she said.