DIGITAL EXCLUSIVE: Poverty simulator aims to improve health care through empathy

local news

ODESSA, TEXAS (BIG 2 NEWS/FOX 24 NEWS) – Poverty is a hardship that many people in the basin face.  Currently, there are more than 24,000 people in Midland and Odessa living in poverty. That’s why two schools teamed up to teach students a valuable lesson about what it’s like to live below the poverty line.

Today, students from Texas Tech and Midland College schools of nursing participated in a poverty simulator. As students shuffled into a large room in the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Academic Building, they were assigned different roles. Students experienced what it is like to have to make tough decisions like choosing to buy food or paying for medicine.

Marco Benavides, a student, participating in the simulation, says he played the role of an 85-year-old widowed woman who lives alone with no support. Benavides says through the simulation, he learned that it is difficult to make ends meet throughout the month with little income, such as retirement funds for the elderly.

This poverty simulator hopes to teach students empathy so they will be able to provide better care when they enter the workforce. Sharon Cannon, the regional dean for the Texas Tech School of Nursing, says it is important as nurses to understand the poverty that exists in our community to provide better care for patients who live in poverty.

Cannon says she hopes to have another poverty simulation in the future because it provides a wonderful opportunity for students to work with each other and learn from each other.

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